Posts for 2012

First Look: New Art Online


First Look: New Art Online is a monthly series of innovative online projects and new commissions curated by Lauren Cornell, former Rhizome executive director, currently New Museum curator of the 2015 “The Generational” Triennial, Museum as Hub, and Digital Projects.

This month includes a collection of 3D animations from Above Ground Animation

Featured artists include Barry Doupé, Kathleen Daniel, Ryan Whittier Hale, and Jacolby Satterwhite. Beyond Pixar, Adult Swim, or the default avatars of video games, these works explore possibilities for 3-D human forms. Their casts of improbable people are hatched out of personal history or emotion—through a longing for intimacy or an uncertainty for the future. Experimental and short-form, all the works were made to be viewed across various screening contexts, from the cinema to the gallery to the browser, and yet their structure reflects a sophistication with a range of digital media and programs, from Maya to 3D Studio Max.

Founded by the artist Casey Jane Ellison, Aboveground Animation is a video collection, an artist community, and a roving exhibition platform all in one. Since 2008, Ellison has collected animations and shared them at venues, most regularly at Ramiken Crucible gallery in New York, inspired, in part, by a desire to promote art with a shared aesthetic and also to make sense of her own emerging body of work.

Check out upcoming projects and commissions on the recently redesigned New Museum website!


Digital Gallery Hoping


Among the exhibitions you won't need to travel to Chelsea or Vyner Street or elsewhere to see:

 DOMAIN GALLERY: Ben Dierckx, Blind Spot

Blind Spot, a solo exhibition by belgium artist Ben Dierckx curated by Manuel Fernández.

Ben Dierckx employs sculptural objects and electronic media to refer to the awareness of one's own perception. What is our relation with reality seems to be the perfectly wrong question; we are reality.

Many of his works interact in a negative way with the audience. A plant will run away from you, a classic roman miniature bust does not want to look at you, the color of a flower will turn into its inversion by the volume of your comments, ect.

Blind Spot is an interactive installation with a plastic bamboo plant and projections. A wireless camera hidden in the foliage of the plant films the exhibition space through the leaves. When a spectator comes closer the plant, it detects his presence and moves in the opposite direction. The projections on the walls reflect the repositioning of the plant and emphasizes the person-space relation.

"Blind Spot" forms part of a series called "Eyestroll" that combines physical objects with electronic media, where in the central idea is an awareness of one's own perception.

BUBBLEBYTE: Yuri Pattison, The Making of 


The Making of, a solo exhibition of works by London based artist Yuri Pattison.

Pattison’s practice reflects on the impact of digital media on our understanding of reality, highlighting inconsistencies in the system of representation. Mastering a huge variety of media, his work often uses different devices to explore the strengths and limits of digital communication.

For the show, The Making of, the first solo show of the artist on, Pattison reflects on how the internet influences ideas of ...


Five Videos: Ming Wong's “Forget it, Jake… it’s Chinatown.”


Five Videos is an online series "hosted" by Rhizome, in collaboration with FACT, responding to the Liverpool Biennial's theme, The Unexpected Guest. Each week throughout the Liverpool Biennial, an artist will curate five videos about hospitality. This week Ming Wong considers issues related to the uneasy history of Chinatowns in Western urban centers.


“Forget it, Jake… it’s Chinatown.”

So concludes, famously, that 1974 neo-noir Hollywood classic directed by Roman Polanski, ‘Chinatown’.  In one of the pieces I am showing at the Liverpool Biennial, I replace Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, and John Huston in their iconic roles in selected scenes from the film, speaking about that place called ‘Chinatown’, posited as a space where ‘you can’t tell what’s going on’. 

Despite the axiomatic utterance, I, however, could not forget it, I could not forget Chinatown, and in the subsequent months after making ‘Making Chinatown’ I delved into research into the history of the Chinatowns in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

I discovered a parallel history in Liverpool, home to the oldest Chinatown in Europe. San Francisco and Liverpool were the first and biggest port-of-call for Chinese immigrants coming to America and Europe at the turn of the 20th century. 

Despite having been brought over to build the railroads in America or having fought in the war for the British navy, the Chinese suffered discrimination on both sides of the Atlantic.  Anti-Chinese sentiment ran highest during the Great Depression and the post-war years, when laws were passed to restrict their numbers and chances of survival in the ‘host’ countries.  The phrase ‘Not a Chinaman’s Chance’ came into use during this time.

