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: 03.13.04
Date: Sat, 13 Mar 2004 13:42:28 -0500

RHIZOME DIGEST: March 13, 2004


1. Francis Hwang: Rhizome Commissions: Get Ur Vote On
2. Joy Garnett: Molotov Webring
3. Kristine Ploug: curates generative art
exhibition in Copenhagen
4. Iris Mayr: Topographies of Populism - Conference March 25-27, 2004

5. Roopesh Sitharan: UPload:DOWNload - Call for PARTICIPANT(((

6. Patrick Lichty: Confessions of a whitneybiennial curator

7. Andrew Choate: page_space review

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +


Date: 3.09.04
From: Francis Hwang (francis AT
Subject: Rhizome Commissions: Get Ur Vote On

Hi all,

The voting for the 2004 Net Art Commissions is now underway. If you are
eligible to vote, please go to to
vote for your favorite proposals.

This open voting process is sort of unprecedented -- I don't believe
that there has ever been an arts organization that has awarded a
commission in this way. I'm hopeful that these commissions, regardless
of who they're awarded to, will raise some provocative questions about
how artists are funded and about how value is assigned in the art world.

I have emailed all the candidates, and asked them:

+ not to participate in list discussion on any of the work under
+ not to change their proposal sites during the discussion in an
attempt to win more votes.

I have one more request to make of everybody else. While we want people
to talk openly about the proposals, we also have to keep in mind that we
are speaking about subjective, personal work in a very public forum. In
any open call like this you're bound to get proposals that vary widely
in quality: Please try to keep your conversation focused on what
proposals you like, and minimize the amount of conversation on proposals
you dislike. In other words, just accentuate the positive. If this year
turns out to be a nasty experience for a lot of artists, we probably
won't get many submissions next year.

Thanks in advance for participating. And please email me if you have any
questions about how this whole thing is supposed to work.


+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +


Date: 3.06.04
From: Joy Garnett (joyeria AT
Subject: Molotov Webring

Molotov Webring


Still Images: collage / agitprop

Moving Images / interactive

Mirror Images

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +


Date: 3.08.04
From: Kristine Ploug (kristine AT
Subject: curates generative art exhibition in

Creative mechanisms

Autopilot is an exhibition of generative art in kopenhagenshop as a part
of the RADAR festival ( The exhibition is curated by and will take place at kopenhagenshop on Enghave
Plads 8 in Vesterbro, April 1st-4th, 2004.

The opening is Thursday, April 1st., 2004, 5 pm ? 7 pm.

In the exhibition period, the opening hours for kopenhagenshop are
Friday - Sunday 10 am ? 6 pm.

Generative art is a distinct branch within the field of computer based
art. In generative artworks, part of the work's creation is left to
autonomous processes of a computer. The frames of the creative process
are determined by the programmer's ? the artist's ? creation of
algorithms. Successions of different expressions can subsequently arise
from the automated processes of the software.

The exhibition shows three generative works ? each of them representing
an aesthetically different approach to generative art: Generative
architecture, generative drawing, and generative sound/animation.

Generative architecture
Pablo Miranda Carranza (b. 1972): ArchiKluge
ArchiKluge generates suggestions of architectural diagrams, actually
letting the diagrams evolve according to certain programmed 'fitness
principles'. Pablo Miranda Carranza studied architecture at the
University of East London. Since the year 2001 he has been teaching at
the architecture school of the Royal Institute of Technology in
Stockholm and working at the Interactive Institute, also in Sweden . His
work explores architectural production processes, which are not based on
the notion of design as the expression of an author's intention, but
instead the result of the evolutionary, relentless accumulation of
unintelligent calculations; a generated architecture, rather than

Generative sound and animation
Thor Magnusson (b. 1972) and Birta Thrastardottir (b. 1976): Composing
Composing Paper is a generative animation and sound work by animator
Birta Thrastardottir and sound artist/programmer Thor Magnusson. Thor
works with generative methods in sound and software art and some of his
productions can be found on the ixi software website. Composing Paper
continues a line in the experiments of ixi software where various
algorithms are used to create an unexpected evolution and process, and
it becomes alive in the field which Birta is mostly concerned with:
tactile material animation. The artists create the conditions of the
piece, but the piece itself performs its own manifestation. It is never
the same and it never ends.

