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: 8.09.03
Date: Sat, 9 Aug 2003 10:58:51 -0400

RHIZOME DIGEST: August 9, 2003


2. Mushon Zer-Aviv: The Right to Flash - A petiton demanding equal Flash
rights for Right-To-Left languages
3. fee: Announcing the closure of by March 2004

4. Wilfried Agricola de Cologne: Call for entries: Netart from
Asian-Pacific area
5. Andrew Hutchison: Cybernetic garments

6. Jim Andrews: Ana Maria Uribe

7. Curt Cloninger: on archiving, ephemera, and analog distortion

8. Rachel Greene: Matt Locke's essay on relational aesthetics, 'Are You
Awake? Are You In Love?'

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Date: 8.02.03
From: Rachel Greene (rachel AT

Begin forwarded message:

From: Esther McGowan (emcgowan AT
Date: Fri Aug 1, 2003 3:25:42 PM US/Eastern
Subject: Please Join Us!

ARTS INTERNATIONAL presents a World New Media Blender Event & Exhibition


Opening Reception & Artist Presentation: August 7, 2003 7pm - 9pm

Gallery Hours: August 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21 1pm - 4pm

Arts International Gallery
251 Park Avenue South, Fifth Floor
Corner of E. 20th Street & Park Avenue South
RSVP: (212) 674-9744, Ext. 218

Click here for on-line press release, including images and more

Combining Net technologies with traditional tools of multi-media
production, Jeff Gompertz has been creating web specific installations
and installation specific websites since 1995. Built around contemporary
themes, these projects incorporate architectural, digital video/imaging,
net broadcasting, audio and performance. Since the founding of the
artist collective Fakeshop ( in 1997, his production
methods have included bringing these elements to work in collaborative
projects. Winner of a Pollock-Krasner award and exhibited at the Whitney
Museum, Deitch Projects, Eyebeam, Franklin Furnace, and Gavin Brown,
among many other galleries and museums internationally, Gompertz is
perhaps best known for his interactive Japanese capsule hotel projects,
installed at The Kitchen in 2001 and included in the Cooper Hewitt
Museum's New Hotels for Global Nomads exhibition in 2003.

At Arts International, Gompertz will make a presentation of works
currently in progress/proposal form to be realized at architectural
sites in three Asian cities: the Hanoi Army Museum in Hanoi, Vietnam;
the skeleton buildings of downtown Bangkok, Thailand; and the Russian
Cultural Center/Gem Mining Company in Vientianne, Laos. Combining
elements of installation, digital imaging, video-conferencing, and
web-design to create "architectural interventions" at each site, the
projects will also include collaborations with local artists and
performers to explore the social, political, and historical context of
each chosen site. The presentation at Arts International will also
include media documentation of the award-winning capsule hotel project
already completed with the cooperation of owner/operators of capsule
hotels in Osaka and Tokyo, Japan, made possible with help from the Japan
Foundation, Franklin Furnace and the Cooper-Hewitt Museum. On the
afternoon of August 7th, Gompertz and architect Jose Salinas will
preview these three new proposals in a mixed-media format.

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Date: 8.03.03
From: Mushon Zer-Aviv (mushon AT
Subject: The Right to Flash - A petiton demanding equal Flash rights for
Right-To-Left languages

The Right to Flash - A petiton demanding equal Flash rights for
Right-To-Left languages

The Right to Flash is the initiative of Amir Dotan (London, UK), Mushon
Zer-Aviv (Tel-Aviv, Israel) and Naim Kamel (Ramallah, Palestine). It was
launched in July 2003 in order to make sure the middle east, doesn=92t
get left behind the development of the internet, believing it to be a
powerful tool for overcoming differences and for new methods of
communication. In the case of Flash both Palestinian users and Israeli
users are united by the similarity of our languages, both unfortunately
left behind by Macromedia= =92s Flash MX technology.

Exerpt from the petition: "...Macromedia Flash does not support
Right-to-left languages. It is broken and needs to be fixed. It
currently doesn't meet the standards we've come to expect from a
company, which constantly expresses a commitment to show the world 'what
the web can be'..."