Here is a video of the story of Angel Island in San Francisco bay, which served as an immigration station from 1910 -1940; today it is a museum where you can still see the calligraphic poems carved into the walls of the detection barrack where the Chinese immigrants were once detained:


In Liverpool, in 2006, a memorial plaque was unveiled at the waterfront to commemorate the Chinese seamen who fought for the British, but who were then forcibly deported after the war. Many of them leaving behind their English wives and Eurasian children who never saw their husbands or fathers again. Here is the story of one daughter.

During this era of ‘yellow peril’, pulp fiction writers began to use Chinatown as a crime setting, feeding the public’s fear and imagination of the unknown, such as Sax Rohmer who wrote the infamous ‘Fu Manchu’ novels.

Eventually this practice of employing orientalist setting and casting made its way into the cinema, especially in Film Noir : ‘The Shanghai Gesture’, ‘The Lady from Shanghai’, ‘The Big Sleep’, ‘Daughter of the Dragon’, ‘Mysterious Mr Wong’, ‘House of Bamboo’, ‘Betrayal from the East’, ‘Macao’, ‘Saigon’, ‘Across the Pacific’ to name a few.

The new work I made for Liverpool Biennial ‘After Chinatown’ acknowledges the uneasy legacy of these noir films.  In it I portray a detective as well as a femme fatale who wander through a space called ‘Chinatown’.  It was shot over the summer on location in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Hong Kong, so in a way I was retracing the journeys made by the early Chinese immigrants.

In a scene from ‘The Lady from Shanghai’ you can see Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth running through the Chinatown in San Francisco, ending up in a Chinese opera theatre.  Some of these locations also feature in ‘After Chinatown’.

(**jump to 4:30)

In contrast with film noir depictions of Chinatown, consider Wong Kar-Wai’s ‘Chungking Express’, in which the actress Brigit Lin dons the femme fatale uniform of blond wig, sunglasses and trenchcoat and runs through the underworld of Hong Kong.

—Ming Wong


Recommended Reading: Net Narrative catalog


Net Narrative is an exhibition curated by Harry Burke at Carlos/Ishikawa including work by Iain Ball, Ed Fornieles, Marlie Mul, Katja Novitskova, Ben Vickers, Holly White, and Artie Vierkant. Worth reviewing the catalog which includes essays by Huw Lemmey, Gene McHugh, and Eleanor Saitta. 

Eleanor Saitta:

Storytelling is more comfortable in the network than anywhere
it’s had to live since the enlightenment, since we locked up the
wandering bard in the cathedral, the university, and the television studio.

Networks are made of stories. A network is a bunch of people who share
a story about how to interact. Protocols are really just stories.
(And, as often as not, just so stories.) The converse isn’t true, of
course—there’s far more to a story than just a protocol, but it means
that networks intrinsically hold open a space for the story.


The stories that the network tells have a materially different quality,
existing all at once from all the perspectives of the multitude, without
a single privileged view. It’s not that any individual voice is wrong,
it’s just incomplete—the stories networks tell can only be perceived in
full in collective simultaneity, and those collectives have no room for

Huw Lemmey:

Sociality is the dominant vector within post-internet cultural production. With what is described as “post-internet art”, and especially in post-internet literary trends such as alt-lit, sociality is both the form and function of creative work; relationships, both interhuman and between people and institutions, are the primary medium of artwork formed in consideration of the online. Sometimes it can appear as though IRL shows, where people display visual artefacts, are remnants, poor excuses for social networks to circulate around online, third places. Parties, free schools, TV stations; all these operate as ways to manipulate ...


The Web on Film


Tomorrow night, erstwhile Rhizome contributor Tom McCormack will present an illustrated lecture at Brooklyn's Spectacle Theater. Titled Netsploitation: The Internet Through Movies, the talk will explicate the history of the Internet as depicted in big-screen Hollywood fare.

The inspiration for the talk came from McCormack's realization that many of biggest movies of his childhood — movies like War Games and Hackers— were thrillers that toed the line between ominous, ridiculous, and realistic anxieties about the Internet. He added that presenting an illustrated lecture now seems relevant and not forced: "With YouTube, a lot of my hanging out time is spent interspersing segments of whatever's being talked about throughout a conversation." Netsploitation will try to mimic that feeling while providing moments of revelation between humor and analysis.


