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: 7.26.02
Date: Fri, 26 Jul 2002 15:40:08 -0400

RHIZOME DIGEST: July 26, 2002


+editor's note+
1. Rachel Greene: new faces + forms

2. Videotage: Videotage News August 2002
3. Ray Thomas: Attn BIG Torino artists- Does BIG Torino owe you money?

4. Liza Sabater-Napier: GEN XY vs Godzilla

5. are flagan: Read_Me - H2K2 HOPE Conference, Part 1

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Date: 7.25.02
From: Rachel Greene (rachel AT
Subject: new faces + forms

Some announcements. We're looking for an intern to help with
Marketing and PR. If interested, please email alexis AT

I'm happy to announce that Francis Hwang has taken over for Alex
Galloway as Technical Director here at headquarters. Alex, who has been
core to Rhizome for six years, will start full time teaching this fall
at NYU. He's on to exciting new projects, and we congratulate him.
Before leaving he called Francis a "genius," which gave us much
confidence about the transfer of duties. Besides being a "genius" and a
really nice guy, Francis has an impressive, funny bio:

'Francis' most recent artwork is at, and uses a Perl
script and the Google Web API to turn any HTML page into a
free-associative index for the rest of the web. He has written about
technology and culture for Spin, Wired, ArtByte, and Feed.

While in college, Francis published a zine on the postmodern
implications of tabletop role-playing games. He programmed what may be
the only Markov-chainer-driven hallucinogen on a LambdaMOO. He believes
that Jaron Lanier is right about cybernetic totalism, and that Star Wars
is the health of the state.'

Welcome Francis!!

Also, this week's Digest features an excerpt from a piece by Are
Flagan. It's the first installment of his exhaustive, observant account
of his experience and education as a newbie at this month's Hacking
conference H2K2. Great reading for those curious about this important
creative field. Reminds me of a beautiful David Garcia post from Nettime
in 1997: "Although they deal in a language as symbolic as art; "code",
the hacker ethic revives the situationist proposal of an alternative
type of creativity. A creativity which starts where art leaves off. It
is normal everyday life that should be made passionate and rational and
dramatic, not its reflection in the seperated world of art."

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Date: 7.24.02
From: Videotage (videotage AT
Subject: Videotage News August 2002

Videotage News Contents
1. Experimental Intermedia continues through November 2002
2. Microwave International Media Art Festival open call for entries
3. Telepidemic: Videoart Exhibition, Kobe, Japan, 24-28 July 2002
4. 02 HK Sound + Vision Festival
5. Looking for Mies: a multi-media architectural music performance by
Zuni Icosahedron, 16-17 August 2002
6. Repertory Cinema --- A Spectrum of Film Classics and Masters: Jean
Renoir Hong Kong Space Museum Lecture Hall and Hong Kong Film Archive
7. Someone Has Done It Before, Para/Site Art Space, continues through 11
August 2002
8. Is It Easy to be Young? Fabrica resident award announced

price for IdN one-year subscription is HK$420 (6 issues/year). -1 year
IdN Chinese/English subscription (6 issues) - HK$336 (20% off) -2 year
IdN Chinese/English (12 issues) - HK$630 (25% off) -Special price to
purchase Flips 4 - HK$250 (35% off). Please call or email Videotage for
subscription form.

1. Art Leadership: Experimental Intermedia continues through November
2002. This experimental project which contains four workshops and four
series of twenty lectures, providing hands-on experience in exploring
the possibility of video and the computer. Workshops are fully booked,
but seats are still available for the lecture series. Topics include
The aesthetic of technological art, I Shop Therefore I am: e-commerce,
On-line consumption and the Notion of Consumerism, The Heresy of
Hypertext, among others. Limited enrollment. For more, please contact
Videotage, 2573-1869 or go to:

2. Microwave International Media Art Festival open call for entries:
video and CD Rom art works. Deadline 30 September 2001. Send previews
with image files, CV, and art work synopsis to: Microwave International
Media Art Festival, Unit 13, Blk PB 567, Cattle Depot Artist Village, 63
Ma Tau Kok Road, To Kwa Wan, Kowloon, Hong Kong, Special Administrative

