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: 11.14.03
Date: Sat, 15 Nov 2003 00:19:59 -0500

RHIZOME DIGEST: November 14, 2003


1. Rachel Greene: Rhizome needs your support

2. Johannes Gees: The Helloworld Project

3. Brian Goldfarb: faculty job openings at UCSD
4. Shawn Brixey: Research Fellow-Lecturer positions at DXARTS,

5. Jemima Rellie, Michael Szpakowski, Curt Cloninger, Tamara Lai: Shilpa
Gupta at

6. Dyske Suematsu: Motomichi Nakamura Interview

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Date: 11.14.03
From: Rachel Greene (rachel AT
Subject: Rhizome needs your support

Hi Rhizomers:

When we made the transition from free membership to requiring membership
contributions last January, there was a lot of debate on and
elsewhere. It was a difficult decision for us, but in the end it was the
decisive factor in keeping alive.

If you are getting this message, then you are one of about 4,400
Rhizomers who decided to support with a contribution. I¹m
writing to you now to let you know that we need your support once again.

Although our affiliation with the New Museum of Contemporary Art helps
us reduce our overhead significantly, we are still a small, independent
nonprofit and we must raise own funds to survive. It will cost about
$210,000 to operate this fiscal year (this is about
two-thirds of what our was budget last year). Though they offer other
forms of support, the New Museum does not support us financially. Many
economies around the world have started to recover, but the funding
environment for American nonprofits remains very challenging.

Our goal this year is to raise $37,000 by the 1st of February. So far we
have raised about $5,000.

Please renew your membership now at, and consider increasing your level
of support.

Your support will be put to good use. In the next few months, we will
initiate a new cycle of commissions in which we will award more than
$12,000 to Rhizome artists, revamp our search engine, develop a new
ArtBase curatorial program and launch Rhizome Memberships for
Organizations, a new program that will provide access to
through schools, libraries and arts organizations from Chiang Mai to
Chile. And we will continue to offer our core programs, including the web site and email lists, with a focus on further improving
the quality and relevance of our content.

Starting now, Rhizome members who donate more than $15 will receive a
10-20% discount on all items purchased at the New Museum's Online Store
(the discount range depends on the producer -- books or editions
published by the New Museum are discounted 20%). The New Museum Online
Store, which you can peruse at, has
wonderful books and gifts. Their book inventory is wide-ranging across
the fields of art, theory, and media. Titles include Uncanny Networks by
Geert Lovink, Snap to Grid by former Rhizome Regional Editor Peter
Lunenfeld, and the New Museum Press' Art After Modernism: Rethinking
Representation edited by Brian Wallis. These are just three terrific
books you could buy at a significant discount! They would each make a
nice holiday gift. The Online Store also sells artists editions,
CD-ROMS, clothes, gifts, and children's merchandise. If you contribute
$50 or more, we will also will thank you with a "SOYLOVE" T-SHIRT
designed by Rhizome artist Cary Peppermint. Cary¹s wearable art is a
resounding hit among art and media crowds internationally!

Please renew soon by making a donation here

I hope you will enjoy the New Museum Online Store discount or Cary
Peppermint's conceptual art t-shirt. I also hope you'll let me know what
you think about's direction.


Rachel Greene

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Date: 11.11.03
From: Johannes Gees (contact AT
Subject: The Helloworld Project

The Helloworld Project / Johannes Gees
An invitation to take control of public space with the power of words.

December 9-12, 2003,
Mumbai - Geneva - Rio de Janeiro - New York

The Helloworld Project is a global interactive text installation
combining language, landscapes and communication technology to create a
visual dialogue. From December 9-12, 2003, you will be invited to send
in messages, either by sending an SMS to a dedicated number or by going

These messages will be projected onto mountains and buildings in Geneva,
Mumbai, Rio de Janeiro and New York . Video images of the projections
will be broadcast live on the project website and at the World Summit on
the Information Society in Geneva. The Helloworld Project is a
collaborative happening, an invitation to take control of public space
with the power of words.

How to participate in "The Helloworld Project"?

As an online news journal or gateway:
- Feature The Helloworld Project on your website and invite your readers
to participate in this global collaborative experience between December
9 - 12, 2003
- Feature The Helloworld Project as a link on your website
)) Contact anisha AT for details

As a public art space / media lab / institution:
- Create public access to "The Helloworld Project" by putting the
projects webpage on your public screens, thus providing your visitors
access to the project.
)) Contact anisha AT for more details.

