Now you can finally experience what it's like to commodify yourself on the internet


Last year, Rhizome awarded a $500 microgrant to Lena NW and Costcodreamgurl to create a game "that parodies celebrity status games (i.e. Kim Kardashian: Hollywood... but focuses on the concept of becoming an internet celebrity via social media." Their game is now here, and it carries with it one hell of a trigger warning: "graphic sexual violence, cultural appropriation, scat, bestiality, feminism, patriarchy, sexualization of school shooters, inconsistant use of fonts." Click here to play.

From the artists' statement:


Vote Now for the Internet Art Microgrants


Classic browser-based work Agatha Appears (1997) by Olia Lialina

Voting for the five $500 internet art microgrants begins today.

Rhizome community members (you'll need to log in to vote) will narrow the 140+ proposals to a list of 20, from which our (to be announced soon) special guest juror will award five microgrants. Each voter will have three votes to be apportioned to three separate projects — once you vote for something, it disappears from the list. The proposals are spread out over 19 pages, but their order randomizes with each voter.

As we've noted before, the proposals were beyond heartening. In particular, the diversity of projects — from a parody celebrity game, to a weblog for a cooling tower sculpture, to gifs, to culture jamming — illustrates the richness of browser-based work in 2014.

So, go vote! And, best of luck to the entrants.


Rhizome's 2014-15 Support for Artists: Announcing New Microgrants and Commissions


Aleksandra Domanović, From yu to me, supported by Rhizome's commissions program in 2014.

Rhizome supports the creation of significant new art through commissions and direct funding for artists. These works may take various forms and scales, but are tied together by their considered illumination of contemporary digital culture.

Today, I outline our vision for awarding money to artists in 2014-15, focusing on three new initiatives with funding totaling nearly $40,000.


Feb. 1: Computers on Law & Order


Screen capture from Law & Order, Season 6, Episode 9.

In 2011, artist Jeffrey Thompson was granted a Rhizome commission to watch 456 episodes of the American crime drama Law & Order in order to capture images that illustrate 20 years of the history of computers and their interfaces in its set design. This month, Thompson completed his task, and he will uncover his findings in an illustrated lecture on February 1st at the Museum of Moving Image.


Commissions Deadline Extended to May 15


Over the past couple days, my inbox has been filled with pleas for deadline leniency from bleary-eyed artists around the world who, presumably upon stumbling from their beds after several weeks of napping, suddenly realized that proposals for Rhizome commissions were due imminently. Never fear: we hear your pleas. You now have until May 15. Get cracking!

I would like to remind you of several salient facts. Awards are typically between $1,000 and $5,000. Four of the awards will be given to artists from New York. One of the commissions will go to an artist (from anywhere) with a proposal for a socially-engaged project to take place in New York. Three commissions will be given to projects that engage with Tumblr. I'm not sure of the math, but some grants will also go to artists who are not from New York and engaged neither socially nor with Tumblr.

As always, members will vote for one of the commissions; voting will now open on May 16. 


Rhizome Commissions: 2013-2014 Cycle Now Open, Including New Partner Grant Opportunity



Screenshot of, 2011-2012 Rhizome Commission

Rhizome is now accepting proposals for the Rhizome Commissions 2013-2014 cycle. Each year, the program supports emerging artists by providing grants for the creation of significant works of new media art. This year, Rhizome places a focus on promoting emerging artists based in New York City. Grants will not be restricted to New York based artists, but made a priority. This cycle, we also have a specific focus on one project that addresses social issues and/or promotes individual advancement through education or participation. Rhizome will award up to six grants for the creation of new works of digital and new media art. Five awards will be determined by a jury of experts and one award will be determined by Rhizome's membership in an open vote. Rhizome Commissions awards generally range from $1,000 to $5,000.

This year, Rhizome has also partnered with Tumblr to offer an additional strand to the commissioning program: The Rhizome | Tumblr Internet Art Grant. The Internet Art Grant expands upon Rhizome's existing Commissions program to specifically target Tumblr's significant artistic community. The Internet Art Grant will make three commissioning awards with a special focus on projects from artists engaged with Tumblr.