3. Telepidemic: Videoart Exhibition, Kobe Art Village Center, Japan,
24-28 July 2002. Works include videos by Nose Chan, Fion Ng, and Mark
Chan. Exploring the themes, Criticism on Mass-media Form and Concept,
Revolution and Illusion, Politics and Activism, Homogenized and
Textualized City, Theory of Image Arts, Praxis of Image Arts, Tide of
New Videoart Generation and Documentation of Video Artist Workshop. For
more go to:

4. 02HK SOUND And VISION FESTIVAL, 8-25 August 2002. The theme of this
year's SVF is "Musica Documenta"- music documentary representing the
bare essence or naked truth of the spirit of music that makes
appropriate sense for these economically difficult times. SVF¹s film
programme from 8-24 August at the Lim Por Yen Film Theatre, Hong Kong
Arts Centre features The Rolling Stones/ Gimme Shelter, John & Yoko/ The
Bed-in, Music-Love-Man: Chi Chung's Music Road Movies, The Art of
Turntablism, Metal Headz: The History of Drum ?N Bass, and much more.
Also live events such as Northern Soul (16 August) and Hip-hop night (23
August) at Chemical Suzy and LMF/Rip Slyme at HITEC, 18 August.
Programme enquiries, contact Ms. Bobo Lee at 6083-6604 and email:
b130401 AT

5. Looking for Mies: a multi-media architectural music performance by
Zuni Icosahedron. Using theatre space to explore the different theories
and concepts of architecture by integrating digital arts, sound, music
and installation to generate a new form of theatre experiment. Kwai
Tsing Theatre Auditorium, 16-17 August 2002. URL: or

6. Repertory Cinema --- A Spectrum of Film Classics and Masters: Jean
Renoir, curated by Law Wai Ming for the Leisure and Cultural Service
Department. To many critics, Jean Renoir¹s greatness lies in his
repeated effort to take risks, to make new sorts of film and to be
experimental. The French filmmaker¹s creations vividly chronicled the
development of French cinema from the silent movie era up to the
overture to the French New Wave. This special series features Renoir¹s
Grand Illusion, The Rules of the Game, French Can Can and more. 2-4
August at the Hong Kong Science Museum Lecture Hall and 9-11 August at
the Hong Kong Film Archive Cinema. For further details:

7. Someone Has Done It Before, group exhibition featuring the work of
the students from the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong
Kong. Para/Site Art Space, 4 July ­ 11 August 2002. URL:

8. Is It Easy to be Young? Fabrica residency award has been given to Ms.
Wanda Choi, a graduate from the School of Creative Media, City
University of Hong Kong, for her video Operation. Her work was included
in Videotage¹s youth video screening program Is It Easy to be Young?
this past April. Wanda Choi will spend one year at the Fabrica Research
Center in Treviso, Italy. The program was co-curated by Yau Ching and
Jaime Hayon of Fabrica.
Unit 13, Block PB 567, Cattle Depot Artist Village
63 Ma Tau Kok Road
To Kwa Wan, Kowloon
Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2573.1869
Fax: 852-2503.5978

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Date: 7.20.02
From: Ray Thomas (admin AT
Subject: Attn BIG Torino artists: Does BIG Torino owe you money?

Dear BIG Torino artists and others,

The BIG festival (run by Michelangelo Pistoletto) owes us $2700 that we
paid out of our own pocket to set up our project there. No amount of
e-mail and telephoning from us and from one of the curators has had any
success in getting the festival to pay us this money.

For a while we thought this might be because of the events that we
describe at, but lately we have heard from
quite a few other BIG Torino artists who are, likewise, still awaiting
payment from BIG; still others had to pursue Fulvio Spada and other BIG
staff for weeks in order to get paid.

If you too are owed money by BIG (or any of director Michelangelo
Pistoletto's other entities, such as Citta dell'arte), we would love to
know details of your cases, so that we can pursue collectively various
options for forcing them to pay us all.

