Tracking Distribution selects and reflects on the distributional strands that have continued to arise throughout this year at Index through our summer course, international festival and that continue to structure and feed into the institution’s future programming. Mapping our own references, acknowledging the lineage of Index’ conceptual and artistic history and narrative.
For a long time – but particularly during 2020 – Index has been focused on questions of distribution. The circulation and transmission of information, objects, data, from sender to receiver. Relations between art and distribution, how artistic practices connect, how ecologies of cultural capital flow through the art market, educational networks, open and closed systems. How publishers work to share artistic content in the digital age. How distributors of artists’ moving images operate in the age of Netflix and on-demand viewing.
This year, distribution has become even more central in Index’ vocabulary. The global spread of the pandemic made the logistical flows of supply and demand more visible; delivery drivers were essential workers, international chains of distribution and transportation started to struggle over their capacity: glitching and sometimes grinding to a stop. The invisible networks which flow beneath us and keep economies afloat – carrying information, goods, imported foods, online purchases – became more noticeable, slowed like freezing liquid.
In June, we invited artistic practitioners to think with us through the summer course Art and Distribution: Exhibition practitioners and other ways to distribute, in collaboration with Konstfack, which took place at Index and online. The course provided a theoretical framework and practical platform for working through decentralized ways of looking at distribution and how its myriad connective potentials relate to artistic practice today.
In September, Index’ annual festival took place. Across three days, Index hosted more than 20 separate events, all to a physical audience limited to 50 in number. Titled Leaking Container, the international festival presented artistic works, archive material and more playful, performative and practice-based perspectives on distribution.
Now, Tracking Distribution gathers together these intertwined and disparate threads, unknotting and rebraiding them to create multiple entry points: with artworks, theory, archives, performativity, publishing, mapping and tracing a lineage of referents.
The exhibition Tracking Distribution presents material from different sources, bringing together traces and laying out a constant archiving of ongoing processes. From Lili Huston-Herterich we present a series of conceptual maps mixing information and subjective approaches. From Francesc Ruiz, Tracking Distribution presents a series of publications linking conceptual production and distribution. The exhibition presents also the work by Nina Sarnelle regarding distributional structures and consumption. Index video archive will be reactivated at Tracking Distribution together with Index podcast, a new format introduced in 2019 and the historical format of Index magazine. This exhibition project is the result of curatorial and conceptual work by the Index team with the collaboration of curator Mmabatho Thobejane.
This exhibition project is made with the generous support by AC/E and Institut Ramon Llull.
Index – The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation
11226 Stockholm, Sweden