As an individual:
- Visit between December 9 and 12, 2003, and
enter your message!
- Subscribe to our newsletter on You
will receive a reminder by email when the projectors go online.

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Date: 11.09.03
From: Brian Goldfarb (bgoldfarb AT
Subject: faculty job openings at UCSD

The University of California, San Diego, Department of Communication
( is seeking to fill several full-time,
tenure-track positions at the Assistant Professor level, beginning Fall

Cultural production and media studies. Specific areas of research
concentration are open but could include work on: popular culture
(digital media, television, film, radio, music, folklore, theater, and
fashion); audience reception; changing media markets and new forms of
representation; communication media and social identity; cultural
memory; or patterns of access to and use of information technology.
Individuals with a strong theoretical background and orientation to
questions of race and ethnicity are especially encouraged to apply. MFA
or Ph.D candidates with experience and/or expertise in the practice and
theory of media production will be seriously considered.

The political economy/institutional analysis of communication. Specific
areas of research concentration are open, but could include historical
or contemporary work on: the cultural industries (such as television,
film, music, publishing, or advertising) and the way cultural production
is affected by the interplay of the old and new economies; the nature of
media markets; communication, globalization and post-colonial studies;
the intersection between the political economy of communication and
race, gender and/or nationalism; or the relationship between
communication and social movements.

Salaries are in strict accordance with UC pay scales. If non-citizen,
state immigration status. UCSD is an equal opportunity/affirmative
action employer committed to excellence through diversity. Applicants
are invited to preview campus diversity resources and programs at the
campus website for Diversity (

To assist applicants who may have concerns regarding employment
opportunities for spouses/partners, please consider the UCSD website for
the Academic Job Opportunities Bulletin
(, the Staff
Employment Opportunity Bulletin ( or our links
to employment opportunities at other education and research institutions
in San Diego (

Send vita, statement of research and teaching interests, and names,
addresses, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers of three references
supporting the applicant's teaching qualifications by November 14, 2003,
however, we will review applications until the position is filled.

Please send materials to:

Val Hartouni - Culture Recruitment or
Dan Hallin - Social Force Recruitment
Department of Communication (0503),
Univ. Calif. San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive,
La Jolla CA 92093-0503.


Brian Goldfarb
Assistant Professor
Department of Communication 0503
UC San Diego
La Jolla, CA 92093-0503

phone: 858-822-2239

Email: bgoldfarb AT

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Date: 11.12.03
From: Shawn Brixey (shawnx AT
Subject: Research Fellow-Lecturer positions at DXARTS, UW-Seattle


November 2003

University of Washington, Seattle, WA.
Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS)

University of Washington, Center for Digital Arts and Experimental
Media, is seeking to fill one year (with possibility of renewal)
Research Fellow/Lecturer Positions in Digital and Experimental Arts. The
successful candidates should be prepared to pursue innovative research
in their main fields of study and to teach introductory level courses in
history, theory and studio practice of digital and experimental art
forms. Applicants should be broadly interdisciplinary with strong
technical skill and practical experience synthesized from multiple areas
of the arts. Examples include; electronic performance, interactive
installation, database and interface, net art, digital video, computer
music, digital sound, robotics, telematics, etc.

Masters degree or equivalent required. Application must include: CV,
artist statement, statement on pedagogy, and a portfolio of professional
creative work and research.Support materials must include three
references with phone numbers, mail and e-mail address. Samples of
previous course design and recent student work is encouraged. Portfolio
work may be formatted for viewing on any platform and may include video.
Please include a SASE for return of materials. Also inform us if you
will be attending the CAA conference in Seattle, WA.

Application materials should be addressed to: Professors Shawn Brixey
and Juan Pampin, co-chairs, Research Fellows Search Committee, DXARTS,
Box 353680, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-3680.
Priority will be given to applications received before January 15, 2004.
The University of Washington is building a culturally diverse faculty,
and strongly encourages applications from female and minority
candidates. The University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action

For detailed information about DXARTS visit the Center's web site noted

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Date: 11.08.03-11.10.03
From: Jemima Rellie (jemima.rellie AT, Michael Szpakowski
(szpako AT, Curt Cloninger (curt AT, Tamara Lai
(tamara.lai AT
Subject: Shilpa Gupta at

Jemima Rellie (jemima.rellie AT posted:

Shilpa Gupta's new work Blessed Bandwidth invites visitors to log on,
choose a religion and get blessed. Set against a world divided by faith,
the work explores religion, globalisation and the complex cultural and
political dynamics of the internet. Commissioned by Tate Online
(, it juxtaposes the real and virtual worlds and
encourages visitors to consider how these spaces overlap and merge.

