Putting Distribution on the Map


Over 2019 and 2020, LIMA is exploring the current state and future of digital art distribution. 

The project aims to map the state of digital art distribution on an international level, investigating, analysing and assessing models: their basic (technological) modes of distribution but also the financial business models attached that are being used for video art, software-based installations, net art and live performance, now and those that might arrive in the future.

This, for example, includes exploring the use of VoD platforms, thinking about “the festival” or “production” for installations, or what we can learn from looking to other industries and disciplines. What are the best practices and most exciting models we can look towards for inspiration, and what can we learn from those that have been less successful?

In particular, the research thinks through different kinds of digital artworks, asking what are the different purposes of distribution for these works, for what kinds of presentation contexts, what kinds of issues/challenges are faced and what kinds of efforts or strategies arise to tackle them?

The project aims to put distribution on the map — to not only illustrate the important and unique work that distributors do, and the necessary contribution distribution offers as an economic and presentation model to art’s ecosystem, but to also showcase the position LIMA holds in the Netherlands and abroad as one of the foremost distributors of video and digital art.

Over the course of 2 years, a constellation of activities involving international research and collaboration around distribution models are being enacted:

Year 1 (2019) focuses on distribution model business cases for video art, software-based installations and live media performance. This research includes interviews with a wide international network of distributors, artists, festivals, and platforms, etc, to gather data and insight on (changing & emerging) practices. An extensive research report is being developed that maps the state of digital art distribution, assessing successes and challenges, and offering learnings from the most inspiring cases, and lessons from those less successful. 

To begin the research, LIMA collaborated with On & For Production and Distribution on gathering and sharing knowledge on artists' moving image and media art distribution. Through this a questionnaire has been jointly developed that seeks to generate insight into the practices of distributors of artists’ moving image works. 

A series of round table meetings and a public programme will also kick-off in Year 1 with a group of invited experts (distributors, artists, festivals, online platforms etc), meeting over 2019 and 2020. Each meeting will be organised around a theme and specific set of  questions. 

Year 2 (2020) will focus on new technologies for distribution with spotlight on online art. The work of this research will also result in an extensive research report. We’ll see the round table expert meeting series continue, and the project culminating in a symposium focused on distribution knowledge exchange.