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: 7.5.02
Date: Thu, 4 Jul 2002 10:35:08 -0400

RHIZOME DIGEST: July 5, 2002


+editor's note+
1. Rachel Greene: seeking volunteer superusers

2. Kunstradio: Call for participation - Radiotopia

3. Jonah Brucker-Cohen: Co2nvert- Interaction Design for a Greener Planet

4. Lev Manovich: Welcome to the Multiplex - Documenta 11, New Generation
Film Festival (Lyon), LA Film Festival¹s New Technology Forum

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Date: 7.4.02
From: Rachel Greene (rachel AT
Subject: seeking volunteer superusers

we're looking for volunteer superusers to make more
rhizomatic -- by decentralizing editorial roles, and putting
content-filtering in the hands of the many and diverse.

superusers will decide what goes on the homepage, which
texts get sent on to rhizome rare, and consequently, what goes into the
rhizome textbase. taking a step back, selecting and databasing texts is
part of the project of historicizing new media art, so we'd like to work
with members who take the matters of and new media
art/history fairly seriously. superusers should be able to evaluate the
quality of texts, and associate them with keywords and other metadata
(so they should be interested in the language of new media, art, theory,
community, and discourse). superusers should also be familiar with the
logic and flow of email based discussion and banter. production skills
are required too: superusers will need to have graphics software (e.g.
photoshop) and facility converting screenshots and graphics into
thumbnail images. superusers' schedule and level of activity on can vary, and will be discussed with rachel so she can rely
on colleagues accordingly.

if you are interested in volunteering to be a superuser,
please email a cover letter (reflecting on if you have the abilities
described above) and resume to me at rachel AT with "superuser"
in the subject line. thanks + looking forward to the collaborations...

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Date: 7.1.02
From: Kunstradio (kunstradio AT
Subject: Call for participation - Radiotopia

Radioactive Communi(ty)cation
on air - on line - on site

on air: OE1 Kunstardio, Radio Oesterreich International (SW), Radio
1476 (MW) and others...
September 8th, 11:05 pm CEST
September 10th, 11:05 pm CEST - 05:00 am CEST

on line:

on site: September 8th - 12th, Ars Electronica Festival,
Klangpark AT Brucknerhaus, Linz, a.o.

Radio in its many forms is still the most globally accessible medium for
both local and long-range communication and information sharing. In the
digital age, it is often dismissed as an outdated technology, and yet
millions of people turn on and tune in worldwide. Despite the current
configuration of radio (often limited by commercialization and state
regulation), radio has great potential as a tool that can reach out
across cities and remote areas alike as a means for building local and
international community. Transmitters can be easily assembled from
readily available technologies, enabling radio to operate independently
and to be community-based, experimental, political; giving voice to
those who are rarely or never heard in the mounting commercial static of
corporate globalization. These transmitters may not have a wide range
but when networked by any and all means available, their impact can be

Radiotopia will be, literally, a radio-place; instead of the homogenized
drone of corporatized globalization, Radiotopia will be the sound of a
varied world, emanating from people engaged in widely diverse cultural
practices. Initiated by the AEC and coproduced with OE 1 KUNSTRADIO,
RADIOTOPIA proposes to create a temporary network aimed at linking
disparate parts of the globe on many realtime and virtual levels,
creating a multi-media network grounded in radio transception (both
sending and receiving), culminating in a large open-air installation and
an overnight broadcast (Long Night of Radio Art) during the Ars
Electronica Festival 2002.

The Ars Electronica Center and Festival for Art, Technology and Society,
Linz, Austria was established in 1979 as an open meeting-place for
artists, scientists and researchers. The Ars Electronica Festival is one
of the most important festivals for electronic art and media theory. The
festival 2002 focuses on the blind spots of globalization with
UNPLUGGED, a theme indicative of how the issue of the political element
in art has returned with a vengeance to the agendas of intellectual
discourse and artistic practice.

Artists of all fields and from all over the world are invited to become
participants/nodes in this network.