Generative drawing
Ole Kristensen (b. 1978): Flyt dig
Flyt dig is a piece letting the computer make a drawing based on motion.
The software sees through a web cam, decides a direction, and draws a
line. Ole likes simple generative graphics and little things that move
around to generate complex patterns. Sometimes his pieces are
interactive, sometimes they consist of light from screens or little
gadgets. He has been studying programming at the Interactive Media
programme at Roskilde University and also studied in Sweden at a masters
programme in art and technology for a year. He is part of the
Halfmachine festival at Christiania and builds physical electronic art.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +


Date: 3.11.04
From: Iris Mayr (iris.mayr AT
Subject: Topographies of Populism - Conference March 25-27, 2004

Topographies of Populism:
Everyday Life, Media, and the City
2nd International DOM-Conference in Linz, March 25th to 27th, 2004

The 2nd International DOM-Conference tries to comprehend the term
"populism" on the level of everyday life, the media, and the city with
particular attention to architecture and urban design.

Today, the term "populism" and its use suggest that it is not a matter
of a new political movement within the spectrum of already existing
ones. Rather, it is a - as new regarded - way of how various interest
groups bring themselves in relation to a wooed public. Subsequently, the
term has something to do with the way a public conscious is shaped
respectively how influence is taken on it its formation. In this respect
it is interesting to observe, how populist strategies are used in
architectural and urbanist engagement with ?what people want?. Two
fundamentally different strategies can be discerned in this context:

The strategy of anticipation, with which either on an aesthetic or an
operational level a consent is aimed with a public. In the aesthetic
approach the popular ?will? is simply expressed in a "despotic" manner
without the engagement of the people (architecture for the people,
nothing by the people). Architects and investors, who e.g. design and
bring buildings in accordance with commonly accepted popular tastes on
the market, for instance in form of traditional architectural images,
pursue surely most radically this strategy. The operational approach
bases itself on popular support and tries to develop concepts together
with future users and residents in a "paternalistic" way (architecture
with people).

The strategy of mobilization, in which a particularly insufficiently
informed majority opinion is taken systematically in direction. The goal
of this strategy is to gain the awareness and support of a public - the
"people" - for an architecture (which is e.g. either going to be built,
preserved or taken down). The debates occured in the media around
developing processes of the Museum Quarter in Vienna, the Culture and
Convention Centre in Luzern, or the recently decided competition for
Ground-Zero in New York may be taken as examples for this strategy.

In both strategies the media becomes a special role assigned. Intended
or inadvertently, it advances to a tool of mutual communication and
interest co-ordination. Therefore, the conference is structured into
three main parts:

Populism and Everyday Life (1st day)
Populism and Media (2nd day)
Populism and Architecture (3rd day)

Design Organisation Media (DOM) Research Laboratory. kunstuniversität
linz. Hauptplatz 8. Postfach 6. A4010 Linz. Austria. Tel. +43 (0)732
7898 217. Fax +43 (0)732 7898 224 DOM Research Laboratory is run in
cooperation with Ars Electronica Center Linz. Hauptstrasse 2. A4040

Among others Diller + Scofidio, Bill Moggridge, Thomas Frank, Ellen
Dunham-Jones, Jeffrey Inaba, Greg Van Alstyne.

Please find more details as well as the schedule and the complete
speaker's list online at:

For tickets and travel information:

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Rhizome is now offering organizational subscriptions, memberships
purchased at the institutional level. These subscriptions allow
participants of an institution to access Rhizome's services without
having to purchase individual memberships. (Rhizome is also offering
subsidized memberships to qualifying institutions in poor or excluded
communities.) Please visit for more
information or contact Jessica Ivins at Jessica AT

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +


Date: 3.08.04
From: Roopesh Sitharan (intergra AT
Subject: UPload:DOWNload - Call for PARTICIPANT(((

Upload-Download (UD) is an experimental online project presenting a
collaboration between young people around the globe.Central to the
project is the theme of global communication and cross-cultural

Essentially, the project explores the impact of globalisation, free
market capitalism, consumerism, and information /communication
technology on the young people , especially in regards to the notion of
self, identity, nationality, spirituality and cross-cultural

The participants will engage in a series of collaborative online art
activities related to the above-mentioned issues.

The artwork is produced with simple process of uploading of content from
participating artist from one end which serves as a content for the
participating artist at the other end to download and work on the
particular content and vise versa. The process is continuous,ever
growing and evolving.

There were 4 sub-projects or assignments for UD, namely :
· interFACES
· BrandconTEXT
· cITy stream
· SoulBITS

Currently on the interFACES is being launched, the other sub-projects
will be launched in stages.

