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: 9.20.02
Date: Fri, 20 Sep 2002 16:22:29 -0400

RHIZOME DIGEST: September 20, 2002


+editor's note+
1. Rachel Greene: This week

2. Pamela Jennings: Carnegie Mellon University Electronic Time Based Art

3. Honor: BORDER CROSSINGS: an invitation to an event in London

4. Thomson & Craighead: dot-store opens

5. McKenzie Wark: Review -- Geert Lovink, Dark Fiber: Tracking Critical
Internet Culture

6. Marc Lafia and James Buckhouse: Re: In Search of a Poetics of the
Spatialization of the Moving Image, 3

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Date: 9.20.02
From: Rachel Greene rachel AT
Subject: This week...

Rhizome Raw is busy with a discussion about relaunching Rhizome Rare,
and that thread will appear in next week's Digest. This week please find
a review of Geert Lovink's new book 'Dark Fiber' by McKenzie Wark, and
posts from an ongoing conversation about the spatialization of images
between Lev Manovich, Marc Lafia, and James Buckhouse. (Older posts from
this thread are available in's text archive.)

In other news, this week Rhizome HQ launched our annual Community
Campaign. So if you appreciate the wares of Digest, Raw, or other
Rhizome programs, we ask you to make a contribution at any level you
can. Even small donations make a difference, and we recognize all donors
for their support: $10 = an email address AT; $25 = a Yael
Kanarek mousepad; $50 = a T-shirt, and $250 = a
laptop backpack. We gratefully accept secure online credit card
contributions or donations via PayPal at . You can also send a check or money
order to, 115 Mercer Street, New York NY 10012. Money orders
can be in any currency. Help Rhizome be self-supporting!

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Date: 9.17.02
From: Pamela Jennings (pamelaj AT
Subject: Carnegie Mellon University Electronic Time Based Art openings

Tenure-Track and/or Visiting Faculty Positions - Electronic Time Based

Beginning August 2003 Carnegie Mellon University School of Art

The School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University is seeking to fill two
full-time faculty positions: one tenure track position and one visiting
position or two visiting positions in its Electronic Time Based Art
area. We are seeking dynamic individuals working in technology-based art
with experience in one or more of the following areas: robotics,
programming for Internet based interactive and/or virtual environments,
interactive audio, performance, motion capture and real time graphics
and/or 2D imaging, computer vision, artificial life or biotechnology.
Artists with a significant track record in digital/electronic forms who
are qualified for joint appointments between electronic art and computer
sciences, natural sciences or engineering will also be considered.
Visiting faculty with expertise in electronic media and additional
experience in other visual media are also encouraged. A
multidisciplinary orientation, conceptual strengths and contextual
sensibilities are sought to teach freshman through graduate students and
work with a dynamic faculty team to build the electronic time based area
in the School of Art.

Qualifications: Advanced Degree or equivalent. University level teaching
experience required beyond teaching assistant. A versatile artist with a
significant digital/electronic, time based media art background and
exhibition record. Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity Employer,
women and minorities encouraged to apply.

Appointment Levels: Visiting Assistant Professor or tenure-track
Assistant/Associate Professor. Positions beginning late August, 2003.

Salary & Benefits: Nationally competitive and commensurate with

Additional Programmatic Information:

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Limited-time offer! Subscribe to Leonardo Electronic Almanac (LEA), the
leading electronic newsletter in its field, for $35 for 2002 and receive
as a bonus free electronic access to the on-line versions of Leonardo
and the Leonardo Music Journal. Subscribe now at:

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Date: 9.17.02
From: Honor (honor AT
Subject: BORDER CROSSINGS: an invitation to an event in London

Hi Rhizome,

For those of you based within the UK, or within travelling distance to
London, I wanted to warmly invite you to an evening seminar we are
staging at Tate Modern called Border Crossings. The event features
input from Heath Bunting, Armin Medosch and Florian Schneider.

