The Rhizome Digest merged into the Rhizome News in November 2008. These pages serve as an archive for 6-years worth of discussions and happenings from when the Digest was simply a plain-text, weekly email.

Subject: RHIZOME DIGEST: 9.10.04
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 2004 14:11:04 -0700

RHIZOME DIGEST: September 10, 2004


1. Rachel Greene: [Fwd: New book about Hacker and Cracker Art]
2. marta: free culture - cultura libre -liberad la cultura
3. Rachel Greene: opens at the ICA, London
4. You Minowa: "project" 2004 - 2nd annoucement

5. Scott Snibbe: Regular Faculty Position at the Evergreen State College
6. Pierre: Call For Entries : Today in Paradise â Genetics & Art
7. Susan McNeil: Tenure Track Assistant Professor in Digital Media and Arts

8. Myron Turner: New project:
9. Just added to the Rhizome ArtBase: AUDC Wiki by AUDC
10. Bubble Sort: New Work:metatelephony--->a networked poem

+scene report+
12. Jonah Brucker-Cohen: Report from ISEA 2004

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Date: 9.05.04
From: Rachel Greene <rachel AT>
Subject: [Fwd: New book about Hacker and Cracker Art]

From: Lassi Tasajärvi <lassi AT>

Dear Media Art Colleagues,

I thought this might interest you. Feel free to forward this to anyone who
would find it useful. Thank you.

Best Regards,

Mr. Lassi Tasajärvi


MEDIA RELEASE :: 05 September 2004
For Immediate Release


The First Book ever about the 'Demoscene' culture has been released.
Titled as "Demoscene: The Art of Real-Time". The book has 72 pages and is
published by Even Lake Studios &

The demoscene is one of the most interesting phenomena to come out of
digital media culture. It's a culture created by the first generation of
kids who grew up with home computers and computer games in the 1980s.

Even before Internet use became widespread, thousands of audiovisual works
had been globally published and distributed by the demoscene culture. This
was done using modems and diskettes. At the same time, the cracking scene,
which has always been a close relative of the demoscene, systematically
cracked and distributed just about every computer game and program to come
on the market.

The demoscene spawned a group of people that have worked in or started
companies that played an important and pioneering role in the game, new
media, digital graphics and ICT-sector industries in many countries. The
demoscene was where many digital media artists, electronic music
composers, as well as visual club culture and virtual community activists
got their start.

In the 2000s, the demoscene is still an active and productive global
network and culture. This book is the first of its kind dealing with the

More information about the book can be found at:

Contact author/publisher:

Mr. Lassi Tasajärvi
email: lassi AT
mobile: +358 40 7222 711

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Date: 9.06.04
From: marta <marta AT>
Subject: free culture - cultura libre -liberad la cultura

My co-editor in, Antonio Cordoba, has just released an spanish
version of Free Culture, Lawrence Lessig last work on the copyright war.

Hope you enjoy it!

Cultura libre - HTML$869

Cultura Libre (PDF, 1.2Mb)

Cultura libre - Formato Palm Reader (Cortesía de Albert Cuest)

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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: 9.07.04
From: Rachel Greene <rachel AT>
Subject: opens at the ICA, London

From: Carey Young [mailto:host AT] ( will be exhibited at the ICA London
from Tuesday 7th September to Sunday 3rd October 2004. is a copyright-free website, a curatorial project that aims to
create an online platform to exchange works between artists, curators and
the public and give the audience free access to works of art. This project
intends to challenge the idea of intellectual property and test its limits
in a copyright-free zone.

Submitted works can be downloaded, changed, distributed, exhibited and used
by all visitors for free. All submitted works will be present online in an
archive, and available to the public to access. Only commercial use is
excluded, as all works are registered with Creative Commons under a
non-commercial license.

