E-FLUX APP: Art, exhibitions and emails

By Teresa de Andrés. September 21, 2012

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Rumour has it that e-flux began in 1998, in a Holiday Inn bedroom in Chinatown. The signals hinted that the exhibition "The Best Surprise is No Surprise", which would only last one night, would not be very successful. Due to their financial difficulties, the organizers couldn’t develop the desired communication campaign. With no printed invitations, with no lure among the pedestrians of New York, thirsty for secret and exciting plans. The surprise then came shaped as a warning: do not underestimate an email’s ability to summon. At the time, Anton Vidokle had just opened his first email account and thought that, in the absence of more expensive media, it could be a good idea to send the opening announcement to his contacts. "The Best Surprise is No Surprise” exhibition was a success. In 1998, email worked.

Not too long after, and with other artists, he set up e-flux, a communication and content exchange project in constant mutation and reinvention process. From the well-known mailing list to publicize exhibitions, conferences or international events, to the e-flux art journal, including a video art loan service. Without forgetting, of course, the two spaces in New York and Berlin, which complement the activities programme of this company run by artists, “probably closer to a long-term artists' project”.

At first –and like all good beginnings– e-flux is set up without a plan, "just the pure pleasure of improvisation and mass communication". What began with the email addresses of several hundred friends has become, almost fifteen years later, the world’s most famous mailing list (which hoards more than 90 000 subscribers). The three or four e-flux daily emails remind us that, somewhere in the world, usually far away, “things” happen and “people” attend. We cannot forget the importance of what's physical in this globalized world in which we are all dying to receive our small dose of physical contact, almost forced, that we tend to find in exhibition openings or events.

e-flux has just launched a free app for Apple’s tablet that enables an alternative navigation through the advertisements of exhibitions, publications and international events at museums, art centres, foundations, biennials, non-profit spaces or magazines. We can also read all the issues of e-flux journal and enjoy extra functions such as search, save or share the essays or press notes of the announced events.

Because 2012 is not 1999 and today’s email is the iPad of tomorrow. For now.

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