Posts for 2011

Artist Profile: Dave Greber


Dave Greber's The Fool, The Hierophant, The Devil and the Wheel

There's a rather distinct cadence to the way that people communicate in your pieces with characters often having their dialogue cut up, displaced and de-contextualized. It seems to simultaneously give them a stilted, artificial quality but also seems very true to how we're coming to communicate with text messages and the forced brevity of Twitter. Do you think that we're learning to speak from commercials? 

Commercials, in their contemporary form, have their own built-in morality and sanity which are influencing the world in ways we don't fully understand yet.  Is it possible to say anything "true" in the form of a commercial?  Or, is the form, itself, inherently corrupt?  A big-picture goal of my work is to fully harness the effectiveness of capitalist messages, for communication of real value, without satirizing them.  I think we are all going through this struggle as we learn to re-communicate, every few years or so, with each new advent social media.   

It seems that the majority of your videos are presented (even online) as loops - why do you think that you are drawn to the loop as a formal and narrative device?

Much of my work, exists in a sort of purgatory, where beginnings and endings aren't as apparent as in most forms of cinema.  In my experience, exhibiting my work in the form of a linear-narrative leaves audiences baffled and uncomfortable.  But a loop is a much more natural shape for my work.  A loop gives the viewer an opportunity to linger with it if they are intrigued, or leave it behind if they want to.  When I started giving the audience that power, my work became much more effective.   There's a real elegant formal ...


Paz de la Huerta Plays Michele Abeles


Paz de la Huerta/Michele Abeles

David Velasco writes about Michele Abeles in Artforum (via Brian Droitcour.) Starting with an amusing anecdote about a project involving the Boardwalk Empire star, the piece is a look at the artist's approach to photography, given its changing nature in the digital age:

As if to further disarticulate the usual figure-ground relationship, she’ll often title her photos by rattling off some of their ingredients. The title Number, Lycra, Man, Hand, Rock, M.L., Cardboard concatenates the generic elements of that 2009 image according to the flattened order in which her eye is drawn to them as she scans the composition. The photograph becomes a sort of rebus that could be read out loud. Against photography’s materiality (the indexical trace of light on film) we have an insistence on iconicity, on the fundamental unmooring of picture from reality.

Not only do these pictures subdue the photograph’s material trace, but they also imply the elision of the photographic machine itself. The best example of this is the only one with a face: Sunglasses, Lips, Head, Reflection, 2009, a photo of a dude in pink-camo sunglasses looking at the camera, his odalisque pose reflected in his shades. Abeles and her camera should be reflected in the sunglasses too, but they aren’t. (She shot the photo from behind a panel of mirrored glass.) So it’s like he’s posing for himself, his picture magically taken without anything at all—the disappearance of the apparatus and its operator maybe signaling the eventual obsolescence of the camera in our imagemaking repertoire. We’ll be our own cameras. Of course, the camera is still there. And so is Abeles. They’re just out of the picture.

Some pictures leave the camera behind altogether. Take the ...


Community Campaign 2012 and The Download


Today is the start of Rhizome's Community Campaign, our annual fundraiser that brings in critical operating support to the organization. This year, we are aiming to raise $25,000 by January 14th, 2012 and we ask that you consider making a contribution today to help us meet this goal. 

Why prioritize a gift to Rhizome?

First, there is our broad purpose and function: Rhizome ensures that a vital space for artists engaged with digital and emergent technologies remains open, active, contested, and thriving. Rhizome serves as a focal point — and sometimes a useful flash point — for discourse around this emerging field and, since our founding in 1996, one of its most insistent and impactful advocates.

Finally, our small (4.5 people!) staff acts on our mission by producing an immense amount of programming year-round. Over the past year, we have published nearly 500 articles; preserved numerous works of digital art through the unparalleled ArtBase; financially supported the creation of 11 new artworks through our Commissions Program; and  hosted countless events that have premiered new works and cultivated conversation among artists, curators, critics — all of you.

What distinguishes Rhizome from countless other causes is the large impact we have on emerging artists and an evolving field, and what differentiates us as an arts organization is that one of our biggest sources of support comes from you – our community. A donation from you will help us uphold our mission another year, as well as directly impact our programs.

As a thank you to our supporters, we are offering unique works by artists, such as Anamanaguchi, Extreme Animals, Jon Rafman, DIS, Paul Chan, Joe Hamilton, Ofri Cnaani, and Kärt Ojavee & Eszter Ozsvald.