The commissions award will be determined by a jury of experts: Laurie Anderson, noted experimental performance artist and musician; Massimiliano Gioni, Associate Director and Director of Exhibitions at the New Museum and Artistic Director of the 55th Venice Biennale; Renny Gleeson, Global Director at Wieden + Kennedy; and Zoë Salditch, Rhizome's Program Director. For the Rhizome | Tumblr Internet Art Grant, jurors include Gioni, Anderson, Salditch and additionally, artist Jon Rafman and Topherchris, Tumblr Editorial Director.

The Rhizome Commissions program is supported, in part, by funds from Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation, the Jerome Foundation ...


Rhizome Announces Commissions 2012 Grantees


For Your Eyes Only by Adam Harvey

Rhizome is pleased to announce the ten artists/collectives awarded grants through our annual Commissions Program. This year over 300 proposals were submitted by artists from around the world. Two commissions were selected by Rhizome's membership, through an open vote, and eight by a jury including Hans Ulrich Obrist, co director of Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Projects at the Serpentine Gallery, London; Jonathan Lethem, author of The Ecstasy of Influence; Caitlin Jones, Executive Director of Western Front; Renny Gleeson of Weiden + Kennedy; and Lauren Cornell, Executive Director of Rhizome. 

This year, the Rhizome staff has also selected an honorary award for Jesse Hulcher's REAL TIME MACHINE a proposal that represents his conviction, as well as a solid plan, for building functioning time machine. While we will not be awarding him a grant, we wish him the best in his endeavors.   

See below for the descriptions of each commission from the artists's proposals.

Jury Awards:

Karolina Sobecka - Persona

Persona is a game, a twist of the classic First Person Shooter (FPS) game genre: the gameplay is centered on a gun combat and experienced through the eyes of the gun-holder. The gun is a prominent feature of the composition, and in my game it fires automatically on anyone within its field of view. The player cannot drop the weapon or stop it from firing, but he can turn or hide — obstructing his vision. The object of the game is to shoot as few people as possible. The gameplay is as stimulating and intense as in the traditional FPS, but the conflict here is between the player and his own in-game persona. The off-screen player grapples for control, trapped in the body and actions of the game convention.

Dan Phiffer - is an invisible Temporary Autonomous Zone built on Internet technologies like wifi and HTML. The project seeks to build a network of independent wifi routers, each hosting local services that don't require an Internet connection. The routers have no upstream bandwidth, there is no mesh protocol. Each node of the network is a LAN island in an archipelago of affiliated websites.

Juan Obando - MUSEUM MIXTAPE (Dirty South Edition)

Composed of a series of videos, limited edition cassette copies, a website, and a downloadable album, Museum Mixtape aims to create a playful connection between hip-hop narratives and institutional art spaces. By inviting local rap artists to comment (via performance) on contemporary collections in their respective locations and presenting these collaborations as an audiovisual series, a new space is offered to reflect on the current state of cultural economies, institutional community engagement and emerging subcultural forms and their intersections.

Sarah Sweeney - The Forgetting Machine

The Forgetting Machine is a proposed iOS application that works within the field of social psychology and memory science. This project imagines a space in which the reconsolidation theory discussed by Jonah Lehrer governs not only our physical memories but the prosthetic memory objects stored in our archives. This project mimics the materiality of analog objects by destroying digital files a little bit each time they are accessed.

Brenna Murphy - Expanding Labyrinth

For the past two years, I have been steadily weaving a digital labyrinth for meditation and exploration. The labyrinth is carved into the shared netscape through a series of linked web pages that contain talismanic arrangements of images, videos and sounds. All of the work is generated from my daily creative experimentation with computer graphics programs. For me, graphics programs are spiritual tools that allow one to psychedelically engage with the fabric of reality. I'm deeply committed to pushing the innovative possibilities inherent in these contemporary folk art tools. My labyrinth of pages is an active public record of my explorations. I propose to direct a rhizome commission toward the expansion of this project over the course of the next year. I am requesting a monthly salary to support me in this full time endeavor.

Adam Harvey - Dark Objects

This project will explore the aesthetics of visual obscurity in an era of machine learning and computer vision. The result of this exploration will be the production of a series of objects for human eyes only: objects that cannot be recognized by computer vision, but can still be recognized by humans.

Kenyatta Cheese - The Project for the Study of Corporate Personhood

The Project for Corporate Personhood (aka Kenyatta Co) is a three month performance that explores the topic of identity at a moment when the language and ideas typically confined to product marketing have their way into the realm of everyday life.