Two critical texts accompany the piece:
God, Prayer and Politics: The Work of Shilpa Gupta, Heidi Reitmaier it's super authentic, Johan Pijnappel

Both texts and the work itself can be found via

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Michael Szpakowski (szpako AT replied:

work explores religion, globalisation and the
complex cultural and political dynamics of the

Does it? How does it do this?
So often I read these kind of assertions in
artist's/curatorial statements.
I took a look and it feels pretty ordinary and
formulaic to me.
Maybe I'm being uncharitable or missing something.
Maybe I'm not looking in the right way.
I'd be interested to know what others think.

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Curt Cloninger (curt AT added:

one of my students made this piece in a couple of weeks:

Its copy is more amusing, its concept is more focused, it more
thoroughly chews what it bites off, because it presumes to bite off
less. In short, the piece critiques fast food religion. At a deeper
level, it laments the corrosive aspects of consumer culture on human
spiritual aspirations. I could write a couple of papers on it (blah blah
blah), but I just rented a Young Ones DVD, and later I mean to take a

Its artist statement is in white html at the bottom of the first page.
Select all or view source to see it. Even without the artist statement,
the critical intention of the piece is self-evident without beating you
over the head with self-conscious irony. And if you're tricked into
thinking the piece is real (as some people are with, then it serves a critcal purpose along those
lines as well.

I think she got an A- or a B+ for it.


The tate piece blenderizes half-baked critiques of fast food religion,
all religion, ritual, partisanship, globalisation, and war. All it lacks
is an autogenerative logo and a psuedonymous etoy-ish art corp creator,
and it would have filled in all the requisite blanks. Oh, and
surveilance cameras. There must always be something about surveilance

how you gonna keep em down on the farm
now that outer space has lost its charm

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Michael Szpakowski replied:

Hi Curt
(one of my students made this piece in a couple of
Its copy is more amusing, its concept is more
focused, it more thoroughly chews what it bites off,
because it presumes to bite off less.)

I absolutely agree. I'd go further & say that
precisely *because* of its terseness, its concreteness
of content and its thoroughness of execution ( except
for the misspelling of 'promiscuous')
it actually starts to achieve some of the pretensions
of the Tate piece.
Isn't this often the case with good art that the truth
about a small thing, well told, then has many broader
and more universal implications?
When you have work like this it starts to be
meaningful to say that the piece is 'about this' or
'about that', 'does this' or 'does that' (although I'm
grateful that the artist herself didn't, or at least
not in that horribly portentous way).

(I think she got an A- or a B+ for it)

You're a hard man- I'd have given her a straight A.

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Jemima Rellie replied:

Hi there Michael and I'd suggest it does for the following reasons:

Religion )
- The central subject for the work is world religion, from the
perspective on an artist based in Mumbai.

Globalisation )
- Shilpa did not travel to the UK at any point in the commissioning
process (This was primarily a question of how best to use the limited
funds available. We're hoping to get Shilpa over in the Spring to
participate in some related educational events). All communication
between Tate and the artist and took place via pcs and phones.
- What's more, I'd suggest that the work encourages visitors to reflect
on the effect of globalisation on religion (and vice versa), and how
religion on a state/global scale blurs with politics.

Complex cultural and political dynamics of the internet )
- The site homepage is IP specific and varies depending on the
geographical point of access. In the UK, the first religion we are
offered is Hindu.
- Furthermore, the site is hosted in India, not with the majority of
Tate Online's content, in Glasgow, which (I reckon) raises interesting
questions about the relationship of the museum to such practice.
- Shilpa has placed ads on Google to try and attract new, non net
art/art museum visitors to engage with the very public work.

This is my on the fly response, but I'd also really recommend reading
the 2 texts that accompany the piece.

: )


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Michael Szpakowski replied:

Hi Jemima
thanks for the reply.
Nothing of what you've said about the piece, however,
is immediately apparent from the piece itself, which I
still find pretty lacklustre.
Plus, I'm just personally uncomfortable with the
amount of meta artistic sludge one has to trudge
thorugh in order to "get" a piece like this.
I can't help feeling that the worthy things you claim
the piece does could probably be better accomplished
by a terse little pamphlet on religion and
Did you take a look at the student piece that Curt
I think it does a lot of what you claim for the Tate
piece with considerable more economy and force.
I will take a look though at the Tate documentation
and have a think about it, as you suggest.

