Marisa Olson
Since the beginning
Works in Brooklyn, New York United States of America

Marisa Olson is an artist, writer, and media theorist. Her interdisciplinary work has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale, Centre Pompidou, Tate(s) Modern + Liverpool, the Nam June Paik Art Center, British Film Institute, Sundance Film Festival, PERFORMA Biennial; commissioned and collected by the Whitney Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Houston Center for Photography, Experimental Television Center, and PS122; and reviewed in Artforum, Art21, the NY Times, Liberation, Folha de Sao Paolo, the Village Voice, and elsewhere.

Olson has served as Editor & Curator at Rhizome, the inaugural curator at Zero1, and Associate Director at SF Camerawork. She's contributed to many major journals & books and this year Cocom Press published Arte Postinternet, a Spanish translation of her texts on Postinternet Art, a movement she framed in 2006. In 2015 LINK Editions will publish a retrospective anthology of over a decade of her writings on contemporary art which have helped establish a vocabulary for the criticism of new media. Meanwhile, she has also curated programs at the Guggenheim, New Museum, SFMOMA, White Columns, Artists Space, and Bitforms Gallery. She has served on Advisory Boards for Ars Electronica, Transmediale, ISEA, the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences, Creative Capital, the Getty Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Kennedy Center, and the Tribeca Film Festival.

Olson studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths, History of Consciousness at UC Santa Cruz, and Rhetoric & Film Studies at UC Berkeley. She has recently been a visiting artist at Yale, SAIC, Oberlin, and VCU; a Visiting Critic at Brown; and Visiting Faculty at Bard College's Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts and Ox-Bow. She previously taught at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts' new media graduate program (ITP) and was Assistant Professor of New Media at SUNY-Purchase's School of Film & Media Studies. She was recently an Artist-in-Residence at Eyebeam & is currently Visiting Critic at RISD.

Collectible After All: Christiane Paul on net art at the Whitney Museum

The Whitney Museum artport has been an important institutional presence in net art and new media since its launch in 2002. Created and curated by Christiane Paul, artport features online commissions as well as documentation of new media artworks from the museum's exhibitions and collections. This year, artport as a whole was made an official part of the Whitney Museum collection; to mark this occasion, participating artist Marisa Olson interviewed Paul about the program's history and evolution over thirteen years.

 Douglas Davis, image from The World's First Collaborative Sentence (1994).

Collections like artport are a rare and valuable window onto a field of practice that, in some senses, was borne out of not being taken seriously. From mid-80s Eastern European game crackers to late-90s net artists, the first people working online were often isolated, by default or design, and were certainly marginalized by the art world, where few curators knew of their existence and fewer took them seriously, advocated for them, or worked to theorize and articulate the art historical precedents and currents flowing through the work. Help me fast-forward to the beginning of this century at one of the most important international art museums. Many of the US museums that funded new media projects did so with dot-com infusions that dried-up after 2000. Artport officially launched in 2001; the same year, you curated a section devoted to net art in the Whitney Biennial. What was the behind-the-scenes sequence of events that led to artport's founding?

I think artport's inception was emblematic of a wave of interest in net art in the US around the turn of the century and in the early 2000s. This more committed involvement with the art form interestingly coincided with or came shortly after the dot com bubble, which inflated from 1997–2000, had its climax on March 10, 2000 when NASDAQ peaked, and burst pretty much the next day. Net art, however, remained a very active practice and started appearing on the radar of more US art institutions. To some extent, their interest may have been sparked by European exhibitions that had begun to respond to the effects of the web on artistic practice earlier on. In 1997, Documenta X had already included web projects (that year the Documenta website was also famously "stolen"—that is, copied and archived—by Vuk Cosic in the project Documenta: done) and Net Condition, which took place at ZKM in 1999/2000, further acknowledged the importance of art on the web.