We believe The Right to Flash is universal and shouldn=92t be restricted
by cultures or languages. We look forward to start speaking Flash in our
own languages and to fully use its potential to make the web all that it
can be.



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Date: 8.04.03
From: fee (fee AT
Subject: Announcing the closure of by March 2004

Hello everyone,

December 1st 2003 will be the last edition of If you
have always liked the idea of writing a 150-word story, but never quite
got around to submitting one, now is your last chance (submissions close
at midnight GMT on November 1st 2003). By February 2004, the end of our
last edition, will have reached the grand old age of

The international success of this project is a tribute to our writing
community; however, we cannot leave without also praising our Editor,
Ben Stebbing. Every edition he has been faced with thousands of stories
and has had the un-enviable task of whittling them down to the 100-150
we have been able to fund. We thank him for his fantastic work. We must
also show appreciation for the male 'voice of the-phone-book', David
Williams, who has delightfully brought our collection to life each
quarter under the energetic direction of Ben Jones. (For those who
haven't guessed already, Fee is the female voice...). has been a labour of love for all people involved,
and we greatly thank Arts Council England and Arts Council England,
North West for their ongoing support and encouragement. Thanks to them
we will be leaving an archive of twelve editions - equalling over a
thousand stories, several exhibitions, an audio CD and an anthology from
year one, a vast international community, and an entire wall of folders
containing all submissions from the last three years.

Instead of the usual new edition, March 2004 will be celebrated with an
event to launch a new direction for the creators. After that time the
complete archive, mailing list and chatroom will continue to be
available for as long as we are able to sustain them, and we hope our
community will continue to be inspired by wireless technologies as a
distribution platform ­ who knows, we may well return for special
one-off editions or collaborations.

Ben Stebbing will be developing his own projects, and the-phone-book
Limited will carry on commissioning new works of innovative content for
mobile phones via our other projects,,,
our workshop series and some new projects in development. Anyone wishing
to keep in touch with us after March 2004 is invited to contact Ben
Stebbing (ben AT, Ben Jones (ben AT
or Fee Plumley (fee AT

Our heartfelt thanks goes out to everyone who has ever written, read or
listened to our collection, whether on their phone, their computer, at
an exhibition, or at any of our presentations.

Warm regards, team.

[apologies for cross postings, please forward]

)) more info (( - creative content for mobile phones

fee plumley
production director
the-phone-book Limited
po box 134
manchester m21 9wz
united kingdom

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Date: 8.06.03
From: Wilfried Agricola de Cologne (agricola-w AT
Subject: Call for entries: Netart from Asian-Pacific area


JavaMuseum -
Forum for Internet Technologies in Contemporary Art
(Java=Joint Advanced Virtual Affairs)

Call for entries:
Netart from Asian-Pacific area
Deadline Monday 5 January 2004

Currently, JavaMuseum is planning new features for the "3rd of Java
series" 2003/2004, focussing on netart from particular cultural regions
on the globe.

For February/March 2004, a feature exhibition will be prepared unter the
working title, "Netart from Asian -Pacific area", in order to pay
attention to this globally emerging cultural region, which is related to
netart widely unknow in the Western countries.

All artists, who work netbased and are born or have their residency in
one of the countries of this area are invited to submit and participate.
All serious submissions will be included.

Deadline Monday, 5 January 2004.

Please use following entry form for submitting:

1. firstname/name of artist, email, URL
2. a brief bio/CV (not more than 300 words only in English, please)
3. title and URL of the max 3 projects/works,
4. a short work description for each work (not more than 300 words only
in English, please),
5. a screen shot for each submitted work (max 800x600 pixels, .jpg)

Please send your submission to
asianfeature AT

JavaMuseum -
Forum for Internet Technologies in Contemporary Art
(Java=Joint Advanced Virtual Affairs)
info AT

corporate member of
[NewMediaArtProjectNetwork] -
the experimental platform for netbased art -
operating from Cologne/Germany.