There are many ways of communicating/participating/exchanging:

Send your sounds/poems/scores etc. in a pre-recorded form to Kunstradio
via snail mail (on cassettes, CDs, MDs) or Internet (live streams,
files, images) or send your texts/poems/statements (in all languages) in
a written form to:

ORF Kunstradio
Argentinierstr. 30a
A - 1040 Vienna
Phone. ++431 50101 18277 or ++43 732 7272 60
Fax: ++431 50101 18065
Email: kunstradio AT

- TRANSFORMATION: Become a node in the network by collecting part of the
sound inputs from the project website, from shortwave services, or from
participating local, community, pirate or national radio broadcasts, and
process/remix these sounds to re-input into the network.

- OUTPUT: Create your on own on-air or on-site version of the project:
broadcast sounds from the network on your radio station or stream from
your website; or incorporate sounds into a public concert or

Combinations of all the above mentioned are possible and very welcome.
Mixing, re-mixing, re-broadcasting etc may also happen before and after
the period of the Ars Electronica Festival)

CONTENT: All kinds of sounds are welcome; however, to help create the
unique soundimage of Radiotopia - Radio as a worldwide medium for
communication/ exchange/dialogue supporting and amplifying the often
unheard multiplicity of voices-- we propose a strong language or vocal
element in your contributions. Diverse and regional voices also includes
the "voices" of specific landscapes, cityscapes, and ecosystems around
the world.

We may attempt to classify your contributions on the homepage of the
project according to their emotional atmosphere, their type of language
(human everyday, poetic etc., environmental sounds, urban rhythms etc)
to make your contributions easily accessible to those musicians, sound
artists and radio artists who will be composing on-site, on-air and
on-line versions of the project during the Ars Electronica Festival. You
are invited to classify your own contribution.

TECHNICAL ASPECTS: The main platform of the project will be a website
which serves several purposes: - it will offer informations on the
project and depict its progress. - it will make all individual
contributions accessible worldwide in low tech formats and if possible
high quality sound formats. - it will feature live webcasts and their
documentations from all the versions of the project rendered on-site and
on-air during the festival - it will host documentation and archiving of
the project, allowing interested people to continue mixing and re-mixing
beyond the timeframe of the Ars Electronica Festival.

All of the incoming contributions (sound, images, texts), also those
arriving by letter or cassette, CD etc will be put on this webpage and
thereby become part of the projects archive.

The versions planned so far for realisation during the renowned
international Ars Electronica Festival (taking place for the 23rd time
in Linz/A from the 8th to the 12th of September 2002)

on site: - specially invited international musicians/sound artists will
compose open-air mixes using submitted and streamed audio material to be
presented on a huge loudspeaker system along the banks of the river
Danube at Linz/Austria, in front of the Brucknerhaus, one of the main
venues of the Ars Electronica Festival. Webcasts and "soundreports" of
these versions will be available on the project website - live and as

on air: - an overnight radio art broadcast live on the National
Austrian Radio on the September 10th (11pm CEST - 5:00 am CEST) will
have artistst/musicians present in the studio composing your
contributions into a very unusual many hours long radio-event. This
event will be streamed live online and documented afterwards.

on line: (as above) The on-site and on-air events of/at the Ars
Electronica Festival will be webcast and documented on the website of
the project, which will become an archive of all submitted
contributions, as well as their different uses in either the
installations or the radio broadcasts by fellow artists during the
festival and after....

ORF Kunstradio
Argentinierstr. 30a
A - 1040 Vienna
phone: ++431 50101 18277

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**MUTE MAGAZINE NO. 24 OUT NOW** 'Knocking Holes in Fortress Europe',
Florian Schneider on no-border activism in the EU; Brian Holmes on
resistance to networked individualism; Alvaro de los Angeles on and Andrew Goffey on the politics of immunology. More AT
http <> ://

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Date: 6.27.02
From: Jonah Brucker-Cohen (jonah AT
Subject: Co2nvert: Interaction Design for a Greener Planet

