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: 1.28.05
Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2005 00:25:57 -0800

RHIZOME DIGEST: January 28, 2005


1. Trebor: The Institute for Distributed Creativity

2. Institute of Network Cultures: Call for Papers: The Art and Politics of
3. Jehanne-Marie Gavarini: Employment Opportunities: 3D Animation/Digital
Interactive Media Tenure Track Faculty & Web Artist / Tenure Track Faculty
4. Liselyn Adams: Interdisciplinary Artist position offered
5. Kevin McGarry: FW: netopticon report - call for submissions

6. Just added to the Rhizome ArtBase: by wayne

7. Reinhold Grethe: mobile art and locative media

8. Trebor: Interview with Warren Sack on New-Media Art Education
9. Thomas Petersen: Art is a software plug-in: An interview with Peter

10. Angela Cachay Dwyer, curt cloninger, patrick lichty, liza sabater,
t.whid, Ivan Pope, Francis Hwang, manik: Electronic Folk Art?!
11. Jim Andrews, Pall Thayer, Michael Szpakowski: links

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Date: 1.24.05
From: Trebor <trebor AT>
Subject: The Institute for Distributed Creativity

Public Launch
The Institute for Distributed Creativity

The research of the Institute for Distributed Creativity (iDC) focuses on
collaboration in media art, technology, and theory with an emphasis on
social contexts. The iDC is an independent international network with a
participatory and flexible institutional structure that combines advanced
creative production, research, events, and documentation.

While the iDC makes appropriate use of emerging low-cost and free social
software it balances these activities with regular face-to-face meetings.

In May 2004 the iDC was founded by Trebor Scholz following the "Free
Cooperation: Networks, Art & Collaboration" conference.

Many events of the Institute for Distributed Creativity are hosted by the
Department of Media Study, State University of New York at Buffalo and by
collaborating institutions in New York City and internationally.

The weblog of the iDC:



WebCamTalk 1.0
Guest Speaker Series on New-Media Art Education
(Hosted by the Department of Media Study, SUNY at Buffalo)

(Speakers: Adriene Jenik, Anna Munster, Axel Bruns, Christoph Spehr, Eduardo
Navas, Elizabeth Goodman, John Hopkins, Joline Blais, Jon Ippolito, Lily
Diaz, Lisa Gye, Megan Boler, Molly Krause, Ned Rossiter, Patrick Lichty,
Randall Packer, Ricardo Miranda Zuniga, Warren Sack, William Grishold,
Wolfgang Münch)

iDC Researcher in Residence. Spring 2005
"Imaginary Futures"

Dr. Richard Barbrook
(Hypermedia Research Institute
University of Westminster, London, UK)
Richard Barbrook will present the Rosa Luxemburg Lecture.


New-Media Art Education Conference
(Collaboration between the Institute for Distributed Creativity and
The Graduate Center, City University New York)

Tropical Open Source
(This international conference is a collaboration between the Institute for
Distributed Creativity and Ricardo Rosas, Sao Paolo.)


Reshaping the Wireless Commons
A Lecture by Brooke Singer (NYC Wireless)
(organized in collaboration between the Institute for Distributed Creativity
and the Art Department, SUNY at Buffalo)

U.S. Premiere of:
School of Missing Studies/Looking for October - LFO
Contemporary meanings of liberation, Belgrade
A documentary by Dusan Gligorov


The Distributed Learning Project (DLP)
Web-based tool for new-media art educators-- under development.
The DLP is a collaboration between Trebor Scholz and Tom Leonhardt.
If you would like to contribute to this project, please contact us.


Please contact us to propose collaborations on events,
media art projects or publications.