Guide to Future-Present Archetypes Part 4: The Commodity Swarm


"Bomb the Drone" (Demilit project)

A certain thread of theology holds that angels are not actual entities; they are human characterizations of god’s infinite will, manifested in singular points of time and space that we can only represent as corporeal actions by supernatural beings. Drones are the same. The Unmanned Aerial Vehicles themselves are made of very real alloys and composites, flown with very real bands of electromagnetic energy emitted from satellite and ground station, launching weapons with exothermic warheads resulting in very real deaths. But “Drones”, as we have come to know them, represent an intensely collapsed political, economic, and social cosmology. They are singular points of world-historical militarism, state control, and technological specialty, orbiting high above our heads, the new astrological wanderers of our mortal fates. Dare we ask the rhetorical question: how many drones can surveil the head of a pin? MQ-1 Predator, MQ-4 Global Hawk, MQ-9 Reaper, RQ-170 Sentinel: these names are the basis of a new hierarchical choir of angels, as cataloged by Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft.

Drones function in our current Future-Present, as a category conglomerated from many components. A MQ-4 has very little to do, technologically, with a smartphone-controlled quadrocopter. The relationship between them, which we fetishize into the category of “drone”, is a composite of factors and values so intricate as to border on the cosmological. It is true that they both fly, with different types of remote control. They both contain cameras, so that a person can see a visual field from the vehicle’s perspective. They both contain technological advances that are not entirely new innovations, though their widespread use and public recognition is a relatively recent event. And yet, one is an expensive toy, while the other changes the geopolitical landscape as a weapon of war. It is only when their use, political significance, and market value are networked to their technological construction that they become equivalent in the Future-Present cosmology. 

If angels are too metaphysical a means of getting at the cultural function of such a unifying concept, let us utilize a more atheistic church, another sort of holy ghost. Drones are technology, commodified. Commodities are objects, abstracted from their strict material origins, and invested with a surplus of market-meaning. An automobile, for example, is not so much the frame riding on four wheels; it is not pivotal object of the American Dream; it is more than a single class of “Sport Utility” use-case or a particular brand name. It is all of these things. It is a history of technological advancement, a society’s main means of transportation, and a set of cultural value signifiers, condensed into a single object. What does precision milling equipment have to do with “Tell Laura I Love Her?” Everything and nothing. Technological commodities exists in multiple dimensions of technology, culture, economics, and politics simultaneously. What we perceive is the object, but behind it, is its cosmological network. We watch a video of a drone swarm in a college laboratory. We hear a news report about a drone strike on the other side of the world. We dream about the future of airspace regulation over drone-like inventions that don’t exist yet. We interact with all of these threads when we think, talk, or work with drones...


An Interview with Philippe Morel


 images via EZCT Architecture & Design Research

Philippe Morel is an architect and theorist, who cofounded EZCT Architecture & Design Research. Recently, I interviewed him over email about computation, internet data centers, and natural terrain:

Alessandro Bava: You outlined an urban theory that accounts for the internet as a powerful territorial/urban agent, could you expand on the idea of oceanic/porous urbanism?

Philippe Morel: I started to be interested in such an evolution of the world while working on my Master’s thesis from 2000 to 2002. The title, “Living in the Ice Age”, was coming from the fact that I considered the contemporary changes associated with the advent of computation not just as “another media-based revolution” but as a “geological” shift; a kind of a global earthquake produced by “computational drifts”, drifts that are opening a new age in human (post)history. I was speaking about a more extreme coldness than the one theorized by Andrea Branzi in the “Cold Metropolis”. The coldness of the liquid azote used for supercomputers cooling or sperm cryopreservation as well as the coldness of extreme abstractions produced by computational processes and formal languages. In fact the freezing of any kind of social life, and a freezing that is by the way asking as much energy to us as it does in air conditioning systems! In the introduction of my thesis then, I wrote that “what our civilization gave birth to after unreasonable efforts is a new kind of compound, something like the summation of the dynamite or nuclear energy power, of the intrinsic capacities of the human brain for conceptual abstraction, of the raw power of the computers for calculation and of the sensory performances of the human body.” I added that “my work would only be about trying to unveil the genesis of ...


Prosthetic Knowledge Picks: CurAudio / DocuMP3


A collection of audio content from the Prosthetic Knowledge Tumblr archive and around the web.

 100 years of the computer artscene - Talk by Jason Scott and Rad Man at Notacon04 


Recording of a talk by Jason Scott (creator of from NOTACON 2004 discusses the history of computing and creativity. 

Since the first time that machines could calculate, people have twisted, modified, hacked and played with them to create art.  In a fast-paced hour, we're going to do our best to capture 100 years of computer art, the magic of the art scene, the demo scene, and a dozen other "scenes" that have been with us as long as computers have.  Prepare yourself for a roller coaster of visual and audio history as your two over-the top scene pilots take you on "the story so far" to the artscene. 

