Posts for June 2011

RECOMMENDED READING: Indiana Jones Fights the Communist Police: Text Adventures as a Transitional Media Form in the 1980s Czechoslovakia


Jaroslav Svelch's paper for MiT7 (Media in Transition 7) "Indiana Jones Fights the Communist Police: Text Adventures as a Transitional Media Form in the 1980s Czechoslovakia" (pdf) (via Nick Monfort) gives an interesting look at how gaming in Czechoslovakia started with a number of unlicensed fan fiction-like text adventures like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom ("the original film was only released in Czechoslovakia in 1990 – it is likely that [developer František Fuka] saw it on a pirated VHS. For many players, this game was their first contact with this media franchise.") Later, a text game The Adventures of Indiana Jones in Wenceslas Square in Prague on January 16, 1989 takes a more blatent fan fiction style ("The game takes place during the Jan Palach Week in January 1989 that saw violence by the Public Security (Veřejná bezpečnost, the police force in the Communist Czechoslovakia) and the People’s Militia against a peaceful gathering commemorating the 30th anniversary of the death of Jan Palach. Indy is caught on Wenceslas Square, where the clash took place, and has to find his way back into the United States. This involves brutal disposal of the members of law enforcement")

[In] 1989, only 1.8% Czech households owned a computer... Video game console market was virtually non-existent. As for software, first mentions of original copies of computer games being sold in the country surfaced in early 1989, mere months before the Velvet Revolution... Despite these limitations, there was a lively community of home computer users, many of whom played computer games, including text adventures. Informal systems of distribution were in place, forming a shadow economy as well as a space for free sharing of software...

Although there was a vibrant text adventure market in the U.S. and the U.K., English-language ...


Report from BYOB (Bring Your Own Beamer) Venezia


video by Rafaël Rozendaal

The 33rd edition of BYOB took place Friday evening on the small Venetian island, San Servolo. For those unfamiliar, the exhibition format brings together internet- savvy artists showcasing their work on their own projectors (“beamers.”) BYOB first launched last year in Berlin by Dutch artists Rafaël Rozendaal and Anne de Vries to combat the reliance upon institutions for the facilitation of new media exhibitions. With BYOBs around the globe, it has quickly gained notoriety as a meet-up point for socializing among new media artists as much as a viable form of exhibition. While Rozendaal now carries the torch for BYOB and has ushered it into a worldwide phenomenon, the question remains: is BYOB a viable form of resistance to institutional reliance or just a big party?


Preservation Initiative at Rhizome


Travess Smalley, Bitmap Quilt For Maui (2011)

Preserving internet and new media art is a crucial aspect of Rhizome's mission & operation. Over the past few years, we have increasingly devoted resources towards this program, which is why it is at the center of our one-week summer fundraising initiative. Because the preservation of digital art remains a complicated and relatively uncharted terrain, our work began with research and through dialogue with peers like the group Forging the Future consortium. These efforts largely informed the overhaul of our ArtBase archive, which was re-launched this past winter.

Now, we are embarking on improving this database of art—which currently holds records on over 2,500 works—with the goal of making it a truly useful resource for scholars, artists and arts professionals alike. This is a massive under-taking, and has required the creation of new staff positions, as well as the organization of an army of bright, archival hungry interns. We need you to help us keep moving forward on this initiative.. Your donation will support the following efforts:

  • Conducting a full inventory to identify genres, time periods, geographic regions, and so forth, that need more representation in the archive;
  • Improving all ArtBase records by completing existing information;
  • Working with artists to improve those that have become obsolete or dysfunctional;
  • Developing and implementing sustainable preservation practices, such as updating the Artist Questionnaire and metadata standards, so that these valuable works can be shared with other archives and be made available (searchable) for future generations.
  • Please donate today and help us build a robust and accessible ArtBase. Your donation guarantees the preservation of a valuable resource for all of those interested in deepening their knowledge in the field of digital-born art, both now and into the future.

    Make a donation by Saturday June 11th and receive limited-edition desktop wallpaper from artists Francoise Gamma or Travess Smalley.

