For 3 hours on Saturday, July 25, 2009 faxes were exchanged between participating venues in New York, Paris, Mexico City, and Cape Town in the spirit of sharing ideas and information through informal networks. Artworks, texts, and provocations were created and sent ‘live’ in response to what was transmitted.
This event launched a world tour of FAX, curated by João Ribas.
Notes on the Group FAX event at the Drawing Center, Saturday July, 25 or Why is the fax machine obsolete?
By former ICI Intern Pilar Pertusa
In short, because a Blackberry was needed all along!
Many ICI and Drawing Center friends (including FAX show artists Matt Sheridan Smith and Alexandre Singh) stopped by to participate in this fun event that provided a live dialogue with venues in three different countries (and a stray fax sent from Amman, Jordan).
We were all thrilled to see the response the faxes sent from the Drawing Center produced on the other sides of the globe, and it was this enthusiasm that jammed the fax line. Kate Fowle, director of ICI, and Joao Ribas, curator of FAX, labored for three hours over the anachronistic technology that is only able to send or receive documents one file at a time.
We have very quickly grown used to the wonders of email, and its capacity to send and receive large amounts of information in a matter of seconds. And this is the primary reason why reaching a busy signal was unnerving for artists and public alike. On the other hand, frustration was happily flushed away by the sense of collectivity that naturally blossomed among those gathered around the fax machine, and by the light humor that comes with summer afternoons and wine.
Cell phone in hand, we contacted Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil in Mexico City and Serial Works in Cape Town to check out what was going on and the conversations went something like this: “Are you getting anything at all?” “We are getting half pages.” “Wait, we will send it again.” “Hold on, we are getting something from… Mexico now.” “Don’t send anything! Wait! Send it now!”
It is no wonder why other technology has taken over—without a phone, there is no way it would have worked!