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: 5.21.04
Date: Mon, 24 May 2004 11:29:32 -0700

RHIZOME DIGEST: May 21, 2004


1. kurt bigenho: The Mobile Phone Photo Show (MPPS)
2. Rachel Greene: Announces Winners of 2004 Net Art
Commissioning Program
3. ryan griffis: Underfire forum
4. hannah davenport: Lumen Eclipse - A Multimedia Arts Event

5. Rachel Greene: Fwd: NY press screenings of The Yes Men movie tonight and
6. Jennifer Estaris: WTD: video Game Artists in NYC

7. Jemima Rellie: Tate in Space [with Susan Collins]

8. t.whid, Mac McKean, Geert Dekkers, ryan griffis, Marisa S. Olson, Joy
Garnett , Rob Myers, Christina McPhee, richard willis, marc, Rachel Greene,
patrick lichty, Edward Tang, CK SHINE, Patrick Simons: rhizome needs to drop
its membership fee and free its content

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Date: 5.15.04
From: kurt bigenho (kurt AT
Subject: The Mobile Phone Photo Show (MPPS)

The Mobile Phone Photo Show (MPPS) Invites Participants from Around the
World to Send In Photographs Taken With Their Mobile Phones.

Rx presents "The Mobile Phone Photo Show" (MPPS), a participatory
exhibition of mobile phone photography curated by Kurt Bigenho and Gregory
Cowley. Opening May 20 with a reception from 7-10pm, the MPPS installation
will capture and process thousands of mobile phone photographs sent in by
participants from all over the world, during the course of the exhibition.
MPPS runs through June 18, 2004 at 132 Eddy Street, San Francisco. Gallery
hours are daily by appointment, as well as nightly Thursday-Saturday.

The exhibition features video monitors, projectors, kiosks, a window-display
photo booth activated from outside, as well as a 60x20-foot wall which will
eventually be covered in printed photos. Participants are required to
register. Registration is free to anyone with a photo-capable mobile phone
and is available by logging onto the website and following the
MPPS link.

The direct link is:

We currently have registrants from:
Czech Republic
The Netherlands
(partial list)

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Date: 5.17.04
From: Rachel Greene (rachel AT
Subject: Announces Winners of 2004 Net Art Commissioning Program Announces Winners of 2004 Net Art Commissioning Program

Monday, May 17, 2004

Rachel Greene,
Phone: 212.219.1288 X208
Email: rachel AT

NEW YORK, NYâ?? is pleased to announce that seven
artists/groups have been awarded commissions to assist them in creating
original works of net art through its Commissioning Program. Paul
Catanese, Warren Sack, Jason van Anden, Luis Hernandez Galvan and Carlo
Zanni will receive awards of $2,500-2,900 each. Commissions of $1,750
will be awarded to Kabir Carter and C-Level.

A panel of jurorsâ??independent curator Yukiko Shikata, Francis Hwang of, Natalie Bookchin of The Art Center, and Rachel Greene of six winners and one Honorable Mention from a pool
of about fifty proposals that were received by the March 7, 2004
deadline. Members of the community participated in the
evaluation process through secure web-based ballots, selecting a
proposal by artist Carlo Zanni to win a commission.

Launched in November 2001, the Rhizome Commissioning Program makes
financial support available to artists for the creation of innovative
new media artwork via panel-awarded commissions. To keep the program
relevant and timely, requests for proposals (RFPs) will change from
year to year to reflect new developments in technology and the current
cultural environment. National Endowment for the Arts, the Greenwall
Foundation,the Jerome Foundation, and the Andy Warhol Foundation for
the Visual Arts. Additional support has been provided by members of the
Rhizome community.

This year, the RFP was sent out on January 21, 2004. Artists were
invited to submit proposals relating to the theme of Games. The
proposal asked artists to â??propose projects that will contribute to the
art game genre, or reflect on broad interpretations of â??game.â??

â??Since 1996 has been supporting the new media art community
by providing a place where artists and others can exchange information,
share opportunities, present new work and engage in critical dialogue,â??
said Rachel Greene, Executive Director of â??We are thrilled
to be able to provide direct financial support to artists. Grants and
commissions are particularly important for new media artists because,
unlike artists who work with more traditional media such as painting
and photography, artists who work with new technologies have a limited
ability to sell their work. Giving these artworks an institutional
presence is a different but very important form of support for new
media artists.â??

The chosen projects will be publicly exhibited on the web
site at starting in November 2004. They will also be
preserved in the Rhizome ArtBase archive, and presented at a public
event in New York City.


$2900 Awards:
by Paul Catanese (San Francisco/CA/US)
A collection of relics and their holy travels will be catalouged and
contained within a virtual repository which will take the form of a
gameboy advance ROM that can be viewed and "played" online. In
addition, instructions will be given for downloading the ROM file
itself and installing on gameboy advance hardware. Finally, an artist's
edition of 5 game cartridges will be created as well.

Paul Catanese is a hybrid media artist and Assistant Professor of New
Media at San Francisco State University. He received his MFA from the
School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he lectured for several
years. His artwork has been exhibited internationally, notably at the
Bangkok Experimental Film Festival, Parisâ?? Villette-Numerique,
Germanyâ??s Stuttgarter Filmwinter and the Canadian New Forms
FestivalRecently, Paul became and artist-in-residence at the Kala Art
Institute in Berkeley, California through their fellowship program and
was awarded a commission from with funds made
possible by the National Endowment for the Arts.

by Luis Hernandez Galvan with support from Gabriel Acevedo (Mexico
This game is about a small sphere (the player) trying to make its way
through a highly saturated, crowded system, and trying to postpone its

Luis Hernandez Galvan is an artist and architect based in Mexico City,
Mexico. He was recently an Artist In Residence a the Centro de La
Imagen in Mexico. Other works include and the
installation vitrinas/public art. Galvan studied architecture, and has
been published in architectural journals and worked with figures and
studios inlcuding Jaime Varon and atelier lcm.

by Jason van Anden(New York/NY/US)
Managing feelings is essential to getting along in the world. Keeping
emotions inside can be just as damaging as just letting them flow.
"Farklempt" challenges players to manage their emotional-health and
maintain relationships through skillful manipulations.

