“Suppose an artist were to release the work directly into a system that depends on reproduction and distribution for its sustenance, a model that encourages contamination, borrowing, stealing, and horizontal blur?” Price posed this question in his essay “Dispersion” in 2002, when digital technology was beginning to fundamentally change the way art and ideas are distributed around the globe. The essay has circulated in various forms, including a printed book, a PDF available online at http://sethpricestudio.com/writingarchive/DIspersion.pdf, and this work, in which Price’s Adobe InDesign files are printed on plastic formed around knotted ropes using industrial packaging technology.
Gallery label from 2020
Essay with Knots consists of nine panels of vacuum-formed plastic, across which is printed an essay entitled "Dispersion," which Price began writing in 2002. The essay explores the profound changes in the creation and experience of art that have accompanied the growth of digital technology, and the ways in which artists are addressing these new possibilities for the production and diffusion of information. Price has circulated the piece in various forms, including the sculptural work on view here, in which the artist's Adobe InDesign files are printed on plastic and formed around knotted ropes using industrial packaging technology; a printed book available in stores; and a free PDF of the book available online. By positioning the work within different economic spheres—the art world, the retail market, and the free economy of the Internet—Price creates multiple possibilities of presentation that are all equally "the work."
"Dispersion" is available at http://www.distributedhistory.com/Dispersion08.pdf.
Gallery label from Sites of Reason: A Selection of Recent Acquisitions, June 11–September 28, 2014.