Required Reading



Is it still necessary to define art by intent and context? The gallery world would have us believe this to be the case, but the internet tells a more mutable story. Contrary to the long held belief that art needs intent and context, I suggest that if we look outside of galleries, we’ll find the actions, events and people that create contemporary art with or without the art world’s label.

Over the past 20 years, the theory Relational Aesthetics (referred to in this essay as RA) has interpreted social exchanges as an art form. Founding theoretician Nicholas Bourriaud describes this development as “a set of artistic practices that take as their theoretical and practical point of departure the whole of human relations and their social context”[1]. In reality, art erroneously known to typify RA’s theorization hasn’t strayed far from the model of the 1960’s Happening, an event beholden to the conventions of the gallery and the direction of its individual creator. In her essay Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics, Claire Bishop describes Rikrit Tiravanija’s dinners as events circumscribed in advance, using their location as a crutch to differentiate the otherwise ordinary action of eating a meal as art[2]. A better example of the theory of RA succinctly put into action can be seen in anonymous group activities on the internet, where people form relations and meaning without hierarchy.

Started in 2003, is one such site, and host to 50 image posting message boards, (though one board in particular, simply titled ‘/b/’, is responsible for originating many of the memes we use to burn our free time.) The site’s 700,000 daily users post and comment in complete anonymity; a bathroom-stall culture generating posts that alternate between comedic brilliance, virulent hate ...


General Web Content


CAPTCHA-related humor began with the widespread use of CAPTCHA (and more recently reCAPTCHA) on popular blogging and forum sites. The technology is intended to stop spam by asking the user to verify a pair of distorted words, thereby proving they are not a bot. In the case of reCAPTCHA these words are pulled somewhat randomly from an archive of textual documents requiring digitization, and that random pairing of words often produces strange and comical combinations.


Untitled (2010) - Peter Rand


Double Rainbow/ Donald Judd Mash-up


General Web Content





Trollface is a meme that celebrates and disparages the Internet troll and the act of purposefully creating controversy and havoc in online communities. Trollface originated with a short comic posted to 4chan's /v/ boards around November of 2008, and soon the face was cut, pasted, and photoshopped into any situation that had been or needed to be trolled. Trollface captures the sadistic pleasure of trolling, but is also used as a justification for misinformation. It's a reminder that we are all taking this too seriously, and that we were just trolling you anyway.

This post was assembled in anticipation of the trollish behavior (and the trollfaces) which will be the focus of TROLL, a new group show at Envoy Enterprises in the Lower East Side, curated by gay digital media art collective CTRL+W33D. The exhibit opens tonight from 6-9 and will remain up until July 15th. TROLL includes original work by a whole roster of internet-based artists, many of whom we've posted to Rhizome before, here's the full list of participants: Jacob Meehan, Brad Troemel, Kari Altmann, Andrew Laumann, Michael Magnan, Patrick Dyer, Dylan Reece, Chris Udemezue, Scott Hug, Ben Schumacher, Cody Critcheloe, Chris Bogia, Matt Lifson, Jarrod Beck, Elijah Burgher, Daniel Leyva, Lazaro Rodriguez, Ben Aqua, Da Sul Kim, Travess Smalley, Mark Spalding, Kristin Smallwood, Ivan Lozano, Khalid Al Gharaballi, Shawn Maximo, Borna Sammak, Fatima Al Qadiri, Jason Villegas, Paul Cupo, Venus Jazmin Soto, Adam Radokovich and Anthony Thornton.


































New from


A few months ago, we published a statement by co-founder Ryder Ripps on the image-only chatroom, which had just been launched. Since then, the site has taken off big time. See below for some gifs from two ace memes to emerge from - Sloth Goth and Deal With It. have also instituted a Hall of Fame for other gems produced by users as well as an image vortex which visualizes the images dumped to the site in real time.