After earning a BFA in Sculpture from Syracuse University and attending
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Jason Van Anden moved to
New York. Surviving New York became his preoccupation as he built a
successful career designing software systems for clients as diverse as
Citibank and Duggal, eventually incorporating as Quadrant 2, Inc.
Recent artwork portrays human behavior in an ongoing series of
artificially intelligent, interactive robotic sculptures that express
themselves emotionally through body language, sound and facial
expressions. This body of work is called The Smile Project

by Carlo Zanni (New York/US and Milano/Italy)
Average Shoveler takes its aesthetic inspiration from the adventure
game â??Leisure Suit Larry.â?? The goal of the game is to shovel the
falling snow in front of the userâ??s home. Each flake of snow contains
an image taken live from the news site, turning the project
into a comment on information overload and media colonization.

Carlo Zanni (La Spezia, 1975) is an Italian-born artist whose work is
focused on the intersection of computation and representation. He
paints landscapes and he programs portraits. His work has been shown at
the P.S.1 Museum NY, the 1st Tirana Biennial, Bitforms gallery, the 3rd
Biennale de Montreal, Canada and at Analix Forever gallery in Geneva
among other physical and net places. For more information about Zanni,
please visit:

$2,500 Awards:
by Warren Sack
The images and actions used as metaphors by Chantal Mouffe and other
theorists of "agonistic democracy" can be instantiated as interactive,
graphical objects and dynamics. This "literal" instantiation will then
be a computer game that can played by posting messages to a public,
online discussion forum.

Warren Sack is a software designer and media theorist whose work
explores theories and designs for online public space and public
discussion. Before joining the faculty at the University of California,
Santa Cruz in the Film & Digital Media Department, Warren was an
assistant professor at UC Berkeley, a research scientist at the MIT
Media Laboratory, and a research collaborator in the Interrogative
Design Group at the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies. He earned a
B.A. from Yale College and an S.M. and Ph.D.from the MIT Media
Laboratory. More information about his current work can be found at
this website:

$1,750 Awards:
by C-level (Los Angeles/CA and New York/NY/US)
C-level will work on the next installment of the Endgames project, a
multi-part series in which the artists incorporate elements of
subjective documentary and pure fantasy with experimental technologies
to create a visceral gaming experience based on psycho-social
phenomena. Having addressed the 1993 Waco, Texas government/cult
showdown, C-level is currently developing works addressing the MOVE
conflict of 1985 and Ted Kaczynski (aka "The Unabomber").

C-level is a cooperative public and private lab formed to share
physical, social and technological resources. Its members are artists,
programmers, writers, designers, agit-propers, filmmakers and
reverse-engineers. Part studio, part club, part stage and part screen;
C-Level has a space in an isolated basement in Chinatown Los Angeles
which plays host to various media events such as screenings,
performances, classes, lectures, debates, readings and tournaments.

LISTENING (Working Title)
by Kabir Carter (New York/NY/US)
Carter will construct and deploy a non-competitive and non-linear goal
oriented interactive text game. Whereas most games involve the
deployment of a single subject interacting with a written description
of a visual space, Listening will concentrate on the description of
acoustic phenomena. Descriptions of sounds will be the vehicle that
guides the game player through the environment.
Kabir Carter's work focuses on urban environmental sound, acoustic
feedback, analog sound synthesis, transmissive acoustics, specialized
microphone technologies, and the presentation of live electroacoustic
work in public spaces. Kabir lives and works in New York City, has
studied electroacoustic composition with David Behrman and Richard
Teitelbaum at Bard College, and currently studies privately with
composer and performer Joan La Barbara. He was recently selected by
Robert Ashley to attend a composers' residency at Atlantic Center for
the Arts, and received a Media Alliance Independent Radio and Sound Art
Fellowship for his project Shared Frequencies.

Honorable Mention:
by Kerstin Günther

Rachel Greene
Executive Director,
New Museum of Contemporary Art
583 Broadway, NYC, NY 10012

tel. 212.219.1288 X 208
fax. 212.431.5328
ema. rachel AT

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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 Rachel Greene at Rachel AT

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Date: 5.18.04
From: ryan griffis (grifray AT
Subject: Underfire forum

A critical forum on the organization and representation of violence
Saturday May 29, 2004,  3 - 7 p.m.
Location: Witte de With, Rotterdam, and online at
Witte de With organizes in collaboration with V2_Organisation, Institute for
the Unstable Media a symposium focusing on the issues debated in the Under
Fire forum from January 25 till April 29, 2004.
The main speakers are John Armitage, Asef Bayat, Susan Buck-Morss, Brian
Holmes, Gema Martín Muñoz and Loretta Napoleoni.
The discussions will be moderated by Jordan Crandall and will be conducted
in English.
The debate will be live streamed via Apart from viewing the
live event, you can join the discussions making use of IRC chat. (For
detailed directions see
Online moderation by Stephen Kovats, V2_.
3 p.m.                  Welcome by Catherine David and introduction by
Jordan Crandall
3.30 - 4.30 p.m.    Lectures by Brian Holmes, Asef Bayat, and Susan
4.30 - 5 p.m.         Discussion and live feedback 
5 - 5.30 p.m.         Break 
5.30 - 6.30 p.m.    Lectures by John Armitage, Loretta Napoleoni, and Gema
Martín Muñoz 
6.30 - 7 p.m.         Discussion and live feedback 
7 p.m.                  Closing 
For reservations phone +31 (0)10 4110144, or e-mail office AT .
For more information about Under Fire, the speakers and the webarchive see
The first publication in the Under Fire series - hot off the press -
entitled Jordan Crandall. Under Fire. 1. On the organization and
representation of violence, will be on sale during the symposium. It
contains a compilation of the dialogues that occured online in spring 2004.
Price: â?¬ 12.00.
Under Fire is a project by Jordan Crandall organized by Witte de With in
collaboration with V2_, Rotterdam.