    READ ON »

    Ahmed Basiony at the Venice Biennale


    Left: Ahmed Basiony, Documentation of 30 Days of Running in the Place, February–March 2010,
    Palace of the Arts Gallery, Opera House Grounds, Cairo, Egypt. Photo by Magdi Mostafa
    Right: Ahmed Basiony, 28th of January (Friday of Rage) 6:50 pm, Tahrir Square.

    Ahmed Basiony, an Egyptian new media artist, musician, and professor who was killed in Tahrir Square on January 28th, is representing Egypt at the Venice Biennale. The exhibition features documentation of Basiony’s 30 Days of Running in the Space, a 2010 performance, projected over five screens and juxtaposed with Basiony's footage of the Tahrir Square protests filmed in the days before his death. In 30 Days of Running in the Space Basiony performed daily for one hour wearing a plastic suit that covered his entire body with digital sensors calculating the amount of sweat he produced and the number of steps he took while jogging around the room. The data, which was then projected onto a large screen with a graphic grid and geometrical colored shapes, corresponded to the physiological changes of the artist's body in motion. The unedited partnering protest footage depicts Basiony's experience of Tahrir Square on January 25th- 27th. The exhibition for the Egyptian Pavilion was conceived by Basiony's friend Shady El Noshokat and curated by Aida Eltorie.

    An interview with commissioner Shady El Noshokaty and curator Aida Eltorie

    More information and coverage of Basiony's work at the Biennale can be found at:
    Art and Culture
    Universes in Universe

    MORE » with essays from Duncan Malashock, Jennifer Chan, Ann Hirsch, and Others


    Pool is a "platform dedicated to expanding and improving the discourse surrounding Post-Internet art, culture and society." It launched this week with contributions from Absis Minas, Andreas Ervik, Ann Hirsch, Duncan Malashock, Gene McHugh, Ginger Scott, Jennifer Chan, Louis Doulas, and Nicholas O’Brien.


    Community and Practice Online by Duncan Malashock

    Why Are There No Great Women Net Artists? by Jennifer Chan

    Women, Sexuality and the Internet by Ann Hirsch

    Meagher’s Space by Gene McHugh

    A Case Study on the Influence of Gestural Computing by Nicholas O’Brien

    LINK »

    Inivichrys (2011) - Krist Wood


    LINK »

    Rhizome Summer Fundraiser


    Francoise Gamma, Ysatsce dna ecaep evol (2011)

    Rhizome's annual Commissions program directly supports artists in the field. Every year Rhizome awards eight to ten grants for the creation and realization of new works of new media art. Our members have the special privilege to participate in the Commission process by determining the Community Award through an open vote.

    Approval voting is open now! Become a member today and help determine which two proposals will receive this year's Community Award.

    Help Rhizome to continue to support emerging artists through our Commissions program. Donate by Saturday June 11th and receive limited-edition desktop wallpaper from Francoise Gamma or Travess Smalley. Donate today!

    LINK »

    Twitter Faves


    For his recently released book Twitter Faves, Travis Hallenbeck compiled most of his favorite twitter posts from ~250 users into a compendium of online expression. The 500 page book is an archive of musings, confessions, declarations, observations, and truisms, compressed into 140 characters or less.
    Here are a few gems and pearls of wisdom culled from the collection:

    MaggieBurke: Just saw a picture of a girl with "tupac lives" tattooed on her arm in wingdings. My mind is blown forever.

    dentifyingwood: risky fashions are for people who walk with friends

    unnuunnu: kiwi strawberry is such a 90s flav i hate it but i can relate

    rifftown: my god given right to sleep in this burger king bathroom until it stops raining outside and/or i finish my night train

    osfa: left click disabled

    screensaver: alone at the buffet

    blackmoth: deep read of your creep feed

    newrafael: why are they called apartments if they are stuck together

    George_Costanza: Trying to make a tweet that will make it to her #favorites

    kimasendorf: on the /|\ autobahn

    petcortright: aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    LINK » (2011) - Angelo Plessas


    screenshot from interactive site

    LINK »

    Developer Diary (2010) -- Robby Rackleff


    MORE »