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Tamara Lai (tamara.lai AT added:

dear Jemima Rellie

if you and Shilpa are interested in mixed spiritualities

you got to know

To make a portrait of God in 2003

on line since july 2003


Tamara Laï
Belgium Europe


Tell A Mouse


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Date: 11.10.03
From: Dyske Suematsu (dyske AT
Subject: Motomichi Nakamura Interview

Dyske Suematsu: When did you come to the states?

Motimichi Nakamura: First time I came here I was 18, and then I went
back, and a year or two later came back, and went to upstate New York,
to Rockland County. It's like an hour from here. I went to a community
college. I thought it would be nice to study my first a few years
outside of the city. After that, I transferred to Parson's School of
Design. I majored in communication design first, then I changed my major
to illustration.

DS: Did you use computers in school?

MN: The first time I took a computer class was when I was upstate at the
community college. They had this MacDraw and MacPaint. When I was at
Parsons, I took as many computer classes as I could. That time, everyone
wanted to use computers. Computers were such a great tool. But when I
was in school there was prejudice against using computers. The
mainstream was still draw and paint, stretch a canvas, and stuff like
that. I didn't take any Web classes, because, you know, Parsons didn't
have any.

DS: How long did you live in Ecuador?

MN: I lived in Ecuador for about 3 years. I had a company there. After I
graduated from school I was working here from 96 to 98. For some strange
reason, I decided to go to Ecuador. I started a Web design company in
the capital of Ecuador, Quito. I lived there for 3 years. I feel
extremely attached to the place. South America is somewhere I always
wanted to go to. Ecuador is a great place. I went there twice before I
decided to move there. It was a really interesting experience. Life is
totally different there. Though, economically they were in the worst
condition in 40 years.

DS: Was there much demand for Web design in Ecuador?

MN: Yes and No. There were many companies who wanted to have website,
but economy was so bad, and it got to the point that we decided to
leave. Not necessarily because of the economic situation, but
politically it got to a very aggressive situation, so I started fearing
for my life every day. I saw people getting mugged, cars stolen, a gun
pointed at them. I felt that someday it was going to be me.

DS: Do you think that experience had an influence on your work?

MN: I think violence is everywhere. It's something that I learned, which
I'm very thankful for living in place like Ecuador. If you grew up in
places like Japan, or even in the states, the majority is middleclass.
We don't really have much contact with violence, or with people who live
in the ghetto, who have actually seen shooting guns like in Hollywood
movies. People have tendency to think that in bad neighborhoods people
are twisted, but poverty is something that forces people to do whatever
it takes to survive. If you go to under-developed countries, or any
countries that have poverty like Ecuador, the same thing. People have to
commit violent actions to feed the family. You might not learn that from
my work, but I feel that violence should not be taken in a light way, or
glorified, like it's been done in the media. It's a problem. No one
wants to be violent. No one wants to commit crimes. But there are cases
where people are left with no option.

DS: It seems that the South American culture had some influence on you.
You seem to like using Spanish in your work.

MN: I do use Spanish a lot. I like the language. When I use something,
just like anyone else, I have rational reasons, but I also use it
because I like it. I like the atmosphere of South America in general.
Food, music, Latin music. But I don't associate them with violence at
all; just the realities that they have to face every day.

DS: How long have you been living in the US?

MN: I think 9 years total.

DS: Do you go back to Japan a lot?

MN: I do. I go back once or a twice a year. When I was living in
Ecuador, I didn't because the flight was like 20 hours. But now that I
live in New York, I do go back a lot. Either that my family visits me
here, or I go visit them. I'm still in touch with the Japanese culture.
I know some Japanese people here, and I go to JAS mart also [laugh].
(JAS Mart is a chain of Japanese convenient stores.) My wife loves
Japanese TV shows even though she doesn't understand it.

DS: Have you shown your work in Japan?

MN: I would like to, but I haven't. Commercially I've done some stuff,
but artistically, the only thing that I can remember is that they showed
one of my animations on NHK. Some people talked to me about exhibitions,
but I haven't done it yet.

DS: Do you still feel you are Japanese? Or do you feel you are in a

MN: I do feel 100 percent Japanese. But I might be losing more
traditional aspects of being Japanese. The fact that I'm so conscious of
me being Japanese may be the flipside of the fact that I'm now less

DS: Do you feel comfortable with being called a Japanese artist?

MN: I don't mind being called that, but, just like anyone else, I don't
like to be so categorized, but at the same time it sounds ridiculous to
say "a Japanese guy who lives in New York."

DS: Did you always wanted to be an artist?