-Deep interest in new media arts
-Creative and fluent with new media related technologies
-moderate level of both spoken and written English
-interest to engage in the collaborative project

Project URL:

Any enquiry,contact:
roopesh AT
roopesh AT


+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +


Date: 3.10.04
From: Patrick Lichty (voyd AT
Subject: Confessions of a whitneybiennial curator

Confessions of a curator
Patrick Lichty

Being an independent curator breeds strange bedfellows, actually
stranger than I could have imagined. Sometime late in 2001, I got an
e-mail from Miltos Manetas, of whom I'd known through the Net for a
while regarding a project he was doing called The
concept was to create an 'exhibition' concurrent with the opening night
of the Whiney Biennial consisting of U-Haul trucks that would circle the
museum showing projected Flash-based snippets through a program written
by NY artist Michael Rees via rear-projection screens. The idea would
be to question the relevance of shows like the Whitney Biennial, the
material gallery and like strategies by recontextualizing such cultural
spaces in light of online art, which had been accepted in the 2000
Whitney Biennial. called forth many issues, including community
discussion of the use of applications such as Macromedia Flash in the
creation of online art, the near-ubiquitous criticism of the Whitney
Biennial, the conceptual history of Manetas' work and its critique on
commodity culture, and to the potential subversiveness of an
intervention such as the one being proposed. The questioning of
materialism in artistic practice has been extant since at least since
Duchamp's famous urinal and continuing on through many movements
including Conceptualism. In so doing the artist's practice of
circumspection of the gallery or museum as a valid entity is nothing
new. However, the seductive quality of the new (as in New Media) when
considered against the increasing acceptance of technologically-based
art allows for a cultural 'Trojan Horse' to infiltrate the high art

But while considering the socio-cultural matrix surrounding, personal issues regarding this intervention had to
be taken into account. For example, signitificant parts of my personal
stance towards the art world has involved critical discourse questioning
traditional museological practice relating to materialism, legitimation,
and archival of artworks in light of technological art, including 'net
art'. This body of thought began in 1998 with 'The Panic Museum' (1),
an essay that dealt with the state of museological practice vis-a-vis
digital media, materialism, access, technology, and archival. In
addition, other essays (2) and three independently curated online
exhibits (3) explored possible alternative models for representing new
media works integrating emergent technological methods. But this
'alternative voice' coupled with the fact my involvement in curatorial
practice as well as having had work (under pseudonyms) in some of these
exhibitions made me curious about my function in this project and what
might be learned from this intervention. And lastly, there were some
personal questions in regards to Manetas' work and his exploration of
branding (which I will explain later) that were of great interest to me,
so I accepted.

The concept was that several independent curators and 'chosen' New Media
intelligentsia (or 'Neensters', as Manetas would put it) would suggest
Flash-based artists from the online community. These artists were to
create Flash 'snippets' to be mixed together with a program coded by NY
artist Michael Rees, the product of which would be projected from the
rear aperture of a circling U-Haul truck on the opening night of the
Biennial. The proposed scene would be a surreal circling of the wagons
around the Whitney, but not creating a bulwark as in the Western movie
tropes, but an elision of the center of attention entirely, having as
much to do with the nature of the trends within the online art culture
at the time itself.

Much of the discursive function of this intervention had to do with the
production and techne of net-beased art as its representation and
content. At the time of conception of, a great deal
of heated discussion was transpiring regarding the use of Macromedia
Flash as a creative tool, and whether the very structure of that
development environment was a constraining factor in creating
Flash-based work. There were many viewpoints on this subject, but many
constructed a polarized argument centered virtuosity and craft in terms
of code as art object or conceptual articulation. In framing this
argument it might be useful to consider that no technology is neutral,
as the legendary fable of Thamus and Thoth (4) illustrates in the case
of language and writing, with the analogy of writing decentering the
need for memorization. It isn't to say that the use of Flash gives or
takes from the creative process; the argument as it was unfolding at the
time was questioning whther the use of an authoring tool necessarily
shaped the content. There is a continuum of possibilities in this
regard between the more open-ended software such as a programming
language, which serves mainly in the creation of other software, to
highly specialized programs like Bryce or poser, which by their function
tend to produce landscapes or figuratives, respectively. Therefore, the
problem in contrasting the ends of the continuum questions which set of
tools allows the digital artist to articulate a concept more fully
through greater use of the platform, and whether the use of (more)
tightly focused software inscribes certain agendas of form and style
upon the artist. . Although the discussion of aspects of digital art
production may appear tangential to the thrust of,
it actually forms one of the several disciplinary issues raised by
Manetas. Questions engaging with formalist technical issues between art
created with custom code and prepackaged programs can also be likened to
the differences between compiled (low-level) and interpreted
(high-level) languages. Although the similarity may be dwindling as of
2004, a conversation in the 80's and 90's within the programming
community was that low-level languages, although more difficult, allowed
greater flexibility and control of processes while the higher-level
languages gave greater ease, and that practitioners of higher-level
programming were not fully utilizing the computer's resources. However,
both techniques were suited for different applications, as say, BASIC or
LOGO are not well suited to the crafting of operating systems, where C
or Assembler is perfect for the job. But at the core of similar
arguments regarding the validity of raw code versus 'environment-based'
applications is a matrix of issues, from intent to the implication of
'craft', which is a discussion I will engage with at another time.
However, there is a Fluxus-esque argument in vis-a-vis the
dematerialization of the object if one considers the context of the link
made within the digital conception of 'code as object', linking a
simulated materialism, with dominant paradigms in programming parlance
of object-oriented programming. This is reminiscent of the decrying of
more ephemeral or conceptual works by the more materially based
community, although as alluded to just recently, the issues are more
akin to that of craft, material investiture, and implied virtuosity.