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Date: 8.07.03
From: Andrew Hutchison (a.hutchison AT
Subject: Cybernetic garments

Call for Participation

?Cybernetic Garments¹ at The Space Between textiles_art_design_fashion
15 ­ 17 April 2004
Perth, Western Australia

the space between conference and associated events will centre on the
new creative and theoretical potentialities that have emerged from the
blurring of the boundaries between art, fashion, textiles and other
creative/design disciplines. It will provide an international forum for
the presentation of new ideas, current research and an in-depth exchange
of ideas and experiences.

One particular focus of the conference will be the potential and
consequences of the uptake of ?new¹ technologies and techniques (bio,
nano, digital, other) in the creation of ?cybernetic garments¹,
utilising re-oriented notions of ?garment¹, ?technology¹ and

Thus, clothing reclaims it¹s status as a ?technology¹ extending the
function of the skin, a highly sensitive, visually conspicuous
protective surface of the body, variable in colour and texture, defining
the physical difference between the single human and the rest of the
world, mediating the exchange of both physical matter and information.

In this context, a ?garment¹ is anything worn close to the body, and so
includes sunglasses, jewellery, hair pieces and cosmetics. The
comparatively recent, but now ubiquitous digital devices ­ mobile
phones, cameras, identity/credit cards, make explicit the cybernetic
relation between humans and garments, since they are ?active¹ and of a
?new¹ technology.

Proposals are invited for papers, panels, presentations and displayable
artefacts/artworks that explore the impact of new technology and
techniques in the design of active ?cybernetic¹ garments.

Specific topics might be, but are not limited to:

Actual garments, prototypes, design concepts, materials, processes,
possible applications in fashion/everyday wear, performance art, sport,
industrial/safety, entertainment and other areas, including wearable and
pervasive technology, smart clothes and textiles.

The application of garment and fashion design into virtual environments
such as games and on-line communities.

The consequences of possible cybernetic garments on individual identity
and society.

The history of cybernetic garments and technology in garment, fashion
and textiles design.

The moral and ethical implications of new technological processes for
garment design, especially bio-technology.

The fetishisation of new technology and ?the cybernetic¹ for its own

The practical limitations/pitfalls of technology, compared to popular

For further information specific to the Cybernetic Garments focus,
contact Andrew Hutchison, a.hutchison AT

Deadline for Submission of Abstracts and Proposals: 30 September 2003.
Notification of acceptance: 15 November 2003
Publication date for abstracts and proposals: 1 February 2004
Final date for submission of full papers and visual documentation: 16
February 2004

Due to the nature of interdisciplinary practice, research is not always
best presented in the traditional academic format. We invite interested
participants to present their current research, relevant to the
conference topics by:
Formal paper ? submission to include an abstract of approximately 300
Performance/Presentation of a small body of work, representing current
research ? submission to include a proposal of approximately 300 words
giving a brief description of work to be presented and appropriate
visual material (eg: 4-6 slide transparencies or equivalent)
illustrating your work. Please include details of technical requirements
for the presentation format eg: computers, projectors, software,
lighting, wall space, floor space and any other needs. Abstracts and
proposals submitted will be refereed by a panel of international subject

For further information, newsletter subscription, registration, keynote
speaker details, visit the conference website:

This significant event has been convened by the Textile Exchange Project
in partnership with Curtin University of Technology.

Conference convenors: Moira Doropoulos and Anne Farren.

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Date: 8.03.03
From: Jim Andrews (jim AT
Subject: Ana Maria Uribe

I am proud to announce that there is now a mirror of Ana Maria Uribe's
site at .

Argentina's Ana Maria Uribe is one of my favorite poets. She has been
building her site at for many
years; the mirror on is of a mature, well-developed site of
innovative digital poetry.

Perhaps this is the start of some sort of process of the two sites
growing together over time. Ana Maria and I and others worked together
on Paris Connection ( for several
intense months. And we are both poets inclined toward a multimedia
approach. Who knows what the future will bring?