I'd be absolutely delighted if you could come, as would I'm sure, the
participants of the event. If you're interested, drop me a line :-)


Honor Harger Webcasting Curator Interpretation & Education, Tate Modern
Digital Programmes, Tate honor.harger AT PH: (44) 020 7401 5066



A seminar / discussion at Tate Modern, London, UK


Tuesday 1 October, 1830 - 2000

International Times for the webcast: 1730 - 1900 [ GMT ] 1930 - 2100 [
Central European Time ] 1330 - 1500 [ US Eastern Time ] 2300 - 0100 [
Indian Time ] 0330 - 0500 [ Australian Eastern Time - 2 October ] 0530 -
0700 [ New Zealand Time - 2 October ]


Starr Auditorium, Level 2, Tate Modern, London, UK


Europe's borders are increasingly frontlines of political and social
dissent. Asylum-seeking and political migration are some of the most
significant issues of our time. This discussion will explore the
contentious role of borders in Europe and beyond, and the way artists
are contesting these geographical and cultural perimeters.

Artist, Heath Bunting talks about his project, borderXings Guide, which
consists of 'walks' that traverse national boundaries without
interruption from customs, immigration, or border police. The project
is currently on display on Tate's website

German critic and activist, Florian Schneider will discuss the
disruption of European borders through civil disobedience campaigns such
as Cross the Border and No One is Illegal. Writer and critic Armin
Medosch will chair the discussion.

Tickets UK£6 (UK£3 concessions)


This event will be presented live on the Tate website, as part of Tate?s
Webcasting Programme. You can experience the event live online in audio
and video using the Real Player. To find out more, visit:
( If you haven't experienced Tate
Modern's webcasts before, please visit our technical help page:


For more on this event, see:
or contact:
Honor Harger, Webcasting Curator, Interpretation & Education, Tate
Email: honor.harger AT
PH: (44) 020 7401 5066

For more information about Tate or getting tickets for the event:
Tate Box Office
Email: tate.ticketing AT
PH: (44) 020 7887 8888

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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: 9.19.02
From: Thomson & Craighead (j.thomson AT
Subject: dot-store opens is now trading.
shop AT

A worldwide web of vintage products and services.

e-shop as Readymade.

A dotcom when most others have dotgone.

c u there,

best wishes,

Jon & Alison

Thomson & Craighead / is now trading / shop AT
Currently: Gameon AT Barbican, London & Touring
Coming Up: / REMOTE, Scotland
/ Mobile Phonics, Belgium / Mobile Home, London /
dot-store AT ICA, London / BitParts, Shrewsbury..
On 21st October 2002 at 7pm, we will be making a
presentation on our work at RCA, London. Part of
"Writ Large" in association with The Independant

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Date: 9.18.02
From: McKenzie Wark (mw35 AT
Subject: Review -- Geert Lovink, Dark Fiber: Tracking Critical Internet

Geert Lovink, Dark Fiber: Tracking Critical Internet Culture, MIT Press,
Cambridge Mass, 2002 ISBN 0-262-12249-9  US $27.95 Reviewed by McKenzie

The book is becoming a residual art-form. Like carving in stone, it is a
way of presenting information for ritual occasions that might more
easily be conveyed in other ways. In his new book Dark Fiber, Geert
Lovink is well aware of the anachronistic quality of a book about net
culture. "Scholars are stuck between print and online forms of knowledge
hierarchies", he writes.

But while official book culture is in media limbo, the freelance
intellectual has the liberty to approach the problem more artfully.
Lovink uses this book-based mix of his online writings as a way to get
"text crystals" to move differently. The internet is good for getting
words across space, but nobody knows how it will work out as an archive.
The book is the empire of time.

Too many books of net journalism grow obsolete even before they are
printed. Unlike the more feverish apostles of the virtual, Lovink comes
to print at a more reflective moment. "Cyberspace at the dawn of the
21st century can no longer position itself in a utopian void of seamless
possibilities." While Dark Fiber is very much of its time, it will be a
valuable resource, many years into the future, for understanding that
weird time between cyberspace utopia, mania and the pale triumph
of media business as usual.

Lovink has a unique trajectory in the net criticism world, as he is
equally fluent across the heavy scholarship of German media theory, the
ludic pragmatism of Dutch media activism, and has taken the time to
figure out how to translate those worlds into English. His approach
draws on the work of Friedrich Kittler and others, who dissented from
critical theory's reduction of media to the social, cultural or economic
domains. Media is above all a technical medium, in their view. Lovink
lightens the scholastic-bombastic German approach with the stylistic
flair of his maverick predecessor, Vilem Flusser.

In moving into the English language, Lovink draws on the pragmatism of
philosopher Richard Rorty, particularly his book 'Philosophy and Social
Hope'. Lovink espouses a "radical pragmatism", somewhere between the
desire for utopia, the will to negation, and the practicalities of
carving out spaces for creation. He identifies the problem of
synthesizing tactical media with strategic theory, a union that is
"easier said than done."