US museums increasingly began to take notice. Steve Dietz, who had started the Walker Art Center's New Media Initiatives early on, in 1996, was curating the online art Gallery 9 and digital art study collection. Jon Ippolito, in his role as Associate Curator of Media Arts at the Guggenheim, was commissioning net art in the early 2000s and in 2002, Benjamin Weil, with Joseph Rosa, unveiled a new version of SFMOMA's E-space, which had been created in 2000. This was the institutional netscape in which I created artport in 2001, since I felt that the Whitney, which had for the first time included net art in its 2000 Biennial, also needed a portal to online art. The original artport was much more of a satellite site and less integrated into than it is now. Artist Yael Kanarek redesigned the site not too long after its initial launch and created version 1.1. Artport in its early days was sponsored by a backend storage company in New Jersey, which was then bought by HP, so HP appeared as the official sponsor. I think it is notable that sponsorship at that point did not come from a new tech company but a brand name that presumably wanted to appear more cutting edge.

booomerrranganggboobooomerranrang: Nancy Holt's networked video

Nancy Holt, Boomerang (1974), still from video.

In her time on this planet, Nancy Holt came to be known as a great American Land Artist, and certainly her brilliant installations, like Utah's Sun Tunnels and collaborations with her partner Robert Smithson and their peers, are profoundly significant, but it was her work in film & video that has had the greatest personal impact on me.

I somehow didn't see Boomerang, her 1974 video performance usually credited to her collaborator Richard Serra, until I was a Ph.D. student in Linda Williams's Phenomenology of Film seminar at UC Berkeley's Rhetoric program, but the time delay was more than made up for by the work's formative resonance. In the video, made during Serra's residency at a Texas television station, a young Holt is seen sitting in an anchor's chair before a staid blue background. Despite brief station ID graphic overlays and one minute of silence in the midst of the ten-minute piece (announced as audio trouble and reminding viewers of the work's live TV origin), the work is in many ways sound-centric.

Sound and Image in Electronic Harmony

Image: Semiconductor: Ruth Jarman and Joseph Gerhardt, 200 Nanowebbers, 2005

On Saturday, April 11th, New York's School of Visual Arts will co-present the 2009 Visual Music Marathon with the New York Digital Salon and Northeastern University. Promising genre-bending work from fifteen countries, the lineup crams 120 works by new media artists and digital composers into 12 hours. If it's true, as is often said, that MTV killed the attention spans of Generations X and Y, this six-minute-per-piece average ought to suit most festivalgoers' minds, and the resultant shuffling on and off stage will surely be a spectacle in its own rite. In all seriousness, this annual event is a highlight of New York's already thriving electronic music scene and promises many a treat for your eyes and ears. The illustrious organizers behind the marathon know their visual music history and want to remind readers that, "The roots of the genre date back more than two hundred years to the ocular harpsichords and color-music scales of the 18th century," and "the current art form came to fruition following the emergence of film and video in the 20th century." The remarkable ten dozen artists participating in this one-day event will bring us work incorporating such diverse materials as hand-processed film, algorithmically-generated video, visual interpretations of music, and some good old fashioned music-music. From luminaries like Oskar Fischinger, Hans Richter, and Steina Vasulka to emerging artists Joe Tekippe and Chiaki Watanabe, the program will be another star on the map that claims NYC as fertile territory for sonic exploration. - Marisa Olson




The National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST) in Athens, Greece, has committed itself to curating a number of recent exhibitions of internet art. Their current show, "Tag Ties and Affective Spies," features contributions from both net vets and emerging surfers, including Christophe Bruno, Gregory Chatonsky, Paolo Cirio, JODI, Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar, Les Liens Invisibles, Personal Cinema and The Erasers, Ramsay Stirling, and Wayne Clements. The online exhibition takes an antagonistic approach to Web 2.0, citing a constant balance "between order and chaos, democracy and adhocracy." Curator Daphne Dragona raises the question of whether the social web is a preexisting platform on which people connect, or whether it is indeed constructed in the act of uploading, tagging, and disclosing previously private information about ourselves on sites like Flickr, YouTube, and Facebook. Dragona asks whether we are truly connecting and interacting, or merely broadcasting. While her curatorial statement doesn't address the issue directly, the show's title hints at the level of self-surveillance in play on these sites. Accordingly, many of the selected works take a critical, if not DIY, approach to the internet. The collective Les Liens Invisibles tends to create works that make an ironic mash-up of the often divergent mantras of tactical media, culture jamming, surrealism, and situationism. In their Subvertr, they encourage Flickr users to "subverTag" their posted images, creating an intentional disassociation between an image's content and its interpretion, with the aim of "breaking the strict rules of significance that characterize the mainstream collective imaginary..." JODI's work, winning information (2008) exploits the limited stylistic parameters of the social bookmarking site. Using ASCII and Unicode page titles to form visual marks, a cryptic tag vocabulary, and a recursive taxonomy, their fun-to-follow site critiques the broader content of the web ...