In any case, I invite you to check out Ana Maria's inspiring work!


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Date: 8.07.03
From: Curt Cloninger (curt AT
Subject: on archiving, ephemera, and analog distortion

On Archiving, Ephemera, and Analog Distortion

According to Carrie Bickner, New York Public Library Assistant Director
for Digital Information and System Design ( ), digital archivists have two main
concerns. The concern is not just with "bit integrity" (the integrity of
the actual media being preserved); there exists the equally troublesome
task of preserving the technology used to read the media. For example,
my MS Word 2.0 document may be perfectly intact, but this does me no
good if I no longer have any software that can read it.

Imagineer Danny Hillis looked into the problems of making a clock that
would still be telling time thousands of years from now, and his best
solution was to build a non-digital clock, trusting in the continuity of
human culture to wind it physically as needed.

But what if one relies on the peculiar quirks of a particular technology
to create his signature art? Where would Jimi Hendrix be without
Marshall tube amp distortion? AmpFarm currently makes a digital Plug-In
for Pro Tools that simulates the Hendrix amp set up, and the results are
close, but no cigar.

Recently, Microsoft announced that it will no longer support Internet
Explorer for the Mac. This means that all the Mac surfers currently
using IE (a huge majority) will eventually migrate to something else,
most likely Safari. And (as Nick Barker [ ]
recently pointed out) Safari does not support tiling animated gifs. To
hardcore conceptual net artists and ActionScript/Lingo/Java net artists
this is no big deal, but to a lo-fi dhtml net artist like myself, this
failure is of some concern. It means that, for a potentially increasing
number of visitors, the technology used to create some of the "art" of
my "art" no longer functions desirably.

Not that Netscape 6 for Mac ever displayed tiling animated gifs
"properly." It actually chokes on them, but in an interesting way (surf on Mac N6 for examples). But Safari doesn't
even attempt to animate them. This is akin to the difference between
analog and digital distortion. Analog distortion is messed up, but in a
warm, gradual way that remains in dialogue with its source signal. It's
a good thing. Digital distortion is binary. You either have a clear
non-distorted signal, or a boring monotone clip that in no way resembles
its source signal. Safari not animating the gifs at all is equivalent to
this monotone clip.

To a hardcore conceptual artist to whom aesthetic craft is tangential
fluff, my animated gif concerns are insipid. To a hardcore programmer
coding abstract interactive vector shape environments, my animated gif
concerns are obsolete. To a W3C-aware software developer at Safari, my
concerns are ridiculous. But to a archivist, my concerns are of
potential interest. [cf: ,
"appendix D: artist's intent"].

There is a legendary story about Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page that
seems applicable. A rock journalist once asked Jimmy Page what rig he
used (guitar, foot pedals, amp head, speakers) to get his signature
tone. Page said, "I no longer answer that question publicly." Page went
on to explain that he uses vintage equipment that's no longer newly
manufactured. One time a few years ago, Page named the specific make and
model of the equipment he used in an interview that was widely
circulated in a major British publication. The next time Page's vintage
equipment needed replacement parts, he went shopping around to vintage
equipment dealers and pawn shops for the parts he needed, only to find
that they were unaccountably sold out. Tons of young British guitarists
had read the article and snatched up the remaining vintage equipment.
Now their hero was no longer able to continue creating the original tone
his fans were trying so hard to emulate.

This tale is usually told as a cautionary moral regarding fame and mass
media, but it also speaks of the ephemera of the technology to which we
develop our personal symbiotic relationships. Auriea Harvey [ ] confided to me a couple of years ago that she was
feeling like all the work she had done on the web was in vain and lost.
At the time, I thought she was over-reacting, temporarily burned out on
the medium. Now, as browser companies crumble and the ephemera of my
early work becomes more apparent, I begin to understand a bit of what
she was feeling.

The "solution" in commercial web design is, "code to standards." But if
part of your art involves using non-standards code to "overdrive/break"
standard browser rendering practices, then coding to standards is not
always possible.