Another line of discussion relating to the controversy about Flash-based
online art is the old interdisciplinary one of territorial boundaries
between art and design. Flash was originally developed as a tool for the
creation of graphic content by online animators, and was conversely
adopted by many graphic designers for online content. In the case of
Manetas, many of the artists (5) propositioned for
were, in fact, considered to be better known as design practitioners,
possibly in part due to their use of tools such as Flash. So, would be an intervention that questions the roles of art
and design in regards to online art? This was one of the aspects put
forth in the Manetas query (6), but if so, this merely reframes an old
argument in a new context; namely that of the online environment. Would
the Flash-based work, oft considered an avenue for cutting-edge
designers, now be considered as 'serious' conceptual work by the art
world? Or perhaps more accurately, would the work by online designers
be reframed as conceptual art if an artist with an established track
record presented it? This would be decided in the back of a number of
U-Haul trucks on the opening night of the Whitney, or so we would be led
to believe...

Now that the personal and technical questions framing this intervention
are taken care of, the location of the intervention comes into question.
Why the Whitney Biennial? Why not critique shows like the Carnegie
Triennial, Documenta, or even the Bienniale de Venezia, many of which
have introduced New Media works? Much of this has to do with recent
history of New Media art and the role the Whitney has had in raising its
visibility in the US art scene. The Whitney Biennial gained much
attention for its inclusion of an Internet/New Media category in 2000,
and this show was considered in the net art community as one of the
'break-out' institutional exhibitions for the genre (7). In specifically
delineating a category for that particular genre, the Whitney then
created a milieu in which the issues relating to New Media and its
legitimacy in a high art institutional context could be critically
engaged. When considering why an intervention like
has any validity, acquaintances within the New York art community relate
to me that in a recent historical context, criticism of the Whitney
biennial has been quite fashionable (99). Such criticism has served a
multitude of functions from questioning the cultural agendas that the
Whitney Biennial serves to reinscribing its own importance, and as
trendsetter within the American art scene due to this increased

Of course, the whole notion of fashion as concept fits well with
Manetas' work. Taking the nod from Warhol in using fame as aesthetic
construct and letting it morph it into legitimation as artifact of late
capitalist marketing, Manetas engaged with corporate branding culture
and its virtualization of meaning into pure image, thus taking a
Baudrillardian stance towards the simulated 'image' of fame. In such a
culture, companies use advertising firms to create incomprehensible
brand names, and Manetas followed this practice in hiring Lexicon
Branding to devise his 'Neen' conceptual brand. 'Neen' was 'not
exclusively about technology in art, but more about the style, about the
psychological landscape' as he related to Salon Online (8). Therefore,
Manetas' view of conceptualism illustrates the contemporary focus on
image and style as content themselves.