Also, several art journalists in Italy and elsewhere are interested in
this subject for articles about the hypocrisy of this festival, directed
by the founder of Arte Povvera, that claims to be about art confronting
the social and yet doesn't pay its artists. We will be happy to transmit
to them any information.

Best wishes,

Ray Thomas
for RTMark

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Date: 7.26.02
From: Liza Sabater-Napier (liza AT
Subject: GEN XY vs Godzilla

Technology - Reuters Internet Report
Web Filtering Lawsuit Challenges U.S. Copyright Law
Thu Jul 25, 5:33 PM ET

By Elinor Mills Abreu

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A 22-year-old law student filed a lawsuit on
Thursday asking a federal court in Boston to let him crack the digital
lock on software that filters Internet Web sites so that he and others
can view blocked sites, some of which he says are useful to the public.

The suit, filed by the New York-based American Civil Liberties Union (
news - web sites) on behalf of Ben Edelman, challenges the controversial
Digital Millennium Copyright Act ( news - web sites) (DMCA) of 1998. The
law prohibits creation or distribution of tools that can be used to
unlock digital copyright protections.

Edelman, who will enter Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts,
in the fall and is a technology analyst at The Berkman Center for
Internet & Society there, claims the filtering software is flawed and
blocks legitimate Web sites rather than just the pornographic sites it
purports to target.

"The core reason filtering software is of concern at the moment is
because it is being forced upon a substantial number of Americans as
they attempt to use the Internet in their local public libraries, public
schools, businesses and even in their homes," Edelman told Reuters.

For example, a product from Seattle-based N2H2 Inc., named as the
defendant in the lawsuit, blocks breast cancer ( news - web sites) Web
sites and others with vital public health information, such as the Asian
Community Aids ( news - web sites) Services organization, Edelman said.

The Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), which took effect in
2001, requires that public libraries and schools receiving federal funds
use filtering software on their Internet-connected computers.

The ACLU challenged the library provision of that law in a lawsuit filed
in March 2001. A Pennsylvania federal judge overturned the law in May
2002 and the case is on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court ( news - web

Edelman wants to publish the list of blocked sites and distribute
software that would enable others to see the Web sites. The lawsuit
argues that it is within his "fair use" rights under the U.S.
Constitution to do research on the software.


Filtering software is also being used by governments in other countries
to censor and restrict access to the Internet for politically motivated
reasons, including China, Vietnam, Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia, Edelman

He said his research found that Saudi Arabia had restricted access to
Web pages including the "woman" entry from the Encyclopedia Britannica,"
and the Amnesty International site.

N2H2 is one of the companies vying for a contract to supply Saudi Arabia
with blocking software, the ACLU said.

Part of the lawsuit challenges N2H2's software license agreement, which
prohibits customers from decrypting or otherwise reverse engineering the

The lawsuit claims the license agreement is unenforceable because by
installing the product the customer is forced to automatically consent
to the terms of the agreement and cannot negotiate, Ann Beeson, ACLU
lead counsel on the case, told Reuters.

N2H2 spokesman David Burt told Reuters, "We believe our software
licenses are valid and we do intend to defend them and our intellectual

Other DMCA challenges have not held up.

An appellate judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by a Princeton professor
who feared recording companies would sue him over research into digital
music copyright protections. And movie studios successfully sued Eric
Corley after he published software to decrypt DVDs on his hacker Web
site, 2600.

In another case, trial is set to begin Aug. 26 for Moscow-based
ElcomSoft Co. Ltd., which was sued for selling software to unlock
copyright protections on digital books.

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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

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Date: 7.25.02
From: are flagan (areflagan AT
Subject: Read_Me: H2K2 HOPE Conference, Part 1