Perhaps the solution is to embrace the ephemerality and just keep making
new stuff. If that's the case, it could be argued that pimping one's own
work becomes more important than ever. If people don't see it now, they
won't be able to see it four years from now. The focus then shifts to
the artist as public figure, and away from any single work itself. How
many web designers revere Josh Davis without ever having seen early
versions of ? How many net artists
revere jodi without ever having seen any of the early iterations of ? Thus the net artists who "succeed" are those good
at PR, good at branding themselves, good at coming up with projects that
spin well and are viral, good at peppering the press with ongoing small
projects instead of working for extended periods of time on larger, more
meaningful projects. (Have I just described the contemporary gallery
world in general?)

Perhaps the solution is to pull an entropy8zuper -- abandon the net as
an artistic medium altogether, go into hibernation for a year, and
develop a grand narrative entertainment game that is neither net nor

Or perhaps the solution is to keep working in the medium, dare to take
on larger projects (perhaps making them modular, like or ), and then
just not really give a crap about what lasts or who sees it. Personally,
I think I'm over the "who sees it" part (as much as any artist can be),
but I'm surprised at how much the "what lasts" part is goading me.




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Date: 8.03.03
From: Rachel Greene (rachel AT
Subject: Matt Locke's essay on relational aesthetics, 'Are You Awake?
Are You In Love?'

>From Matt Locke's Blog, Originally published by SF Camera Work

Matt's BLOG is here --

Are You Awake? Are You In Love?

[this is a recently finished article commissioned by Camerawork: A
Journal of Photographic Arts, based in San Francisco. Thanks to Marisa
Olson for the commission, and the artists for their assistance]

Part 1: Three stories about trust.

1: A story about Uncle Roy All Around You by Blast Theory

I'm standing in a red phone booth on the lower half of Regent St,
London. Outside, a drunk-looking man in a tweed suit looks desperate to
make a phone call, whilst I'm standing here, holding a PDA, waiting for
the phone to ring. After what seems like an age, the call comes, and a
man's voice tells me that I have to trust him, and that he has something
he has to ask me to do for him. After he finishes the call, I've got to
head north, take the first left turn, and get into the white limousine
that's parked by the side of the road. I wait in the limousine for about
5 minutes, then a man in a brown suit gets in and sits next to me.
Without saying a word, the limousine drives off, and the man starts
asking me questions, looking straight ahead all the time. Have I ever
had to trust a stranger? Would I be able to help someone I've never met
if they were in need? Could I be at the end of the phone whenever they
needed to call me? Could I commit to that for a year?

2: A story about Surrender Control by Tim Etchells

My mobile makes the two-tone bleep that tells me I've got a text
message. Scrolling down, the message reads "Write the word SORRY on your
hands. Leave it there until it fades". What should I do with this
instruction? Obey it? Delete it? What would happen if I did write SORRY
on my hands? I think through the rest of my day - a meeting at work, a
packed underground train, meeting my wife in a restaurant... What would
people think I was sorry for? Is it a reminder to say sorry, or to be
sorry? Would they ask me about it, or would they store the memory,
forever affecting their impression of me, of who I am and what I might
do? Am I the kind of person who writes messages on their hands about
emotional issues? Am I the kind of person who says sorry?

3: A story about Audit by Lucy Kimbell

It¹s a Wednesday. I'm at my desk, thinking of ways to not do things that
I know I should be doing. I flick through the pile of envelopes in my
in-tray, and come across an A4 manila envelope. Inside is a
questionnaire from someone I've met a few times over the last few years
- it¹s an audit about her and about our relationship. The questions are
strange; like a work appraisal, but veering off into more intimate
territory - Would she make a good parent? Do I think she should have
children? If she died tomorrow, or if we never communicated again, what
are the three things I would miss about her? I start filling out the
questionnaire, taking it seriously at first, as if it were a tax form,
or a reference for a passport application. I feel like I know her, but
we're acquaintances rather than friends, and some of the questions push
me to be more intimate, to imagine parts of her life that I don't know
about. What will she do with this? Why is she asking me? If I drew up a
list of people to fill in a similar audit about me, would I include her?