Trebor Scholz
idc AT

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Date: 1.25.05
From: Institute of Network Cultures <info AT>
Subject: Call for Papers: The Art and Politics of Netporn

> The Art and Politics of Netporn
> Institute of Network Cultures,
> Amsterdam, The Netherlands
> 6-7 October, 2005
> WHAT IS NETPORN? Web-based media and environments that filter porn
> images and traffic between industries and art/indie cultures,
> corporations, ISP¹s and net users; involving daily (female and male)
> activities such as blogging, webcamming, chatting, binging on porn
> portals, p2p porn, live journals, confession boards, mailing lists and
> zines.
> THEORY AND POLITICS: New waves of netporn censorship have a clear
> affect on artistic freedom and our sexual bodies. We would like to
> engage in discussions of globalization, freedom of speech, (self)
> censorhip and government/institutional surveillance of traffic, of sex
> cultures and networked minorities. Does netporn corroborate the image
> regimes of ?cruelty,¹ a wide-spread creation of appetite for violence,
> terrorism, war on innocence and sexual otherness, openness. What are
> the alternatives?
> ART PROJECTS: We are looking for new openings, new definitions and
> articulation of pornography, ?art¹ as solo path or collaborative
> wisdom, a tactical media approach to netporn for belly wisdom and
> processing media histories. As Matteo Pasquinelli ponders in ?Warporn
> Warpunk! Autonomous Videopoesis in Wartime,¹ we are grinning monkeys
> who seek war and torture news as a type of pornography, but can we use
> netporn to nurture our inner beasts and media intellects?
> DISCUSSIONS: Netporn is an intricate fabrication of desires and
> mechanisms of repression. Debate means recognizing and re-drawing the
> contours of hype and hysteria, of polemics and polarization,
> discussing netporn as local and global phantasms, or
> cross-fertilization between economies, desire and art/queer politics.
> Discussions will be opened February 2005 on a web-based mailinglist
> and will continue in plenary sessions at the conference.
> Please submit 250-word abstracts for papers/panels, or art/media
> projects about the following topics. In your abstracts indicate what
> type of media you need for your presentation, and please include an
> address where you can be reached.
> Censorship
> Representation
> Aesthetics
> Traffic
> Games
> P2p
> Economy
> Politics
> Queer/gender/gay
> Feminism
> War porn
> Punk Porn
> Media-archeology
> Geographies
> -
> DEADLINE: March 15, 2005
> Katrien Jacobs
> Geert Lovink
> Sabine Niederer

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Date: 1.26.05
From: Jehanne-Marie Gavarini <artfutur AT>
Subject: Employment Opportunities: 3D Animation/Digital Interactive Media
Tenure Track Faculty & Web Artist / Tenure Track Faculty Position

The Art Department at the University of Massachusetts Lowell seeks qualified
applicants for a full-time, tenure-track position to teach undergraduate
courses in 3D digital animation, interactive digital media, and immersive VR
photography. The MFA is required as well as an active and growing record of
creative and scholarly research, exhibitions and publications. The position
appointment is effective September 1, 2005. An interdisciplinary approach
to the teaching of 3D animation and interactive media emphasizing
conceptually mature sequential narratives is desirable. Applicants must
show proficiency in Lightwave, Maya, digital media authoring, video editing,
audio and demonstrate an interest in and an understanding of new media
theory and contemporary art and culture. Applicants must also show some
experience in WEB design and Macintosh lab management. Salary and benefits
are commensurate with the rank of Assistant or Associate Professor.
Responsibilities will include teaching three undergraduate courses per
semester, student advising, participation in senior reviews, as well as
committee participation at the Department, College and University level. A
minimum of three years teaching in higher education is required and industry
experience is preferred. To apply, send a letter of application, resume and
portfolio. Please include examples of animation and digital interactive
media, examples of student work, teaching philosophy, syllabi, three letters
of reference and SASE to:
Animation Search Committee
Art Department
University of Massachusetts Lowell
71 Wilder Street - Suite 8
Lowell, MA 01854
Deadline: March 1, 2005 or until filled


The Art Department at the University of Massachusetts Lowell seeks qualified
applicants for a full-time, tenure-track position to teach undergraduate
courses in web-based art and design. The MFA is required as well as an
active and growing record of creative and scholarly research, exhibitions
and publications. The position appointment is effective September 1, 2005.
An interdisciplinary approach to the teaching of web-based media is
desirable. Applicants must show a demonstrated proficiency in JTML, CSS,
DHTML, JavaScript, Flash, with ActionScript preferred. A thorough
understanding of typography, color theory, interactive design principles,
and web strategy experience is required. Also applicants must demonstrate
an interest in and an understanding of new media theory and contemporary art
and culture. Salary and benefits are commensurate with the rank of
Assistant/Associate Professor. Responsibilities will include teaching three
undergraduate courses per semester, participation in Macintosh lab
management, overseeing the art department web site with student assistance,
student advising, participation in senior reviews, as well as committee
participation at the Department, College and University level. A minimum of
three years teaching in higher education is required and industry experience
is preferred. To apply, send a letter of application, resume, online
portfolio link, other examples of web based media, and examples of student
work. Also include teaching philosophy, syllabi, three letters of reference
and SASE to:
Web Design Search Committee
Art Department
University of Massachusetts Lowell
71 Wilder Street - Suite 8
Lowell, MA 01854
Deadline: March 1, 2005 or until filled

