Brian Droitcour
Since 2008
Works in BROOKLYN, New York United States of America

Rhizome curatorial fellow September 2008 - April 2009, staff writer April 2009 - December 2011, poetry editor January 2012 - 20??

Interview with Alexei Shulgin

Alexei Shulgin's pioneering works in internet art are collected on his site, but many of the links there are empty or obsolete; one called Insanity Notification sends visitors to a site indicating that Shulgin went insane at an unidentified point in the past. It has been more than five years since Shulgin left the online environment to focus on the production of tangible, marketable objects. His collaboration with Aristarkh Chernyshev began in 2003, and two years later the artists founded Electroboutique a gallery-slash-gadget shop selling distorting screens and other high-tech toys. Shulgin and Chernyshev called it "Media Art 2.0," and wrote a manifesto saying the plug-and-play nature of their new work liberated them from a "media art ghetto," adding that their manipulation of familiar screen-based interfaces contained a nugget of criticality. Their work was recently featured in "Criti Pop", an exhibition at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (along with interactive installations that Chernyshev made in collaboration with Vladislav Efimov). - Brian Droitcour

Lewis Hyde Profiled in the New York Times Magazine

This past Sunday the New York Times Magazine profiled Lewis Hyde, a writer and poet whose 1983 book The Gift described the value of art and literature in a market system as "the commerce of the creative spirit." Now a fellow Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Hyde is at work on a book that attempts to define how the market of cultural property should be regulated. Excerpts below, see link at the bottom for the full article.

In the late 1990s, Hyde began extending his lifelong project of examining "the public life of the imagination" into what had become newly topical territory: the "cultural commons." The advent of Internet file-sharing services like Napster and Gnutella sparked urgent debates over how to strike a balance between public and private claims to creative work. For more than a decade, the so-called Copy Left -- a diverse group of lawyers, activists, artists and intellectuals -- has argued that new digital technologies are responsible for an unprecedented wave of innovation and that excessive legal restrictions should not be placed on, say, music remixes, image mashups or "read-write" sites like Wikipedia, where users create their own content. The Copy Left, or the "free culture movement," as it is sometimes known, has articulated this position in part by drawing on the tradition of the medieval agricultural commons, the collective right of villagers, vassals and serfs -- "commoners" -- to make use of a plot of land. This analogy is also central to Hyde's book in progress, which looks closely at how the tradition of the commons was transformed once it was brought from Europe to America.


Hyde posits that the history of the commons and of the creative self are, in fact, twin histories. "The citizen called into being by a republic of freehold farms," he ...


Experimental Philosophy Demo (2008) - Ben Coonley

Artist's Statement: A video demonstration of a classic Experimental Philosophy experiment on "The Concept of Intentional Action" (AKA the "Knobe Effect"). Comedian Eugene Mirman narrates.

More work by Ben Coonley


Glimpses of Unease: Olga Chernysheva

Image: Olga Chernysheva, Moscow Area, 2008 (Silver-gelatin fiber print)

Moscow artist Olga Chernysheva seeks out moments of awkwardness and discomfort that arise when reality falls short of the imagination. Whether working with oils or watercolors, analog photography or digital video, Chernysheva uses a plain, unaffected style, deliberately constructing her compositions to be as inconspicuous as she is when fixing her voyeuristic gaze. Tonight at 7:00 p.m. she will present a screening of video works at the Museum of Modern Art. Rhizome Curatorial Fellow Brian Droitcour met with Chernysheva in her Moscow studio.

There's a park in the north of Moscow called VVTs, or All-Russia Exhibition Center, but Muscovites persist in referring to it by its old name, VDNKh, the Exhibition of the People's Economic Achievements. Neither name is a good fit. The old one sounds clumsy and communist. The new one seems too ambitious, since most commercial fairs prefer newer, centrally located facilities to VDNKh's whimsical and ill-equipped pavilions, which were built in the 1930s to showcase products of the Soviet republics or economic sectors whose names they still bear. Today most of them are improvised stores, with plastic banners stretched over marble and gilded facades to advertise the inexpensive goods for sale inside, such as furniture, seeds, radio parts, and honey. As a metaphor for the collision between a Soviet "bright future" and the present's imperfections, VDNKH seems almost too pat to exist. But this juxtaposition is alive in the experience of the thousands of shoppers and strollers who congregate there every day.

Image: Olga Chernysheva, Panorama, 2006 (Oil on canvas)

Olga Chernysheva usually looks for material in her neighborhood, and at the VDNKh, just a few kilometers north along a major Moscow thoroughfare, which has provided her with inspiration on many occasions ...