This show marks the premier of new artists' contributions by: Elizabeth
Price, Carey Young, Doug Fishbone, Abigail Reynolds, Reza Aramesh, Peter
Coffin, Ella Gibbs, Gavin Wade, Beltran Obregon and Richard Crow. Existing
work will be also shown by Anna Best, Bigert&Bergstrom, Colectivo
Cambalache, Critical Art Ensemble, A K Dolven, House of O'Dwyer, Per
Huttner, juneau/projects/, Matthieu Laurette, Miltos Manetas, N55, Szuper
Gallery, Thomson & Craighead and SAK

12-7.30pm daily, Institute of Contemporary Art, London, The Mall, SW1 <>

for further information please email mail AT
Carey Young

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Date: 9.10.04
From: You Minowa <webmaster AT>
Subject: "project" 2004 - 2nd annoucement

"Project" 2004 - 2nd announcement

1. From "Art on the Net" to the new "Project"

2. Call for the nomination

3. The schedule

4. Physical events [new]


1. From "Art on the Net" to the "Project"

Since 1995, The Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts has been hosting the
"Art on the Net" project promoting the Internet as a space for artistic
expression. For almost a decade now, this project has been calling on
artists around the world to investigate the relationship between Art,
the Internet and the Society.

This summer, to celebrate the success of our "Art on the Net" project,
we are going to launch a new event called "Project" The
"Project" consists of an Internet Art exhibition, artist
essays, theoretical articles, and an online forum.

The Exhibition section of the project will feature recent developments
in Internet Art and is open to all forms of creative expression that use
the Internet as their primary medium. The essays and articles from
artists, critics, curators and other contributors, will be featured in
the Writings section. The Online Forum is open to everyone who is
interested in Internet Art and other hybridized forms of Digital or
Media Art that use network technologies.

Although this project is primarily focused on the latest developments in
the field of Internet Art, we are also very interested in considering
contributions that reflect the influence of Internet Art production on
the wider fields of Media-Art, Digital Art, curatorial practice,
digital pedagogy, and online publishing.

The new "Project" will be launched 1st, Nov. 2004, at


2. Call for the nomination

This year, the artworks for the exhibition and the " 2004
prize" will be chosen by our Selection Committee. The prize fee for the
top selection will be 200,000 yen.

The members of the Selection Committee are:

Mark Amerika (
John Hopkins (
Trace Reddell (
Anne-Marie Schleiner (
You Minowa (Curator, MCMOGATK)

The members will make their own nominations, but we will accept
nominations from the web also. Please send your nomination to us
directly at the website DO NOT SEND YOUR

The coordinators of "Project" will also review essays and
articles that focus on Internet art. Selected essays and articles will
be featured in our Writings section, in English and Japanese.


3. The schedule

We will accept nominations by mail from 1st, Aug. 2004 to 15th, Sept.
2004. Check out our website for details.

The award-winning artwork will be selected by 15th Oct. The exhibition
will be launched 1st, Nov. 2004. We will soon announce some physical
events to take place in Nov. at the Machida City Museum of Graphic
Arts, Tokyo.


4. Physical events

We will invite Mark Amerika (USA)and Agnese Trocchi (Italy), and have
physical events on 7th Nov. at the auditorium of the museum under the theme
of [Art and the Internet: Hackers, Pirates, and Philosophers].

13:30 Agnese Trocchi [lecture]
"Peer-to-Peer Fightsharing: the Art of making Networks"

14:15 Mark Amerika [lecture]
"Breaking the Code: How Net Artists Are Hacking Reality"

15:00 DJRABBI (Mark Amerika and Rick Silva, University of Colorado,
USA) [Performance Art]

16:00 Panel Discussion "Media Art and the Museum"


You Minowa
Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts
webmaster AT

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Date: 9.06.04
From: Scott Snibbe <scott AT>
Subject: Regular Faculty Position at the Evergreen State College

From: Ruth Hayes [mailto:randomruth AT]
Sent: Thursday, August 26, 2004 11:04 AM
Subject: Regular Faculty Position at the Evergreen State College

Regular Faculty Position at the Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA

Digital Media

The Evergreen State College seeks a Media Artist with demonstrated
teaching experience in both digital moving image technologies, and
cultural and critical theories of media. The candidate should have
strong digital filmmaking skills and experience in at least two of the
following: sound design, interactive media/web design, animation,
digital photography or multimedia performance and installation.