Lovink's pragmatism is an attempt to break new ground, at some remove
from the three bodies of thought that elsewhere inflect and infect net
criticism. In Lovink's view, Parisian high theory is in decline: "If the
Gulf War did not take place, then Jean Baudrillard no longer exists
either." Marxism has lost the plot of its revolutionary subject: "With
one eye on streaming financial data, another on the Financial Times at
the breakfast table, Negative Marxism without Subject has reached its
highest stages of alienation." The intellectual poverty of American
cyberutopian effusions is all too obvious: "The consensus myth of an
egalitarian, chaotic system, ruled by self-governing users with the help
of artificial life and friendly bots, is now crushed by the take-over of
telecom giants, venture capital and banks and the sharp rise in
regulatory efforts by governments."

When writing in Dutch or German, Lovink and his fellow theorists in the
Adilkno collective favored a strategy of theory as rhetorical overkill.
The group's pet topics included the colors of boredom, electronic
solitude, collective forms of disappointment. They were the Sam Becketts
of theory, acting out the ritual of its impossibility, but persisting
with the effort, nonetheless. Adilkno's problem was finding a way to
write within a spectacle that no longer aroused any cultural friction.
"This is the unbearable lightness of the exploding media universe: more
channels, less content, less impact." They settled for "Negative
dialectics 2.0 used as a tool for anti-cyclic thought." In their book
'Media Archive,' they exploited the rhetorical possibilities of turning
media theory against itself with a cool hand.

'Dark Fiber' is a very different book to 'Media Archive,' and partly the
difference is attempting to come to grips with the possibilities of
English, both as a language and a cultural tradition, and one with a
more powerful grip on the invisible spatial empires of the net. Hence,
pragmatism: "A net pragmatism requires vigilant efforts to articulate
the net with materiality." This approach is less optimistic for what
theory can achieve, but more optimistic about what it has acheived --
the ability to make more or less good descriptions of the world. And so
much of 'Dark Fiber' is taken up with dispatches from attempts all over
the world to bring together artists, theorists and activists with the
technicalities of creating networks. "Cyberspace is still a work in
progress", Lovink writes, and he details many of the setbacks as well as
the much fabled successes in building an open net culture.

Central to Lovink's trajectory is the recognition that you can't get new
thinking out of old institutions. New media practices require the
integration of new thinking in [into] new kinds of organization.
"Today's challenge lies in orchestrating radical intercultural
exchanges, not in closed monocultures." He has always taken his distance
from opportunist academic programs in 'new media studies' as much as
from speculative business models.

One of the real treats of 'Dark Fiber' is the case studies. The Digital
City project in Amsterdam gets a preliminary assessment here, as does
Berlin's Internationale Stadt, Public Netbase in Vienna and Ada'web in
New York. It's curious how the same problems keep coming up. Not many
attempts at building alternative networks ever really embraced a
participatory democracy that included its users. With roots in artist's
collaborations or activist projects, the problem is often a lack of
formal structure, which could lead all too easily to a management
takeover or privatization. There's a lot still to be written about the
experiments of the 80s and 90s in alterative networked economies,
polities and cultures. There's a taste here of European experiments to
set alongside experiments more familiar in the US such as The Well and

'Dark Fiber' also includes travel reports from Taiwan, India and
Albania, and an account of Serbia's B92 radio, giving the book a
wonderfully cosmopolitan range. Lovink is aware that whether one comes
from theory, art, or activism, what counts is the ability to combine
attributes of all three. From the politics comes the art of compromise,
of addressing different people directly about things that affect them,
and working with people within an autonomy that respects differences
without fetishizing them. From the art comes the politics of how
languages work, of how to seed awareness of communication, and to do it
in appropriate forms. From the theory comes both the art and politics of
relating the conjunctures of the moment to history, the point of contact
between the particular and the abstract.

By examining this problem from different points on the globe, Lovink
provides test cases for any theory, any practice, with pretensions to an
ability to be generalized. For example, in the Balkans, 'tactical media'
has to come to grips with the limitations of working in a local way
during wartime. Locality is no longer a virtue when it means you can be
shut down and cut off from your audience. By looking at places like
Taiwan, where computer hardware is manufactured, or India, where
programming and service support are becoming proletarian industries, one
gets a reality check on global cyberspace fantasies, be they from left
or right. What Lovink invents here is a practice of negotiating how to
describe things in the emerging vectoral world.

