The Rhizome Digest merged into the Rhizome News in November 2008. These pages serve as an archive for 6-years worth of discussions and happenings from when the Digest was simply a plain-text, weekly email.

Subject: RHIZOME DIGEST: 3.8.02
Date: Fri, 8 Mar 2002 17:36:59 -0500

RHIZOME DIGEST: March 8, 2002


1. Annette Weintraub: The Mirror That Changes

2. m e t a: 4 x 4 generative design

3. njenkins AT 12-12--call for submissions
4. electric AT Call for Entries--DIGITALIS 2
5. pz AT EMARE_call for applications
6. Kanarinka: CALL TO ARTISTS--info AT blah

7. Jonah Peretti: The Artist-As-Knowledge Producer

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Date: 3.3.02
From: Annette Weintraub (weintraub AT
Subject: The Mirror That Changes, Annette Weintraub


S. as the mirror changes with the color of its subject, so [water]
alters with the nature of the place... In time, and with water,
everything changes. Leonardo Da Vinci

The Mirror That Changes is a meditation on the use of water and its
limits, bridging personal use and environmental impact. The visual and
aural qualities of moving water create a languid atmosphere in which
overtly romantic representations of water intersect with narratives
introducing issues of scarcity, purity and equity. Commonplace uses of
water (washing clothes, bathing, cooking) find their parallel in the
wider forces of nature (rain, ice and flood), linking individual action
and global consequence.

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<> ELO invites Rhizome subscribers to
join leading web artists, writers, critics, theorists for the seminal
e-lit event of 2002. Rhizome subscribers who register before FEB 15 2002
may register at ELO member rates ($25 discount).

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Date: 2.26.2002
From: m e t a (meta AT
Subject: 4 x 4 generative design
Keywords: publish, programming, language, interface, design

4 x 4 generative design : beyond photoshop

new artwork, writings, and code by -

adrian ward -

golan levin -

lia -

meta -

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the computer screen is a compositional viewfinder. it can only see so

everything that appears there is constructed of code. text. language.

applications. file formats. operating systems.

while we are in front of the screen they become the basis of our
behavior. we can only do what the program and the operating system allow
us to do.

we come to view these structures as absolutes, as independent entities.

yet all this code, these formats and protocols and platforms, are but
one small visible aspect of a much larger structure.

a process.

a movement and flow that is completely dynamic and fluid and alive.

it is not our tools and technologies but the rigidity of our
preconceptions that limit us.

we define our systems in a rigid manner forgetting all the while that
our systems define us.

generative applications short-circuit this routine, providing an escape
from our own habitual behavior.

an escape from our own limitations via a partial surrender of control.

the chaos and complexity and flux that permeates all of nature is
allowed to bleed into our most controlled and logical structures.

the programmer allows themselves to become programmed.

the designer allows themselves to become designed.


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Leonardo Music Journal (LMJ) 11 includes a double audio CD, "Not
Necessarily 'English Music,'" curated by musician, composer, writer and
sound curator David Toop. The CDs feature pieces from pioneering U.K.
composers and performers from the late 60s through the mid-70s. Visit
the LMJ website at

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Date: 3.6.02
From: njenkins AT (njenkins AT
Subject: 12-12--call for submissions

Call for submissions:
Performance and time based practice live web cast.
Saturday May 18th 2002
Time Based Practice.
University of Wales Institute, Cardiff.

The Time Based Practice dept of UWIC has recently set up audio and video
web casting facilities as part of a research post. We are currently
inviting submissions of work to be shown as part of the live web cast,
to be screened along side work by students and staff from the Time Based
Department. Submitted work should have an emphasis on live time based
activity (performance, sonic, video, and interdisciplinary
practice) and we are particularly interested in work specifically
designed for Internet broadcast.

The show will be broadcast live from 12 noon to midnight. Although we
are unable to offer financial support or artists fees, this represents a
unique opportunity to showcase work to an international audience.