Deal With It




Sloth Goth





General Web Content


When R&B; singer Ginuwine's jam Pony came out in 1996, it became the classic soundtrack to grinding, and its (admittedly, hilarious) refrain "ride it, my pony" a fixture in American pop culture. More recently, A.Mart from Hamburger Eyes launched "Dancing Alone to Pony" -- a tumblr blog compiling solo videos of people dancing to the track. The site has encapsulated this micro-meme. Here are a few of the highlights, visit Dancing Alone to Pony for more.


General Web Content


For today's General Web Content I have assembled a collection of images that repurpose traditional models of data visualization for humorous/bizarre/illuminating effect. This meme has been around for several years now, first coming into mainstream awareness with the emergence of the overwhelmingly brilliant website "rap represented in mathematical charts and graphs," and continues to be a persistent mechanism for creative expression across the web. (Especially in forums such as b3ta, 4chan, and Something Awful.) The intent of this collection is not to present a best of, but merely to convey a broad overview of the meme. Enjoy.


General Web Content


On gaming, gear, and tech sites across the net one can find threads asking users for ratings and approval on their equipment. A simple search for "rate my rig", "rate my setup", "rate my collection", "rate my gear" will return hundreds of these images and videos. From snapshots of elaborate home entertainment centers to short videos displaying one's own modded gear, a sense of pride and showmanship pervades throughout. The threads and video clips speak to the social and performative nature of collection, as well as a competitive consumerist drive, and offer a glimpse into the lives, homes, and obsessions of geeks of all kinds.







Using, Using, Used


Within the pages of Digital Folklore Reader, Olia Lialina, one of the book’s editors, refers to a claim by the social media researcher Danah Boyd, that some American teenagers identify as Facebook and others as MySpace—preferring a conformist and clean interface persona, or a rebellious and visually pimped one, respectively.

This book, co-edited by Dragan Espenschied, is by all outward appearances a MySpace, brimming with exuberant design elements culled from all over the net and reaching deep into online history. The dust jacket repeats a background image of a unicorn perched on a boulder at sunset under a meteor shower. Its reverse is wallpapered in 32 by 32 pixel gif icons representing the gamut of popular user-generated online imagery: cartoon characters, porno ladies, geometric designs, quotidian objects, flags, logos, landscapes and text, from WTF to FREE TIBET. One layer deeper, the cover and back of the book are white, or, probably (in RGB concept), nothing. The spine is also nude, showing off the motley sequencing of pages inside, the first and last of which are a flat, vibrant #00FF00 green, allusive of web-safe color and maybe of a green screen, primed for content to be transposed onto it.


Top 5 - 10


Image from There I Fixed It

Jonah Brucker-Cohen is a researcher, artist, professor and writer. His writing has appeared in numerous international publications including WIRED Magazine, Make Magazine, Neural, Rhizome, Art Asia Pacific, Gizmodo and more, and his work has been shown at events such as DEAF (03,04), Art Futura (04), SIGGRAPH (00,05), UBICOMP (02,03,04), CHI (04,06) Transmediale (02,04,08), NIME (07), ISEA (02,04,06,09), Institute of Contemporary Art in London (04), Whitney Museum of American Art's ArtPort (03), Ars Electronica (02,04,08), Chelsea Art Museum, ZKM Museum of Contemporary Art (04-5),Museum of Modern Art (MOMA - NYC)(2008), and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) (2008). He received his Ph.D. in the Disruptive Design Team of the Networking and Telecommunications Research Group (NTRG), Trinity College Dublin. He is an adjunct assistant professor of communications at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) and in the Media, Culture, Communication dept of NYU Steinhardt School of Culture Education and Human Development.

2009 was an important year for the Internet as a whole. The advent of web 2.0 and "crowdsourcing" initiatives has enabled a much richer array of content from users who might never have ventured onto the Internet in previous years. My top 10 sites for this year cover a wide range of topics from art made for mobile devices with to evidence of both information saturation with Information Aesthetics and physical and pseudo intellectual abundance with This is Why You're Fat and There I Fixed It, to strange observances of mistakes in the public realm with Fail Blog. In addition to these crowdsourced content sites, I also see some ongoing potential with artist-created sites such as Brett Domino's lowtech approach to music making ...