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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 Kevin McGarry at Kevin AT or Rachel Greene
at Rachel AT

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Date: 1.26.05
From: Liselyn Adams <liselyn AT>
Subject: Interdisciplinary Artist position offered

Canada Research Chair (Tier II) tenure track position in Interdisciplinary
Art Practice
Concordia University, Montreal.

The Faculty of Fine Arts seeks applications from artists with a
cross-disciplinary practice for a Canada Research Chair position. Experience
could include visual art, performance, design, moving image, emerging
technologies, or interactive art. A demonstrated interest in diasporic or
transnational issues is an asset.

For full details, see or
contact Liselyn Adams, Chair, CRC Committee; Faculty of Fine Arts; Concordia
University VA 250; 1395, boul. René Lévesque ouest; Montreal, QC H3G 2M5
Canada. liselyn AT Application Deadline March 15, 2005.

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Date: 1.26.05
From: Kevin McGarry <kevin AT>
Subject: FW: netopticon report - call for submissions

netopticon report
Together with superficial anonymity and seemingly apparent ways of hiding or
faking one's identity, the Internet delivers a new set of powerful and
sophisticated instruments of surveillance. Network activity of an individual
user, intercepted on the borders of ostensibly integral web realm, is easily
back-traced by power holders - via IP address to ID number - and provides
the agent for latent supervision of controlling eye-ear.

Scouting and tight inspection of personal information, at times readily
exposed, serves economical and political interests of the system, helps
creating the new ways of control and improves the old ones. Established
around network security commercial structures continuously populate virtual
file-cabinets, simultaneously supporting the channels of supervised data

netopticon - the current project of - is an attempt to create an
artistic and textual report on the topic of infringement of privacy and its
protection. We are looking forward to net art works and texts dealing with
resistance to manipulatively mediated concept of security, to art projects
devoted to true anonymity of net-surfing and net-correspondence, to works
intentionally feeding systems with falsified data, to any remarks,
suggestions and ideas that would add up to a contemporary report on the

Although it is not exclusive condition, projects that work on the three
major platforms (Linux, Macintosh and Windows) are preferred.

The deadline for submissions is March, 30, 2005

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Rhizome Member-curated Exhibits

View online exhibits Rhizome members have curated from works in the ArtBase,
or learn how to create your own exhibit.

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Date: 1.24.05
From: <artbase AT>
Subject: Just added to the Rhizome ArtBase: by wayne

Just added to the Rhizome ArtBase ...

+ +
+ wayne + is a frequently changing website consisting of text generation
and manipulation pieces which test the notion of a visual art consisting
almost entirely of words and no pictures. It is written in Perl.

The organising concept is that of a 'writing machine,' a machine that may
occasionally inhabit your computer.

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'in-vacua' is Wayne Clements. 'comâ' is a witticism ruined by explanation.

A 60's classic, Wayne is presently a research student at Chelsea College of
Art and Design, London, where he is trying to persuade his computer to write
his PhD for him.

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Date: 1.25.05
From: Reinhold Grether <Reinhold.Grether AT>
Subject: mobile art and locative media

stay at home the next two weeks and follow the links

1) mob art links

mobile art and locative media links to art through
locative/ mobile/ pervasive/ wearable/ wireless devices.

mob art projects

mob art research

2) net art links

a continuously updated bookmark file on net art --
2005 in its eleventh year.