Kenyatta Cheese (creator of Know Your Meme, also a person) will sell the exclusive use of his name to a corporation for a period of three months. That corporation will assume both the real world and online identity of 'Kenyatta Cheese' the person, remaining him as a brand with the help of ethnographers, lawyers, focus groups, a creative agency, and friends and acquaintances. The corporation will develop 'Kenyatta Cheese' as a product and take it to market, franchising his personhood for the remainder.  Meanwhile, Kenyatta (the person) will not be able to use his name except in the case of emergencies and air travel. 

Ann Hirsch - Playground 

I was one of these children wandering in the "pedophile’s playground", as Dr. Phil calls it. When I was thirteen I became involved online with an older, twenty seven year-old male. We would have naive versions of cyber sex and phone sex because I had no idea what masturbation or orgasms really were. He tried to teach me and eventually I got a "real world" sexual education. We also shared a level of intimacy I had never shared with anyone before. He confided in me about his muscular dystrophy, which would confine him to a wheelchair for the rest of his potentially short life as well as his resulting offline social shortcomings. At the time, I knew he would be classified as a pedophile but he was also my best friend, my confidant. He also respected my real world privacy and never asked where I lived, who my parents were, what school I went to. But he would often use the intimacy we had to convince me to cross lines I wasn't comfortable with and as I grew older, I realized I needed to pull away from this unhealthy relationship.

I want to create a performance piece based on this experience. It was a complex relationship, that I am not alone in experiencing. However, because of the taboos and technologies involved it's a relationship rarely portrayed in culture. I would cast and hire a young girl as a stand in for myself, and a man in his late twenties to play my online ex-boyfriend. They will sit across from one another and over the course of about thirty minutes, type out to one another a live chat, while their voices, pre recorded, will speak the lines of chat as they type them. The chat will be projected live for the audience to see and it will be a narrative of their relationship. It will start off innocent, as my own relationship with the older man did and become more and more sexual as the younger girl becomes more comfortable with the man and more curious about what he can teach her about sex. The goal is to humanize both the man and the girl in their relationship, with both of them taking something from the other while being exploited. The performance will be documented as a video and sound piece.

Member Awards:

Jeff Thompson - Computers on Law & Order

Starting in 1990, spanning 456 episodes and 20 seasons, “Law & Order” has no peers when it comes to following cultural and political trends through popular media. Because of its particular time, one of the clearest shifts during the show’s run is our relationship to technology.

I propose to create an extensive blog documenting computer use on "Law & Order". Over the course of the series, computers begin to appear the background of offices, then actors begin actively using them onscreen. Crimes using computers, BBS systems, email, and databases start to appear. Internet and email communication become norms, and as the show closes in 2010 mobile computing is in constant use.

Jessica Parris Westbrook and Adam Trowbridge - free and open source textBook/toolKit for art foundations

We are working on a free and open source “textbook/toolkit" that addresses the need to teach, contextualize, and share a wide array of contemporary media (art + design + social practice) skills in the first year of college (or earlier) using project scenarios that integrate technology and studio practice(s) in contemporary meaningful ways.  

We believe that as companies like Apple turn from education and full operating systems to iDevice designed for consumption and as megacorporations like NBC Universal (Comcast GE) abandon support for any sort of open Internet in favor of intellectual property control, young artists should be introduced to the technologies and approaches behind the constant manipulative media stream they are subject to from birth and should have some agency in making digital art and design work free of corporate influence and constraints. 

The textbook/toolkit will address and include both technical topics (e.g. what are vectors, how can you set up an ad hoc mobile network, etc) and conceptual approaches (e.g. social networking sites as control structures, media literacy, history of the internets, new forms and materials, etc) as well as language and resources for going further with skills and ideas. This textbook can be used as a reliable point of reference for those of us who need to develop and design scalable responsive curriculum for beginners. Our goal is to design for artists and teachers, in a format that is accessible to a very wide demographic, and friendly to all levels of learning.



