Posts for February 2009

Interview with Goldin+Senneby


"The boys from Sweden are not really interested in Kate's habits, her lifestyle, the clothes she wears; they're interested in Headless Ltd., a company they want to know more about. And they're interested in a book which they think Kate is writing about them, a book called Looking for Headless."

These lines are from the first chapter of Looking for Headless, a serial novel that artists Goldin+Senneby commissioned from author K.D. The chapter was originally published as the work of Kate Dent, an employee at the offshore consultancy Sovereign Trust, but Goldin+Senneby retracted their claim about the author's identity after some prodding from Sovereign's lawyers. By chapter three, the legal confrontation had already become part of the story, and the lawyers' communication was just another of the many real-world facts woven into the fabric of the novel.

Goldin+Senneby's project Headless (2007-ongoing) uses the idea of investigating the Bahamas-based company Headless Ltd as the basis for a wide-ranging study of how events are remembered, created, and communicated in the production of narrative. The seedy glamour of offshore finance provides an effective context; it is fertile for plots of mystery and intrigue, and the huge sums of virtual money floating offshore make an apt metaphor for the symbols and ideas that compel people to action and set events in motion. Goldin+Senneby further extend the financial trope by adopting corporate practices to make Headless, outsourcing the project's many texts, events, and performances to specialists. For their exhibition at the Power Plant in Toronto, on view through February 22, Goldin+Senneby commissioned documentary filmmakers to interview an investigative journalist about how to make a documentary about investigating Headless Ltd. They also hired a curator and a set designer to devise a didactic display introducing viewers to the characters of the novel Looking for Headless.

A system as rich and recursive as Headless simultaneously generates both questions and answers to them. In previous interviews the artists have responded to questions about the project exclusively in the form of quotes from its various parts. For the interview below, however, they produced some new statements, perhaps mindful of the opportunity to recycle them in future incarnations of Headless. - Brian Droitcour


General Web Content


Gif by Lunk

This is where we put stuff. And stuff.

As we come across web phenomenon like the Cheetah Lady, Rickrolling and Violet Flame meditation videos we must acknowledge that there is something -- call it artistic or uncanny or just plain wha? -- about this output which necessitates a second look. The title of this new series, General Web Content, is clearly tongue-in-cheek, and it is meant to be a self-mocking play on the distinction between the "General" web out there and the "Art" web in here. On a medium as dynamic as the internet, this line is often blurred.
- John Michael Boling and Ceci Moss


"Songsmith generates musical accompaniment to match a singer's voice. Just choose a musical style, sing into your PC's microphone, and Songsmith will create backing music for you. Then share your songs with your friends and family, post your songs online, or create your own music videos."

Alice in chain - man in the box by SongSmith

Elvis: In The Ghetto [vocals] + Microsoft Songsmith [instruments]

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony 1st of The Month - MS Songsmith

Van Halen - The Microsoft Songsmith Sessions vol. 1


TO: The Internet (2008) - Ben Bruneau



Downtown Dorks


Video: Jeremy Bailey, SOS - Preview, 2008

In the New York art world, there's a funny distinction between "uptown" and "downtown." If "uptown" is Broadway, "downtown" is Off-Off-Broadway. The 92nd Street Y has famously presented an uptown lecture series for years, bringing in artists, musicians, authors, and others worth taking note of. But their downtown Tribeca branch is the place to go see cool bands or comedians rapidly sprouting up from the underground. It's within this context that the fine geeks at Dorkbot have curated an evening next Wednesday entitled "You're Doing it Wrong: Creative Misuse of Technology." Following from the group's mission to present "people doing strange things with electricity," the night will begin with live performances by The Draftmasters + Daniel Iglesia, who will invite you to don 3D glasses in viewing and listening to their pen plotter-generated sound and video projection, and Jeremy Bailey, who will run a deadpan demo of SOS, "his latest ill-conceived homebrew productivity software." These live activities will be followed by five short screenings, including Tom Sachs's Space Program, billed as "an incredibly detailed mis-re-imagining of a NASA space mission;" Paul Slocum's You're Not My Father, a compilation of internet users' reenactment of a clip from the 80s sitcom Full House; and Daniel Greenfeld's Mini-disasters, small-scale reenactments of famous transportation-related disasters. The lineup offers something for geeks of every stripe and a collective glimpse at the aesthetics of failure. - Marisa Olson


8-BIT (2003) -




8-BIT is a poetic confrontation of a fundamental digital principle with its analogue delays and failures: a visualization and interpretation of the binary number system as demonstrated by 8 fluorescent tubes repeatingly counting all possible values of 8 bit (wich is 1 Byte) from 0 to 255 - or from 00000000 to 11111111 in binary number format. The analogue and unpredictable behaviour and latency of the tubes transforms this clearly determined and exactly controlled arrangement of digital basic instructions into a sound and light composition enriched by the element randomness.