If one considers the difference between the times in which Manetas and
Warhol live, an analogy can be drawn from the private sector from which
we can synthesize a possible analysis. In the fin de millennium
markets, corporations are often hard pressed to justify their stock
valuations through their holdings and net worth. Therefore, the value
of a corporate entity in the turn of the millennium is considered not so
much in terms of their material worth, but in terms of their 'brand
value'. Naomi Klein, in her seminal book, No Logo, documents this
cultural shift in the declaration, 'Brands, not products.' (9) In
Warhol's time, cultural production was still linked to a product. Andy
was linked to Brillo boxes and paintings of Campbell's Soup cans. Even
the silkscreens of himself, Jackie Onassis, Elvis and Mao Tse Deng still
exhibited an all too concrete link to 'fame as product'. But by the late
80's, corporate culture had begun its inexorable shift into the
ephemeralization of the cultural product through ubiquitous branding, or
image-as product. Artists such as Wyland and Kinkaide, and especially
Kinkaide, have earnestly engaged with the lifestyle branding concept
through the mass production of populist cultural artifacts such as
mass-production 'hand embellished prints' (Kinkaide), sculptures,
calendars, et al, most of which are never seen by the artist himself. In
their case, what has become the product are the feel-good paradigms they
embody, whether the Christian 'Painter of Light' or the artist of the
oceans, giving the consumer the impression of identification with a
sympathetic ideology. In Manetas' case, he takes it one further, in
linking 'Neen' to the 'style of the virtual' itself. Neen takes the
Warholian sense of fame that once was invested in agglomerations of
capital and shifts into the simulated landscape of brand perception '6
the brand has become the star. In effect, Neen makes visible the
allegory of the Emperor's New Clothes, or that 'there's no 'there'
there'(quote?). But instead of invalidating the assumption of the
absence of the concrete, Neen revels in it, which reinforces the
brand-as-concept meme, and with such a conceptual framework, what was
going to transpire with on opening night?

Meanwhile, the date of the Whitney '02 was looming.

'Hey Kids, Let's Put on a Show!' in NYC

The context under which was situated placed it in a
milieu in which significant changes had been taking place. In 2000, the
exhibition had included the Internet/Digital category, and was one of
the first of its kind to do so. Opening invites in 2000 were highly
sought after, and the NY art scene was abuzz to see how the Whitney
would treat the nascent medium. Notable tech artists such as Mark
Amerika, Fakeshop, Annette Weintraub, and John Simon were included (10),
but Internet pranksters RTMark would set Manetas' stage for subversion
via technological art.

RTMark had begun to follow through true to their Dadaist/Situationist
roots through their repurposing/lampooning the agendas of late
capitalism well before the exhibition had even begun. Preceding the
show, the collective received a number of prized invitations to the
artist's opening, so valued in that there was great interest in the 2000
Biennial's inclusion of Internet art. RTMark promptly placed them on
auction website EBay, where they reportedly sold the tickets to an
Austin-based adult video producer who went by the name of 'Sintron' for
over $8000. However, this would not be the only playful maneuver with
their cultural capital, as in the actual installation, RTMark announced
that 'being included in the Whitney Biennial touches us.' but 'RTMark is
passing on its Whitney Biennial "real estate" to any artist who wants
it.' As 'a pretty clear way to say 'thanks.''(11), RTMark allowed any
'artist' that wished to include their website to be exhibited in the
Whitney Biennial as a form of cultural dividend for past support.
Included within the installations were links to Bob Jones University,
the Cockettes, and In so doing, RTMark questioned
the nature of Internet art in the gallery, the context of art practice
as a whole, as well as the boundaries of the museum as agent of cultural

Placed in context against the subversive precedent of the 2000 Biennial,
what would the purpose of the announced circling of twenty-three U-haul
rental trucks, equipped with projection equipment on the night of the
Patrons' reception? Perhaps the goal would be to signal the problematic
nature of containing Internet art within the museum, or to underscore
the solidarity of the online art community, or to possibly question the
traditional conceptual boundaries between 'high art' and design in light
of developments in Flash-based Internet websites like Entropy8Zuper and
Praystation,(12) that transgress these borders.

To go back to one of the controversies in the net art community in the
creation of online art, I discussed the schism between the code-based
net artists and those deciding to use more design-driven Macromedia
Flash-based works. As mentioned on the Crumb New Media curating
maillist in 2001 (13), one perception of the proliferation of
Flash-based net art is that of post dot-com boom designers trying to
distinguish themselves in the online milieu, thus the 'art world' not
taking these Flash creators as serious artists, although this is a
somewhat reductive discourse. To compound this, the split between
code-based artists and Flash/Director artists fracture the nature of
online art along lines of traditional disciplinary difference,
technique, and craft. positioned itself to take
several critical positions between disciplines, the extant and emerging
art worlds, and between ideologies in the online art community itself.
However, the proof of whether any of these questions would be answered
on opening night.

Execution of a Concept/Explosion of an Idea:
Opening night for

The media hype for the event had been taking hold. In fact, briefly
before the opening, Matt Mirapaul of the New York Times actually gave
more attention to than the actual exhibition itself.
(14) Artists and other participants within the intervention were on
site, such as people from the Archinect maillist who had contributed, as
well as other NY-based practitioners. Artists and patrons were
beginning to arrive at the Whitney for the opening, but one thing was
missing; the trucks.

