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Rhizome 2009 Commissions: Announced!

Congratulations to the winners.


I am somewhat disturbed by the lack of overtly political works in the list of winners. In this year, an election year, I would have expected and desired more projects that dealt with contemporary concerns. While there was unfortunately a dearth of political possibilities in the original list of projects (at least in the 100 or so I rated), there were at least two, one by Ricardo Dominguez on the plight of immigrants crossing the US-Mexico Border, and another by Ayah Bdeir, about the historical representation of Lebanon in the media, that were directly about present-day concerns and hotspots, and that had at least made it to the second round of public voting. I am glad that projects like "TSA Communication" and "Young Man Was No Longer A..." were awarded commissions, although the playfulness of the former belies a terribly serious situation that is not getting better.

In the end, what I was looking for in the commissions were works that would be designed to have more of an interventionist stance with regards to the present-day political climate in general, and the upcoming elections in particular. This could have been a chance to make a stand and give awards to people who were trying to change the political climate in the states for the better, at a time when public attention is most focused on political concerns. However, this does not seem to have been the aim of the jury, nor the Rhizome member voters.

Full Disclosure: I submitted a project that, while it reached the finals of the jury voting, was not awarded a commission.