Unfortunately, there is no accompanying visual collection to the examples mentioned in the talk, yet it is an enlightening primer on creativity and new technology. (PK link)

DJ Food - Raiding The 20th Century

DJ Food's classic mix from 2004 curates and documents the growth of 'The Cut-Up' (also known as bootlegs or mash-ups), forming a creative alternative world of popular music. It also features spoken audio from Paul Morley, critic and former member of the Art of Noise and ZTT Records, reading from his book 'Words and Music: the history of pop in the shape of a city.'

Tracklist on DJ Food's website. (PK link.)

Dreams - Delia Derbyshire and Barry Bermange

Narrations of recollected dreams recorded and collaged with the distinct audio style of BBC Radiophonic Workshop musician Delia Derbyshire:

"Dreams" was made in collaboration with Barry Bermange (who originally recorded the narrations). Bermange put together The Dreams (1964), a collage of people describing their dreams, set ...


Five Videos: Adham Faramawy's Leave the Ordinary Behind


Five Videos is an online series "hosted" by Rhizome, in collaboration with FACT, responding to the Liverpool Biennial's theme, The Unexpected Guest. Each week throughout the Liverpool Biennial, an artist will curate five videos about hospitality. We begin this series with Adham Faramawy's selection, considering science fictional luxury and hypercapitalist imagery from hotel adverts in Dubai.

Burj Khalifa, Dubai

In response to the Liverpool Biennial’s theme of ‘Hospitality’, I decided to take a look at an aspect of the hospitality of a city that has become important to me, Dubai.

Dubai is one of the emirates of The United Arab Emirates. It is both a city and a corporation where the government has set up industry specific free zones exempting companies from the usual tax laws. As a city, Dubai exemplifies neoliberal business and culture. Watching the development of this emirate has been like watching a myth in process.

I’m Egyptian, based in London, born in Dubai just before the economic boom. My mother and sister both live in Dubai and work in the Media City free zone. Some of their work as journalists involves attending product launches and receiving corporate hospitality in the hope that they will cover new products, spas and beauty treatments. For me this has meant looking at a lot of Facebook pictures taken in hotels and the occasional chance to tag along for an interview with a businesswoman or the first lady of Malaysia at Atlantis on The Palm.

Some of the videos I’ve selected were produced by the Jumeirah Group to advertise their facilities. All the videos employ utopic science fictional visual language to display spectacular ‘luxury’ experiences.

In these videos, the hotel experience is constructed in terms of the superhuman. With the laissez-faire attitude of Randian capitalism, the idealism of an athletic body post-Riefenstahl is sublimated, defining the very character of the building it inhabits. The architectures in these short narratives are set up, as with every successful advert, to create a (potentially phallic) lack in the prospective consumer. As such the neoliberal luxury experience of the spa is offered as the filler to satisfy that lack, a near spiritual solution to the stresses and speed of corporate business.

It is here that I would like to point out the similarities between the video adverts for the Talise Ottoman spa in the Zaabeel Saray hotel and videos of the Damanhurian Temples of Humankind, located inside a mountain north of Turin, Italy. Both spaces appear to refer to an arabesque style in their backlit stain glass windows, which alongside their skyscape frescos act as a nexus between Islam, ancient Rome, and new age spiritual systems.

As much as these spaces and the videos advertising them draw on a nascent spiritualism to attract consumers, they also use images of the active body and celebrity.

In 2008 Andre Agassi and Roger Federer played tennis on a specially turfed court on the helipad at Burj Al Arab. In an exciting and peculiar display of integrated spectacle, the content produced is part advert, part celebrity reality-curio fashioned for television. The pair ascends the building in a glass elevator, invoking the childlike awe of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, as they discuss the impressive scale of the hotel to a soundtrack of The Never Ending Story, appealing to childhood fantasy narratives more directly...


Announcing: Artist Selected "Five Videos" in Collaboration with Liverpool Biennial and FACT


Rhizome has collaborated with FACT, Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, and the Liverpool Biennial, to develop a new series: Five Videos. Responding to theme of the Biennial — The Unexpected Guest — Rhizome is "hosting" the online programming. Further relating to the theme, Omar Kholeif (FACT) and Joanne McNeil (Rhizome) invited internationally renowned artists to submit five videos considering issues relating to hospitality, which will run each week throughout the duration of Liverpool Biennial 2012. The artists include: Jemima Wyman, Judith Barry, Kristin Lucas, Lucky PDF, Jennifer Chan, Anahita Razmi. Ming Wong, Queer Technologies, Angelo Plessas, Ofri Cnaani, and Adham Faramawy.