Rhizome Commissions 2011


Rhizome is thrilled to announce the eleven projects that will receive grants in this year’s commissions cycle. Nine of the commissions were determined by a jury consisting of Tina Kukelski, Associate Curator of the 2013 Carnegie Internationale; Candice Madey, founder and director of On Stellar Rays gallery; Domenico Quaranta, curator and writer; and Lauren Cornell, director of Rhizome. Two awards were determined by Rhizome’s membership through an open voting system, in which hundreds of votes were cast. Rhizome will award $30,000 in total towards the projects, which represent diverse approaches to art engaged with new technology. See below for descriptions on each, all written by the artists.

Jury Selections:

Title: Dust
Artist: Aram Bartholl

Dust is a 1:1 scale replica of one of the most played computer game maps in the world. The idea is to build the 3D model of ‘de_dust’ the map of the first person shooter game ‘Counter Strike’ as a permanent ‘building’ from concrete, making this map accessible as a large scale public sculpture. Computer games differ from other mediums such as books, movies or TV, in that spatial cognition is a crucial aspect in computer games. To win a game the player needs to know the 3D game space very very well. Spatial recognition and remembrance is an important part of our human capability and has formed over millions of years by evolution. A place, house or space inscribes itself in our spatial memory. Made from concrete in 1:1 scale, the map becomes an art piece and a museum for a game at the same time. Visitors are invited to take a walk in materialized virtuality and experience the loaded game space in the physical reality. In a level of abstraction all parts of the map will be made from concrete (no color or textures) and will represent a petrified moment of cultural game space heritage.

Artist: Beatriz da Costa, Rich Pell (Center for Postnatural History), Jamie Schulte

The GMO Finder, is a combination web, smart-phone and photo-essay framework, encouraging participants to identify, map and document the presence of genetically modified crops throughout the United States. GMO food and energy crops have permeated the American agricultural system over the past 15 years and a lot of the early public debates surrounding this topic have slowed down. The novelty is gone, and so is the interest of the media. However, questions regarding the configuration of life in an age of transgenics are continuously evolving, and should still be demanding just as much of our attention as they did in the mid-nineties. Rather than promoting or contesting fears of ‘franken-food’ and ‘monster-weeds,’ it seems that today we need a more subtle, fine-graded form of public investigation and presentation. With the GMO Finder, we propose to build a platform to facilitate such activity, and create a shared knowledge base and representation of the American agricultural landscape through the lens of transgenics.

Title: Small Crowd Gathers to Watch Me Cry
Artists: Seecoy, Tao Lin, Jon Rafman

SCGTWMC is a short animated film (currently in pre-production) written by Tao Lin and realized by the directing team of Jon Rafman and Seecoy. In the film, a writer attempts to improvise his new novel in Second Life: a recursive tale where banal meets mysterious and the virtual becomes real. The film is made exclusively within Second Life—a virtual world that is built by its users.

Title: iParade: Unchanged when Exhumed
Artist: LoVid (Tali Hinkis and Kyle Lapidus)

iParade#2: iParade is a locative media project produced as a free smart-phone and tablet computer application (App). The App uses GPS data and includes video, sound, and text that are accessible only in specific geographic locations. The content is inspired by, and recorded in particular places such as a street, a building, or a city park. To watch the work in full, visitors must physically relocate themselves to upload segments linked with each particular location. Our long-term vision for iParade involves a series of Apps that will unfold with episodes in different places, each of them standing on their own as independent works while being a part of the larger structure. We are interested in expanding narratives, visceral content, and media theories that link virtual and physical spaces while incorporating multiple points of view. We are also excited to work in this genre as a new form of expanded cinema and public art.

Artists: DIS will be a fully functioning stock image library dedicated to our ongoing investigation in the realm of stock photography. The purpose of a traditional stock photo is to be a “code without a message,” making it the ultimate image commodity: visual content that, without explicitly articulating anything, can be used for any number of purposes. By adopting the standards already established by stock photo websites to distribute the images, DIS will explore the overproduction of images in the commercial photography market and the oversaturation of imagery in search engines and user-generated sites. Through creating alternative scenarios and new stereotypes, we will question the medium and homogeneity of stock photography. And through co-opting certain aesthetics from commercial photography, we hope to infiltrate the marketplace, thus broadening the spectrum of lifestyle portrayal. As these images disseminate, they will be decontextualized and removed from the art context entirely. Images will be available for free with the DIS Images watermark or for purchase without it. DIS images will proliferate online and in different contexts such as brochures, PowerPoints, etc. Available for multiple—and hopefully conflicting—purposes, the images will circulate and adopt multiple meanings through their contexts and transformations.