The work will be performed and broadcast from the Space Workshop, the
Time Based Studio area, sited at the Howard Gardens campus of UWIC. For
full details, application form and submission guidelines, please see our

or send SAE to:

Time Based Practice
Cardiff School of Art and Design.
University of Wales Institute,
Howard Gardens,
Cardiff. CF24 0PS.

email: timebased AT
closing date for submissions 22 March 2002

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**MUTE MAGAZINE ART ISSUE** Peter Fend 10 page special, Andrew Gellatly
on selling art online, Benedict Seymour on the closure of London's Lux
Centre, Michael Corris on Conceptual art, Hari Kunzru in Las Vegas.
Reviews: Don't blow IT conference, Wizards of OS, Wolfgang Shaehle's
2001 Show

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Date: 3.8.02
From: electric AT (electric AT


The Digitalis Digital Art Society and the Evergreen Cultural Centre
announce DIGITALIS 2: THE SPIRITUAL IN DIGITAL ART, a group exhibition
of digital print, object, interactivity, music and performance. The
exhibition will run from February 23 - March 29, 2003. Please submit a
maximum of 3 low resolution JPEG or GIF files as well as a bio, artist
statement and proposal to electric AT by June 1, 2002.

The Evergreen Cultural Centre is
located in Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada, near Vancouver (3 hours
north of Seattle.) Proposed work can be in the form of print, objects
such as stereo lithography output, interactive CD/DVD-ROM and Web works,
and computer aided music and performance. Shipping to the gallery will
be the responsibility of the artist. The gallery will pay return
shipping costs. For more information please contact James K-M, DIGITALIS
curator, at electric AT

2001. For an overview please see

(This is not a 'new age' exhibition per se, but is inspired by the 1987
exhibition The Spiritual in Art: Abstract Painting 1890 - 1985 which
included Rothko, Hilma af Klint, Kandinsky, O'Keefe, Beuys, Taeuber-Arp
and many others.)

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Date: 3.6.02
From: pz AT (pz AT
Subject: EMARE_call for applications

European Media Artists in Residence Exchange

EMARE--Grants for European Media Artists for England, Scotland, Germany
and Netherlands

The eighth European Media Artists in Residence Exchange will take place
in Autumn 2002 to Spring 2003.

Europe based Media Artists in the fields of digital media including
internet and computer based art, filmmakers, sound and video artists are
invited to apply for a two month residence based stipend at Hull Time
Based Arts, Kingston Uppon Hull in England; at Duncan of Jordanstone
College School of Television and Imaging, Dundee, Scotland, at V2
Organisation, Rotterdam, Netherlands or at Werkleitz Gesellschaft's
Center for Media Arts Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Students are not
permitted, but young artists encouraged. EMARE includes a grant of 2.000
Euro, free accomodation, 250 Euro travel expenses, access to the
technical facilities and media labs and a professional presentation.
Entries should include a CV, (audio)visual reference projects
documentation and a proposal sketch for the project which should be
developed within EMARE. Artists with residence in or identity card for
EU and associated countries should contact one of the

Contact following institutions for further details and application form
or visit the homepage:

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Date: 3.3.02
From: Kanarinka (kanarinka AT
Subject: CALL TO ARTISTS--info AT blah

CALL TO ARTISTS :: info AT blah :: mining the data glut :: a month long
exhibit in a Boston MA gallery and on the internet in Fall 2002

All of the below information can be found online here:

Call To Artists

Submissions deadline: April 1, 2002

iKatun, a Boston-based nonprofit collaborative, is looking for artists
to submit visual, sound, performance, digital and scientific materials
for INFO AT BLAH, a month long multimedia exhibit planned for Fall 2002.
INFO AT BLAH will take place in a Boston area gallery space and on the

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Date: 2.22.2002
From: Jonah Peretti (jonah AT
Subject: The Artist-As-Knowledge Producer
Keywords: science, research, knowledge production, art world

A Conversation between Jonah Peretti, Director of R&D and Post-Graduate
Studies at Eyebeam, and design engineer and technoartist Natalie