Part 2: Trust, art, and technology

Those stories describe three interactions. Or performances. Or moments
in the production, or consumption, of an artwork. Or perhaps they are
descriptions of how the production and consumption of an artwork can be
reduced to the same act, the same moment. They operate within, to use
Nicholas Bourriaud's term, a 'relational aesthetic' - these artworks
don't rely on an encounter with a traditional art object, nor do they
substitute that with some transcendent concept of a dematerialised art
object. In Bourriaud's definition, these works exist within "the realm
of human interactions and its social context, rather than the assertion
of an independent and private symbolic space". They are moments to be
experienced, not viewed, reaching out and enmeshing themselves in the
messy network of conversations and relationships that make up your life.

But these are not 'happenings', 'live art' or, worst of all, 'public
art' - these aren't experiences created to celebrate the liberation of
art from the constrictions of the White Cube, and the high capitalist
symbolic value bestowed upon art by those hermetically sealed walls.
Enough politics already! For some critics, art cannot exist amongst the
quotidian without taking to the barricades. It's damned if it keeps
quiet within the safe walls of the museum, and damned if it tries to
live outside that space without constantly reminding you of that fact.
For isn't most 'public' art exactly like the worst kind of evangelist -
carrying a bundle a pamphlets behind its back whilst it tries to disarm
you with a handshake? There's no real risk there - no commitment to
existing more than a toddler's-step from the safe arms of the curators
and critics, plaques and pronouncements that silently re-build white
gallery walls around their 'interventions' into our city streets. Much
harder to just put something out there, to put yourself in someone
else¹s shoes, to risk misunderstandings and rejection.

If these works have one thing in common, it is this - they understand
how communication technologies have created a series of fissures in
everyday life, a series of moments when some small act - a phone call,
text message or a letter - creates the possibility of stepping into
someone else's world. Bourriaud is right when he says this kind of work
isn't about the modernist fantasy of progress and opportunity - "Art was
intended to prepare and announce a future world: today it is modelling
possible universes" . But he then coins the term 'hands-on utopias', as
if artists had slipped the shackles of the avant-garde project only to
engage in the equivalent of community service. The fissures these works
inhabit are sometimes more like wounds than open doors. They are
intrinsically wound up in the dual morality of communication technology
- the yet-to-be-answered phone call could just as easily be a bomb
threat as a declaration of love.

Of course, we've been here before. Photography, the cultural virus that
infected the last century, was heralded as a technology for emancipation
and understanding. Given the grand project of uniting the world under an
egalitarian flashlight, it instead illuminated our darkest shadows,
creating unheimlich Memento Mori. Sophie Calle, in her book Suite
Venitienne, embraces this duality, and uses the camera as a tool for an
uneasy exploration of desire. Taking a chance encounter with a stranger
as a sign, she follows him to Venice, keeping a diary of photos taken
with a lens that took photos at 90 degrees from the camera driection.
The diary documents, in breathless prose, her stalking of the mysterious
?Henry B.¹ through the streets of Venice. There is no clear
justification for the act ­ it¹s a folly, but the desire with which she
throws herself into the project always threatens to become something
else entirely ­ ³I must not forget that I don¹t have any amorous
feelings towards Henri B."

The intimacy of the mobile phone creates a similarly fragmented network
of communication and desire. In Tim Etchells¹ Surrender Control, a
series of flyers were distributed in London with the enigmatic message
?Do you want to Surrender Control?¹ with the instruction to send a text
message saying ?SURRENDER¹. A week or so afterwards, a series of
instructions were sent back, each from an anonymous source, and
increasing in risk over the following days from banal thought
experiments (?Look around. See who¹s looking¹) to actions that have
tangible effects on real life (?Dial a number one different from that of
a friend. If someone answers, try to keep them talking¹).