Reappearance of the Undead


In 1997, internet art hall-of-famer Olia Lialina made a "net drama" called Agatha Appears that was written for Netscape 3 and 4 in HTML 3.2. One of the main features of the interactive narrative was the travel of the eponymous avatar across the internet. Let's just say the girl got around. But the magical illusion of the piece was that she appeared to stay still, even when links in the narrative were clicked and the viewer's address bar indicated movement to another server. But in time, both the browser and code in which the story was written became defunct and the piece unraveled as the sites previously hosting the links and files upon which Agatha was dependent disappeared or cleaned house. Such a scenario is common to early internet art (and will no doubt continue to plague the field), as ours is an upgrade culture constantly driving towards new tools, platforms, and codes. Many have debated whether to let older works whither or how it might be possible to update these works, making them compatible with new systems. For those who are interested, some of the best research on the subject has been performed by the folks affiliated with the Variable Media Initiative. Meanwhile, luddites and neophiles alike are now in luck because Agatha Appears has just undergone rejuvenation. Ela Wysocka, a restorer working at Budapest's Center for Culture & Communication Foundation has worked to overcome the sound problems, code incompatibilities, and file corruption and disappearance issues, and she's written a fascinating report about the process, here. And new collaborating hosts have jumped in line to bring the piece back to life, so that like a black and white boyfriend coming home from war, Agatha now offers us a shiny new webring as a token of ...


Discussions (281) Opportunities (10) Events (4) Jobs (0)


Fwd: ((audience07))

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Lauren Rosati <>
Date: Apr 2, 2007 6:20 PM
Subject: ((audience07))
To: Lauren Rosati <>

new delhi, india

an immersive sound art biennial

AUDIENCE07 will be an international exhibition of cinematic sound art.
The festival will be presented in a darkened movie hall in New Delhi,
India, in October 2007. A New York preview is scheduled for
September. (Venues TBC)

We are now accepting submissions for audio art compositions with an
emphasis on narrative, temporal and spatial experimentation. We are
especially interested in artists that treat cinema as a distinct form
for the organization of time. Accepted formats include:

DVD (Quad, 5.1, 7.1)
CD (Stereo)


Call: Rhizome's Summer of Books

*Please forward*

Beginning in May and extending through the summer, Rhizome will run a
series of special features on new books, journal issues, and other
writing projects related to new media.

We are currently compiling a list of texts to include and looking for
writers who would like to review books, interview authors, contribute
curated reading lists, or write thematic essays related to movements
in new media, as traced in recent publications.

The resulting bibliography will grow online, over the summer, and will
ideally provide a snapshot of contemporary scholarship in new media,
while extending into coverage of broader contemporary art practices
and issues related to digital culture at large.

These articles will run on our lists, in our Digest, and on our
front-page reblog and will be archived in a special Summer of Books
page on

Interested writers should email marisa(at)rhizome(dot)org with writing
samples. Bibliographic suggestions are encouraged but not required.
Authors and publishers should mail texts for potential review to the
following address:

Marisa Olson
Editor & Curator
Rhizome at the New Museum
210 Eleventh Ave, 2nd floor
New York, NY 10001


Fwd: Video Vortex: Responses to YouTube (event & discussion list)

From: Geert Lovink <>

Video Vortex Conference: November 30 and December 1 2007, Amsterdam (NL)
Organized by the Institute of Network Cultures

First announcement, March 15, 2007

List info:

In response to the increasing potential for video to become a
significant form of personal media on the Internet, this conference
examines the key issues that are emerging around the independent
production and distribution of online video content. What are artists
and activists responses to the popularity of 'user-generated content'
websites? Is corporate backlash eminent?