Part II: The Artist-As-Knowledge Producer

Eyebeam ( is a not-for-profit organization established
in 1996 to provide access, education, and support for artists, students,
and the general public in the field of art and technology. Eyebeam is in
the process of creating a research and development division, and I
recently had an extended conversation with the newest member of our R&D
advisory committee, design engineer and technoartist, Natalie
Jeremijenko ( She is in a unique position
to reflect on the role of technical innovation in the context of the art
world. Her work has been exhibited at major art institutions including
the Solomon R. Guggenheim, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the
New York Museum of Modern Art. She has also developed technology
projects at leading research labs, including Xerox PARC, Stanford's
design engineering program, and the Center for Advanced Technology at
New York University. She currently has an appointment at NYU's Center
for Advanced Technologies and at Yale University, where she is creating
a Product Design Studio and an exhibition incubation lab.

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JP: You recently gave a talk at MIT entitled, "the artist as knowledge

NJ: Yes. In the information age, what is information is very much
determined by the hard sciences, economics, or scholarship. Generally,
it is not recognized that artists can also produce knowledge, even

JP: So have you produced a fact when you were working as an artist?

NJ: Well...[laughter]...ideas become facts when they are persuasive
enough that other people see them as almost incontestable. I am
obviously interested in this process and in my own work I do try to use
some of the very persuasive strategies of representation that are used
in the natural sciences. This is one of the reasons I use empiricism or
empirical representations.

JP: But does it produce a fact or does it just make people think about
scientific representation more critically?

NJ: In my own work, this distinction is tricky to manage. The papers
that I am producing about the One Tree project. You know the One Tree
project, with all the clones of trees?

JP: Yes. (See

NJ: Right. It's obviously a very simple demonstration.

JP: A demonstration that genetics isn't destiny, that there are still
many differences between the trees even though they are cloned?

NJ: Right. But the problem that I had with exhibiting the one tree
project where the clones were lined up side-by-side was very simple:
everyone who came felt cheated that these trees did not look the same.
They seemed to think "this flaky artist."

JP: Right, like you messed up the science or something.

NJ: Yes. It is easier to question the artist's grasp of the science,
than to understand this very simple demonstration and the challenge it
issues to the popular misconceptions of genetic control of organisms. If
the environment was exactly the same and the genes were exactly the
same, then perhaps what genes control is actually much more partial than
the way that the popular imagination has been informed.

If you look at a river you do not immediately assume that there is a
central processing unit or a genetic algorithm that controls its
branching structure. Yet everyone can recognize that the form of the
river and the branching structure of trees is similar. Yet we assume one
is controlled completely by genes and the other is not. There is a whole
lot of work that looks at how much genes do control - independent of the
nature/nurture question. When I was an aspiring neuroscientist, I was
taught that there is some sort of ideal form that is mitigated or
somehow influenced by the external nature. Rather than understanding
that the external environment is as important to growth as the so-called
book of life, or code, or central processing. Getting that idea across.

JP: Well let me ask you, are you just "getting the idea across" or does
the One Tree project actually help produce knowledge that proves that
the idea is right?

NJ: It is both. Of course, it is both. It is an on-going spectacle. The
trees are now being planted in pairs in public places throughout the San
Francisco Bay Area. So we have many years to answer this question. But
as a simple demonstration people do have to answer the question, "But
why are they different?"

How they answer that is obviously not completely in my control. It is
interesting, however, that the only people who didn't see that they were
different were the art critics. In none of the reviews, did they
actually comment on the differences I was framing: that these trees,
genetically identical, grown in environmentally identical situations,
were different.

JP: Poor art critics! They became art critics because they didn't
understand science, and now they have to review your shows.

NJ: Well, it is a simple thing to notice. But we have to look to the
particular institutional context. The art critics missed out because
they were walked around by the curators, press packs in hand. The
curators in that show were invested in a particular sort of corporate
celebration of this idea that the biotechnological revolution has
already happened hence the show's name Paradise NOW!

JP: So One Tree was offering a counter-example to this vision?

NJ: Yes. Material evidence that demonstrates quite unequivocally that
genes aren't comprehensively controlling.