Other skills necessary to this position include the capacity to work
effectively with students on writing, the ability to teach critical
media theory, visual literacy and media literacy in an interdisciplinary

context, and critical expertise in multicultural media arts (such as
African American media, Native American media, global media activism,
etc). This position is designed for a working artist and teacher with at

least an MA (MFA preferred), and an active exhibition record. We are
specifically looking for someone who values teaching that links media
theory and practice in intensive, team-taught, interdisciplinary

This is a Regular Faculty position, eligible for continuing appointment
after two, three-year renewable contracts.

For more information on our Expressive Arts Program, review our website
at <>

Review of complete files starts November 19, 2004.

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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: 9.08.04
From: Pierre <drmoth AT>
Subject: Call For Entries : Today in Paradise: Genetics & Art


Today in Paradise - Genetics & Art
Mobileart 05
Göteborg New Media Art Festival
at Röda Sten, Göteborg, Sweden
Submission Deadline: 24 November 2004

The call for works is open to artists, designers and performers both
internationally and from the Nordic region willing to engage in the theme
'Today in Paradise: Genetics & Art'.

Mobileart is announcing a call for works for its exhibition and festival
which will open on the 1st April, 2005. This will consist of a 3-day
festival/symposium held on Friday 1st April to Sunday 3rd April, concurrent
with an exhibition at the same venue from Friday 1st April - Sunday 17th

Today in Paradise: Genetics & Art will be held at Röda Sten
(, a cultural landmark which lies on the sea entrance to
the city of Gothenburg. Previously housing a huge industrial boiler, Röda
Sten today is a hub for exhibitions and arts events, and offers everything
from huge open spaces to small intimate rooms distributed over its
approximate 1000 square metres. The outside of the building is a free zone
for the graffiti artists of the city, and this unconventional exhibition
space sets the scene for innovative explorations. The goal of Project Röda
Sten is to develop itself as a nordic cultural centre for art, theatre,
music and dance and to host international exhibitions of high standard.

Mobileart is an organisation focussing on the advancement of digital and
net-based art. Through exhibitions both on- and off-line, Mobileart seeks to
create a forum for activities, meetings and information revolving around
such art forms as visual art, music, design and architecture.

Since the middle of the 90's, a public debate about the possible
consequences of biotechnology and genetics has emerged, with particular
focus on how they might affect our lives and environment.

The Scottish sheep Dolly, born in 1996 and deceased in 2003, was a catalyst
for the emergence of this debate. The first mammal to be born through
cloning, Dolly became symbolic of and synonymous with the new biotechnology.
Biotechnology gave us a new perspective on ourselves with the completed
mapping of the human genome.

Many ethical questions have been opened up regarding the new biotechnology.
Several aspects of our lives have been influenced over the last few years -
living organisms and bodily organs can be reproduced, genes can be patented,
genetic manipulation has found its way into agriculture, new medicines have
been produced in the wake of the new biotechnology. The discoveries of
genetic science and technology leaves us faced with several questions that
deal with ethics, social relations, economics, religion and culture.

In our every day life today we look out for the tags of 'genetically
modified' on groceries, get offers from commercial bio-banks when we give
birth and there's even an American company willing to take your order to
clone your pet cat.

Today biological and evolutionary processes are simulated by computers and
information technology. Genetic and evolutionary algorithms are finding
their way into many different fields of interest, within and outside of
scientific areas of exploration. Examples of unusual applications of these
algorithms can be already found in music, art and design.

We are now in the era of post genetic revolution. The cloning technologies
and gene mapping that once shocked are now commonplace, silently and often
invisibly integrating themselves into the everyday. It is in such a climate
that we would like to re-stimulate the debate and re-frame the question of
how these are affecting us, and how we can express this through art.

The exhibition is open to works based on the theme 'Today in Paradise:
Genetics & Art' from various fields such as visual arts, architecture,
design, music, dance and performance. Artists are invited to interpret the
theme in various ways, either through direct commentary on genetics and
biotechnology, or from a sociological/cultural perspective. Liberal
interpretations and more abstract approaches to the theme will also be
encouraged. Works utilizing genetic algorithms and evolutionary processes
are also of interest, and need not be thematically or aesthetically related
to the topic.

For the exhibition from the 1st to 17th April we are looking for artists
working in all kinds of media, for example interactive installations,
photography, video, sound, and net based art. As this will be a group
exhibition, space will be shared among the participants so this in an
important factor to be aware of when submitting works.

