Posts for May 2013

Did 'Vertigo' Introduce Computer Graphics to Cinema?


Extract from Vertigo (1958).

As Slavoj Žižek and others have argued, the credit sequences designed by Saul Bass for Alfred Hitchcock's unofficial trilogy of late masterpieces—Vertigo (1958), North by Northwest (1959) and Psycho (1960)—announce the visual motifs of each film and suggest their psychological underpinnings. The broken lines in Psycho are echoed in the slashes of the killer’s knife and the broken pathway from the Bates motel to the old Victorian cottage in which Norman lives, supposedly with his mother. The grid in North by Northwest mimics the Manhattan skyscrapers where Cary Grant’s dopey adman initially toils, as well the train tracks on which he travels as his identity is further and further confused and effaced, and the cornfield in which he famously ducks for cover under the attack of a faceless machine. The spirals that open Vertigo suggest the roads through hilly San Francisco on which Scotty pursues Madeline, the twist of her hair, the staircase that causes his eponymous vertigo to flare up.


Each credit sequence is echoed by the soundtrack of each film, all composed by Bernard Herrmann. The theme for Psycho is the famous staccato ee-ee ee-ee. North by Northwest is set to an interlocking, pulsating orchestra. And for Vertigo, Hermann lifted the most famous musical phrase from the Liebestod of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde: a rising and falling sequence that fails to ever resolve itself.

All of which suggests that Hitchcock—a famous tyrant—was actually, or also, one of the most canny collaborators of the 20th century.

For the title sequence to Vertigo, Hitchcock had an additional, often unnoted, collaborator: John Whitney. A pioneer of computer animation who worked in television in the 50s and 60s and in the 70s created some of the first digital art, Whitney ...


Surf Report: Sext Me So I Know It's Real Edition



TIME Magazine, May 20, 2013. 


TIME Magazine, January 1, 2007.

Jon Rafman, New Age Demanded Microfiche Archive, 2013. Microfiche machine and custom microfiche. 51.5 x 33 x 48.4 cm. Via Future Gallery.


Sim Chang, from the series Flawless Love. (H/T to jemchan).



Jonathan Zawada


Amy Snodgrass, via Internet Poetry


Steph Davidson, Illustration for Businessweek article on Bitcoin, 28 March 2013.



From the Mixed-Up Files: Ten Years Ago Today


From the Rhizome archives, here's a discussion that unfolded ten years ago today on our mailing list, prompted by an article in The New York Times about curator Steve Dietz' dismissal from the Walker Art Center.


The Week Ahead: Rhizome Commissions Edition


It looks a busy time out there for those interested in art and technology, with lots to do and see and apply for. Here are our picks for the week; good thing your proposal for the 2013-2014 Rhizome Commissions was finished and submitted weeks ago, right?

Rick Silva, from the series En Plein Air.


Performance GIFs 1: Curator's Introduction


Over the next few weeks, Rhizome will present a series of performance GIFs curated by Jesse Darling. Darling's introduction is below; the first work (by Maja Cule) will be on view from Thursday May 16. 

2012. The year of the doomsday apocalypse. The world didn’t end, though some of us thought it might, and perhaps we even hoped it would, if only to give us something to look forward to. Žižek, paraphrasing Jameson, famously said that it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism—and this was in a speech given at Zucotti Park during Occupy Wall Street, in which we tried, and failed, to imagine the beginning of something else.  

But following the natural order of events, as well as what Jameson called “the temporal paradox” (in which history stops but time grinds remorselessly onward in a continuous, cyclical production of “newness”), 2012 came and went and we all kept on doing what we were doing. A perky 25-year-old acronym beat the competition – teeth-grindingly zeitgeisty notables such as YOLO, superstorm and Eurogeddon – to become the Oxford Dictionary’s US Word of the year. You probably know that. What you may not know is that the OUP award went to a verb, rather than a noun: not to the name of a file format, but to the act of making one. To GIF.

To GIF is defined, somewhat redundantly, as “to create a GIF file,” but what would it mean to decouple the verb from its referent? To GIF: to capture a moment on an endless loop.

Now it’s 2013, though nothing has changed. Seeping, soul-level post-Fordism and the precarization of the labor market mean that most of us never stop working: socializing bleeds seamlessly into networking, and meanwhile, each ...


The Download: Jonas Lund


This month The Download features We See In Every Direction (2013) a Web browser for collaborative, synchronized surfing by Swedish artist Jonas Lund. Browsing the Internet is typically an intimate and personal experience for just one person, but in We See, users traverse online information streams in a collective surfing environment. Users can type, click and change URLs in real time together; they can jockey for control of the browser--akin to fighting for the TV remote--or choose to sit back and let their friends take care of the surfing. Like many of Lund’s previous online works, the piece opens up the walled-off spaces of the Internet for shared use.

The Download is Rhizome's ongoing digital art exhibition and collecting program that features new works by great artists for free download. 


Jack Goldstein, GIF Artist?


“The first show I did was with Jack. He showed a new work—the extraordinary film loop The Jump. I watched that film loop every day for three weeks and never got tried of it. I was hypnotized. I can still see it: The endless red and gold gleaming figure, rotating and tum- bling in a non-space, outside of time and place. It was beautiful and miraculous. I still believe that it was one of Jack’s greatest works; he made it long before the video effects that are available today. It was an absolute vision." - Robert Longo in Jack Goldstein and the CalArts Mafia


Animated GIF from extract of YouTube video of Jack Goldstein, The Jump (1978).


Performance GIFs 2: Maja Cule


Over the next few weeks, Rhizome will present a series of performance GIFs curated by Jesse Darling, beginning with this work by Maja Cule. Darling's introduction to the series can be found here

Hanging from the 8th floor of the South side of The Trump Building at 40 Wall Street (Click to view artwork)
Maja Cule, May 2013
(featuring: Marlous Borm) 

In May 1930, The Trump Building was the tallest building in the world. In the ninth episode of the Season 4 of The Apprentice, Donald Trump claimed he only paid $1 million for it. 

The window depicted in Cule's work is located on the eighth floor, which is currently under construction. It looks out over Isamu Noguchi's Sunken Garden, a series of black boulders of varying sizes that Noguchi collected from the bottom of the Uji River in Kyoto, and Jean Dubuffet's sculpture Group of Four Trees, commissioned by David Rockefeller(then chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank) in 1969 for the One Chase Manhattan Plaza building. Designed in 1961 by Gordon Bunshaft, One Chase Manhattan Plaza is the 200th tallest building in the world with 60 floors and sealed windows. 



Guy Debord Limited Edition Action Figure Giveaway


To mark the launch of McKenzie Wark's new book The Spectacle of DisintegrationVerso Books have offered Rhizome readers in the UK a chance to win a 3D printed Guy Debord action figure.

3D-printed Guy Debord action figures (2012). Produced by McKenzie Wark, design by Peer Hansen, with technical assistance by Rachel L.

The figure is part of a limited edition run of 200 made by Wark, who was inspired to delve into maker culture because of Debord's own investment in craft as evidenced in the twelve handcrafted issues of Internationale Situationniste. (You can read more about this in Brendan Byrne's recent interview with Wark on Rhizome). It's important to note that you can also make your own Debord figure based on Wark's 3D model, which will be released under a Creative Commons license.

The questions, which were supplied by Verso, are after the jump. They are not to be taken lightly...


Prosthetic Knowledge Picks: Turntables and Records


A collection of items from the Prosthetic Knowledge Tumblr archive and around the Web, taking a brief look at creative and sometimes poetic plays with the familiar audio technology of vinyl records.