We are also launching a new benefit of membership: The Download, a program through which we highlight and support one digital, downloadable work for free each month. Part curatorial platform, part incentive to budding digital art collectors, the Download highlights great new works and encourages members to display their new acquisitions at home—viewable on any screen, computer, or suitable device. Participating artists—Ryder Ripps, Sabrina Ratte, Clement Valla, Rick Silva, Elna Frederick, Keith & Mendi Obadike, Kristin Lucas, Heba Amin and more–are compensated directly through the Artist Fund, which is supported by members and Rhizome donors like you. More info here.

Thank you in advance for making a contribution and helping keep Rhizome alive and thriving for another year!

Please donate today!



Artist Profile: Aleksandra Domanovic


19:30 (stacks), 2011 - Aleksandra Domanovic

You’ve been blogging for VVORK with Oliver Laric, Christoph Priglinger, and Georg Schnitzer since 2006. How has working with this small collective affected your own practice over the years?

I was just finishing my design studies and was invited to post on VVORK. I wasn't the only one, there was a couple more who got the user password but posted only a few times. I got really into it, posting all the time, eventually the guys had to give me the admin password. I did not make art before VVORK, now I see it as part of my own artistic practice.

In 2009 you created Biennale (Dictum Ac Factum). The page on your site includes anachronistic images, videos, and lyrics from throughout the 20th century and mixes them with images and video from the 2009 Somali pirate attacks among other contemporary moments. What was your conceptualization behind the work and how, in your mind, do you link the varied sources, images, and stories together?

All of these materials relate to the video--a 3d visualization of "Dogville" from Lars von Trier's film--which is the only component of the work that I produced. It was meant to be a piece by itself but I did not think it was good enough. Sometimes the making-of is much more interesting than the work itself or the piece makes only sense in the context of it's creation. As I was researching about the film, I found out that the inspiration for the script was a song called "Pirate Jenny" performed by Nina Simone, which Trier had accidentally heard. The song was written in 1928 for Bertolt Brecht's Threepenny Opera. It's about a wash-girl who is ignored and abused by society. One day, pirates ...


New Art/Science Affinities


The Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University and the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry have co-published "New Art/Science Affinities," a 190-page book on contemporary artists that was written and designed in one week by four authors (Andrea Grover, Régine Debatty, Claire Evans and Pablo Garcia) and two designers (Luke Bulman and Jessica Young of Thumb).

"New Art/Science Affinities," which focuses on artists working at the intersection of art, science and technology, was produced by a collaborative authoring process known as a "book sprint." Derived from "code sprinting," a method in which software developers gather in a single room to work intensely on an open source project for a certain period of time, the term book sprint describes the quick, collective writing of a topical book.

The book includes meditations, interviews, diagrams, letters and manifestos on maker culture, hacking, artist research, distributed creativity, and technological and speculative design. Chapters include Program Art or Be Programmed, Subvert! Citizen Science, Artists in White Coats and Latex Gloves, The Maker Moment and The Overview Effect.

Sixty international artists and art collaboratives are featured, including Agnes Meyer-Brandis, Atelier Van Lieshout, Brandon Ballengée, Free Art and Technology (F.A.T.), Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, The Institute for Figuring, Aaron Koblin, Machine Project, Openframeworks, C.E.B. Reas, Philip Ross, Tomás Saraceno, SymbioticA, Jer Thorp, and Marius Watz. 

The authors collectively wrote and designed the book during seven, 10-14 hour-days in February 2011 at the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry. During their sessions they held conversations with CMU faculty, staff and students from the STUDIO, Miller Gallery, College of Fine Arts, Robotics Institute, Machine Learning Department and BXA Intercollege Degree Program.

"The book sprint method was adopted in order to understand this very moment in art, science and technology hybrid practices, and to mirror the ways Internet culture and ...


Please Take the Rhizome/Nectar Ads Reader Survey


Jean-Honore Fragonard, "The Reader" (1770-72)

As long time readers may know, the advertising on Rhizome is sold through Nectar Ads – The Ad Network for Art, which includesHyperallergicArt Fag CityArt Market Views & Colossal.

Along with the other sites in the Nectar Ads Art Network, we are running a short survey to better understand our readers.

This information will help us tell potential advertisers about the types of people visiting the site, and hopefully lead to not only more but also better advertising that helps keep us going. (Things like keeping the servers running and our writers paid.)

We are not collecting or sharing any personal information about individual people,we are only compiling aggregate demographic, occupational and lifestyle data.

Please take a moment to fill it out. It should only take a few minutes of your time. We really appreciate it. Thanks.