A particular treat is Lovink's account of the early years of Nettime --
the New Left Review of the digital, post-pomo politico set. Nettime
evolved "a dynamic beyond the internet itself." It was a mailing list,
but it was also a series of meetings, and publications in different
formats. It had what noncommercial networks need to survive: "a vision,
a groove and a direction." What that was depended on who you asked. It
thrived on the positive confusion of the aims of its participants, all
of whom could think of it in their own way and imagine everyone else

Started in 1995 by Lovink and others, Nettime arose out of the
discontents of critical theory. It found a negative semantic terrain in
its hostility to Wired magazine, the Rolling Stone of new media
sellouts. Nettime positioned itself against the "unbearable lightness of
Wired" Confronting the full blown ideology of a free market digital
utopia, Nettime was a negative consensus around the need for a
countervailing theory. "The pretense that American technoculture would
lead the rest of the world is kindly refused here." As such it was way
ahead of its time.

Always a fragile mix of writers, artists, activists, techies, Nettime
was the venue for the collaborative invention of the practice of
"collaborative text filtering", and experiments in how to express
textual information for different media vectors -- as listserver, online
archive, photocopied collation, fullblown publication or free newspaper.
It is still going, one of the most viable legacies of Lovink's past
collaborations. His version of its past could be a useful tool for
thinking about its future.

Nettime embodies a wider phenomena: "A meta techno intelligentsia is on
the rise, transcending the primitive social Darwinism with its
winner-loser and adapt or die logic." But it has yet to grow beyond the
fragments from which it arose. Perhaps what's needed is not tactical
media, but strategies, logistics, but ones that build on, rather than
ignore, the gains and lessons of new forms of local and contingent work.
Again. it's easier said than done. Ever the pragmatist, Lovink
identifies the material conditions for moving forward:  "What is needed
are new spaces for reflection and critique, free zones where researchers
of all kinds can work without the pressure of sponsors and

Lovink has experimented successfully with temporary media labs, but
perhaps its time to think about longer durations. "What is badly needed
are autonomous research collectives that critically examine the social,
economic, and even ecological aspects of the information technology
business." They exist around questions like food or sweatshops -- so why
not the net?

So-called 'tactical media,' which Lovink had a hand in promoting, has
been an enormously enabling rhetoric, but it has its limitations. It's
interesting just how much semantic freight Lovink tries to get this term
to carry. Tactical media is to "combine radical pragmatism and media
activism with pleasurable forms of nihilism." But it is also "into
questioning every single aspect of life, with 'the most radical

Tactical media plays with "the ambiguity of more or less isolated groups
or individuals, caught in the liberal-democratic consensus, working
outside the safety of the Party or Movement, in a multi-disciplinary
environment full of mixed backgrounds and expectations." It is also
"about the art of getting access, hacking the power and disappearing at
the right moment." While "Tactical media are opposition channels,
finding their way to break out of the subcultural ghetto" it is also "a
deliberately slippery term, a tool for creating 'temporary consensus
zones' based on unexpected alliances."

"What counts" with tactical media "are temporary connections between old
and new, practice and theory, alternative and mainstream." But it is
also "a question of scale. How does a phrase on a wall turn into a
global revolt?" Tactical media may intervene within a movement, but it
may also link a movement to social groups. Or perhaps it is even a
"virtual movement", with no existence outside of its network expression.
Then again, "Perhaps we are just a diverse collection of wierdos
[weirdos], off topic by nature."

The most tactical thing about tactical media is the rhetorical tactic of
calling it tactical. Curiously, this deployment of language tactically
turns out to be a consistent Lovink strategy. There's a big difference
between the Adilkno texts and Lovink's travel reports, but both use
language within the context of the net vector as something meant to work
within a given dispersal of space and time.

By not being too specific, by not exhausting a rhetoric to the point of
implosion, as for example in cyberutopian writing, Lovink keeps open the
sense of possibility within net discourse -- the possibility of
possibility. "Here comes the new desire."  [is the preceding quote
somewhat oprhaned -- could it have "as Lovink writes..."] Above all,
'Dark Fiber' is a freeze-dried sampling on acid-free paper of a certain
kind of practice, traces of this exemplary intellectual's attempts to
work in (and against) the world.