Read_Me, Part 1

H2K2 ­ HOPE Conference, July 12-14, Hotel Pennsylvania, NYC, New York

H2K2 is only the fourth conference of HOPE (Hackers On Planet Earth) and
the third at Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City. From a relatively
modest start in 1994, the conference has gradually and quite
impressively grown in size from occupying only a small amount of hotel
real estate to breach the capacity of an entire floor during the most
popular events. While the earliest hacker ³conferences² (usually
abbreviated Con, as in SummerCon 1987) were very informal and, sadly,
often marred by arrests, the gradual recognition of the hacker
enterprise and ethic has led to large public events like HOPE that are
comprised of 12 quite exhausting but equally invigorating hours of
programming per day. Unlike other hacker gatherings that have taken a
very commercial turn, such as the DefCon extravaganza in Las Vegas
(which sidelines as the security industry¹s peek-at-the-underground
showcase), HOPE is heavily invested in the social and political agendas
that motivate and support hacker activity. The list of speakers and
topics is consequently not only cloaked in handles and obscure network
acronyms. It also includes authors and industry experts that,
respectively, have sales ranks on and command six-figure
salaries. The common thread is belief in a free and open society that
readily shares information and knowledge to collectively improve on the
world we live in. Faced with the oppressive culture of security and
secrecy that currently sweeps this nation, the concerns raised, the
information shared, and the stories told at HOPE resonate with an
unprecedented urgency when one considers the increasingly analogous
relations between computer networks and society at large. Each
fundamentally operate according to constantly developing and
intermittently agreed-upon protocols that can be equated with democratic
principles, but each of these are also increasingly controlled by
corporate and legislative interventions. When a bona fide, public forum
like HOPE compels some audience members to cover their faces with
bandanas (others, presumably jokingly if black humor counts, sported
silly false noses and moustaches) to hide from the Feds seated
watchfully in the back, the debated lines of contention drawn in session
after session found its mirror image in the assembled crowd. You cannot
ask of a conference to be more real and relevant than this surreal
scenario advertised.

Computer hacking is by all accounts driven by compulsive and obsessive
behavior that does not rest until a problem is solved or curiosity is
satisfied. It was perhaps fitting then that sessions ran back to back on
two overlapping tracks with a third track offering an open forum for
anyone to speak their mind or report on the latest exploits. Those whose
ability to absorb knowledge was not already besieged by this bit-rate
could linger in the network, workshop and merchandise area, which also
featured what amounted to an archeology of hardware available for
nostalgic experimentation. Most, however, came equipped with their own
top-of-the-line laptops and the organizers had kindly installed a
wireless network to support the impromptu groups that formed to share
their experiences at the command line. As such, any gaps in the already
overwhelming flow of input were incredulously filled with computation
and programming at an advanced level, and considering that many
participants seemed to have taken part of their summer vacation in New
York City, the sheer endurance of these attendees should bluntly have
silenced any academic, or parental for that matter, concerns about
falling standards and endemic ADD. Not everyone is of the MTV generation
and the Daytona Beach spring break crowd it seems. There were even
family values on display by hacker mums and dads who splurged on 2600
(the sponsoring magazine) caps for their offspring and sat through
complex talks on ICANN¹s increasingly dubious future with them.

This is not to suggest that HOPE was a tech-savvy version of Bible camp.
But considering the avatar nature and negative representation of
³hackers,² the uninitiated (counting yours truly) may be excused for
initially commenting on the normality and, gender excluded, diversity of
the scene behind the screen. And the educational aspects indicated above
are not really an attempt to repackage hacker activity in a wholesome
glow suitable for wholesale consumption: education, as a transaction in
knowledge, actually sketches the very foundation of hacker activity. The
central document that supports this claim, commonly known as ³The Hacker
Manifesto² (search Google and you will find it by the thousands), was
read aloud and commented on by its author in a session entitled ³The
Conscience of a Hacker,² which is the original title given the text when
it first appeared in Phrack magazine. Written when The Mentor was not
much more than a child himself, it bemoans a disillusionment with the
educational system and its stifling standards, which are overcome by
independent experimentation with computers (this is only a short quote
from the text, which was written on January 8, 1986, shortly after The
Mentor was arrested): ³I¹ve listened to teachers explain for the
fifteenth time how to reduce a fraction. I understand it. ³No Ms. Smith,
I didn¹t show my work. I did it in my head.² Damn kid. Probably copied
it. They¹re all alike. I made a discovery today. I found a computer.
Wait a second, this is cool. It does what I want it to do. If it makes a
mistake, it¹s because I screwed it up. Not because it doesn¹t like me.
Or feels threatened by me. Or thinks I¹m a smart ass. Or doesn¹t like
teaching and shouldn¹t be there. Damn kid.² The Mentor added his own
statistics to the latter Manifesto point by estimating that of the
roughly 150 teachers he had been in contact with during his career as a
student, only two had left an inspirational and inquisitive mark on him
through their teaching. Despite its staccato flow and basic language,
the relative simplicity of the text hides very complex relationships
between institutions and individuals, as well as technology and society.
It is fundamentally the failure of living up to the responsibilities of
these relations that is being criticized in The Hacker Manifesto, and
technology takes on the role of realizing a new set of human relations,
born from individual responsibility, that truly value freedom and
education. Perhaps easily dismissed, 17 years after it was written, as a
conventional litany against authority, the Manifesto nevertheless had a
young HOPE audience repeatedly nodding to its message. One can suspect
that the approval partly stems from the politicians¹ feebleminded, and
still ongoing, attempts to improve the public school system through
testing, testing, testing, testing, testing, testing, testing and
testing. Meanwhile the Mentor has come of age to comply with some
institutional dictums, notably those of Sigmund Freud, by actually
marrying a public school teacher, but he is putting all destructive
suspicions about his early text to shame by scavenging for discarded
computer parts in his spare time to build, in collaboration with his
wife, computer labs for the kids. It appears that ³The Conscience of a
Hacker² has always been a solid work in progress.