Please click here to go to the survey page

(…and if you or anyone you know may be interested in advertising on the Nectar Ads Art Network, please get in touch.)


Connecting at ContactCon


Last week, Douglas Rushkoff hosted ContactCon at the Angel Orensanz Foundation in the Lower East Side. This unconference model symposium, co-organized by Vanessa Miemis, aimed to put into action ideas that challenge censorship, corporate ownership, and other unfree aspects of internet technology. As Rushkoff explained to Alternet's Sarah Jaffe, the event hoped to "reify the 'net values of 1992 back up to 2012."

Douglas Rushkoff's Keynote at SXSW 2010

The event started with "provocations" from participants representing progressiving technology organizations like FreedomBox and Telecomix (videos), in addition to well known speakers like Eli Pariser and Laura Flanders. Afterward, participants organized into small groups discussing issues ranging from the highly technical — mesh networks and coownership of the physical layer — to a proposal to organize hacker spaces in libraries (which was well received by the audience, for, as Rushkoff pointed out, the idea is clear and actionable...



She Was A Camera


echocam,, 2000 

Maybe half of being a camgirl was talking about being a camgirl – not just turning a webcam on yourself and by extension your life, but documenting how your life changed from having turned a webcam on it. We were only doing this for a little while, from sometime in the late 1990's until about whenever mobile phone cameras became commonplace (let's say until the early 2000's.) Apple may also have had a hand in killing the camgirl, packaging webcams into the shells of our laptops. By extension our webcams were made less unusual, less intimate, and much less urgent. Though the golden years of camgirls were brief, they coincided with the rise of the web itself.

Screenshot,, 2000

In 1997, a Minneapolis-based electronic pop musician named Ana Voog launched what she called “the internet's first 24/7 art/life cam,” which proved to also be its longest running...



Performa 11


Performa, the Performance Art Biennial, has announced its full calendar of events for the duration of the biennial, November 1-21. The projects involved vary from commissioned theatrical pieces, film series, lectures, exhibitions, walking tours, and public actions. The full calendar of events can be seen here.

The relationship between visual art performance and digital culture is rich in possibilities, which Performa allows us to survey every two years. One of the most productive characteristics of the biennial is its focus on a link with the past and the consideration of contemporary activity within this prism. Thus, the 2009 edition focused on Futurism, and the 2011 one will focus on Russian Constructivism and Fluxus, its research themes deriving from this interest to span language, translation, the politics of speech, and the animation of modern sculpture. All of these provide context for the full, long, and impressive list of events that would happen as part of the biennial, as well as a rare space to consider contemporary practices in light of art history.

Below is a list of recommended Performa events. It was compiled from the calendar, keeping in mind the biennial's focus, but highlighting the prospects of interesting intersections between performance art, architecture, and digital culture. Details such as date, location, and price can be found on Performa's website. 


Ed Atkins, Haroon Mirza, and James Richards, An Echo Button, 2011



Berlin-based architect and writer Markus Miessen discusses the relationship between contemporary politics, architecture, and space. 



Artist Serkan Ozkaya researches J. L. Austin's How To Do Things With Words and 3D modeling of Michelangelo's David in this talk about language and objects.



Israeli collective Public Movement initiates a new action in ...


The Piracy Project


Sissu Tarka, Pirate Affect, 2008

The Piracy Project was initiated by AND Publishing as a result of a threat to close down the Byam Shaw Library at Central Saint Martins school of art in London, where AND is located. AND's website defines the Piracy Project as "an international publishing and exhibition project exploring the philosophical, legal and practical implications of book piracy and creative modes of reproduction." What this means in practice is a series of suggestions to the way we interact with books, all of which are archived on the project's website, as well as distributed and exhibited by AND Publishing.

Could book piracy be considered a methodology? At a time when discussions about book piracy have proliferated mainly as a result of the rising popularity of e-readers (so often described as the publishing industry's saviors), the publishing industry found itself in a position similar to that of the music and film industries, both of which have been fighting piracy unsuccessfully for a long time. Still, somehow, book piracy always seemed a little different. True, it has its quirks, like illegal translations done from a language other than the original or chapters added in to an illegal version. But maybe book piracy seems different because in a way, we have all pirated books. We read PDFs that a university professor scanned from his or her private copy of a book, including their comments in the margins. We try to interpose open pages on Amazon and those on Google Books in order to get the information we are looking for. Somehow, it seems more acceptable; when a professor scans a few chapters from a private copy it is deemed "fair use," and thus not a copyright infringement, because it is done for educational reasons. But the habit ...