JP: This makes me think of accounts of Boyle's air pump experiments. He
would place a bird in the air pump and the gentleman of science would
watch as the air was evacuated causing the bird to die. This was
simultaneously a dramatic spectacle and a proof of the existence of the
vacuum. But despite its striking aesthetic and dramatic appeal, this was
never seen as art.

NJ: The people who are really behind my work don't tend to be the
established art critics. And that is a problem in actually showing this

JP: Sure, but your work has been displayed at the Whitney, MoMA, the

NJ: But the issue is what happens when it is exhibited. Like with One
Tree, if it had been reviewed in a different way it could have enabled a
different sort of public discourse. I used to get frustrated that such a
simple demonstration could be misread. But then you need to think about
the political context. Take for instance Suicide Box at the Whitney

JP: What did you show? Did you show video?

NJ: It was the video. So here is this footage captured by a high end
Silicon Graphics machine with custom software that was a hell of a thing
to build, deploy, install and maintain in the middle of nowhere to
capture the footage. But the curators at the Whitney wrote about it as:
"simulated footage of suicides off the Golden Gate Bridge." They
immediately assumed that they were not real, that it was not true. So
all of this work producing this empirically gathered evidence of this
actual tragic social phenomena was completely and immediately dismissed.
Any question a viewer might have about how to understand these images
was closed down. They did not check with me. They didn't say, "Is this
real?" It was immediately assumed it was not, and could not be real,
largely because it was produced by an artist.

So in both One Tree and Suicide Box there was strong, completely visual
and unambiguous evidence of something that was radically reconfigured in
the curatorial context. In both of those cases, you can see the
empiricism is overridden by the social institution in which it is

JP: We have talked a bit about the individual artist's status as a
knowledge producer, but I am interested to hear your thoughts on
technoart collectives. What do you think about underground organizations-
-like the Bureau of Inverse Technology, the Institute for Applied
Autonomy, Etoy, or RTMark--that hide the identities of their members and
sometime attempt to mislead people in order to achieve political goals?
What do you think of this as a strategy?

NJ: Obviously, I think a lot of it. I call this phenomena "corporate
art" since it reproduces bureaucratic fronts. And I think each
organization is quite different. RTMark obscures the people involved but
"For Cultural Profit" is clearly their mission. The people at RTMark use
different names and changed identities. But Etoy, for instance, it is
very much a rock band phenomena - they dress the same and produce a
brand identity. For the Bureau, they obscure on the level of what the
organization is for and what it does, in order to confuse it with other
organizations or corporations. The roles are circumscribed so that I am
"known to be an engineer for the Bureau of Inverse Technology."

JP: Well, this is also mocking the passive voice that is used in science
and research.

NJ: Right. Because technological culture is produced by this dispersed
accountability. Who is actually producing it? Who can you point to who
actually wrote the Microsoft operating system? No one can be held
accountable, it is like "well...I just did the user interface" or "I did
part of the database structure." It is this condition of diffuse
accountability that is very crucial to understanding and perhaps
intervening in technoculture.

At the Bureau, conceptual authorship is left hanging, which has been
confusing for people. There is this anxiety: "Is it real? Is it
simulated? What sort of organization would video tape suicides off the
Golden Gate Bridge? Am I being tricked?" But this is exactly this
productive anxiety that calls into question the corporate bureaucratic
fronts that have the conceptual authorship.

JP: The other thing about these organizations is that a lot of the
members also work at government or university research labs. Do you
think that underground tech-art collectives are just a parody of their
mainstream counterparts or do you think they are a place where real
knowledge production can happen?

NJ: There is a real production of youth culture and alternative culture
that this "corporate art" is a vanguard for. They are not just empty
ironies, they are organizing real human activities, for example the two
of us sitting here spending our time talking about them. Besides the
Bureau has lasted twice as long as the corporate lab Interval Research
did. These collectives are as real as it gets.

JP: Thank you, Natalie. It has been a pleasure speaking with you.

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Rhizome Digest is filtered by Alex Galloway (alex AT
ISSN: 1525-9110. Volume 7, number 10. Article submissions to
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