For the festival from the 1st to 3rd April we are seeking participants from
the fields of music (especially electronic), dance and performance art to
present pieces on site.

A part of the exhibition will also hold information and visions from ongoing
research from Biotechnology institutions and companies.

Submission deadline: 24th November 2004
Notification of participation: 21st December
Exhibition dates: Friday 1st April to Sunday 17th April, 2005
Festival/Symposium dates: Friday 1st April to Sunday 3rd April, 2005

Please fill in the on-line Apply Form found on the Mobileart website at: or print out the PDF- Apply Form an post it to
address (postmarked latest 24 Nov. 2004):
c/o Tomas Lundberg
Sveagatan 22
413 14 Göteborg

Supporting Documentation:
This will consist of a maximum of 3 printed A4 pages of
pictures/text/material needs. Describe any space requirements you might
have, preferably in a simple sketch.


The equivalent material presented in web format and submitted as an URL or

AND (optional)

CD-ROM with audio/visual documentation (no additional text)

Please NOTE: do not send documentation as attachments to email.
Unfortunately, we are not able to return submitted material.

A jury that will be announced later will take part in the selection of
submitted works.

Equipment hire costs of participating artists will be covered by the
exhibition. As we will be working on a modest budget, we recommend that
artists explore the possibility of local funding for transport and travel
costs. There will however be specific funding allocated to support Nordic
artists. The budget will be finalized in December, and support for
participating artists will be determined from then onwards.

For those who are interested in webpages and articles about genetics there
are some links at

The exhibition/festival is a collaboration between:
Kulturprojekt Röda Sten
Chalmers, Art & Technology

Contact email for enquiries: info AT

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Date: 9.08.04
From: Susan McNeil <susan_mcneil AT>
Subject: Tenure Track Assistant Professor in Digital Media and Arts

The Department of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University
( invites applications for a tenure track
assistant professorship in Digital Media and Digital Arts. The position will
be available 7/1/05. Modern Culture and Media is a department that
emphasizes the relationships between theory and production. The successful
candidate will play a central role in the development of a digital media

The candidate's primary engagement should be within digital production. The
candidate should have a strong commitment to teaching and a thorough
understanding of both the imaginative processes of media and digital arts
practices and the technical means necessary to their production. An
established track record in digital production (or promise thereof) is
essential and teaching experience is preferred. The candidate should also
have a reasonable fluency in new media theory, post-structuralist theory,
and new media research. Ph.D. or MFA preferred.

Applicants should send a letter of interest, curriculum vitae, examples of
work, and three letters of recommendation. Consideration of applications
will begin on 11/1/04. Applicants are strongly advised to submit their
materials by that date in order to receive full consideration.

For more information, and to submit applications, contact Professor Mary Ann
Doane, Chair, Search Committee, Department of Modern Culture and Media, Box
1957, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912

Mary_Ann_Doane AT

Brown is an EEO/AA employer. Minorities and women are encouraged to apply.
For more information:

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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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Date: 9.04.04
From: Myron Turner <myron_turner AT>
Subject: New project: is a data-mining and database project, which I hope
will be of interest to people interested in databases, code, and language.

There are two parts to the project:

1. It searches web sites and library catalogues for words which signify
"big" questions, i.e of philosophy, religion, science. It stores them with
their contexts in a searchable database, which at present consists of
approximately 65,000 library and 45,000 web entries. Visitors to the site
can search the database for terms other than the big terms to see how these
terms are used and contextualized in our culture, as often amusing and
trivial as they are serious. The web sites where the terms occur are
accessible by links as are the library databases, which can then be further

2. There's a "real time" window where the results of the data-mining can be
watched, both the raw accumulation of found data and the software code
itself as it moves through its paces. The latter is a kind of mini-debugger
for the perl script which does the real time searches for raw output. This
is raw, in that the data will later be processed for inclusion in the
database and then indexed.

I see in this a.m.'s RARE that Lewis LaCook is reporting on his survey about
code. I have to confess that one of my reasons for doing is
love of code. It's been a massive coding porject: the coding of the database
and its structures, data-mining software for both web sites and library
catalogues, the real time coding which is perl on the server and javascript
in the browser, the DHTML interface etc. I started almost 2 years ago when I
discovered the perl Z3950 module for accessing over 1000 online library
catalogues. But I had to develop a module, now part of the perl Z3950
project, which could query any library, not just ones you were familiar
with, without potentially freezing up so that it could be used over the web
and for querying up to 1000 libraries also without hanging.