After years of talk about digital conversions and crossmedia platforms
we are now witnessing the merger of the Internet and television at a
pace that no one predicted. For the baby boom generation, that
currently forms the film and television establishment, the media
organisations and conglomerates, this unfolds as a complete nightmare.
Not only because of copyright issues but increasingly due to the shift
of audience to vlogging and video-sharing websites as part of the
development of a broader participatory culture.

The opening night will feature live acts, performances and lectures
under the banner of video slamming. We will trace the history from
short film to one-minute videos to the first experiments with streaming
media and online video, along with exploring the way VJs and media
artists are accessing and using online archives.

The Video Vortex conference aims to contextualize these latest
developments through presenting continuities and discontinuities in the
artistic, activist and mainstream perspective of the last few decades.
Unlike the way online video presents itself as the latest and greatest,
there are long threads to be woven into the history of visual art,
cinema and documentary production. The rise of the database as the
dominant form of storing and accessing cultural artifacts has a rich
tradition that still needs to be explored. The conference aims to raise
the following questions:

- How are people utilising the potential to independently produce and
distribute independent video content on the Internet?
- What are the alternatives to the proprietary standards currently
being developed?
- What are the commercial objectives that mass media is imposing on
user-generated content and video-sharing databases?
- What is the underlying economics of online video in the age of
unlimited uploads?
- How autonomous are vloggers within the broader domain of mass media?
- How are cinema, television and video art being affected by the
development of a ubiquitous online video practice?
- What type of aesthetic and narrative issues does the database pose
for online video practice?

Conference themes:

Viral Video critique
Vlogging Critique
Participatory Culture, Participatory Video
Real World Tools and Technologies
Theory & History of the Database
Narrative and the Cinematic
Database Taxonomy and Navigation
Internet Video: Art, Activism, and Public Media
Evening Programme / Exhibition

Viral Video critique

YouTube made 2006 the year of Internet video. The video content
produced bottom-up, with an emphasis on participation, sharing and
community networking. But inevitably like Flickr being consumed by
Yahoo, Google purchased YouTube. What is the future for the production
and distribution of independent online video content? How can a
participatory culture achieve a certain degree of autonomy and
diversity outside mass media? What other motives does Google have for
Internet video in terms of searching and advertising? After the
purchase of YouTube, Google was asked to remove a number of clips that
breached copyright laws. What comparisons can be made between the
Napster incident with audio and video-sharing websites?

Vlogging Critique

This section will deal with vlogging criticism. Is video blogging a
form of text-based blogging with other means? How can we develop a form
of criticism, and a critical practice, that is not derogative and yet
surpasses the anecdotal diary level? Is vlogging the next stage of ego
boosting of the blogger, who wants to raise his or her ranking status?
What is a video diary and how can this emerging genre be shaped? Can
there be sophistication in 'vlogging'? How can we overcome the
evangelical that stresses the possibilities of gadget features? And how
can we overcome the amateurish aesthetics of this new genre?

Participatory Culture, Participatory Video

The Web 2.0 holds the promise to create a participatory culture that
can renew the stagnated democracies in the West. In this utopian
approach, the user has the historical task to overcome the old regime
of top down broadcast media and create decentralised dialogues. To what
extent can user-generated video content be energized by presenting the
material as citizen journalism? Is the increased user participation
really a sign of a new political culture or is it a mere special effect
of technological change?

Real World Tools and Technologies

In this session we will investigate the progress that open source and
free software initiatives have made in regard to the development of the
codex and the player that can compete with the proprietary standards
such as Microsoft Media Player. It is not enough to critique the
corporate takeover of MySpace and YouTube and upload alternative
content. Increasingly the intention of programmers shifts towards
Peer2Peer solutions in order to create a truly distributed network in
which content can freely float around without having to use centralised
servers. In this session we will present projects such as;

Theory & History of the Database

Searching databases has become a dominant cultural practice. Instead of
flipping through a radio and TV guide, the cinema programme or the
library, we browse the Internet. In this session we would like to go
back in time and investigate the history of the computer database. What
are the ideological underpinnings of 'taxonomy'? What do we search when
we perform a search? Should the aim be to overcome the fragmented
experience of our contemporary database culture and create overriding
meaning structures that deepen our understanding without having to
compromise on content diversity?