Title: African Metropole: Sonic City Lagos
Artists: Mendi and Keith Obadike

This sound installation is the first in our series focused on African cities, an aural update or reimagining of the 1920s city symphony films by Rutman, Strand, Vertov, and others. The sounds of the Lagos, Nigeria will be the source for this work. Our multi-channel sound installation will make use of a center cluster of speakers and flat panel ultrasonic speakers that will project a narrowly focused and an extremely unidirectional beam of sound. These speakers, placed at key nodes in the gallery, will be mounted on an automated servomechanism and will give the illusion of sound following the participant through the space. The project will also include a mobile app that will allow listeners to stream audio in realtime. The first phase of these installations will premier at the Pascal Gallery at Ramapo College in New Jersey.

Title: Tunnels
Artist: Tabor Robak

Tunnels is a 3D interactive virtual environment navigable with mouse and keyboard that places the viewer in a never ending sequence of tunnels each vividly depicting a certain time, narrative, genre, or trope. Perhaps we are in the subways of New York: dirty tile, lights barely flickering, and the distant rumbling of a train. Walking on the tracks we turn into a utility door and find ourselves in the caves of Lascaux, the rocky ceiling is quietly dripping drops of water that echo through the dark cave with horses and bulls accurately depicted on the walls. We are in Jetson's like tube in the sky overlooking a futuristic city disappearing into the clouds. We are in the flashing red hull of a submarine that is slowly filling with water through spraying cracks around bolts. The hallway of a luxury hotel. A mud filled trench. The foggy freezer of a butchers shop with hanging sides of beef on hooks. And on and on. This piece is about the emotional feeling of living in hyperreality, spending an equal amount of time in places physical, mental, and virtual and valuing them equally. It is about forgetting you are in the theater when watching a movie, staying inside on a sunny day to play Crysis 2 on the PC, reading a whole book in one night, running everyday errands, and having Wikipedia on your phone.

Title: Blind Mist
Artist: Brad Troemel and Jonathan Vingiano

Blind Mist is a platform that relies on participants to submit their URL to an open database. From here, the website scrapes every image off the URLs participants offer and adds those images to another archive. There is no limit to the number of URLs/images a participant may add. A stream of images from this archive is presented at random on the Blind Mist homepage. Each image functions as a link back to its original website, allowing users to continue exploring content they found interesting. Through Blind Mist, we intend to offer an alternative to the dominant blogging format of aggregated or self-selected digital media and open possibilities for new, unforeseen juxtapositions in visual content. Additionally, we are interested in promoting a platform that mixes 'high' and 'low' artworks, allowing any and all content to be viewed in the same, uniformly context-free space for further investigation– hence the name's reference to a 'blind draw'. Blind Mist is an attempt to offer a chance for the discovery of our peers artwork in a way that sidesteps the troubled subjectivity associated with curating. By allowing everyone to mutually benefit through exposure and contribution, Blind Mist is currently the beginning of an artistic commonwealth, fulfilling the artistic potential of a decentralized population only feasible in our digital age.

Title: Image Objects
Artist: Artie Vierkant

Today the work of art lies equally in the version of the object one would encounter at a gallery or museum, the images and other representations disseminated through the Internet and print publications, bootleg images of the object or its representations, and variations on any of these as edited and recontextualized by any other author. Image Objects is part of an ongoing thread in my practice examining our relationship to images in a vastly networked society. I am interested in employing this plasticity and the sheer amount of potential venues for image dissemination as aesthetic strategies within my work. Image Objects will begin as a set of works which exist ontologically somewhere between physical sculptures and augmented documentation images. The initial series will comprise somewhere between 12 and 15 large format digital prints mounted to MDF. Each piece of cut MDF will be matched with a print conforming to the same shape, adding a "layer" or "skin" over the physical substrate to create a unified object. This will be procedurally and aesthetically similar to an earlier work, RGB Icon. However, each time the pieces are documented officially (i.e., by myself or by a gallery), any released documentation will be edited first to create a new form which does not accurately represent the physical sculpture.