Time passed on, and no trucks arrived. No projectors, no trucks, no
circling, showing the surrounding intervention. However, a large
website at incorporated all of the clips within the
webspace under the rubric of Manetas' interface and Rees' mixer. The
Whitney Biennial opened as planned, but the recorded timeline of the
actual events in relation to reactions to Manetas' act is sketchy.
Online news, through lists such as Rhizome and Thingist, reported that
there were irate participants who had shown up for the unveiling, and
Manetas subsequently buying copious amounts of drinks at a questionable
Russian bar until the wee hours of the morning. However, when looking
at the reported events, this documentation fits neatly into Manetas'
brand mythology of Neen's focus on centrality of the image. A general
shape of the events can probably be held as reliable, but such an
account assumes greater importance in the building of the mythology of
the evening in the building of the's brand value.

But in the following days, Manetas claimed the event a success in
numerous organs such as, WIRED Magazine, and so on. Although
the trucks were proffered in news releases, Manetas claimed that the
trucks were there, 'in your mind'(15), and that the intervention had
gone off as planned. In reviewing Manetas' manifesto on Neen, his
original concept was to challenge the physical through the virtual, and
the problematizing of physical representation by, although he would not
say this originally, a translation 60's conceptualism into the online
arts of the 1990's. By offering a synthesis of conceptualism linked to
the virtual through corporate branding paradigms, Manetas was both
challenging the role of disciplines and institutions in the online art
world. But with much of the attention focused on himself as artist, or
as Tribe would refer to Beuys in saying, a 'Social Sculptor'(16), by
focusing the discourse upon as a Manetas-based
intervention, he also makes the shift from Warholian conceptions of fame
to neo-corporate 'name branding' by collecting this body of work,
atelier-style, under his mark.

>From a personal perspective, there was a great deal of ambivalence in
having participated in a rather opaque process where I had not idea
whether the ruse was real or not. Being that I had personally taken
part in numerous hoax-based interventions, the irony of my own feelings
in this case was not lost. Of course, Manetas' issues of play with
private sector culture were similar to ones I had engaged with at other
times in other projects, but the irony was that I had allowed myself to
become a temp for Neen, Inc. Manetas, while making the claim of
supplying the trucks, had not really mentioned whether he would actually
hire them. For all other aspects of the intervention, most of Manetas'
claims were tightly framed, and one could argue that his assurances in
the construction of, taken under a given framework,
were all essentially true. But within all of these assertions
significant ambiguity existed that when pressed for detail that it could
be seen, when viewed through Manetas' conceptual lens, the fine print in's cultural contract was pretty clear. In short, was an intervention that was the epitome of
everything Neen.

Post Mortem of an Undead Intervention

This reflection upon came from a query by Manetas
himself, who asked me in January 2003 to write this very essay for a CD
release to be released in February or March. The deadline was tight,
and the original request was for a quick analysis of the piece. However,
being part of the intervention, somehow I still felt entitled to go
behind the scenes to put in greater context. No such
backstage door opened, and the query was met with a murky opacity behind
the corporate obsidian sheen of Neen. As long as the process of
developing was extant, it was as if the 'machine to
destroy itself' was still in its last smoking, dying moments. I was
still part of Manetas' social sculpture. However, the experiment
continues as I write, the conceptual corpse continues to shamble into
2004, and the idea of adopting a DeCerteau-esque 'in-between'-ness while
participating in the closing movements of Manetas' symphony of identity
seems, if anything, perhaps a little more interesting while taking one
last ride on the conceptual Matterhorn ride.

In reflecting upon then, what are the questions did
it ask, and continue to put to us? Does it posit a fundamental shift in
the art world with radical implications for future exhibitions in light
of online art? Does it herald the invalidation of the legitimacy of
major shows like the Whitney Biennial through the capability to create
media attention via tactical means? Does it suggest that with the
advent of new media art, the space of representation for the work of art
has now become nomadic, and free of the institution? Or perhaps more
succinctly, could have been a further conceptual
expansion on Manetas' play with the insidious practice of branding as a
unique part of American culture? Or had it asked questions that had
already been asked in previous Whitney Biennials, but merely in
different terms.