Narrative and the Cinematic

Do these fragmented video databases lead to new narratives and genres?
Does a database like YouTube evoke a skill such as continuous partial
attention, or a contemporary disease like the attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)? Against the medicalization, scholars
have put the ability of users to reassemble short stories into larger
new narratives as a reassuring alternative that replaces old media
skills. The bricollage is assembled by the end-user, not the producer.
Is there a new cinematic experience?

Database Taxonomy and Navigation

How do artists relate to the possibility of building large video
databases? Is YouTube the future of video art? Traditionally, artists
have always worked with found footage but nowadays it has never been
easier to access. The remix culture, online video tools and increased
server space make it possible to create large databases in which
complex interconnected content can be offered to the viewer. What is
the underlining information architecture? How does one navigate Steven
Spielberg's video archive of the holocaust survivors? Or take the
Dropping Knowledge project in which 110 experts answered 100 questions
of the audience, which can be accessed as a database. The same can be
said of large museum collections.

Internet Video: Art, Activism, and Public Media

From 16mm film and video to the Internet and back, activists have
always used the moving image to produce critical and innovative work.
For many, the experimentation with visual language and critical content
has been one and the same. In this session we will explore early
examples of Internet video and investigate how artists and social
movements have responded to the YouTube challenge. Is it better to
integrate your message into large existing platforms or should we
rather let a thousand blossoms bloom and each have our own video
server? Online video databases like YouTube seemingly are the ideal
artist portfolio online, with unlimited uploads and a massive audience.
MySpace is inhabited by bands and musicians, but why don't video
artists and filmmakers occupy YouTube? If we look at the videos on
YouTube, what aesthetics do we find? Is there a homogenous style that
only builds on eyewitness tv and candid camera formats? And now that
music videos and commercials increasingly resemble video art, can we
define how exactly artistic practices influence the look of online
footage? What would it mean to take YouTube Art serious? Is YouTube a
medium and platform in itself for art works or is it merely used as a
promotional device? Many have used YouTube to produce diary-type
performances in which they either played themselves or pretended to be
some character. What status do we give to such ego documents? Is
YouTube used by artists as a tool to intervene in social and political
issues? In this session we will present projects such as:

Evening Programme / Exhibition

Video Slamming
"Short, user-created videos are creating a new kind of watching
experience, one more about 'snacking' than half-hour sitcoms." (The

Much like poetry slamming the use of short video fragments has become a
dominant mode in visual culture. Where are the video files found and
how are they used and played with? Is 'video slamming' the new way of
watching audiovisual files? This session is all about the new ways of
watching, using, and playing with moving images: scratching, sampling,
mixing, but also (meta) tagging, recommending etc. This session will
feature performances, live acts and lectures.

Video Vortex Discussion List:

With this discussion list we like to gather responses to the rise of
YouTube and similar online video databases. What does YouTube tell us
about the state of art in visual culture? Is YouTube the corporate
media structure of the 21st century? What are the artist responses to
YouTube aesthetics?

General information about the mailing list is at:

To post to this list, send your email to:

This list is meant for all those interested in the topic, and will
possibly continue after the event in late 2007.

Practical info:

November 30 and December 1, 2007.

PostCS 11, PostCS building
Oosterdokskade 3-5
1011 AD Amsterdam
T: 020 - 62 55 999

Organized by
Institute of Network Cultures, HvA Interactive Media, Amsterdam

Editorial team
Geert Lovink, Sabine Niederer, Shirley Niemans

Affiliated researchers
Seth Keen, Vera Tollmann

Shirley Niemans

For further information, please contact
Shirley Niemans, shirley(at)


Jean Baudrillard, 1929-2007

See below for news about photographer and media theorist, Jean Baudrillard.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Joseph Nechvatal <>
Date: Mar 6, 2007 5:39 PM
Subject: news

In case you do not know: J. Baudrillard died today

Book Review of Jean Baudrillard's Pataphysics

Reviewed by Joseph Nechvatal
at The International Journal of Baudrillard Studies (IJBS)

Joseph Nechvatal