Witte de With, center for contemporary art
Witte de Withstraat 50
3012 BR Rotterdam
tel. (+ 31) 010 4110144 fax. (+ 31) 010 4117924

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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:

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SPECIAL FOR MAY 15 - JUNE 15: All those who sign on to Copper or higher
hosting plans during these dates will receive three months of full service
for only $1.00! That's (Copper) starting you out with 400MB disk storage
space, 2GB of data transfer, 5 POP accounts, and 5 email forwarding

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Date: 5.19.04
From: hannah davenport (hannah AT
Subject: Lumen Eclipse - A Multimedia Arts Event

After Effects Chicago Presents:


Tuesday, May 25th 2004

A Multimedia Arts Event

Chicago, IL- After Effects Chicago presents *Lumen Eclipse*, their 2nd
multimedia event of the summer, featuring an evening of digital art,
experimental video, and a musical performance accompanied by live video
mixing at Wicker Parkââ?¢Ë?s lounge-eatery Rodan (1530 North Milwaukee Ave).

The evening will host a unique synergy of events representing the new
digital experience in art and music. Opening the event, XChicago will be
hosting an Industry Mixer with video artists and professionals, set to the
rock/pop samplings of DJ Sanchez Ali. Next is an exploration of the visual
and aural arts ââ?¢â?? a screening of The Best of Art After Next TV. The AFX TV
line-up includes:

* The experimental video art of Walter Wright (inventor of the music video)

* The AFX interview w/ controversial punk rock group The Locust

* AMODAââ?¢Ë?s (Austin Museum of Digital Art) experimental contemplative audio
performance series with Brent Fariss & Bill Thompson

*Select features from the Illegal Art Exhibit

Following the video feature, The Passengers, will give their live debut
performance with a one-hour set, accompanied by digital artist Mason
Dixonââ?¢Ë?s live video mixing. There will also be raffle prizes, open to all,
from Digital Juice, Magnet Media, and DV magazine that will help to fund
future Art After Next and AE Chicago non-profit events. Event begins at 7pm.
21+ to enter. No Cover. 773/276-7036

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Date: 5.20.04
From: Rachel Greene (rachel AT
Subject: Fwd: NY press screenings of The Yes Men movie tonight and later

Begin forwarded message:

> From: The Yes Men <administrative AT>
> Date: May 20, 2004 10:57:42 AM EDT
> To: rachel AT
> Subject: NY press screenings of The Yes Men movie tonight and later
> Hello! This afternoon at 4pm (and also on May 26 at 8pm and June 3 at
> 6pm),
> the movie called The Yes Men ( will be
> screened by United Artists for the press--including yourself if you can
> cite some media affiliation.
> To attend, please email mailto:ina AT and tell her:
> * a name for yourself
> * your media affiliation (magazine, zine, website, etc.)
> * your daytime phone number
> * whether you are 1 or 2 people
> Then, at 4pm, go to 1350 6th Ave. (at 55th Street), 28th floor,
> Manhattan.
> Additional screenings at the same place and with the same RSVP system
> will
> be held on May 26 at 8pm and June 3 at 6pm.
> See you soon! Or at least, be seen by you soon!
> The Yes Men
> --
> You are receiving this message because you've subscribed to the Yes
> Men's
> mailing list and told us that you are in the New York area. To edit
> your
> profile, please visit
> AT

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Date: 5/20/04
From: Jennifer Estaris (jfe2101 AT
Subject: WTD: Video Game Artists in NYC

We're looking to hire the following on a project basis: an art director and
artists for a game-like demo that we are putting together. 3D models,
textures, animations, etc. We especially need artists interested in working
on concept art (though we want texture artists, animators, audio ppl, etc.,
as well) and prefer NYC-based artists. And you should like robots.

The project is part-time for a few months (and could go longer). Previous
game experience--working with a real time renderer and modern game
engines--is a huge plus, but we're not targeting super high-end rendering.
You should be familiar with 3ds max, maya, photoshop, 3d modeling. Email
your resume and portfolio link to bernie.yee AT (and mention how you
found out about the opening).

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Date: 5.21.04
From: Jemima Rellie (Jemima.Rellie AT
Subject: Tate in Space

[note: this is part one of a two part interview - part two will be published
in next week's digest]

Tate in Space © Susan Collins 2002

Tate in Space ( was conceived as a site specific
artwork for Tate Online. It was commissioned in 2002 as part of Tate
Onlineâ??s ongoing net art programme. The site is part fact, part fiction. It
is intended as an agent provocateur: a catalyst, structure and location that
invites debate and reflection on the nature of art in space, cultural
ambition, and an examination of the role of the institution and the
individuals within. Tate in Space also works as interactive or immersive
fiction, where each visitor is encouraged to engage with their own
extra-terrestrial cultural fantasies. Some aspects of the work - such as the
satellite sightings data - rely on participants 'wishing' or 'believing' the
narrative into existence, assuming a position of co-authorship;
collaborating with both the artist and each other in a work of constantly
expanding collective fiction. Further information about the work can be
found in Paul Bonaventuraâ??s critical essay, Floating Worlds 2002,
commissioned to accompany the launch of Tate in Space. Discussion about Tate
in Space with Susan Collins & Jemima Rellie 20 February 2004 - Tate Members
Room, 6th floor Tate Modern

JR - Jemima Rellie
SC - Susan Collins

JR Why the interest in Space? What is the background? I mean, are you
interested in art in space or in space art?

SC Iâ??m not so interested in Space Art per se but Iâ??m intrigued by why people
were becoming so interested in space. I got interested in the idea when
probably a lot of other people did, when the Mars Pathfinder was actually
sending direct web cam images back to earth, and you could actually go and
follow the Mars Pathfinder through these wonderful grainy webcam images. It
was very exciting that you were actually able to see that happen in real
time. And then I was also interested in the idea of, well how easy it would
be to fictionalise that. At the time I was interested in possibly coming up
with a spoof NASA site.

JR Was it going to be a website?

