Posts for June 2012

Supporting Rhizome's Preservation Initiative


More and more the ArtBase has become a focal point of many of our projects at Rhizome. We've been focusing our efforts on web based works, but today we ask for your help in our efforts to restore access to some of the earliest forms of networked based artistic practices that predate the web. 

Before the term existed, there were thriving international communities of artists on Bulletin Board Systems such as The Thing and Art Net Web. Preserving the output of these communities requires a different set of tools – many of which Rhizome currently lacks – such as vintage floppy drives, controller cards, write blockers, and even entire vintage computer systems.

Donate to our summer fundraiser by July 1st to give Rhizome the support needed to preserve works on obsolete hardware. Your $25 donation will help us get one step closer to securing these tools and restoring access to these early network based works, some of which have not been seen in nearly twenty years. 

We hope you will support Rhizome's Preservation Initiative today. Thank you for your continued support! 



Amalia Pica at Chisenhale Gallery


Amalia Pica, 2012.  Chisenhale Gallery, London. Photo: Mark Blower.

There is a particular romance in miscommunication, wrought by difference and distance. The undelivered letter, the intercepted telegram, the voicemail message never played back are the chance minutiae which drive the action of the plot forward, or cause it to veer dramatically off-course. Mislaid memoranda and transposed missives are Greek Fates for the modern era, where rupture is a stronger organizing force than the continuity of a single thread. Still, it is strange to contemplate crossed-wires in a contemporary context, where a missed cue – the probable end-result of too many functional, thus distractible, multiple-channel communication devices – still engenders the ultimate social faux pas: You didn’t get the message?

Managers and technocrats determined to allay postmodern anxiety seek to reduce error in manifestations of human passion, from theaters of war to those of love, both on- and off-line. To a certain extent clinical psychology, too, helps condition us to distinguish signal from noise. Alain Badiou’s In Praise of Love laments the disappearance of social discomfiture via the easy connectivity peddled by Internet dating sites: 

After all, it’s not so very different to an arranged marriage. Not done in the name of family order and hierarchy by despotic parents, but in the name of safety for the individuals involved, through advance agreements that avoid randomness, chance encounters and in the end any existential poetry, due to the categorical absence of risks. 

Where are exhilaration and ecstasy without some amount of personal risk? This conundrum resonates throughout London-based artist Amalia Pica’s sculpture, installation, and performance works, which consider moments of potential for point-to-point communication – and by extension, human connection; togetherness. Using not especially technological materials, the invariable “failure” of Pica’s work to draw disparate subjectivities into dialogue is most always a result of the aesthetic formalism of mediation, a quality borne out in the quiet beauty of her installations. Exhibited in the New Museum’s second triennial this year, Pica’s pleasing post-Minimal projection Venn Diagram (Under the Spotlight) (2011) expanded upon an earlier preoccupation with the diagrams from the ink-on-paper series Untitled (2006). The mathematical illustrations were banned in 1970s Argentina, where Pica grew up, for the perceived danger in clear expressions of collectivity. 

Her interest in the visualization of interaction and exchange might seem to have pragmatic applications today, although significantly it is the symbolism of “the social” (in the above case a field of color rather than a cloud or network,) which is philosophically operative beyond the direct representation of raw data. In this sense, her body of work forms a critique of the individual’s pure egoism as much as particular barriers to communication (chance, timing, autocracy) – playing with language, symbol and signal to “talk about talking.” Barring an algorithm to calculate the compatibility of notional personality tics, favorite 90s slasher flicks or other equally ambiguous criteria, Pica’s most reliable device describing the relationship between two is a single line: forming a bond or being deflected.

Pica’s current solo exhibition at Chisenhale Gallery coincides with the culmination of a yearlong project undertaken in the East London borough local to the art space...



Artist Profile: Hannah Perry


'Hannah Perry & Hotel Palenque, 2012' Performance, RGB projection on fabric back projection wall courtesy Cell Project Space, London


In a conversation with Francesca Gavin last month you said, "I see the clips from TV as being as much my personal memories as the ones from my own life, yet also having resonance with our collective national consciousness." Much of your work blends footage you've shot yourself, personalized footage shot by strangers, and the ersatz human experience offered by TV and adverts. It assumes pop cultural references naturally interpolate into one’s personal memories.

That quote was in reference to my editing style. I was explaining how my editing derives from listening to hip hop and dance music, and music production techniques. I look at the looping and sampling of sound, and then use those methods to play with audio and video in a similar way.

When I was a kid I would raid my brother’s room while he was out, and listen to his tapes. He is over 10 years older than me and was heavily into the rave scene. I distinctively remember nicking a rave tape from 92, so I was probably about 7-8. The stories about what he got up to were also influential.

The rave scene is one pop-culture reference, among many, that reoccurs in my work. I feel close to that youth/social movement and the music that spun out of it, but I have always felt slightly outside of it too, which made it easy to romanticize the whole thing until it became a part of what I did in my late teens.

If we think of rave culture as the last British subculture before the mass use of the Internet, it may well be being revived to a certain degree, but in ...


Glitching on Tumblr


From Glitch-Hop

Among the recent grop of gif-based glitch Tumblrs is Year of the Glitch, a glitch-a-day blog run by the artist Phillip Stearns featuring a totalizing glitch, where any trace of the previous media has been virtually destroyed. Meanwhile, Tumblrs Glitch Gifs, Glitch-Hop, Glitchee, and Compression Errors feature glitches gleaned from popular, recognizable sources, where amusement comes from the intrusion of a chance-like error on a recognizable piece of media. There's even Food Mosh, a glitch take on the popularity of pictures of food. These are more easily classified as utilizing datamoshing, where manipulations in digital compression produce pixel bleeding. 

Some theory about the practice is can be provided by Thomas Levin: "What is at stake in the vocabulary of such 'compression errors'—evident both in the domains of avant-garde video and in the more popular idiom of music video—is a rendering readable of 'differencing,' of what I call the 'preductive aesthetics of the absent image.'"

Studies: Dither + Flicker No. 1 from Year of the Glitch

Via Food Mosh


Thank You to Our Sponsors


We would like to take a brief moment to thank this month’s sponsors. These are the organizations and companies that keep us publishing, so be sure to check them out!


Rhizome Digest: Best of Rhizome June


Autumn Evening by Philip Buchanan Prosthetic Knowledge Plants



Still from Timo Arnall's Robot Readable World (Robopix)


Artist Profiles

CV Dazzle by Adam Harvey



Amalia Pica at Chisenhale Gallery






Pixel Paul