Posts for 2013

Allan Sekula's Letter to Bill Gates


Allan Sekula, artist and author of such indispensable texts as "The Body and the Archive," passed away over the weekend. While Sekula's primary medium was photography, his work had no small relevance to questions that surround art and technology, and is well worth revisiting in the wake of this sad news. Among his works that have been circulating on Tumblr over the past couple of days are his 1999 work Dear Bill Gates. The work involved a photographed action in which the artist swam as close as he could to the Microsoft founder's house.


What Could the Internet Be? Dia’s Online Projects


Laylah Ali, John Brown Song! (2013). Cropped screenshot of website with Quicktime videos.

Laylah Ali’s project, John Brown Song!, was launched in June as part of Dia Art Foundation’s artist web projects. It includes the videos of a number of people singing the song "John Brown’s Body," a Civil War–era marching song about a radical abolitionist who was executed in Virginia in 1859. The videos are arranged in twos, but a viewer could also choose to view all, in a grid of videos that can be played together, generating a multitude of voices, all singing different versions of the somewhat gruesome song ("John Brown's body lies a-moldering in the grave…")



The Week Ahead: Honk-Tweet Edition


LabrynthitisLabrynthitis by Jacob Kirkegaard is presented at Eyebeam on Friday

This week, New York is awash with sound art, led by MoMA's exhibition Soundings: A Contemporary Score (which features work by Rhizome-commissioned artist Tristan Perich). One event organized in conjunction with the MoMA exhibition looks particularly interesting: Jacob Kirkegaard's Labyrinthitis, in which the artist "sparks audible emissions within the audience's own ears" inside a "floating cube" at Eyebeam. The piece uses the listener's ear as an instrument, and it sounds like the best $11 night out we've heard of in a long time, except… it's sold out. More performances, please?

Since we're on the subject of sound art: last week the New York Times ran an article that included this passage contrasting more cerebral, "art-trained" figures in sound art with the "honk-tweet" school, described as follows:

Aligned with experimental music rather than visual art, the honk-tweeters are interested in strange beeps and buzzings for their own sakes. They craft what the sound artist, theorist and blogger Seth Kim-Cohen refers to as purely cochlear, rather than fully mindful, sound art. 
In June, Mr. Kim-Cohen chided the survey at the Modern for including such work, which he described as the sonic equivalent of Op Art, a movement in painting “that does not demand (or merit) serious critical response,” as he has written.

This summary doesn't do justice to Kim-Cohen's ideas, but for the record: Op Art absolutely demands serious critical response, as does sound art that you actually have to, you know, listen to

We take it as a good sign that the listing for Labyrinthitis includes a diagram of a cochlea. Prepare to put that organ to good use.

So without further ado, here are more selected events, exhibitions, and deadlines for the near future, all culled from Rhizome Announce.


Don Slepian's "Sunflower Geranium" (1983)


Recently, Rhizome featured vector animations by Dov Jacobson that had surfaced at the XFR STN open-access media conservation project. Another standout work from the same videotape (RYO Gallery’s 1986 EVTV2 compilation) is the sensorially intense Sunflower Geranium (1983) by Don Slepian. 


Marc Ngui, Illustration for 'A Thousand Plateaus'


Artist Marc Ngui recently returned to his A Thousand Plateaus drawing project, in which he visually interpretats the famous text by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. Ngui had previously only illustrated the first two chapters, but he is now working his way through the rest of the book and uploading his work to a Tumblr.

The above image is from the original series, created as an illustration of chapter 1, paragraph 6, which includes some rather key statements: "Any point of a rhi­zome can be connected to anything other, and must be;" and, "A rhizome ceaselessly establishes connections between semiotic chains, organizations of power, and circumstances relative to the arts, sci­ences, and social struggles." 

[H/T: Kenyatta Cheese]


Olia Lialina, 'Summer' (2013)


Summer (2013). Olia Lialina. Screenshot of animation comprising individual GIF images displayed across multiple websites.

In a 2006 interview with Valeska Buehrer, artist Olia Lialina observed that her early web-based works, particularly My Boyfriend Came Back from the War, have been irrevocably changed by the accelerating speed of the internet.

Though the work is still as it was: same files, same address, links -- it is now more like a documentation of itself. Because everything else changed. First of all connection speed. I could now click through my work in one minute. Probably, I could do it even faster...if there is no delay in between phrases, no waiting for images, no Jpeg "progressive scan" loading -- the tenseness of the conversation is lost.

It wasn't that Lialina was inspired by the creative possibilities of the slow-to-load early web (she recalls being as frustrated as any user); it was that the work functioned within a specific technological context. As the context has changed, so has the experience of the work.



Seeking Autumn Fellows and Intern


Former interns have participated in Rhizome-commissioned projects such as DISimages.

Rhizome is offering a range of professional development opportunities for the fall semester: an Editorial Fellowship, an ArtBase Curatorial Fellowship, and a Program Internship. Each of these individuals will join a small team and play a central role in shaping the organization and its core program as it deepens its collections and expands its program internationally.


Best of Rhizome: July 2013


Frames from television program (1964) featuring a demo of Ivan Sutherland's Sketchpad, edited in Photoshop to show the onscreen graphics more clearly.

Here at Rhizome, the big news of July 2013 was the launch of the open-access media conservation project XFR STN, a collaboration with the New Museum. We asked artists to Bring Us Your Obsolete Digital Media. Treasures are now beginning to emerge, and can be seen on the Internet Archive. The press is taking note

In Editorial, the most-read article on Rhizome was Software Takes Command: An Interview with Lev Manovich, followed by the announcement of the commissioned artists for 2013-2014. The comment of the month goes to Curt Cloninger, who shared his detailed notes on the proper approach to Situationist Tubing. (If you plan to tube this summer, make sure to read this first.)

Prosthetic Knowledge assembled a much-Liked collection of works on dance and technology. Orit Gat explored the idea of The Book as Interface in her review of the new publication from, WYSIWYG. Michael Connor explored the emerging language of the website takeover in the most recent effort by Hannah Perry and Bubblebyte. Rafaël Rozendaal and Jürg Lehni appreciated the finer points of Vectors. Daniel Rourke profiled artist Nick Briz about the politics of the glitch, Karen Archey interviewed Biennial of the Americas curator Carson Chan about post-internet curating, and Zoë Salditch interviewed 4Chan founder and creator of DrawQuest Chris Poole. Eva Díaz discussed the geodesic dome as a networked structure from Drop City to Rockaway Beach.


The Week Ahead: The Uncanny Edition


From the inToAsia Festival.

Without further ado, here are more selected events, exhibitions, and deadlines this week, all culled from Rhizome Announce

Artist Opportunities

Sunday, August 11:

The AND 2013 Fair in Liverpool, UK, inspired by the World's Fair of old, calls for submissions from artists, hackers, technologists, and makers all over the world. A £500 bursary will be offered to emerging practitioners to support their participation.


We Made a Full-Screen GIF Viewer (But it doesn't work well with pixel art)


Screenshot of Google Chrome logo resized in Google Chrome.
When we began working with Jesse Darling on her recent Performance GIFs series, she had a request: she wanted all of the GIFs to open full-screen in their own window, like this. In order to accommodate this, Rhizome's Senior Developer Scott Meisburger made a new full-screen GIF viewer app, GIFZoomer, which we open-sourced and made available on Rhizome's GitHub repository.