First Screening: Computer Poems by bpNichol (2007) - Jim Andrews, Geof Huth, Lionel Kearns, Marko Niemi, Dan Waber.




In 1983 and 1984, bpNichol used an Apple IIe computer and the Apple BASIC programming language to create First Screening, a suite of a dozen programmed, kinetic poems. He distributed First Screening through Underwhich, an imprint he started in 1979 with a small group of poets. The Underwhich edition of First Screening consisted of 100 numbered and signed copies distributed on 5.25" floppies along with printed matter.

However, the Apple IIe soon became obsolete and the poems became essentially inaccessible. But in 1992, four years after the death of bpNichol, J. B. Hohm, a student at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, began creating a HyperCard version of First Screening with the approval of Ellie Nichol, bp’s widow, and with assistance from Dennis Johnson and Fred Wah. In 1993, Red Deer College Press published it on a 3.5″ floppy disk for the Macintosh computer.

The HyperCard version of First Screening was a careful re-creation and recoding of the original, and it extended the life of First Screening a few more years. Still, HyperCard eventually died, leaving the poems unavailable to all but the few who owned a functioning old Mac or an even older Apple IIe and a readable diskette (unlikely, since the usual lifetime of a diskette is approximately five years). In 2004, Apple stopped selling HyperCard, and OSX’s Classic mode was the last Mac operating system on which it was possible to view HyperCard works.

So we are very happy to present to you four different versions of First Screening.

1. The original DSK file of the Underwhich edition with a freely downloadable Apple IIe emulator (available for PCs and (maybe) Macs), along with scanned images of the printed matter distributed with the Underwhich edition. This version is closest to the original.

2 ...




Video: Woody Vasulka, Vocabulary, 1973

Video: Steina Vasulka, Warp, 2000

VASULKA.ORG is a tremendous resource for anyone interested in exploring the work of pioneering video and computer artists Steina and Woody Vasulka. The site not only contains an incredible selection of video clips and other documentation of the Vasulka's art work, but it is also host to the Vasulka Archive. Assembled from the personal collection of the Vasulkas and that of Peter Crown, David Dunn, Ralph Hocking, Sherry Miller, Phil Morton, Lynda Rodolitz, Jud Yalkut, and Gene Youngblood, this collection consists of over 27,000 pages of documents relevant to the history of video and electronic art.


Max Neuhaus (1939-2009)


1. Part I [listen]

2. Part 2 [listen]

Audio: Max Neuhaus, Radio Net, 1977

This week marked the passing of a true visionary of contemporary art, Max Neuhaus. Originally an accomplished solo percussionist who toured with Boulez and Stockhausen, in the late 1960's Neuhaus moved his practice out of the concert hall and into the public sphere, setting up numerous sound-based installations in and around New York City.

Perhaps his most famous installation is Times Square, consisting of a large speaker emitting a resonating drone from beneath a traffic island grate in the heart of the spectacular crossroads. The work is remarkable for its ability to carve out a meditative sonic chamber amongst the clamor and saturation of its surroundings.

Neuhaus's work spans many mediums and technologies, from installations to performances to network-based compositions, such as Public Supply, made for telephone lines, Radio Net, made for broadcast radio, and Auracle, a voice controlled instrument played and heard over the internet. He even designed and patented a unique siren system for emergency vehicles that creates an "aural image" of the vehicle so to inform the listener of the vehicles direction and proximity.

You can find his writings and examples of his work, including a great video about Times Square, here:


New Museum Announces Artists in "The Generational: Younger Than Jesus"


Image: Ryan Trecartin, not yet titled, 2007 (3-channel video and installation)

For a little over a year now, our affiliate, the New Museum, has been busy organizing the exhibition "The Generational: Younger Than Jesus." With periodization used as the default lens through which to understand art history, the exhibition raises the idea of generations in art as a question and a problem. The first edition looks at artists born after 1976 to coincide with the demographic that is popularly labeled Generation Y. Each installment of this ongoing triennial exhibition will approach the subject differently. The curators Massimiliano Gioni, Laura Hoptman, and Rhizome's own Lauren Cornell called on over 150 professionals in the field, artists, teachers, critics, curators, bloggers, to recommend artists--material which became the core research for the exhibition. The New Museum announced the list of artists last night, and it's worth noting that quite a few of them have been featured here on Rhizome in the past, such as Mark Essen, Cory Arcangel, AIDS-3D, Guthrie Lonergan, Ida Ekblad, Shilpa Gupta and Ryan Trecartin.


Electronic Examiner on San Francisco's KRON in 1981


A short 1981 news clip from San Francisco's television station KRON covering the "Electronic Examiner," an electronic version of the print San Francisco Examiner, which was distributed on a basic computer network.