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McKenzie Wark (mw35 AT is the author of 3 books, including Virtual
Geography. He was a co-editor of the Nettime anthology, Readme! With
Brad Miller, he co-produced the multimedia work Planet of Noise.

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Date: 9.17-9.18.02
From: Marc Lafia (marclafia AT and James Buckhouse
(jbuckhouse AT
Subject: Re: In Search of a Poetics of the Spatialization of the Moving
Image, 3

Marc Lafia wrote:

Thanks Lev for your post

Where then is the place to begin to consider the moving image before
montage, before cinema, to retrace the steps of cinema to start again.
This is what interests me in this writing, to find a place to begin, and
I am thankful to Lev and his encouragement of this pursuit.

I try in this writing to retrace some steps to see before or beyond the
idea of montage, even montage vs. co-presence or simultaneity, which Lev
mentioned in his earlier email, co-presence or simultaneity having many
complications and possibilities, very interesting ones. Yet perhaps we
can start with the idea of visioning (Visioning and Montage) and then
return to some of the characteristics of ?co-existence¹ or

In Search of a Poetics of the Spatialization of the Moving Image, 3 Marc

?I am still very interested in the image being experienced
self-consciously rather then it merely being a given. In that sense I am
not referring to the media frame of the image and its representation but
rather the process of seeing and that¹s linked to thinking and
language.¹ Gary Hill

In his most thoughtful essay, ?Montage, My Beautiful Care, or Histories
of the Cinematograph¹, Michael Witt gives a very insightful and detailed
accounting of Jean-Luc Godard¹s many positions through time on montage.
?The cinema is montage,¹ states JLG, and montage is anything but a
simply affair. Montage is not only the linkage from shot to shot, it is
that which is between frames of film, and is, at a macro level, the
relationship between viewer and image, viewer and society, viewer and
the world. Godard extends this even further by stating that Henri
Langlois, the famous director of the Paris Cinematheque who introduced
much of the Nouvelle Vague to the riches of cinema (especially silent
cinema), made montage with projectors with the many films he screened.
For Godard montage is not new to cinema and has been with us for a very
long time as he states, 'Cinema was the true art of montage that began
five or six centuries B.C, in the West.¹ For Godard, Eisenstein, Vertov,
Griffith never truly achieved montage, they brought it forward, advanced
it, but montage was a promise, an intuition, an emergent form that
became ?a blocked chrysalis that will never turn into a butterfly.¹ Why,
because industrialists and capital were afraid of the inherent power of
it and how it allowed people to see, visualize the unconscious, the
unspoken, and so, with the advent of sound, and especially after the
second world war, and the abdication of cinema as a witness, montage,
and its possibility becomes silenced by control and convention. It was
in this limited sense, in the sense of wishing to find something before
this silencing of montage, that I wrote that montage may no longer
afford or allow for the possibility of finding something again in the
promise of the moving image. And so in following I retrace the path of
Godard¹s retracing of montage back to the cinematograph as once again a
place to begin.

In Godard¹s search for that which allows montage, perhaps that which
proceeds it, he introduces the idea of the cinematograph, the instrument
of the camera, ?a temporal microscope¹, ?a precise machine capable of
intensifying perception¹, ?a mind opening vision machine¹, ?a powerful
social x-ray machine capable of the revelation of hitherto imperceptible
physical realities and the injuries of social inequality¹. ?As Jean
Epstein insisted long before, the impact of radical formal novelty far
out weights questions of localized narratives or representations: every
metre of film serves to reveal and inform, to directly communicate a
savage reality ?before names and before the law of words.¹ It was
Hitchcock ?with a resolutely visual logic that was cinematographic
montage¹ that for Godard gets closer if not achieves montage. To
understand this simply, Hitchcock edited his films in camera, that is,
he shot the edited version of his film, precisely, exactingly as a
visualist seeing each frame of his film on screen as he shot it.

I suggest this be read as Hitchcock seeing in montage, seeing a sequence
as it would be on screen, seeing the film he is shooting, not
constructing it in the editing room, with the best material he has as
would be the common Hollywood practice. To be clear, Hollywood syntax
was one of master shot, two shot, close up and reverse shot, always
filmed with cut-a-ways in case converge was not all there or an editor
had to cut out of a poor performance and needed a way to get to their
next shot. This is still the Hollywood model. Hitchcock¹s visual logic
was one where his films where shot as they were to be seen. He was a
resolute auteur who had a very particular way of seeing. But his seeing
or visualization was in terms of sequences of events, causes and
effects. The conflation of the cinematograph with montage here need not
deter us from seeing more clearly beneath the edifice of cinema to
locate seeing itself and seeing or visualization as a way of thought, a
sensual becoming.

