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Distribution Religion | by AGoK
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Distribution Religion

The Art Gallery of Knoxville

January 1-27, 2007


"Distribution Religion" was developed in 1973 by Chicago artists Dan Sandin and Phil Morton as a text to describe the schematic plans for Sandin's Image Processor, an analog computer optimized for video processing. The "Distribution Religion" expressed a determined belief in the idea of free and open copying, which is a central aspect of the Chicago School and a notion that has begun to become important to many contemporary artists.


From January 1 – 27, The Art Gallery of Knoxville will examine situations of sharing and exchange provided by three contemporary Chicago groups: criticalartware, People Powered , and Temporary Services. Each of these artists have developed interests in distribution and it's role as an important social / cultural concern.


criticalartware is a contemporary group led by artists jonCates, jon.satrom and bensyverson. A central part of their work involves the public distribution / presentation of interviews, video and text featuring the key players of early code or concept based Art. They are particularly interested in enabling "shared cultural resources connecting these conversations." In Knoxville, criticalartware will coordinate an electronic system for the sharing and exchange of this information – primarily through a custom computer interface.


People Powered is a Chicago group run by artist Kevin Kaempf. His work integrates itself socially, becoming a means for the distribution of physical tools. People Powered "adopts consumer culture's aesthetic forms to distribute information about sustainable living practices such as community composting, recycling, and free public transportation." A recent People Powered exhibit at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art highlighted prototypes for "Chicago Blue Bikes," in which junked bicycles are salvaged and rebuilt into a fleet of public bicycles. The Knoxville exhibition will become part of the project "Loop Limited: Recycled Paints" where unfinished cans of used paint are recycled/mixed together and redistributed into the community. Cans of paint will be available for free in the Gallery space.


The artists of Temporary Services are founders of the Chicago space "Mess Hall" and widely known for their public and social works. Often the group aims to "provide a network for the collection and distribution of artistic work going on looking at the line between art and ethics, power and art, and the role of the public." In Knoxville, the group's Booklets, a large collection of self published material on a wide range of subjects, will be freely available. Alongside this substantial library, an example set of works given away at the Temporary Services event "Free For All" will be shown. "Free For All" was a public art project where multiples of many small objects were collected by the public within a cardboard box that acted as a portable, distributed exhibition.


Temporary Services: Free For All by Marc Fischer "Over 10,000 objects were given away! Over 50 artists, individuals and organizations contributed work that was distributed for free at this one-day-only event. Artists' work was integrated with a wide range of material submerging the work in a broader context than it normally enjoys. Religious tracts, booklets, flyers, stickers, matchbooks, posters, audio tapes, and postcards were among the items given away. … 100 boxes (like the one pictured above) were provided for free. Visitors were invited to take anything they wanted making their own portable exhibitions to take with them."


"Free For All" is a self-replicating exhibit, one which is shared and exchanged in both the collecting and the viewing of it. Through "make-shift methods of distribution and display that are commonly found in flea markets, garage sales and craft shows" Temporary Services created an alternative, distributed exhibition that enabled a public to engage with cultural information on a level of personal ownership. The exhibition dealt not only with the free use of Art – but the creation of free and open systems as Art.


On the night of Friday, January 5, 2007 members of criticalartware will be involved in creating a free computer art and cultural event, (A) r4WB1t5 micro.Fest at the Pilot Light on January 5th. "(A) r4WB1t5 micro.Fest in Knoxville parallel processes The Art Gallery of Knoxville and the Pilot Light nightclub with intersections of New Media Art, realtime audio video processing, computer art geekery, digital punk rock, noise music, the Blues and freak folktronics!" Please join us to celebrate the Distribution Religion opening at both The Art Gallery of Knoxville and The Pilot Light.

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Taken in January 2007