But this obsession with code combines with an interest in language and its
cultural contexts. And with an attempt to mirror in a web project the
experience of the Internet, or at least my experience. On the one hand, the
Internet reaches out into a vast cultural and techological space that can
only be imagined. On the other hand, there are the depths, the inner
workings, the code. Both kinds of space are hidden from view; yet they
intersect in the experience of the person sitting at the monitor. And this
intersection has a parallel in the intersection of public and private space
that also goes into the making of the Internet experience. The closest
analogy to this kind of space is the architecture of large structures, which
is also a technological and cultural space that can't be taken in all at
once but at best imagined, which also has its hidden technological depths
and is the nexus of public and private experience.
I had an exchange about this earlier in the year with Curt Cloninger:

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Date: 9.09.04
From: <artbase AT>
Subject: Just added to the Rhizome ArtBase: AUDC Wiki by AUDC

Just added to the Rhizome ArtBase ...

+ AUDC Wiki +
+ AUDC +

Invented by Ward Cunningham in 1995, a WikiWikiWeb, or Wiki, for short, is a
communal, hypertext repository of knowledge on the web. Cunningham's
project, the Portland Pattern Repository, gathered information on design
patterns, recurring solutions to problems in object-oriented design
programming. Design patterns are inspired by Christopher Alexander's idea of
a pattern language that could be developed for designing buildings and

"Wiki wiki" means fast in Hawaiian. Employing a simplified subset of HTML
and markup within the web browser itself, a wiki page is much faster to
develop than most web pages. Moreover, Wikis are editable by multiple
individuals and generally actively encourage anyone who visits them to

Wikis inherently tend toward non-linear navigational structures, although
hierarchical navigation pages can be created (example: The Ether Project) as

In 1948, Pierre Schaeffer, a broadcast engineer for
Radiodiffusion-Television Francaise took the noises of trains and banging
saucepans and, after hours of editing the tapes with a razor blade,
constructed two pieces of music: Etude aux Chemins de Fer and Etudes aux
Cassaroles. After these sound collages were broadcast on the radio,
Schaeffer would term them "musique concrete."

This is our goal for the AUDC Wiki.

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Begun as a research unit within the Southern California Institute of
Architecture, SCI-ARC [] by Kazys Varnelis and Robert
Sumrell [] Architecture Urbanism Design Collaborative is
a nonprofit collective dedicated to using the tools of the architect, the
designer, and the historian to research the individual and the community in
the contemporary urban environment.

AUDC blurs traditional divisions between media by working simultaneously in
print, web, video, photography, drawings, models, dioramas, and
installations while addressing the particularities of each medium. Likewise,
AUDC breaks down the boundaries between theory and practice by uniting both
scholarship and creative work.

"We erect our structures in our imaginations before we erect them in

--Karl Marx

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Date: 9.09.04
From: Bubble Sort <llacook AT>
Subject: New Work:metatelephony--->a networked poem
metatelephony is a networked poem-->metatelephony takes any web page you
feed it, grabs the source code of the page, mixes it up at random, takes a
randomly-chosen word from that page, performs a Google search on it, and
displays a blend of both the source code and descriptions of pages found in
the search...-->a shadow-poem of the web-->

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Date: 9.10.04
From: Raquel Herrera <rahefe AT>

It is already online the new weblog on Metanarrative(s), reflections on the
artistic direction of audiovisual and multimedia narratives and syntax. This
weblog will work as a preview and a space of commentaries and criticism on
digital narrative before the 5th Symposium on Art and Multimedia in
Mediateca Caixaforum (Barcelona, January 28th-29th 2005). We are looking
forward to seeing your comments!


