The art market stands steadfast in its commitment to the idea of the unique or limited edition piece. Inventing conventions so that a growing number of works, that point in other directions, fit within these schemes. Hence the urge to sell copies of works that could be unlimited, reduced to editions of one, three, ten…or thirteen, videos that can be consulted on YouTube, photographs distributed across the internet and ephemeral actions that generate unique editions…While, the ways in which artists produce and work have changed, the hybridisation of languages is nothing new and the channels of distribution have multiplied. Other artistic languages, notably cinema and publishing, seek out formulae that adapt to the new forms of distribution (while also fighting against them with an attitude that has more than a touch of the Numantian). By applying the refrain “if you want to make peace prepare for war”, it is also necessary to reflect in the visual arts upon some changes that are economic but equally systematic.
In this edition of A*DESK we have focussed on a subject that we think is key, distribution. Through which, undoubtedly, a large part of the change in paradigm (however trite it may sound) that we are experiencing will take place. Our aim has been to explore the subject and we have gathered together a series of experiences, examples, case studies and initiatives that explore other forms of distribution. In the collection of experiences compiled into a video format our aim has not been to be exhaustive, but that the selection be representative. We have talked with Nogueras Blanchard, Projecte SD, The Private Space, Raiña Lupa, etHall, Halfhouse, Homesession and Texto in Barcelona; with Negociosraros, Noestudio and Rampa in Madrid; with Castillo/Corrales and CAC Brétigny in Paris and with Supermarket in Stockholm. Montse Badia carried out the interviews in Barcelona, Rosa Naharro in Madrid, Estelle Nabeyrat in Paris and Martí Manen in Stockholm. Jose A. Santos was in charge of recording (with the exception of Stockholm, recorded by Liz K. Peñuela) and editing all the audio-visual material.
With all of them we have discussed their relationship with other agents involved in the arts, the market and distribution, the need to think about formats, how they communicate and how they use Internet and, last but not least, the role of art. The following videos gather together these notes, observations, opinions, endeavours and speculations about other ways of making and understanding art, about ways to present it and of course, distribute and commercialise it.