Elvis Krstulović: Invisible Matter

‘Aeroponic’ – root systems nourished by air – Acts is the name given to the nomadic Dutch Art Institute’s final Kitchen presentations. Each participant addresses one question, as a practice of engagement.

Here you will find the documentation of Elvis Krstulović's presentation as filmed by Baha Görkem Yalım. The written report is by Harun Morisson and it includes a summary of the comments by esteemed guest respondents.

Invisible Matter

Elvis's question: What do we learn about the art-field when we exclude the ideology of art?

Elvis's introduction: Invisible Matter is a data research project into the global contemporary art field focusing on the institutions and practitioners which use e-flux announcements to advertise their activities. Its goal is to locate and describe entities that produce art events and the discourse of contemporary art.

Harun's report: This ongoing research-project, Invisible Matter,  was initiated in 2017, it builds on a self-constructed ‘relational database from the analysis of announcement web pages published by e-flux from January 2000 until today’.  e-flux is a primarily online ‘publishing platform and archive, artist project, curatorial platform, and enterprise which was founded in 1998’. Invisible Matter seeks to map the organisation and geographical distribution of events in the contemporary art field through those organisations promoting their work via e-flux. This work is presented by Elvis, on behalf of the collective practice Fokus Group. Covid-19 travel limitations meant the presentation was delivered via Zoom, from Zagreb; it primarily took the form of a series of data maps contextualised by live commentary. The data map as a form is synonymous with explanatory journalism (they have proliferated over the pandemic visualising the spread of the virus) and corporate boardrooms, often demonstrating the growth of sales in various ‘territories’. Greater critical attention on e-flux as an influencer in the field of contemporary art is long overdue. More broadly the work literally maps some of the intersections between geography and institutionally visibility, elsewhere layering which artists appear in which projects together. It is necessarily incomplete and hopefully will continue to acknowledge this, but the research promises a revealing depiction of the web of social, institutional and economic relationships between the entities that constitute the dominant contemporary art world. 

Barby Asante: Beautiful images of data represented, is it possible that a repetition of the ideology of art occurs – is it possible it reinforces the centres? The Eurocentricity of the art world as it stands, in terms of funding, pay and organisation? What is the role of e-flux? I was thinking about data as a form of documentation. What is the difference between this data and the archive? What's the use value in terms of what we learn about the art-field before we learn about the ideology of art? 

Momtaza Mehri: I went off on a tangent. . . considering the choice of e-flux as a site of authority, acknowledging it’s an English language forum. What do we learn about the art field when we ignore the ideology of art itself? What is the role of international art language and the contemporary art space? It’s hard to divorce the data points from the flow of capital. I liked how you are teasing out what is flattened . . . what is inherently flattened. I like the description of a social graph of the contemporary art field, it is similar to maps I’ve come across that combine literary modernism and personal interrelations. Here it points towards a global homogeneity. 

Lisette Lagnado: e-flux the collective body. . . mmm . . .  I found the presentation initially quite comic, a humoristic piece. To me some of the drawings are conceptual drawings. For me it’s the first stage of  research. For now it gives us in graphic form what we would expect. This context matters. How could you represent the invisible with more depth? I hope this is an ongoing project. 


Elvis Krstulović's "Invisible Matter" was presented before live audience at the Posttheater in Arnhem on August 26th.

Find the overview of all 24 AEROPONIC ACTS 2021 here: UNDERSTORY CHANT