SC It was going to be a website, â??n a five a dot orgâ?? [], I checked
that that was available, and discussed the idea with some net art curators
[e2]. I was really interested in creating artist residencies in space, and
the concept that they would be actually sending back their work. But at the
same time, suddenly - and probably because of the Mars PathFinder - Arts
Catalyst and various other Space related Art initiatives were launched and
it seemed to be a very zeitgeisty thing. For this particular project, I
wasnâ??t really interested in it being yet another Space art project. I wanted
it to just come out of the blue. I didnâ??t want it to be seen within the
context of a general interest in Space Art as such, I was much more
interested inâ?¦

JR The fiction of it allâ?¦

SC Yes

JR Which is really interesting and what separates you in a sense from those
artists who are more concerned about the practicalities, the real what
happens, the materiality of spaceâ?¦ whereas you are more interested in the
construct of â??spaceâ?? and what it says about usâ?¦

SC And why we might be interested ... in it ... and what our motivation is,
and what it says about earth, and what it says about the context for us
viewing things and our understanding of how we see things. Because it
suddenly became so fashionable, I wasnâ??t so interested, so I dropped the
idea. But when you gave me the opportunity to come up with an idea for the
Tate website, as the kind of artist who has access to web space anyway, for
me the question was, well what can I do on the Tate site that I might not be
able to do elsewhere. For me it was what is it about this institutional
context that I could actually do something with. So I came to where we are
now, Tate Modern. I spent the day just thinking about Tate Modern and all
the different Tates. It took a while for me to work out what I wanted to do,
it wasnâ??t quite there... I got very interested in deconstructing the
branding - how the whole thing, the whole organisation works - and then it
came togetherâ?¦I think it was about the day before the deadline youâ??d givenâ?¦

JR Really!?

SC Yes, the day before it all sort of came to me, it was really like
marrying these two ideas together [space and the Tate]. I think Iâ??d been
thinking about all the different Tates, and about how I could link them, and
I was very much wanting to do it within the context of Tate as an
institution, I... for me I just didnâ??t see the pointâ?¦ of having a website
that was just aâ?¦ websiteâ?¦

JR I think thatâ??s very interesting. As you say, the web has really allowed
artists to bypass organisations like Tate. Actually, they, you donâ??t need

SC So I wanted to take advantage of the situationâ?¦.

JR As an interventionâ?¦?

SC Yes, but also there was a little bit of it that was about how net art is
so invisible within terrestrial institutions and how we might have an
incredible visibility internationally, with a certain kind of audience
reach, if we do things online.

JR So when you conceived Tate in Space, was it intended to somehow address
that issue?

SC No, it was more a case of: I donâ??t want to do some little website that
no-oneâ??s going to look at!

JR So letâ??s be audacious! Lets stand up there and say that weâ??re equal to
Tate Modern!

SC Yeahâ?¦so its like Iâ??m not just going to make a little piece of art, Iâ??m
gonna give you a whole new Tate. So it was kind of like 'oh well sod it'!
And then I just had such fun, thinking it up and playing with all those
funding constructs - or constraints - the things that both institutions and
artists at the moment have to think about: the search for new audience,
innovation, accessibility, that kind of thing.

JR And it fits so well with precisely what Tate is about, that it has fooled
a lot of people, and I love that. Sandy Nairne - who was instrumental in
commissioning itâ?¦ His foreword to the projectâ?¦ it sounds SO real, no wonder
people fell for it. It speaks about Tateâ??s â??history of innovationâ?? and
â??explorationâ?? and you know we are about supposedly pushing boundaries andâ?¦

SC Well there are only two organisations that one could have done it for in
the world that it would have been believable. One would be the Guggenheim,
because that has satellites, and the other is Tate. And the idea of the
satellite obviously has a very nice little sort of double entendre in
relation to Tate in Space as wellâ?¦

JR But do you think that Tate and the Guggenheim are the same?

SC No theyâ??re very different institution, but anywhere else ... it just
wouldnâ??t have been plausible, and so the only reason that I mention these
two [the Guggenheim and Tate] is because these are the two that are really
known particularly -

JR For being a network and interested in satellite sites and creating new
spaces within one brand.

SC And I am not sure but I think also for Tate the whole re-branding
happened when Tate Modern came onstream? In terms of â??Tateâ?? as opposed to
â??the Tateâ??.

JR Absolutely.

SC Colour coding the institutionsâ?¦and I think that itâ??s largely the branding
that made it plausible as well and whilst a project like this could, in some
respects have existed as an offline project in an earlier age through
leafleting or posters or something like that, certainly that would have not
been nearly as plausible or as economically possible - or worked in such a
seamlessly integrated way as is possible now with â??Tateâ??... having such
clear, graphically scripted parameters as well. So it was a very seamless
thing for me to be able to borrow all your [web] templates. I have to
sayâ?¦that when I made the proposal, I really enjoyed just writing it as a
proposal, for me the proposal was an art work in itself I was having
such fun and really, really enjoying the idea of it landing on your deskâ?¦..

JR But this fun thing I think is very crucial. A very fundamental element is
that it is playful - the whole piece is playful.

SC And people pick up on it, their own imagination suddenly runs with this
idea of what this new Tate might be. What I thought was fantastic was that
the Tate in having come up with a very serious kind of corporate brand, was
willing to actually have this piece operate, and one of the things that I
asked for, as you know, in the original proposal was that it should be
integrated, absolutely within the Tate site and that there would be a link
alongside the other Tates from the homepage of the Tate site for the first
yearâ?¦and the fact that you were all so willing to actually do that made it

JR Well it was essential for the whole piece to work wasnâ??t it?

SC Exactly.

JR Iâ??m very interested in what you said before: that it wouldnâ??t have been
as successful or it wouldnâ??t have worked in the same way pre-internet. And
there is a tendency for some net artists to be slightly scornful of this
type of work that is more conceptual and yet the piece is so successful
because itâ??s online. It's taking full advantage of the medium. Itâ??s about
creating a fiction and a group of people combining to contribute to this
fiction that has made it work, and the participatory elementsâ?¦ are I think

SC Well itâ??s very much about creating a space for people to occupy, so in
some respects as the artist I chose to become as invisible as possible
within this structure. Although I have a role, which is director of this new
Tate. But it was very much about offering this up as a space very much as
other kind of public spaces are: for people to come in and make of it what
they will, and all I could do is imagine what might happen. So the piece in
a way whilst clearly constructed only really begins when its launched.
Thatâ??s when you really find out what then may happen.