Member Awards:

Title: Prairie
Artist: Shawn Decker

I have recently just finished a project called Motion Studies (Prairie). This piece is a prototype for a much larger installation. The final version of the work will be a 40' x 80' installation and will simply be titled Prairie. The prototype for the project Motion Studies (Prairie) is a 12’ x 12’ grid of speakers that are mounted on thin rods , with vibration motors attached near the base. The speakers are sent various combinations of pulses, causing them to click, buzz, chirp, and sputter in various insect-like patterns – with these same pulses being sent to the motors. In this way then, the clicks and buzzes heard through the speakers are also manifested in a physical shaking and vibration that is visual in nature, and exactly coincides with the sounds being produced. The 12’ x 12’ scale of this piece allowed for a grid of 36 (6x6) of the speakers, and served as a protoype for a larger scale piece. The patterns in the piece contrast more formal “theatrical” patterns, which seem to resemble dialogues between groups of these “grasses”, with more “naturalistic” indeterminate patterns of various characters, which are much more reminiscent of wind, water, or insects. In the full version of the work (which would be just titled Prairie) an open space as large as 50’ x 80’ would be covered with multiple grids like this one – as many as 6 or 8 of them, with space between them to allow for people to walk among them. This space would have as many as 200 to 300 separate small speakers, each playing unique sounds that are coordinated among all the speakers. This would allow large coordinated group activities and gestures – waves of motion and sound traveling through the large space.

Project: Fantastic Futures
Artists: Led by Huong Ngo, Or Zubalsky, Andrew Persoff, and Ali Salim Abood

Fantastic Futures is collaborative group of students, artists, and educators from Iraq and the United States. It is also an online platform that we have been developing since November 2010 that allows for the mixing and sharing of recorded sounds and stories across cultures. It is a tool for collaboration, critical engagement, and live performances. As a social medium, it is aimed towards connecting citizens from nations in conflict in an open dialogue based around the sharing of field recordings, songs, and interviews. Our goal is collapse the barriers of physical space that contribute to the misunderstandings between cultures and to emphasize the subversive value of sharing experiences across political borders.


Rhizome Commissions Voting Dates Announced


Announcing Rhizome Commissions Voting Dates:

  • Approval Voting: Monday May 23, 2011 - Sunday June 05, 2011
  • Rank Voting: Monday June 06, 2011 - Friday June 17, 2011

In this funding cycle, Rhizome will award ten grants: eight grants will be determined by a jury of experts in the field, and two will be determined by Rhizome’s membership through an open vote. The commission awards will be determined by a jury consisting of Tina Kukelski, formerly of the Whitney Museum of American Art, currently one of the curators for the Carnegie International 2012; Candice Madey, founder of On Stellar Rays gallery, and Domenico Quaranta, writer and media art historian.




We hope that you can join us for two Rhizome-sponsored events at the New Museum tonight and tomorrow. Details below.

Rhizome Commissions 2010

Each year, Rhizome awards grants to eleven emerging artists for the creation of original works of new media art. Established in 2001, the Rhizome Commissions Program has awarded sixty-four grants throughout its history to projects that have gone on to have a great impact in the field of contemporary art. At this event, select artists from the most recent commissioning round will present and discuss their works in progress.

Participating artists: Maria Carmen del Montoya and Kevin Patton, Kristin Lucas, Joe McKay and Angelo Plessas

Thursday January 14th, 7pm
at the New Museum, New York, NY
$6 Members/ $8 General Public

Cinema Fury: A New Performance by Caden Manson / Big Art Group

Rhizome presents Cinema Fury, an action-media performance created by Caden Manson / Big Art Group. Organized by Nick Hallett, Cinema Fury will be an immersive installation and a participatory performance that is designed to bring the audience into the action.

In Cinema Fury, Big Art Group will explore the idea of corruption in the information age, and the chaotic possibilities that arise through errors, glitches, and interruptions within digital transmissions. By reinterpreting models of data transmission and decomposition as performance strategies, Cinema Fury opens new interpretive pathways to understanding the process of contemporary “media-ization.” Concepts of transmogrification, both of the folkloric and post-digital varieties, recur throughout. Big Art Group will draw on material from two upcoming major productions: Flesh Tone (2010) and No Show (2011).

Friday January 15th, 7pm
at the New Museum, New York, NY
$10 Members/ $12 General Public