But who is really surrendering control here? Subscribers, experiencing
the frisson of an instruction from an unknown Other, can still decide
whether to actually obey the actions or not. But the artist risks much
more. Nothing heralded this work as ?art¹ ­ in fact, in online
discussions that commented on the project, it was frequently mistaken
for a corporate viral marketing campaign . The work exists or not in the
mind of the receiver (audience seems too passive a noun, whilst
participant assumes an activity that might not actually have taken
place). The text message, less than 160 characters long, was easily
deleted, and there was no avenue for feedback ­ like Calle, Etchells
wanted an unconsummated relationship. Describing the Other, or giving a
motive behind the communication, would have greatly diminished its power
­ better to let people project from their own intimacies, and imagine
their own masters:

"At first I felt as though something was lacking. Motivation, I think.
Why would I want to follow these instructions? I wanted more of a story,
reasons, causality, a role to fill, perhaps? Who was supposed to be
sending these messages? I can easily imagine a messaging sequence like
this with a clear narrative frame. [...] And yet there is some narrative
here. It's like a very loosely woven net that I slip through easily, but
if I'm careful to stay inside it I can pull at threads and find the
connections, feel someone else pulling threads pulling me towards them,
imagine from the rhythm of the pulling and the messages who that other
person might be.

Do everything in the wrong order, was my latest instruction. Shall I?


Lucy Kimbell¹s Audit treads a similarly risky path. By sending out the
questionnaire, she risked rejection, or, even worse, earnest responses
that could be as disturbing as they were enlightening. In the book
published to document the project, she uses a number of critical
approaches to frame the responses, from economic theories to
sociological. But the work keeps sliding out from under the microscope,
with some respondents resisting the format, and Kimbell¹s own sidebar
comments that never quite give her the last word. So what is it as a
document? It¹s obviously flawed as a serious piece of research, due to
the complicity of researcher and subject, It¹s not a portrait of the
artist ­ despite the whole book being ostensibly about her, you could
read the whole thing and still pass her by in the street. Instead, it¹s
a fragile kind of map ­ a temporary document of a series of
relationships, created not according to a strict topography, but by the
warp and weft of real life. Those that didn¹t respond don¹t appear on
the map, and the ones that did form a chorus of unreliable narrators.
Audit, for the purposes of research, treats relatives and relative
strangers with the same even hand, and demonstrates the fragile networks
of trust that exist between them.

Part 3: Epilogue

At the end of our car ride around London, the brown-suited stranger
asked me for a postcard I¹d picked up from a disused office earlier on.
Driven by a series of hints and instructions sent to me over the PDA,
I¹d discovered this office in an otherwise normal block on Regent
Street. After rummaging around amongst desks, computers and guidebooks
to London, I found a postcard printed with the text ?When would you ever
trust a stranger?¹. I wrote, ?When you have no other choice¹, and
slipped it into a shirt pocket. Back in the car, we¹d parked by the side
of the street, near a post box. The stranger asked me to write my phone
number on the card, then added an address and stuck on a stamp. ³This is
the address of a stranger² he said. ³There is a post box outside. If you
post this card, the stranger will have your number. You will be
committing to be there for them, at the end of a phone call, for 12
months. They can call you anytime, for any reason. Will you post the

As the stranger drove off, I stood in the street, the postcard bending
in my hand from the wind. I thought about posting the card, about how a
simple act would transform a few square inches of ink and paper into a
year-long commitment to trust, and being trusted. How many small acts of
trust do I commit to every day without thinking about it? How many
promises, phone calls, emails, letters? What kind of network is formed
by these pushes and pulls ­ how many knots, how many loose ends?

And finally, how come its taken a stranger to make me think about this?

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Rhizome Digest is supported by grants from The Charles Engelhard
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the Visual Arts, and with public funds from the New York State Council
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Rhizome Digest is filtered by Rachel Greene (rachel AT ISSN:
1525-9110. Volume 8, number 32. Article submissions to list AT
are encouraged. Submissions should relate to the theme of new media art
and be less than 1500 words. For information on advertising in Rhizome
Digest, please contact info AT

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