JR Which makes it quite tricky as an art work, I mean, as we discovered. How
do you credit everyone involved at all times? And different people talking
about the work will focus on certain elements that arenâ??t necessarily the
whole piece. Theyâ??re part of the piece and a way into the piece but they
donâ??t constitute the whole piece and thatâ??s quite hard to manage. It does it
takes on its own life, and in a sense, you have to let it do that.

SC Yes, you have to relinquish controlâ?¦ There were all the different
sections and it might just be worth mentioning what they were. One element
was obviously the history of Space Art, which makes the site quite useful
too, so whilst the whole site is a complete blend of fact and fiction, I did
do my homeworkâ?¦

JR Thoroughly!

SC And so the history of space art is written by Eduardo Kac, is a proper
history, and then there are links to key sites so if anyone is genuinely
interested in finding out more about Space Art they have somewhere to go
with it. So itâ??s actually serving an educational purpose as well. It was
important to make it inclusive, so whilst it wasnâ??t a real Tate in the sense
that there aren't opportunities for artists to exhibit in it - although many
did try - I created an online discussion group, so if people did cold call
me, which did happen quite a lot or theyâ??d send me their CVâ??s and things
like that, I could say that whilst there werenâ??t opportunities for them
within the parameters of the Tate in Space website itself that it would be
fantastic if they could contribute to the discussion. Everybody without
exception said 'yes please' and jumped onto the discussion list. So actually
thereâ??s this discussion list full of all the people, pretty much that
are interested in Space Art in the world...

[note: this is part one of a two part interview - part two will be published
in next week's digest]

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


Date: 5.18.04 - 5.24.04
From: t.whid (twhid AT, Mac McKean (mac AT, Geert
Dekkers (geert AT, ryan griffis (grifray AT, Marisa S. Olson
(marisa AT, Joy Garnett (joyeria AT, Rob Myers
(robmyers AT, Christina McPhee (christina112 AT, richard
willis (richard AT, marc (marc.garrett AT,
Rachel Greene (rachel AT, patrick lichty (voyd AT, Edward
Tang (edtang AT, CK SHINE (shine-a-man AT,Patrick
Simons (patricksimons AT
Subject: rhizome needs to drop its membership fee and free its content

t.whid (twhid AT posted:

Rhizome needs to drop its membership fee and free its content

During the debate regarding Rhizome's membership fee I was very vocal in my
support of the idea. The argument went like this: an obligatory membership
fee for Rhizome is better than no Rhizome at all. I was sure that if the fee
wasn't implemented then Rhizome as we know it would cease to exist. There
would be no more lists, no more ArtBase, and no more web site.

But what I failed to understand is that the fee basically caused Rhizome to
cease to exist. As the founders and current directors of Rhizome know well,
to exist on the network you need to be linked. I am hyper-referenced
therefor I am. Rhizome's membership fee effectively shuts down links to
articles and artwork on Rhizome's web site.

I know, it's free on friday. But if I want to link to a Rhizome post or
artwork, am I to attach a disclaimer? "This link only functions on Fridays."

I know, first time's free. But what if I have visitors to my site who follow
the links to Rhizome regularly? They get shut out.

Why should Rhizome care? Since I can't trust links will resolve to the
article or the artwork they point too, I simply don't link to Rhizome. I
didn't mean this to happen, it just started happening. I can't help but
think that other people must feel the same way.

These days newer on-line publishing technologies like weblogs, (RSS, RDF,
Atom) feeds, and link aggregators (like are connecting people
to information in very exciting ways but I have a feeling that Rhizome is
being left out and left behind. How many blogs link to Rhizome articles and
artworks? Probably not many, blog authors
know the value of freely linking across the web; Rhizome stops them at the

Being locked up behind the membership fee leads to a degradation in the
content on Rhizome. We could argue whether it's happening or not -- I'm not
sure it's happening myself -- but I'm sure it's going to happen and I'll
tell you why. Folks don't want to post to closed forums. If they want their
articles read or their artwork looked at they want to be linked far and
wide. Sure they might drop a post on Rhizome (if they're a member) and a few
other places. If the other places are free, guess where the links will go?
Not to Rhizome. So at best you'll get duplicate content on Rhizome which is
harder to find. Since not as many people are finding Rhizome, membership
might start to drop. Since membership is dropping even fewer articles are
posted; a very bad downward cycle could start.

Rhizome needs to drop the fee, find new ways to connect with new audiences
-- an XML feed of the Rhiz list posts would be a good start -- and then work
on ways to get these new audiences to donate voluntarily.

Perhaps it was an emergency at the time the fee curtain came down. I hope
it's over and Rhizome finds a way to free their content.

I really want to link Rhizome.

+ + +

Mac McKean (mac AT replied:

I agree. Very few content sites survive for long by charging for their
content and those sites are all financial sites like WSJ and,
not art sites. Rhizome could keep the membership fee--only members can
upload artworks and view Opportunities. And it could ask for donations,
via PayPal, etc.

However, all content should be free. And linked, blogged, RSS-fed, spread
far and wide. This will probably result in an increase in members, I
suspect, not a decrease, as the site goes from being a club of faithful to a
public resource.

Perhaps there could be a Rhizome store if more money is needed. Sell netart
trinkets, t-shirts, whatever. But the content = free...

+ + +

Geert Dekkers (geert AT replied:

And it is possible to maintain a front store of accessible articles, and
have archives accessible for members only, much as news sites do. So that
there is some incentive for non-artists to become a member.

+ + +

ryan griffis (grifray AT replied:

i have to say that i'm on the same page as t.whid here. while i understand
the need to raise funds for programming, charging for web access doesn't
make the most sense to me. as t.whid suggests, we risk becoming the porn
site that charges while everyone's looking for abundantly free nudes. i
don't have any firm suggestions really, and have to say that i've been paid
to write some of Rhizome's content (a negligible amount by most standards,
some of which goes back to RZ, but paid nonetheless) that i might not have
done otherwise. My experience with non-profit art institutions isn't utopian
by any means, and the inherent precariousness is understood, but one would
hope that the membership program would continue voluntarily at the same
level, as RZ is not so much of a service provider as a set of activities
that members support out of a need to create an arena for certain forms of
art and dialogue that is missing from somewhere else.
and as Mac wrote, expansion of content by opening up distribution would
probably result in more members. The control of access to certain content
(opportunities, voting on things like commissions) is a good suggestion for
member incentives. even posting could be for members only - at least that
wouldn't limit reader/viewership, but would encourage those who want to
reach RZ's audience to join. i've seen net art news linked to quite a bit,
probably because it can be syndicated.hopefully more people will weigh in...