Weblog Metanarrative(s)>

5th Symposium on Art and Multimedia: Metanarrative(s)? International meeting
on the artistic direction of audiovisual and multimedia narratives and

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Date: 9.10.04
From: Jonah Brucker-Cohen <jonah AT>
Subject: Report from ISEA 2004

Report from ISEA 2004
August 14-22, 2004
Helsinki (Finland), Baltic Cruise, Tallinn (Estonia)

By Jonah Brucker-Cohen (jonah (at)

Held over a week and located in Helsinki, Tallinn, and a Baltic Sea-roving
cruise liner, ISEA 2004 was a marathon media arts conference like none
other. With over 1,500 artists taking part in panels, performances, fashion
shows, keynotes, and installations, there was little time for sleep among
all of the commuting between venues. The conference¹s theme examined the
crossover between wireless culture, wearable or fashionable technology, and
networked experience. ISEA 2004 aimed to explore themes surrounding critical
notions of interaction design, open source software culture, and geopolitics
of media. This approach attempted to challenge accepted notions of
interaction by focusing on possibilities of re-appropriation instead of mere
re-evaluation. Although the conference schedule was an often strenuous
journey through multiple cities and events, the discussions, interventions,
and realizations that manifested contributed to an exhilarating experience.

The festival officially began aboard the ³Networked Experience² Baltic sea
cruise (I missed the Koneisto sound event the night before in Helsinki),
where the focus was on how networked culture iterates human understanding
through shared experiences such as email lists, collective performance,
interactive narrative, and GPS sound installations. The panel entitled ³The
List: The mailing list phenomena², began in the Metropolitan ballroom of the
ship, with a panel of list-serve moderators such as Melinda Rackham of
Empyre, Kathy Rae Huffman of Faces, Axel Bruns of Fibre Culture, and
Charlotte Frost who is studying list culture for her Ph.D. thesis. Examining
networked culture, the debate centered around the nurturing of lists and
what types of communication technologies are appropriate for specific
communities. I spoke on the challenges of my BumpList project as an example
of an email community that focuses on shifting the structure of a system to
change its participants behaviors.
Other panels and events focused on community awareness in digital media
projects like ³E-Tester² and UNESCO meetings with African and Asian award
winners and participants.

Arriving bewildered and tired in the city of Tallinn, Estonia, the ³Wearable
Experience² theme of ISEA began with a keynote from Concordia University¹s
Joanna Berzowska. Her talk was an overview of wearable trends and projects
that aimed to challenge traditional notions of strapped-on gadgetry by
emphasizing the integration of sensors and displays into clothing. Her own
research on ³Memory Rich Garments² showed how everyday emotions and intimacy
could be projected and enhanced through computationally enhanced clothing
that stores non-personal data about people it comes into contact with. Other
panels focused on the how technology and fashion can integrate into
networks, how clothing can act as a display for portable signage, or how
intimacy could be conveyed over distance. This discussion continued to
Helsinki¹s ³Wireless Experience² theme, which began as hundreds of ISEA
attendees were stuck in passport control after arriving on the SuperSeaCat
ferry from Tallinn. Machiko Kusahara of Japan¹s Waseda University opened the
conference with a keynote address on mobile phone culture in Japan. Her
focus centered around how ³socially acceptable² mobile phone or ³ketai² use
had become and how advertisements for services emphasized how ³left out² of
mainstream culture people have become without a phone. Although her talk
emphasized the social pressures of technology, it left out dangers of
extended mobile phone use or the advent of surveillance culture. These
questions were made more evident through the many parallel sessions over the
next few days.

The second keynote by the Sarai New Media Initiative¹s Shuddhabrata Sengupta
focused around the conference theme of ³Histories of the New² and how
reinventing the future is often tied to lessons from the past. His talk ³The
Remains of Tomorrows Past: Speculations on the Antiquity of New Media
Practice in South Asia², presented the history of technical networks from
the telegraph to the Internet. His talk referenced Tom Standage¹s book ³The
Victorian Internet² to illustrate how these information networks are not new
and how they simply provide frameworks for a centralized space that expands
global discourse. UCLA¹s Erkki Huhtamo, followed this talk with his take on
the ³Archaeology of Mobile Media², or how media does not exist independently
from the social framework that envelops them. He showed imagery of the
amateur photographer of the early 20th century comparing the public
perception of this ³nuisance² to the current mobile phone camera phenomenon:
both seen as invasions of privacy and unwanted surveillance in the hands of
the people.