Putting all of these issues in context, more macroscopic topics could be
missed. both challenged and reinscribed traditional
art agendas by positioning itself against the gallery, testing the
porousness between art and design, and looking at the technological
issues in the online art world. But in so doing, Manetas did not address
many issues beyond the art world, except those that might apply to his
conceptual frame created by Neen. The one point that Manetas does
address is that it doesn't matter whether he exists at all, thus
positioning his style of branding as another form of the death of the
author (17). What is proven is the exhaustion of aspects of contemporary
art and the art world via Neen's evacuation of meaning and the shift of
aspects of cultural valuation through branding as style, carried on
through To paraphrase the late 90's spoken word
piece, Virtual Paradise (18), which says, 'Reality? . Well, it's ALL
virtual!' he combines the perceptual value of contemporary art with the
implied value of branding to erase his own identity to leave only at
best a flickering signifier. And perhaps that's what the whole purpose
of being 'Neen' is, to show that the Emperor is wearing no clothes by
going nude oneself.

(1) Lichty, Patrick, 'The Panic Museum', International Symposium on
Electronic Arts 1998 '6 Liverpool, UK
(2) This body of work includes museum crits and essays such as
'Histories of Disappearance' (Arte e vida seculo XXI, D. Domingues, ed.
Camara Brasiliera do Livro, SP Brazil, 2004)
(3) 'Through the Looking Glass: Technological art at the turn of the
Millennium', 2000, Beechwood Arts Center, Beechwood, Ohio USA (online
catalogue:, '(re)distributions: Nomadic Art as
Cultural Intervention', (2001) (online catalogue:
(4) Postman, Neil, Technopoly, Ch. 1, Vintage Books, NY, NY USA 1992
(5) Although the lines between design and art were radically blurred in
the case of the Flash artists of, artists like Amy
Franceschini (Futurefarmers) at the time were receiving almost as much
attention for the design of their pieces as the content.
(6) Manetas, Miltos, call for works, Newsgrist,
(7) Whitney Museum of American Art NYC, Whitney Biennial 2000 Exhibition
(8) 'The Man From Neen' 3/21/2002,
(9) Klein, Naomi, No Logo, Pp. 21, 2002, Picador Press, NY NY, USA
(10) 2000 Whitney Biennial, ibid.
(11) RTMark, Whitney Biennial 2000 installation,
(12) Many of these sites, like
( have undergone significant changes and do
not represent the same aesthetics they did at the time of the opening of
the site.
(13) Crumb New Media maillist -
(14) Mirapaul, Matt, If You Can't Join 'Em, You Can Always Tweak 'Em
Arts Online, New York Times, March 4, 2002
(15) Bratton, Benjamin, Nettime,
(16) Tribe, Mark. (2001) Arts Administration as Social Sculpture,
National Conference for Professionals in the Cultural Sector, Chicago
Cultural Center, Chicago, IL.
(17) Roland Barthes. "The Death of the Author." Image, Music, Text. Ed.
and trans. Stephen Heath. New York: Hill, 1977
(18) Virtual Paradise, Earwax productions (date unknown, '90's)

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

For $65 annually, Rhizome members can put their sites on a Linux
server, with a whopping 350MB disk storage space, 1GB data transfer per
month, catch-all email forwarding, daily web traffic stats, 1 FTP
account, and the capability to host your own domain name (or use Details at:

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +


Date: 3.12.04
From: Andrew Choate (braxlove AT
Subject: page_space review

Under the auspices of the Superbunker Machine Poetics Research Unit, the
Los Angeles area recently played host to page_space, an event comprised
of several readings, two exhibits, and the launching of 10 web
experiments exploring the places where texts (can) live. The selected
artists for the web-based works were invited to create new spaces for
text; these frames were then given to another writer to compose within,
thereby reversing the traditional dynamic of designers and programmers
working within, and only to complement, the pre-existing aesthetics of
someone else's finished work. The exhibits and readings gathered
several artists intent on abolishing the assumptions to primacy that
words typed on paper exert over our culture; these page_space
collaborators constructed vehicles and environments to adequately
transmit conditions of contemporary writing to an audience.

"Clippings," a web-page designed by Jason Nelson with text by Pedro
Valdeolmillos, allows the reader to navigate and recognize multiple
layers of text simultaneously. You can zoom in and out of each layer as
desired. You can slide photographs, paragraphs, and other visual
elements from the dominant layer according to each moment's intrigue.
The large quantity of negative space surrounding each block of text (or
other storytelling device) encourages the reader to keep moving, hand on
the mouse fast, and absorb the piece's flashes of wandering thoughts
with traveling eyes. Many of the texts are brief enough - "He said
love. Did you notice?" - to be absorbed while still moving through the
space; the brevity and fragmentation of the information offered
subconsciously influences how you maneuver (within) the story, as the
reading literally takes you places. As the memories and details of the
piece accumulate in your brain, the reading, the writing and the actual
experience described within the story inextricably mesh. In a medium so
typically focused on the sophistication of the technology involved in
its creation, the text itself can easily appear secondary or even
irrelevant to the functioning of a hypertext piece. "Clippings"
successfully avoids this pitfall, and instead affirms the potential
profundities to be found when the same level of care is applied not only
to the generation of text or page individually, but when it is equally
as devoted to the coalescence of text and page as a singular significant