+ + +

Marisa S. Olson (marisa AT replied:

here here. let's find a way. working for a small nonprofit, i certainly know
about budgetary limitations. has moving in with the NM changed anything?
free on fridays does not mean much to the scholars and artists relying on
rhizome's archives... except that it turns them away....

it's also slightly unrhizomatic.......

+ + +

Joy Garnett (joyeria AT replied:

> i've seen net art news linked to quite a bit,
> probably because it can be syndicated.

I have to agree with you and twhid -- this really does seem the case. viva
la RSS, etc. so what are the obstacles and how can they be circumvented?(ok:
does th revenue generated by membership fees make it all worth it ?
something tells me not. but I am just making an assumption.)

+ + +

Rob Myers (robmyers AT replied:

1. It keeps trolls and spammers at bay.
2. It provides a revenue stream. Servers don't pay for themselves.

How is it proposed that a costless Rhizome would keep or replace these

+ + +

Christina McPhee (christina112 AT replied:

Content should be free, yes. And also, perhaps not to have
utopianexpectations of does quite well what it does do..keeping
up todate on announcements mainly, and engaging interesting, live topics as
theyemerge, like the "molotov cocktail" theme that came out of Joy
Garnett'sconfrontation with the copyright mavens.

A both/and situation: surely Rhizome has to function somehow within
acountry that has virtually zero arts funding.

I like mac's thoughts about a modulated solution...members exclusives

Rachel et al at Rhizome, what are the advantages of the new
museumaffiliation in your view(s)?

+ + +

richard willis (richard AT replied:

Rob Myers <robmyers AT> wrote:
> Paid membership has two advantages:
> 1. It keeps trolls and spammers at bay.
> 2. It provides a revenue stream. Servers don't pay for themselves.
> How is it proposed that a costless Rhizome would keep or replace these
> advantages?
> - Rob.

yep, that's the first reply to this thread i've read that makes any sense.
andthe shortest too [i think].

y'all could have earned $5 each in the time you've taken to bandy this
ballback and forth. more probably.

can we get back to the now people?

+ + +

marc (marc.garrett AT replied:

Hi Richard,

With respect - the comments before actually were about net art, about part
of its potential 'existing' future - how it will be seen by other people
other than Rhizome's current members, and contributors. It is a very
important issue for many net artists around the world - and yes, it does get
tedious...but not because the all the 'many' people who are trying to be
heard keep discussing it, but because nothing is ever done about
those who can do something about it.

T.Whid is right in bringing it up - he's not being a whinger. In fact, he's
definately one of the most dedicated Rhizome users here - so let his voice
and other voices be heard, it's important.


+ + +

richard willis replied:

hey m.

well, only indirectly m.

to maintain equilibrium, servers are supported by the served. thus has
itbeen, in one form or another, since ancient times.

you'll pay a few quid to visit the cinema or a gallery. why should this be

+ + +

t. whid replied:

I outlined pretty clearly (IMHO) why it's different. Rhizome will rot behind
this fee if it continues to stand. I want Rhizome to flourish.

The content needs to be free for it to be an equal node on the web,
otherwise, it will start to be ignored. I'm afraid it's happening already.
Being a RSS/blog addict, the only presence I see Rhizome having in that area
is net art news. People don't link to Rhizome articles because they can't.
This can't be helpful to Rhizome.

I think the increased audience which would come with opening it up may be
able to cover the obligatory memberships with donations. Maybe there are
'premium' features for folks who donate (you can post to the list and
events). I'm not unsympathetic to the funding question, but keeping the
content behind this fee needs to stop. Other ways to fund Rhiz need
to be identified.

+ + +

Joy Garnett replied:

This is surely the case. For the record: the interesting discussion threads
on RAW were not what exploded the distorted molotov sit-in; it was the
effect of RSS. News and Liza's culturekitchen for a start, both of
which linked to Michael's call for solidarity page. Then etoy, neural,
reblog, Modern Art Notes, boingboing, Stay Free! and all picked it
up. In effect, there were several blog 'nodes' or loci from which the news
spread or radiated among different communities. All of this resulted from
the usual RSS/XML/aggregator functions, which spread the info much faster
and more widely than any subscriber-based discussion could. Which makes me
think that perhaps Raw or Rare should be syndicated -- didn't that
possibiltiy come up way back when fees were being discussed? It's an idea...

+ + +

patrick lichty (voyd AT replied:

This is a really interesting subject.It's a tough proposition; Rhizome wants
to stay alive (financially), but to restrict information contradicts the
very concept that it was namedfor, and also the original nature of the

I realize that $5 is miniscule, but something has had a significantimpact on
the community.

However, in this light, several other communities have come to fill thevoid.

Therefore, I offer some ideas:
Maybe Rhizome's function has changed, and should not consider itself
as'grass-roots' any longer (i.e. more institutional), if even up a notch.IF
it dies, then this could be portrayed more clearly to the community.

If funding is a problem, perhaps Rhizome could relocate to a countrywhere
funding is more prevalent (Australia, the Netherlands).

Perhaps Rhizome could have a 'tiered' access plan, where a
significantportion of the content is open, but contacts, opportunities, and
otherparts could be pay to play.

+ + +

Edward Tang (edtang AT replied:

Patrick lichty wrote:

> Perhaps Rhizome could have a 'tiered' access plan, where a
> significant portion of the content is open, but contacts,
> opportunities, and other parts could be pay to play.

Does get considerably more traffic on Fridays?

Reading this thread earlier today I was wondering why this sort of idea
hadn't been mentioned or implemented - although I'm sure this isn't the
first time this discussion has occured. Perhaps an approach when recent
portions of the content (the net art news, artbase, calendar, etc.) are open
to the public but to access the site fully and to contribute and participate
the fee can be instituted? I don't see how spammers/hucksters would ruin the
signal/noise ratio in that case.