Ever wonder how many pollutants you generate by typing an email? Is the
electricity used to power this computer more than the power to build it?
Maybe if products were designed with energy consumption in mind, our
fears of shrinking natural resources would dissolve. As digital
technology heads for a sustainable relationship with the environment,
artists are taking the lead on creating innovative approaches to these

>From early environmentally conscious art like Robert Smithson's "Spiral
Jetty" (1970) to recent work like "The Bank of Time"
( which turns idle computer time into
fertile ground for desktop plants, there is a history of interlinking
creative and ecological practices. Contemporary artists such as Natalie
Jeremijenko also focus critical art practices towards environmental
issues. Her project, "Stump", which prints out a tree ring when a tree's
worth of paper is consumed, illustrates our continued dependence on
shrinking resources in the digital world. Working in urban space, "One
Tree" (
clones a young tree one thousand times and plants them around San
Francisco to see the ecological effects of different areas of the city
on biologically identical plants.

Working more in the realm of solving the global Greenhouse scare through
simple rules of interaction design is Co2nvert
(, a new project by Irish designer Philip
Phelan. The project features working prototypes of innovative
eco-conscious ideas with everything from the "Snobby Toaster" that won't
run on fossil fuel power to the "Buy-Sell Socket" that lets you manually
crank power back into the energy grid.

Phelan, a graduate of London's Royal College of Art - Interaction Design
program, begins with the simple idea that modifying the design of
everyday objects can not only enlighten us about personal energy use but
also help change our habits. "We need to take individual responsibility
for Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to make a real difference," explains
Phelan. "We need to introduce 'cues' and 'clues' into a domestic
environment to modify consumer's GHG-causing energy behavior patterns."
This might sound like a heady statement of early 90s Earth Day hype, but
what types of alternatives are possible? What has really changed since

Conceived for the home, CO2nvert's products like the "Greenhouse Fuse"
rely on our wall sockets being smart enough to know the type of
appliance plugged into them. If the quality of energy used by the
appliance is unclean, the fuse will blow. The "Carbon Sink Filter" is a
packaged carbon-sink that comes with tree seedlings that once planted,
soak up the carbon dioxide emissions generated. Similarly, the CO2nvert
"Emissions Bill" is a monthly reminder breaking down each household's
global pollutant contribution. This might entice you to ease up on your
hair dryers and electric blender use. Or if you worry about clean energy
sources, the "Windwasher" flashes a message on its LCD screen alerting
us when off shore breezes are available to spin laundry.

CO2nvert's opus is "Appliance Weathermap", a real-time weather map
featuring flying dishwashers over your home country that signal the
opportune time to use natural energy. "In times of high winds or
sunshine, appliance weather maps should show the amount of power they
hold so that, given enough renewable energy resources, we can put our
foot down at opportune times," says Phelan.

Whether it's through personal choice or subtle differences in the
appliances or bills we receive everyday, projects like CO2nvert serve as
a wake up call to our energy consumption, a topic often elided in
discourse about the "virtual" and the implicit assumption that
contemporary technoculture is less materially damaging than other forms
of industry. Artists continue to challenge our habits of interaction
with the planet, and attempt to shape our relationship to precious
natural resources. Despite the range of environmentally conscious
projects in both art and design, change is only possible when our
individual actions are manifested on a global scale. "If we use
interaction design to introduce such [ecological] 'feedback' into the
home or work," agree Phelan, " Then this can turn a small individual
difference into a massive collective one."

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<> Cover the realm of art, science and
technology by subscribing to Leonardo Electronic Almanac (LEA).
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Date: 7.1.02
From: Lev Manovich (manovich AT
Subject: Welcome to the Multiplex - Documenta 11, New Generation Film
Festival (Lyon), LA Film Festival¹s New Technology Forum

I was struggling how to fill 1000 words talking about Documenta 11, when
I was hit with a solution: why not talk about all three festivals I
attended this June: Documenta 11 in Kassel; New Generation, the first
edition of a brand-new film festival in Lyon; and Los Angeles Film
Festival¹s New Technology Forum. Since all three events focused on new
(or not so new) directions in moving image production and distribution,
this will be the focus of this review.