Following this theme, the GPS art panel, moderated by San Francisco
based-artist Marisa Olsen, attempted to ground location-based media projects
into a defined genre. The current ghettoization of media art into
technology-defined categories like GPS or Wi-Fi tends to counter creativity
at its roots. Instead the focus should be on crystallizing an idea so that
the technology becomes less awkward and central to the output. Projects
discussed included Pall Thayer¹s ³Hlemmur in C² that tracked taxi movements
through GPS and composed real-time soundtracks based on their position in
the city, Joel Slayton¹s (of the C5 collective) mapping of altitudes on the
Great Wall of China to plot where it could have been built in California,
and Teri Rueb¹s ³Trace² which allows people to discover location-based sound
clips embedded into positions on a nature trail in Canada. In a sense, most
of the work in this area centers on GPS enabling you find or discover things
in your environment or enabling people or devices to find you. Little was
mentioned about the surveillance aspects of tracking or the social aspects
of why this technology is becoming pervasive?

Filling in the hard theory was keynote speaker Wendy Hui Kyong Chun of Brown
University who spoke on ²Control and Freedom: Interactivity as a Software
Effect². Her talk was probably the most seminal moment of the conference as
it connected up the central themes. Chun emphasized the role of technology
as a contributor to social stigma especially in networked culture and
outlined how surveillance is becoming a visual and territorial metaphor for
control. Her breakdown of the utopian view that current software assumes
that users cannot understand computation showed explicitly how layers of
mediation between code and interface are getting thicker. Nina Wakeford of
the University of Surrey spoke on ³Identity Politics of Mobility and Design
Culture², focusing on the importance of local knowledge with examples of
projects that emphasized aspects of mobility as a driving force in design.

The exhibitions scattered around Tallinn and Helsinki showcased everything
from fashion tech and accessories to social and political projects, to
interactive installations and data visualizations. Some impressive projects
included Bundith Phunsombatlert¹s ³Path of Illusion², a series of street
lamps with rotating LED displays that passerbyers could type into rounded
keyboards at the base of the lights. Also meant to display information in
public space was Steve Heimbecker¹s ³POD (Wind Array Cascade Machine)² which
consisted of sixty four air flow sensors in Montreal that transmitted data
to towers of LEDs that resembled a large-scale graphic equalizer. Also
interesting was Diego Diaz¹s ³Playground² which turned a kids merry-go-round
into a collective joystick to navigate a shared 3D space. I think someone
got overexcited and broke the piece midway through. In Tallinn, the wearable
showcase features Tina Gonsalves and Tom Donaldson¹s ³Medulla Intimata²,
video jewelry that changes depending on the emotional state of the wearer
and the conversations in which they are engaged. Other projects such as
Kelly Dobson¹s ³ScreamBody² which consists of a bag you scream into and
release the sound later, Sabrina Raaf¹s ³Saturday² which used gloves with
bone transducers to hear sampled CB radio conversations through your
cheekbones, and ³Seven Mile Boots² by Laura Beloff, Erich Berger and Martin
Pichlmair that allows people to traverse chat rooms by walking around a
physical space. Overall the projects in the show examined how wearable
technology can impact and change our environment, personal experience and
social landscape

As ISEA ended, most people were thoroughly exhausted. Although the constant
shifting of venues, cities, and themes might have contributed to this, the
questions raised by the presentations and exhibitions remained strong
throughout the event. Why is interaction engaging? Is there a larger message
involved? How do creative systems and practice filter up to decision and
policy makers to provoke and result in global action? With diverse speakers
such as the Sarai Collective¹s challenge to the hegemony of the digital art
canon and Mark Tribe open-sourcing his presentation online so that people
could ³remix² it after his talk, the conference presented a wide array of
contrasting opinions that attempted to make sense of the current media arts
landscape. With so many perspectives, the endpoint seemed scattered but also
manageable. The more we question the fundamental reasons why technology is
important, the more we discover why we cannot live without it. Only through
events like ISEA can we really come to grips with this realization.

?Jonah Brucker-Cohen (jonah (at)

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

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Rhizome Digest is filtered by Kevin McGarry (kevin AT ISSN:
1525-9110. Volume 9, number 37. Article submissions to list AT
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and be less than 1500 words. For information on advertising in Rhizome
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