Technology for transmitting printed images and texts dates from the nineteenth century, however it was the introduction of modern fax machines in the 1970s that turned facsimiles into a ubiquitous communications medium. Although generally used for international business purposes, artists readily exploited its immediate, graphic, and interactive character. The fax has subsequently become it an important part of the history of art, appearing in movements such as Fluxus, and the burgeoning practices of new media artists. But with the fax machine now fast becoming a technology of the past, how do artists see the potential of the fax transmission today?
The twentieth showing of FAX takes place at KARST, and a select group of new collaborators have been invited to take part. Faxes will be received in real time in the exhibition space, throughout the duration of the show, and will include drawings and texts, as well as inevitable junk faxes and errors of transmission. The artworks, reflecting ideas such as reproduction, distribution, communication and technological obsolescence, will be permanently added to the ever-accumulating project.
FAX has since toured around the world, and every host institution has invited additional participants. The pieces received during each showing have steadily expanded the initial core of works, and this cumulative process has created a broad collection from across the globe.
FAX is a traveling exhibition curated by João Ribas, in collaboration with KARST and co-organised by The Drawing Center, New York, and Independent Curators International (ICI), New York. The exhibition and the accompanying publication were made possible, in part, by members of the Drawing Room, a patron circle founded to support innovative exhibitions at The Drawing Center; and by support to ICI from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Arts, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the Toby D. Lewis Philanthropic Fund, the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, and ICI’s Board of Trustees, ICI Benefactor Barbara and John Robinson, as well as the ICI Access Fund.