Another web piece, "Dibagan," uses the space of the page to provoke
associations based on single words. geniwate's text - words like
"terror," "death," "television," "now," "is," "consuming," "blood," -
rises vertically on bars from the bottom of Brian Kim Stefans' page; the
height each word reaches depends on how long the mouse rests on each
bar. An audio loop describing the violent aftereffects of a Kurdish
troop advance on the town of Dibigan begins once the page is entered;
this information is delivered amidst ambiguous shuffling and
unintelligible shouting in the background, as if it were the recording
of a reporter in the line of fire. Sometimes the words get stuck rising
into the screen or pile up in indecipherable jumbles, making our only
ammunition for sense in this space a haphazard variable. An ominous,
frighteningly accurate portrayal of life during wartime.

Free from the constraints of the web, the exhibit at Machine Gallery
featured an arcade-sized video game, a sculpture, an interactive video,
a computer game, and access to all the collaborative web experiments.
The sculpture by Alexandra Grant, based on a text by Michael Joyce,
features yards of bent coat-hanger wire suspended from the ceiling,
roughly shaping a six foot egg. Each line of wire twists to form words,
many of which are written backwards, compromising quick decipherability.
The combination of its slow rotation with the large empty spaces
outlined by the wires provides an instant physical representation of the
writing process: blank spaces, constant movement, and the dual emergence
of transparent and inscrutable language. Spending time with it hanging
and spinning in the air, I felt an attraction towards inhabiting the
writerly space it advertises, letting words appear and disappear through
my eyes and in my mind. The appeal was not simply cerebral, as I saw
more than one child literally attempt to get inside it.

Sara Roberts' untitled game, also at Machine Gallery, presented the
exterior of an arcade game in conjunction with a car's gearshift - here
acting as a makeshift joystick - along with one pedal to brake and
another to accelerate. As you shift into any gear, individual words
appear onscreen at a rate determined by your pressure on each pedal.
You can control the tempo, but the language feels like it's out of
control: social observations, office jargon gossip, and interior
monologues speed across the screen into your consciousness. The faster
the words appear, the more they feel like they spring from your head and
not your field of vision. 2nd gear: "I feel warm." Pause. 1st gear:
"Water. On. My. Back." 3rd gear: "No,
don'tturnoffthewateryetI'mnotdoneshaving." This piece finally revealed
the linguistic faculty to be a motor that no amount of mechanical
mastery completely regulates.

While actualizing ambitious visions of abodes for future writings,
page_space also established a value for social events when considering
technology's place in textual production - promoting the experience of
digital, internet and media-based art in public. The readings and
exhibits demonstrated non-computer-based methods for imagining page
spaces, deepening the resonance of the project's aim: to open spaces for
text and writing that do not strictly depend on either historical or
contemporary tropes of design - like the book or the web-page,
respectively. The danger of investing so heavily into the design of the
writing space was that the texts - what the words said - could appear
superfluous in comparison. But the importance of seeing and doing
things with words not only activated and communicated alinguistic or
pre-linguistic stories, it reactivated the significance of reading as an
action that takes place beyond the (misleadingly) black and white space
of print publication.

All of the web pieces are available through the Superbunker page at Links to Jim Andrews'
"Arteroids," which was part of the exhibit at Machine Gallery, as well
as Deena Larsen and geniwate's most recent collaboration, "The Princess
Murderer" (portions of which were read at UCLA and CalArts as part of
the event) can also be found through this page. The exhibit at Machine
Gallery (1200-D N. Alvarado St. in Los Angeles) ends on March 14th.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and an affiliate of
the New Museum of Contemporary Art.

Rhizome Digest is supported by grants from The Charles Engelhard
Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for
the Visual Arts, and with public funds from the New York State Council
on the Arts, a state agency.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Rhizome Digest is filtered by Feisal Ahmad (feisal AT ISSN:
1525-9110. Volume 9, number 11. 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

To unsubscribe from this list, visit
Subscribers to Rhizome Digest are subject to the terms set out in the
Member Agreement available online at

Please invite your friends to visit on Fridays, when the
site is open to members and non-members alike.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +