Posts for September 2011

Tonight at the New Museum: Donna Haraway's Expanded Benefits Package


Don't miss tonight's New Silent Series event at the New Museum:

New Museum Theater, 7:00 PM

$6 Members, $8 General Public

New York artist Matthew Lutz-Kinoy’s latest dance performance, “Donna Haraway's Expanded Benefits Package,” is set in the compounded space of artist studio / gay bar / queer community center. Featuring music by SOPHIE, the event premieres a display of sculpture, large scale painting, and a video projection entitled “Ideals, Bars, Shoes, and Legs” , setting the stage for a sensual physical space in which the artist and collaborator Chelsea Culp dance and recite collaged erotic texts from London and New York. The event highlights a shifting frame, which allows for chance readings of moving image both painterly and physical. “Donna Haraway's Expanded Benefits Package,” remembers the New Museum’s neighboring historic center Judson Church, by celebrating the tradition of translating daily activities into activist choreography.
Matthew Lutz-Kinoy is currently in residence at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam.


Artist Profile: James Howard


data-encrypt-127.5x103, (2011)

Images in online scams and phishing schemes can seem as artificially generated as the text — like botnet generated folk art. But there is a human hand at work. What do you think is the human element that draws people into these schemes?

People are like machines - their brains react to temptation like a computer does. Most people are able to recognise a scam, but if someone pulls the right string, sooner or later all that subconscious stuff inside you is going to lead you down the wrong path. Scams  get people by playing on insecurities, desires, fears, greed, whatever - it's uncontrollable and causes one in a thousand people to make a snap decision and pay up.

What do you consider the visual clues of this kind of kitsch of deception? Any interesting patterns or trends you've spotted over the years of collecting examples?

Squashed grinning businessmen looking into fisheye lenses, sunsets over serene oceans, happy families, sexy nurses- it's an endless and totally recognisable global visual language. There's a gruesome image of someone hooked up to a life support machine that keeps landing in my junk-mail folder these days -it always comes from a new person, with a different story every time.

Your installation "Black Money" is based a well known email scam — displaying what is said to be millions of dollars dyed black to go through customs, alongside call cards offering chemicals for sale which could clean the cash. When I look at the sort of unboxing video that was posted to DailyMotion, the site suggests I might also like videos with titles like "Make $100,000 Now" and "How to Win the Lotto." Did anyone email looking to clean some dirty dollars with "SSD solution"?

Loads of people contacted ...


Our Daily Code


Adam Rothstein's Rhizome News essay City of QR Codes has inspired a new Tumblr, Our Daily Code:



Update From the ArtBase




For my maiden post on the Rhizome staff blog, I’d like to highlight some recent developments and changes in the ArtBase. First and foremost, it is my pleasure to announce that Rhizome is a new member of the National Digital Stewardship Alliance. This consortium devoted to the longevity of digital materials consists of a diverse range of institutions, from non-profit organizations such as the Internet Archive, and ArtSTOR, to academic libraries and research institutions such as the Smithsonian Institution, Emory University Libraries, and Harvard University. We could not be more pleased, and look forward to complementing our own research with the aggregate experience of the more than 80 partner institutions.

Next up on the agenda: today we are launching a new set of featured works in the ArtBase, including artists Vuk Cosic, Kristen Lucas, Mouchette, Eryk Salvaggio, and Kendal Bruns. While perusing these featured works, you may notice a new little icon, next to the year of the work’s creation. This little blue icon indicates that we have an archival copy of the work you are viewing. If you see this icon displayed on an ArtBase record, you can rest assured that as time passes, the work’s longevity and your ability to access it is ensured. From link rot, to digital obsolescence, we’ve got it under control. We are hard at work transitioning the entire collection to archival standards, but until we do some entries will still have the following red icon, indicating that we have yet to create a stable archival copy of this work:

The ArtBase team has been hard at work with some very exciting projects involving the restoration of classic pieces of net art – some of which have been inaccessible for years. We will be releasing more details on the progress of ...


How do Artists Illustrate the Passage of Time? by Karen Archey


Alan Michael, ‘Mood 8’, (2010)

Karen Archey writes about art representing the passage of time in MAP magazine:

There are certain artists whose works exist in multiple temporalities, and challenge the notion of temporality itself. They exhibit a sensitivity to an evolving contemporary condition defined by this recently developed shift in pace. such work operates under multiple, connected working methods, each containing at least two temporalities: the first being the specific cultural moment in which it is made, evidenced by the marks and mediums endemic to its time; the subsequent moment being that in which the work is accessed or activated by its viewer. But what happens when these temporalities are complicated, or even masked? Is it possible for an artwork to possess multiple meanings through different activation points in time, or preserve a singular meaning that is timeless?

Consider Andy Warhol’s ‘Time Capsules’ project, an archive of the artist’s everyday accruals from 1974 to his death in 1987. A set of 612 dated cardboard boxes containing banalities ranging from daily newspapers, correspondence, and financial records to gifts and refuse, Warhol’s ‘Time Capsules’ reimagine the impetus of the first time capsule realised in 1939 by Westinghouse Corporation for new York’s World Fair. As per the popular understanding of the time capsule, the Westinghouse version combined and preserved items considered emblematic of their historical moment: microfilaments, bank notes, recorded messages from Albert Einstein, commonly used textiles, etc. somewhat perversely, the boxes containing Warhol’s cast offs have since been lovingly catalogued, preserved and photographed by museum archivists. Yet Warhol presciently understood that it was the near-invisible matter most familiar to us that may most distinctly define a given historical moment, perhaps more so than whatever is ceremoniously deemed significant at the time. Warhol’s nonchalantly collected materials ...


Artist Profile: Brenna Murphy


Your piece Enchanted Loom is described on your flickr as a self-portrait and shares an aesthetic that seems to be captured by many of your recent tableaux of being a sort of digital cabinet of curiosities, with an obsessive arrangement of openings and secret compartments. How do you see it functioning as a portrait?

I like to think of a lot of my work as portraiture in the sense that making a portrait means exploring the essence of an entity by representing it in an alternate form. I play with the idea that reality is a trippy entity that I can learn more about by making poetic models of it. I take long walks every day and try to focus completely on the textures of the sidewalks and plants and the arrangements and sequences of all the sensory elements that i encounter. Then I use my computer programs to craft textures and shapes that correspond with those observations. Obviously I approach the whole thing really playfully, which opens me up to recieving all kinds of wacky imagery through my inter-dimensional-entity-radar. 

Your physical installations do an extraordinary job of capturing the feeling of your digital images - or perhaps vice versa? How do your installations and digital compositions inform one another, and is there anything you hope to find in one that is absent in the other? 

Working in a variety of mediums is really important to me. My digital collages, physical installations, videos, websites, sounds and my collaborative performance projects are all completely intertwined. Each mode of working has a special structure to it that resonates my mind with its unique frequency. Regularly working in multiple mediums crosses those frequencies and expands the complexity of my mental framework! For instance, if I’m working on recording sound, my brain molds itself ...


Chris Collins on WFMU Too Much Information


The most recent episode of WFMU's Too Much Information is on the topic of pseudonyms with guests like EFF's Jillian YorkCarmela Ciuraru author of Nom de Plume, and Chris Collins, who talks about his epic post for The State, unraveling the mystery of several visually striking work-at-home images found on Craigslist attributed to "Luzy":

Each image I found was more thrilling than the previous one, and I was struck by their breadth and intensity as a body of work. Each one used stock imagery typical to this type of industry: images of sandy beaches, exotic locations, piles of money, and “cyber” looking backdrops. Yet each was constructed in a way that seemed alien to all traditional conventions of design. Imagery was stretched, enlarged and compressed in odd ways, and the text on the images made it clear that English was not the first language of the images’ creator. They exploded with strange color choices. The compositions were unlike anything I’d ever seen. A graphic designer would look at them and call them horrendous. I found them bizarre, perplexing, and beautiful.


Artist Profile: Daniel Bejar


"Get Lost! (Breuckelen)", site-specific intervention, photographic documentation, variable, 2009-ongoing

In your project Daniel Bejar/Destroyer (The Googlegänger) you re-stage pictures of yourself mimicking the the poses of Destroyer’s lead singer who shares your name and a similar likeness. Now your images appear confusingly side by side with those of the famous singer in some of the top Google Image Search results. In describing the project as a “search image intervention” can you say something more about the project’s concept? 