I echo the initial poster's frustations about not being able to link to
rhizome pages to the outside world - rhizome feels strangely walled off.

+ + +

Christina McPhee replied:

Patrick, right on.
> I realize that $5 is miniscule, but something has had a significant
> impact on the community.

> However, in this light, several other communities have come to fill the
> void.
> Therefore, I offer some ideas:
> Maybe Rhizome's function has changed, and should not consider itself as
> 'grass-roots' any longer (i.e. more institutional), if even up a notch.

Yes, this is a de facto situation. Its affiliation with the museum makes
itinstitutional---how could it be grass roots??

Rhizome leadership might decide that it is a necessity to sustain
theinstitution of "Rhizome" as a "grass roots" brand name media services
nonprofit company. Stay solvent through a multivalent funding
strategyincluding memberships, volunteer work, private, corporate and
grantdonations. Rhizome recognizes itself as "Rhizome â?¢ ". Rhizome becomes
NPR.Rem Koolhaas has played with this idea in "Mutuations" -- the Harvard
GSD "Project on the City". Shop Rhizome. Photoshop Rhizome.

A tiered hierarchical fee structure promotes a condition in which the
imageof 'Rhizome" becomes a more important value to sustain than the
actualrhizomatic function.

> IF it dies, then this could be portrayed more clearly to the community.

> Perhaps Rhizome could have a 'tiered' access plan, where a significant
> portion of the content is open, but contacts, opportunities, and other
> parts could be pay to play.

The kind of 'soft' modulation that is commonplace in American nonprofit arts

I kind of wish Rhizome would not go this way as I love the free style
approach, and like joy's idea of syndication...but, I donâ??t see how any
changes can be made deliberately and carefully until Rhizome's leadership
takes a hard look at what it really wants.

+ + +

Lee Wells added:

Personally I think the info should be free. Go to Google and type any one of
our names in and some sort of Rhizome link will come up. Click the link
andyou cannot get to it. Sometimes I cant because I donâ??t know what my

I believe it should be on the artist t-shirt subscription model, very
similar to the beer of the month club. My peppermint shirt is getting a
bitbeat up.

You get something that you will use physically.

Another Idea is a Rhizome / New Museum group show. Those that donâ??t pay do
not play. Do the show at the NM and you will be turning folks away.A bit of
a vanity show but just might work.

The idea of community needs to be re-evaluated.
Who does what.

I am surprised that there isn't a rhizome store. Where all artwork is
donated and all proceeds go to funding the mission.
Register domains as well/

Bla Bla Bla what do I really care I am just going to pay my $20 a year and
shut up. I'm not even a computer artist I am just a painter.

+ + +

Lee Wells replied:

Since Rhizome is no longer "Grass-roots" maybe its time for the New Museum
to start handing over some more space and MONEY.

At least in the store.
Push the artwork coming out of Rhizome. The DVDs - cds - video art - tshirts
- stickers - hats - rhizome homeies - anything. Look at the crap that sells
to the average tourist in SoHo. Its all about cool t-shirts and hats on
Broadway. Totally cheap and easy to produce.

A Tiered system could also work as well.
The more money you put in the more perks you get.
$1000 gets you dinner with Mark and Rachel.

+ + +

Dyske Suematsu (dyske AT added:

The difficulty of this issue, especially for Rachel, is that many long-time
members feel they own shares of the organization. To some degree, this is
rightfully so, because they have contributed to what makes Rhizome valuable.
However, you do not see this kind of passionate opinions about how to run
particular organizations when speaking of institutions like Whitney, DIA, or
Guggenheim. To some degree, they could easily tell you, "How we run our
organization is none of your business!"

Now, this gets further complicated when you pay member subscriptions,
because all members then become sponsors. Sponsors are legitimate share
owners, and they are entitled to their opinions, and the directors of the
organization cannot simply ignore them.

The difficulty of running any organization is that you need a good balance
between democracy and leadership. If you listen too much to what everyone
says, everything gets diluted and nothing gets done. If you lead too
dogmatically, like Bush does, you could cause a lot of trouble. Either way,
it is not good for the organization.

In the end, it all comes down to how Rachel wants to run it. We cannot
formulate a constructive criticism if we do not have the whole picture. For
instance, from outside, I feel that free membership would be more beneficial
than their ability to give out commissions, but I do not have all the
information necessary to determine if this is truly the case. Given the
fixed amount of resources, how it should be allocated is a call that we
cannot make intelligently unless we know the whole picture.

My bottom line is that we could only make suggestions, not tell them what
they should do. I think there is a certain danger in feeling like we all own
Rhizome. A large organization without a strong leadership could quickly fall
apart. And we don't want that to happen either.

+ + +

Rachel Greene (rachel AT replied:

Hi all:

I have read every post in this thread and will continue to do so. Thank
you Tim for initiating this discussion and for your constructive
critcism. I really appreciate all of the contributions (even the Free
Rhizome ones) and think many of the suggestions are good and
potentially viable.

I stand behind our foray into membership, but want to reassure everyone
that we are 1. Aware of the impact of Google, RSS and Blogs on how
people search, read, and interact online (and consequently, the
perception of Rhizome), and 2. We are working on projects that will
relieve the burden on individuals and make our content more accessible.
For example, through the Organizational Subscriptions program ( ) this year we will give away scores
and scores of Rhizome memberships to people who come to us via centers
or schools in poor and excluded communities (such as in Sub-Saharan
Africa and South Asia). I am developing more public programs that will
bring ArtBase works and Rhizome more generally into art spaces (not
just online).

To answer people who inquired about Free Fridays and all that... I
don't have Friday statistics available (and Francis is out of town),
but we are finding that membership and web traffic are on the increase
while subscriptions to email lists (except for the free, highly
editorial list Net Art News which has an explosive growth rate) grow
much more slowly. This suggests to me that more and more people are
using our web site and (obviously) signing up for membership. It may be
that the Raw, Rare, and Digest lists feel closed and small, but that in
fact people are reading Rhizome content a lot via the web site instead
of interacting over email. We found some general statistics that across
the Internet, email lists are withering because of spam and the
popularity of blogs. So one could argue that our spam-proof,
members-only lists are reasonable for our times.

I also wanted to mention that we do not receive any financial support
from the New Museum, though they do give us office space. Rhizome
raises its own monies, as always. It also seems relevant to note that
we received twice as much money this year from our dear Rhizome members
than from American Government Agencies. But back to the New Museum --
we do receive other kinds of important support from them -- they
believe in Rhizome's mission and staff. Their entire staff is really
supportive and interested in Rhizome, and we will be collaborating in
the future.

I hope this can be an ongoing conversation. I am in the difficult
position of representing an institution so I can't always move that
quickly, but I know more than anyone that the voices on RAW are
important and crucial to what I do and what Rhizome is.

Thanks, Rachel

p.s. I will be following this thread closely, but I wanted to add that
if anyone wants to chat in real time, on Thursday afternoons EST,
Rhizome staff is going to hold informal office hours on AIM or ICHAT.
Feel free to ping me at RachelFayeGreene or Francis at francisrhizome.

+ + +

Christina McPhee replied:

Thanks for the very informative and exciting response. Could you put this
up on rare and digest too? It would be great if you and Francis could take
time to post often regarding goals and strategies like the ones you describe
here, like giving away memberships , and public programs for artbase...etc.
Maybe a once a month post on the state of rhizome?

+ + +

Rachel Greene added:

To anyone who wants to check out the 2003 audit:

+ + +

t.whid replied:

Hi Tim,

I just read the thread or I would have chimed in about this sooner. Correct
me if I'm wrong, but you can link straight to any single article at rhizome
and surfers can access the article you linked any day of the week without
having to be rhizome members. Before Mark left, I talked to him and francis
about this, because it was a concern of mine.

>From my site, I link to several articles I wrote at rhizome (they're really
just long posts I made to raw). It seemed ridiculous that once rhizome started
charging for membership I would no longer be able to link my own articles. I
would have stopped contributing to rhizome long ago had this been the case.
Mark agreed that it was not right. So they set up the protocol to work this way

If I'm writing a friend, and I include the URL to a rhizome post in the
email, unless my friend is a member, they can't view the post simply by
clicking on the link in their email client. Furthermore, yhey can't
manually type in the URL and get it either. (both situations are
regrettable, but a necessary evil to the membership model). BUT if I link a
rhizome URL (artbase piece, post at raw, whatever) from an online web page,
non-rhizome members can still access the rhizome URL I linked. In this
respect, rhizome is unlike the New York Times and most other
password-protected content sites. Once the non-rhizome-member visits the
rhizome URL I linked, she still can't wander around the rest of rhizome for
free from there, but she can at least read the single post to which I
linked. I assume this is true for a dynamically-generated link from a
google search-results page as well.

That's how critics of rhizome's $5 policy have been able to make "mirrors"
of the entire rhizome artbase. They simply link directly to each piece of
content in the artbase, and the way rhizome has set up their protocol, since
the call is coming from another online web page, Francis allows the content
to pass through, even if the visitor doesn't have the rhizome login cookie.

Francis would know more about the technical details.

I'm not sure how the above "backdoor" protocol works with RSS feeds and
content aggregators.

I'm not disagreeing with your suggestion to drop the membership fee. But
the argument that one can't link non-members directly to specific rhizome
content except on Fridays is not valid. One can (unless I'm missing

+ + +

CK SHINE (shine-a-man AT added:

this is an interesting issue to consider. paid members can post.unpaid
members can consume but not post. $5.00 is a small price to pay. less than
the cost of almost anything worth having. $5.00 mandatory fee does not mean
there is no grassroots. $5.00 mandatory fee means that the paying members
agree that at least some aspect of the endeavor is worth supporting.

how many participants are listed in the community directory? rough estimate:
3000(?) x $5.00/year each = $15,000/year to provide network infrastructure
and content organization/distribution? a small price to pay.

before i discovered, i knew nothing of Joy Garnett's paintings.
now i do. i may not buy her work but she is known to one more person who may
reference her work in a conversation, article or catalog, etc. i'll bet Joy
Garnett would be happy to fork over $5.00 to expand her reputation to a
community of 3000. let's say that maybe only 5% of the community has shown
some interest in the aesthetic values of her work -excellent!

for $5.00 or, the price of a tasty sandwich, a mid-day matinee, or one and a
half hour's post-tax wage as a museum guide, one can be informed of Joy's
artwork/ideas or engage in a stimulating conversation, workshop concepts,
market themselves/their works and be informed of income opportunities in
fields they are truly interested in. for 365 days.

geez, i don't know about you all but 5 bucks is a meager requirement to
maintain and even expand the capabilities our network and all it has to

+ + +

Patrick Simons (patricksimons AT added:

Hi Rachael, Francis.....

Have you/we/they ever looked at the numbers(in membership terms) needed for
rhizome to become a completely self funding organisation?

I suppose I am asking what amount of money would be needed to be raised for
rhizome to do what it does so well, and how many members paying $5 would
be needed to cover that?

Seems to me that once a critical mass is reached, all sorts of useful
discussions could be had about self organising organisations and structures,
as well as free memberships for those unable to pay etc.

Obviously an autonomous rhizome (what the.. would that be like!) is not
feasible at the moment, but would it be something to work towards?

The difficulty I have with the current calls for rhizome to become a more
accessible or fluid institution (oh yes it is) by removing the membership
fee, is that it forces us all into the hands of external funding bodies,
over whom we have even less control.

Perhaps it is the curse of the middle stage organisation, caught between two
firstly that it becomes the focus of our anxieties about its lack of
fluidity and openess, its inability to "interface" with the other smaller or
informal orgs that we work with,
secondly that it wants to modernise its structures but within the existing
paradigm, that is as a formally incorporated not for profit organisation in
order to best represent internetart practice in art institutional terms.

I undestand the push for removing the $5 but I dont think it would solve the
underlying questions, if the choice is an org which is dependent on
unaccountable trust funds or membership based, the latter is so much more
what this whole community is about.

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