Just as the last time when I went to se Documenta 10 (1997), attending
the new Documenta left me with the same feeling: what¹s the big deal? On
any given day in New York or London you can just go to whatever museum
and gallery shows happen to be running and you will see as many
first-rate works by as many brand-name and ³emerging² artists. Of course
it is nice to go to Documenta parties (although it¹s not Venice) and to
sit in a cafe outside the main exhibition hall trying to recognize the
cultural celebrities going in: here is Stuart Hall?here is Walid Ra¹ad
whose Atlas Group presented one of the smartest and though-provoking
projects of the whole Documenta.

While the new Documenta makes a real effort to open itself up to global
multi-culturalism, the results are quite contradictory. The show in
Kassel is presented as the final ³Fifth Platform,² with the first four
platforms having taken place during the preceding year in Vienna,
Berlin, New Delhi, St. Lucia and Laso focused on topics such as
³Creolite and Creolization² and ³Under Siege: Four African Cities².
Unfortunately one could not learn anything about these previous four
³platforms² without buying the thick catalog ­ there were no references
to them in the art show itself.

The long list of artists shown in Kassel included plenty of people
outside of Europe and US, like the group Igloolik Isuma Productions,
whose film Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner) won a Prix D¹Or for best debut
feature film at Cannes 2001. However, looking at the spatial layout of
Documenta grounds it became clear that each of three key buildings gave
the largest central spaces to the older European or US white artists
such as Allan Sekula, Bernd and Hilla Becher, and Constant. I had the
feeling that Documenta curators put on mini-retrospectives of these
artists, added more big images of German photographers and conceptual
1970s artists, and then filled the remaining smaller and peripheral
spaces with actual contemporary art.

Going through the show I also had the feeling I was in a kind of
artist¹s cinema multiplex. Although I have not counted, it felt that at
least half of all the Documenta artists presented ³video installations²
which almost all followed the same standard exhibition format: a
projection presented in a small room. At least in a commercial movie
theatre you get comfortable seats, Dolby surround sound, and you can
bring in a coke, but since Documenta was about ³serious art² and not the
pleasures of mass culture, a typical room had hard and uncomfortable
benches. Somebody pointed out to me that all video and film
installations presented at Documenta together added up to more than 600
hours of running time. Somebody else noted that the size of video and
film installation rooms varied accordingly to the prestige of a an
artist The films by Jonas Mekas and Ulrike Ottinger, the veterans of
experimental filmmaking, which were between five and six hours each,
were in larger rooms which had a few row of comfortable chairs, like in
a real movie theaters. Other videos were stuck in small rooms with a
single bench.

Given my interest in new forms of cinema I was attracted to a number of
multi-screen installations at Documenta, including works by such
heavyweights as Isaac Julien, Chantal Akerman, and Eija-Liisa Ahtila. I
thought that Ahtila¹s three screen installation worked the best: you
feel that she is seriously researching a new grammar for a multi-screen
cinema. (She is currently having a solo exhibition at the Tate in

One great new media project that I did see at Documenta was OPUS
(software and accompanying theoretical package) by Raqs Media Collective
(New Delhi). Unveiled in Kassel, OPUS is definitely the most interesting
new media project I have encountered in quite a while. It is a
sophisticated, both theoretically and technically, system for multi-user
cultural authorship in a digital network environment. Do take a look at
the site and check their new concept of "Rescension" (in OPUS Manual)
that offers a very interesting way to address the difficult issues of
authorship in our "remix" culture. OPUS raises the bar for all future
practical and theoretical work dealing with digital authorship.