MN: When I was little, I wanted to be a marine biologist. I always had a
fish tank and stuff. I was very serious about it.

DS: Did you grow up reading a lot of cartoons?

MN: Not so much. If you grow up in Japan you live with them. Of course I
like cartoons, but I've never been a big fan of comic books.

DS: Technically, your style is well suited for Flash. Did Flash inspire
your style, or did you always liked that simple vector style?

MN: I think I've always been into things that are simple and graphic.
The reason why at first I studied graphic design was because I was never
a big fan of realism. I always liked things that are mathematical,
graphic, and high contrast. I remember before Flash came out, the only
animation tool available was Macromedia Director. I used to have a
really hard time, because I could never get clean edge. So, when Flash
came out, I was really happy.

DS: Violence and sex are usually depicted with a lot of details. If you
were given a budget to make a film, or high-resolution animations like
Akira, would you be interested in doing that?

MN: Depicting violence in details isn't a kind of things that I'm
interested in. If you depict violence so explicitly, you are then
expressing that violence. That is not something that I'm interested in.
I'm not particularly interested in the actual act of violence. I'm
trying to describe the concept or the nature of violence. Even if I get
a big budget, I would still be interested in doing more graphical work,
and I would invest more time and effort in music. That would be my

DS: In many of your animations, I feel a sense of social oppression,
especially in "Add Boiling Water". I think it's a kind of tension and
pressures that is familiar to many Japanese, which sometimes turns into
violence. Is that something you intended?

MN: That's very interesting, because Japan is very safe. There is almost
no social class. Economy is great. But people are still frustrated. That
is something that I would like to know what that means. If you live in a
society where everything is great, why would you still feel frustrated
or feel violent? If you are given everything, education, money, a place
to live, why would you feel frustrated? I've never saw it that way but
it is true that my work has a tendency to express violence in that way.

DS: Are you interested in dealing with any specific cultures in your

MN: I'm not conscious about any particular culture at all. I have no
intention to represent any culture. After I created "Add Boiling Water",
I consciously tried to go as far away as possible from anything personal
or culture-specific. I tried to make it very simple, like "Punto Zero",
so that as many people as possible could actually understand it.

DS: Many of your animations are based on music or writings of others.
And, you seem to be very careful about working synergystically with
them, rather than trying to subordinate them to your own art. Do you
always prefer to work that way?

MN: I definitely prefer to work with music or sound. When I see visuals
with sound, it's so much better and stronger. In reality, I think a lot
of things we feel are based on sound. There are no such situations where
you see something moving very fast and you don't hear a sound. Sound,
smell, or even words always come with it. I want to create something
that feels real.

DS: You seem to like the format of music video. Do you find something
compelling in that particular format?

MN: Definitely. I started doing this live performance. This VJ thing. I
find it very interesting. This effort of DJ or musicians playing and me
mixing the video at the same time, trying to sync, that whole act is
very inspiring to me.

DS: Amputated body parts seem to be a common theme in your work,
especially chopped heads.

MN: When I started working with this theme, violence, one of the things
that I was also interested in was the idea of human sacrifice. It's
something that has been done in primitive societies. I've made many
animations with that theme, and that's the time I started using the
graphics in such a way as cutting the head off. For me, it's all
symbolic. I'm not interested in any particular religion, but I do
respect religions. It's something we all need. We all need something to
believe in.

DS: Even though sexuality seems to be a common theme in your work, no
one seems to talk about it, including your own descriptions of your
work. Why is that?

MN: It's true, people don't usually ask me about that. To me, all these
ideas that I try to develop in my work are same idea; it's human nature.
I'm not particularly trying to express sexual aspects of human beings.
Sex is something we all live with. We eat, we reproduce. So, I always
like to include that. I don't want to neglect any important aspects of
human beings. If you show sexuality as good or bad, you always have to
take some kind of stance. Like, if you try to show something in such and
such way, you are trying to make it sexy, or trying to support freedom,
or this and that. I don't necessarily mean sex is this or sex is that.
I'm just trying to present it as a pure aspect of nature.

DS: Any future plan or upcoming work you can share with us?

MN: This VJ thing is keeping me busy. It's fun. I play at Remote Lounge
and Subtonic. Sometimes I get to sit with other VJs, which is very fun.
I'm actually going to England next week to do the VJ thing. That's going
to be a lot of fun. A lot of VJs are coming from all over the world.

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Rhizome Digest is supported by grants from The Charles Engelhard
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Rhizome Digest is filtered by Feisal Ahmad (feisal AT ISSN:
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