Well, the concept took some time to solidify after intercepting the initial fan mails, but it evolved out of ideas where I saw Google’s Image Search or even the web as a space that Daniel Bejar and I would share for the rest of our lives. There was also the idea that as an artist working in visual culture you would ideally like images of your works to appear somewhere near the top of search results, and with images of the other Daniel Bejar dominating the search results I saw this as a contested space.

This led to the idea of somehow trying to intervene in the search results, so I guess it was technically born out of an effort to alter search results, but conceptually for me the piece really questions the idea of the original and the copy, and if these questions could be applied to one’s identity, personal history, or even a biological name, inside the context of the internet. 

A lot of my work is inspired by Walter Benjamin, in particular his essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduciton” and his ideas of the mechanically reproducible image, so I wanted to apply some of these ideas towards the internet, new media and identity and try to blur or weaken the aura of images and identity through the multiplicity of bootleg images.

Additionally I saw Google’s Image Search as an archive, and as long as the images are “live” living in the network of Google’s servers they would be in the archive, and I liked the idea of producing a new search result and corrupting the archive and history ever so slightly.

Get Lost! (NYC) is another piece where you’re playfully changing images to affect the perception of a place. The New York City subway maps, signage, and route change notifications that you install subversively ask people to rethink the history of the city by disrupting everyday informational objects. What inspires you to reveal histories and re-frame the everyday?

I love history and the idea of time travel so I think I’m naturally drawn to origins and histories. I once read a quote about history that stated “history is written by the winners”, this quote really got under my skin and is one thing that inspires me to question and critique histories, in the hopes of revealing alternate realities or possibilities. In “Get Lost!” I saw a similar situation, where there was a history that was buried underneath the contemporary user-friendly maps and signage of the MTA that could be restored.

I wanted to utilize the historical residue of the city to create a rupture inside of the subway system, in turn restoring a history and place that was no more due to the acts of war and colonization...



Before the New York Art Book Fair


The sixth edition of the New York Art Book Fair is approaching, taking place at MoMA PS1 between September 30 and October 2. At a time when the idea of publishing and the production of print media are constantly discussed, the New York Art Book Fair allows us a yearly survey of efforts in the field of art publishing, as well as the ability to reevaluate and reconsider publishing houses and projects that interest us on a regular basis, and a variety of events, from book signings to lectures and screenings.

The Fair features more than two hundred exhibitors: publishers, magazines, independent artists, art institutions, and distributors. In order to facilitate wandering through this expansive event, we rounded up a selection of publishing initiatives, highlighting those that survey new media art, have a strong online presence, or use technology in interesting ways. 

Piracy Project / AND Publishing. Based in London, the Piracy Project is a publishing and exhibition project that organizes workshops, lectures, and open calls for pirated book projects, all directed at creating a platform from which to think about ideas of copying, re-editing, paraphrasing, and so forth.

Badlands Unlimited. Founded by artist Paul Chan, Badlands Unlimited publishes both e-books and physical artists' books. The e-books are interactive and unlike many other art e-books, take full advantage of what the technology offers by including text, images, and films. See Sarah Hromack's interview with Paul Chan here.

Half Letter Press. Initiated by Chicago-based collective Temporary Services, Half Letter Press has an online reading room with some of the best links on the internet, and they publish and distribute books on art and theory.

Eikon is a bilingual German-English journal published in Vienna that focuses on photography and new media art.

Fillip, published in Vancouver, cover critical writing and thinking about ...


The Physical Archive


Last Thursday, Ben and I took a field trip to check out Rhizome's physical archive. Tara Hart, the New Museum's Digital Archivist, showed us where the Rhizome files are stored in the museum's archive located next door at 231. We had about an hour before we needed to get back to work, so we took couple of boxes and dug right in. This was fun departure from the usual day to day activities around the office. Here are some gems we found from our trip:


In a binder labeled "Rhizome Ads", a record of advertisements from various art and technology publications.

(from Leonardo, Vol. 33 Number 2, 2000)

I love the selling points here. Starrynight search interface -- Amazing!

We also found a bunch of folders labeled by month and year which held articles about various artists involved with Rhizome, new media art calls, opening invitations and other ephemera. Flipping through, I came across this great hand written postcard from Mouchette.

(Found in a folder labeled October 2001)

In another folder, I found this Xeroxed announcement for Cory Arcangel's Whitney Artport commission.

(circa 2002)

There are over twenty-something boxes to go through, who knows what we'll find next. I promise to keep you updated!