As we move from montage to the cinematograph, as if reeling back to the
beginning of film and the invention of the camera and projector, we
approach something that I believe is much deeper, and that is the image
itself, or rather imaging itself. The camera, or more broadly,
mechanical visioning is an altered seeing, proceeding montage, and it is
this seeing that need be addressed as part of the issue of
spatialization. How do we see in space, think spatially and in time? How
do we give vision to the multiple, the simultaneous, the variable,
durations? This is what I mean by starting at a forward place, in the
middle of a new event of space-time in regard to the image. Seeing in
multiplicity ­ I don¹t suggest here an absence of chronological
structures but perhaps a back grounding where in varied complications of
time are layered behind and within, something less narrated than

In his essay, ?Projection and Dis/embodiment: Genealogies of the
Virtual¹, Thomas Zummer points out, ?there is an unavoidable perceptual
bias in our relation to the instruments we devise¹ such that ?prosthetic
perceptions occupy the same cognitive space as bodily sensations.¹ So it
is, there is never just the instrument, but us in it.

Further in his essay Zummer argues, that cinema engages us in a passive
sense, we sit restively and fold ourselves into a dream unaware and
unquestioning of its social, psychic and grammatic machinery. In the
60¹s and 70¹s artists begin to deconstruct the prosthetic of cinema
through projective and interactive installations wherein the cinematic
apparatus and its attendant social and psychic substrates is revealed as
a particular kind of interface to the moving image, to desire, to
representation, to our bodies. In constructing alternative
configurations of the projector, image and space, much is revealed or
made to be seen about cinema, architecture, light, the image, our
bodies and varied other tropes of recorded media.

As time-based images are made to move away from the flat screen, the
single screen, a fixed projector, and distributed in space, opening up
in multiple directions, an opportunity is afforded to re-imagine our
relationship as to how we are thought and visualized in them.

Montage - leads us to rhythm, representation, memory, desire ­ visioning
instruments, the camera being one of them - to perception, cognition,
language, presence = and projection - to the consideration of
architecture and space. With the spatialization of images artists
continue along these paths.

To retrace the steps of our two paths, it might be best to describe two
recent exhibitions here in New York, one by Doug Aitken and the other,
Gary Hill. In both, multiple screens are used. In one room, Doug Aitken
deploys 4 circular screens in a mirrored room, where representational
images are overlaid with a white graphic circular dot, where over time
and at increasing speed, concentric circles form and move outward at
ever increasing rhythmic intensity, treating film as pure surface and
plastic. In a second room a 360 degree eye-shaped or butterfly-wing
shaped set of screens allows the same set of images to be watched in
surround vision. Here he creates an abstracted narrative of a young
woman, whose life is saturated with images, giving us a film constructed
with design effects where by certain moments are manipulated to isolate
her and to abstract images, making them still or be marked out to then
disappear. Within the many effects and design the mise-en-scene returns
to the subject of the woman and her narrative. Aitken¹s work is
somewhere between the trajectory of experimental or poetic cinema and
experimental narrative. In Gary Hill¹s work, also distributed in several
rooms over many projections, the work ­ in one room on two screens, two
hands writing, left and right, in another six screens of zoom shots
never to be completed as more and more black is inserted as we get
closer and closer in the zoom, and in a third a circular image of lush
wallpaper - in the space of these images we are presented with a kind of
puzzle about perception, cognition, the relay of the senses and how the
mind and language figure them. Here montage or cinema is not the concern
but the camera and its visioning is used to image the construction of
thought, perception.

What then does it mean that both works distribute images over space,
each with very particular spatializations of time, particular
distributions of time, of the movement of time, but also of thought and
awareness, embodiment, consciousness, being and presence ­ these last
things exceeding or standing apart or along side or outside montage ­
such concerns that have been brought forth in the work of much video art
since its inception. What then is particular to spatialization that is
an event in imaging and arrangement that might characterize a new or
potential poetics?