There were other proposals aired to integrate a hacker ethic into the
school curriculum from a K-12 level. Greg Newby, a professor at the
University of North Carolina, who made an overtly strong case for hacker
respectability by wearing a tuxedo, proposed that base concepts of
information value, privacy, security and secrecy should be taught
alongside basic computer literacy. As students progress, he suggested
that these concepts would get increasingly complex with attention lent
to data integrity and credibility. He also strongly favored a move from
an interface and end-user mentality toward a curriculum that exposes the
nuts and bolts of computing. Newby fundamentally invoked the curious,
motivated and talented hacker, and his or her community of peer group
communication, as a role model for such an expansive approach. The prime
lesson taught in schools, he noted, must be that honest exploration does
not get you into trouble, but serves as the very cornerstone of
progressive learning.

As the introductory paragraphs suggest, the purpose of HOPE is to share
knowledge and Javaman ambitiously kicked off the conference with ³The
Shape of the Internet.² He proceeded to dispel any fears that what was
coming up would be cloaked in technical terms and incomprehensible code
snippets by bravely drawing ³live² on an overhead transparency to
illustrate his points. Despite being blinded by the projected light, he
managed to adequately trace, with a felt tip pen, various scientific
models for how the shape of the Internet has been imagined and mapped.
Similar projects have also been undertaken by a number of net artists
with varying degrees of success. Those familiar with Starrynight, for
example, will partly recognize what Javaman arguably deemed the most
advanced and persuasive attempt. By utilizing the BGP protocol,
essentially a connect list that each server maintains based on received
routing information, it is possible to define the number of edges, or
chosen connections, that radiate from each node. Using the premise that
every edge that can exist between nodes does indeed exist, it is then
possible to compile a graph to express the relations. The result poses
all kinds of questions about how the Internet is actually shaped and how
its shape is growing, and some findings revealed what we might have
suspected: most servers seek to connect via the popular networks and,
secondly, routes are chosen for economic reasons. An offshoot is that 1%
of ISPs control 99% of the traffic and bandwidth is consequently
centralized, which makes it more prone to both failure and surveillance.
However, with the recent collapse of some Internet backbones due to
corporate bankruptcies, the subject-to-failure part of the theory
disproved itself as nodes immediately found new routes when the previous
hubs disappeared: the Internet did not collapse. Javaman offered some
very interesting alternatives for networking protocols that included
various peer-to-peer methods, such as the ³Fisheye² protocol that
maintains only cursory routing information toward the periphery of the
network. Perhaps the future of what we today subsume in the Internet
lies in these types of configurations?


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Rhizome Digest is filtered by Rachel Greene (rachel AT
ISSN: 1525-9110. Volume 7, number 30. Article submissions to
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