The paradox of a an art show which became a multiplex movie theatre
became further apparent after I visited the brand new film festival in
Lyon called New Generation. Approximately one third of a festival was
given to artists¹ videos. However since this was a film festival rather
than art show, the short videos were packaged together in ninety minute
programs shown in a movie theatre ­ in contrast to Documenta which
followed the art convention of giving each video its own room. For me,
neither interface makes much sense ­ why not put all video on a computer
server and set up comfortable personal stations where viewers can access
and watch any video in any time, the way it was done already a few years
ago in KIASMA museum in Helsinki. KIASMA digitized a whole collection of
Finnish video art which was then put on museum servers accessible
through PCs set up in a special media room.

Next it was to a day of panels making up the New Technology Forum at
the Los Angeles Film Festival. After a conservative Documenta and a
sleepy Lyon DV marathon, here I finally some real cutting edge stuff -
new advances in machinema, video creation software running on cell
phones, Hollywood and military collaborating on new AI simulations, and
the like. Once again, I was given proof that creative
techno-avant-garde is not in Kassel, Lyon, and other traditional
citadels of ³real culture² but in Los Angeles, literally next door to
Hollywood studios.

Katherine Anna Kang (Fountainhead Entertainment) talked about a
feature-length film her company is working on using a custom machinema
system. (For those who don't know, machinema is a subculture of amateur
filmmakers who use computer games as movie making tools. She called this
new kind of cinema ³machinemation.² Another paradigm that also uses
game-like real-time 3D scene generation was demonstrated by Jeff Rickel
from the University of Southern California¹s (USC) notorious Institute
of Creative Technologies. The institute was established a few years ago
with funding from the US Army to work on new types of military
simulations using Hollywood talent. Rickel showed a particular
³peacekeeping scenario. ² Written by a veteran Hollywood writer, the
scene had three virtual humans in a stressful situation. The goal of the
simulation is to teach a soldier what to do in an ambiguous situation.
The scenario used high-end AI that controls virtual humans¹ emotional
expressions, speech, etc. If traditionally simulations focused on
machine operations (airplane, tank, etc.) and battle action, USC work
can be better thought of as interactive narrative, where the user (the
trainee) is presented with a dramatic scenario with simulated humans.

Bart Cheever from D.FILM festival (the digital film festival running
since 1997) presented the gems from Digital Silverlake mini-festival he
curated earlier this year. Created by artists, filmmakers and designers
living in Silverlake and other areas of East LA, the works in Digital
Silverlake represents the next stage in the evolution of moving image
aesthetics. If 1995 article ³What is Digital Cinema² I defined digital
cinema as compositing live action + image processing + 2-D animation +
3-D animation. Since then a new generation of designers who grew up with
Flash and Shockwave have started to make short films and music videos
which add typography and also privilege a 2-D flat look as key visual
aesthetics. To put this differently, while we see more and more ³hybrid²
films, which use plenty of compositing, 3D and 2D animation, but still
have an overall ³film² look (i.e., they present us 3D photorealistic
space) - such as ³Amelie² (2001) ­ there is also now a different type of
³hybrid² film which looks more like what we expect to find in
illustration and graphic design. I call this new type of digital cinema
aesthetics ³Post-Flash Cinema.²

Another digital cinema pioneer Jason Wishnow (who two years ago
organized the first festival of films for the Palm Pilot platform)
suggested that a movie trailer could be the prototype of a new genre
appropriate to micro-cinema running on cell phones, Palms, Pocket PCs,
and similar devices. He also discussed aesthetic features that
characterized micro-cinema during the one hundred years of its history
(from Kinetoscope to Palm) such as close-ups and loops.

On a distribution side, Ira Deutschman (Emerging Pictures) talked about
his company¹s plan to have 200 digital movie theatres in three years by
placing digital projectors in already existing but under-utilized
screening spaces such as museums. In his system, digital film files
will be downloaded to a local server installed in a theatre, since the
files will be too big to download in real time.

In June, I found the cutting edge of moving image culture in Los
Angeles. However, I am spending the next three months in Berlin, and I
am sure I will see enough for another report by the end of the summer. (check out
³Rescension² concept)
http:/// (on video installations
as cinema)

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Rhizome Digest is filtered by Rachel Greene (rachel AT
ISSN: 1525-9110. Volume 7, number 27. Article submissions to
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