Perhaps my search for a poetics of the spatialization of the moving
image is a search for a poetics of the event of space. With in the
screen and between the screen, in the space of the screen and the body,
in that space or spaces of screens is a play between the discursive and
the figural, between montage and visioning which can bring us inside the
event of our senses, inside the event of instrumentation, inside the
event of our social configurations of such apparatuses and here in a
future poetics sought.

As my search takes pause, I can only suggest that we read forward toward
the sense of the possible.

In a future posing I will put forward a tentative list of
characteristics and possibilities of a poetics, some already realized
and others that might be realized, as it relates to moving and time
based images through new instrumentations, display strategies and social

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James Buckhouse posted:

I am very impressed with Marc and Lev's exchange regarding the Poetics
of the Spatialization of the Moving Image. Very briefly, I'd like to add
a few ideas.

In trying to differientiate between traditional cinemagraphic montage
and the new possibilities (which, I think Marc is saying are actually
very old possibilities) of the spatialization of the moving image, it
might be useful for a moment to think in terms of architectural

Hitchcock as example - then defining terms:

In addition to constructing the narrative, the sight-lines and camera
angles of Hitchcock's films seem to create an architecture of power
relations; both between the characters and between the audience and the
directed point of interest on the screen.

This idea has been written about by many people - so I will skip right
to what interests me about this; if these sight-lines and shot-assembly
constitute an architectural practice, then what is the "space" that is

In my opinion, three types of space are created: and they overlay easily
into the, also much written about, categories of the real, the actual
and the virtual. It is possible that other readers will disagree with my
defining of these three type of spaces here, none the less, I hope it
won't be too distracting to use these definitions for the moment.

Real, Actual, Virtual:

In the architectual practice of cinematography, the space of the real
would be the illusionistic, depicted space of the setting of the scene
(inside a room, inside a courtyard, alongside a country road, etc).

The space of the actual splits in half - the first is the actual
location of shoot (where props, people, backdrops, staging, etc. were
filmed and also are on occasion, altered, moved, or faked as necessary
to create the image - even to go as far as to create elements digitally
that do not exist - or even to create the entire film digitially with no
actual photographic element). The second is the actual space of the
viewer's environment while viewing - sitting in the theatre, at home in
front of the TV, at a black-box gallery, inside of an elaborate media
art installation...).

Finally, the space of the virtual, which I think is the area that Marc
is most interested in - is the overlay that is generated by the real and
the actual, but exists only as generated in the minds of the viewer
through the process of imaginary construction.

We construct in our minds the space defined by the master, two, ECU, and
reverse shots. We construct in our minds the architectual "program" of
the sequence of shots. We generate connections to past ideas recently
witnessed within the project we are viewing - as well as connections
back to associated ideas from our own more distant memory.

So what would the goal of this program be, as applied to the poetics of
the spatialization of the moving image? I believe it is towards an art
practice where the final medium is memory.

What else do we have? We have only memory and exchange. If all thought
can exist only as memory (even the most immediate thoughts or
experiences we have can only be formed through the construction of
memory - as nothing can exist in the ever-receding now-moment, but must
be pushed out by the next now-moment), and if memory is both a specific
and a cumulative construction, then all thought and all art is a result
of past experiences combined with the near-immediate re-configuration of
these experiences.

The poetics of the spatialization of the moving image seem to be in
service of this near-immediate re-configuration. The black-box video
gallery, theatical cinematic apparartus, or elaborate video
installation, all seem crafted towards creating a environment where the
re-configuration can have maximum effect.

The most successful installations, for me, give value to the process of
imaginative construction, and respect and exploit the brain's ability to
create robust and highly personal mental images and ideas in association
to what is being seen in the actual space. Game designer Will Wright
calls the brain "the most powerful graphics rendering device" - and I
think he is right on when reccommending that the most compelling images
are the ones that can somehow trigger this renderer and employ it's
power to do the bulk of the work.

Images that try to replace the mental renderer often feel impoverished.
Personally, it is only recently that I have begun to understand that a
camera can do both - both depict and trigger.

This is where I believe that the spatialization of the moving image
differs from the cinematic apparatus of a movie theatre or even watching
a video at home: the place in which the moving image is presented is
crafted within the specific architectual program and artistic practice
of constructing memory, generated, in in a state of perpetual
near-completion, on the most powerful rendering device in the world.

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Rhizome Digest is filtered by Rachel Greene (rachel AT ISSN:
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