3) perf art links

a directory to augmented/ distributed/ hybrid/ mixed/
networked/ virtual performance art

virtual performance research area

virtual performance bibliography

stay at home the next two weeks and follow the links

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Date: 1.24.05
From: Trebor <trebor AT>
Subject: Interview with Warren Sack on New-Media Art Education

Interview with Warren Sack on New-Media Art Education
by Trebor Scholz

TS: In a recent interview members of kuda (new media center, Novi Sad)
addressed the lack of non-proprietary software in the corporate world.
But nevertheless, kuda strongly opts for open source / free software in
education as:

"The cadre of designers and programmers that relies on proprietary software
to find a job, is no different than the Fordist proletarian subject but
without proletarian consciousness. We can link the ideas around software to
Marx' notions of the necessity for the proletariat to own the tools it uses.
As of now, software and hardware tools are in not in our hands."

There are examples of universities in the U.S. that are in the process of
entirely switching to open source software. How do you see possibilities for
open source in an American academic context?

WS: As implied by Kuda, this is both a question of consciousness-raising and
also of functionality. There are specific marketing and litigation
strategies of disinformation that are actively undermining the necessary
consciousness raising. These strategies of disinformation are similar to the
ones big media and big industry have been using for at least a century: they
are strategies of "seamlessness." By this I mean that powerful interests
want you, the consumer and citizen, to ignore the seams that articulate the
parts of computers and networks together. A perfect example of this, right
now (December 2004), is AOL's current marketing campaign. AOL assures us,
in television ads, that they can create "a better Internet." This is
willful obfuscation. The Internet -- as a net of nets -- is, by definition,
outside of the control of a single entity: AOL can't change the Internet
even if it wants to. But, what AOL wants people to believe is that AOL is
the Internet. And, from personally experience, I can tell you that many lay
people think this is the case. When, for example, I've demonstrated to
novice users who have AOL accounts that they can "see the Internet" from a
standard browser that is not the AOL technology, they have been rather
shocked. To them it is seamless: there is no difference between AOL and the
Internet. This serves AOL's interests because people are then led to
believe that there are no other alternatives. Another good example of this
was Microsoft's -- legal claim of a few years ago -- that their Windows
operating system and the Internet explorer web browser were inseparable:
that one could not be shipped without the other. (Or, Microsoft's current
run-in with the EC courts contending that its Windows Media Player is
integral to the Windows operating system.) This turned out to be
technically trival to prove to be false -- the application and the operating
system can be separated -- but the U.S. Justice Department must have spent a
pretty penny to convince the judge in charge of the case. So, my point is
this: to propose open source as an alternative within any given work context
requires some amount of consciousness raising that is being actively worked
against by large concerns that would like the public to believe -- not just
that their products are "better" -- but that no alternatives exists. But,
then there is also the issue of functionality: open source software is
frequently designed and implemented by experts who have little or no insight
into what non-programmers might need or want. Setting up and maintaining a
Linux server, installing an open source database system like Mysql, using
open source alternative's to commercial software (e.g., Open Office), etc.
can be a hassle even for those of us who are experts. In fact i do not have
anything against non-open source software by companies that build solid
tools and do not engage in disinformation campaigns. Unfortunately, it is
usually the companies engaged in disinformation that also build lousy
software. There is a crafty business rationale for doing this, for making
your customers your alpha testers: the company saves on quality control
personnel and also gets customers to check in with them frequently.
"Staying in touch" with your customers by having them check in with you
every week to patch the lousy software is unethical, but effective for
fostering a relation of dependence. Any strategy to adapt open source
software should take into account the fact that some commercial software is
a nice complement to open source software. For example, working with Apple,
Macromedia and Adobe software is usually a pleasure: they write solid,
easy-to-use software that doesn't need to be patched every second day.
These are good complements because (1) They do something better than open
source. For example, one could use Gimp to edit digital photos, but Gimp
is ultimately a good but imperfect attempt to mimic Adobe Photoshop.

(2) Such software comes from companies that build on top of open source
software, work in coalitions to establish common, non-proprietary standards,
and who work hard to provide alternatives -- rather than fighting for
absolute dominance and the elimination of alternatives. One must also keep
in mind that open source is not anti-corporate. When Richard Stallman's
notion of free software gained a wider interest, the principles and "open
source" corporation-friendly moniker was established to differentiate it
from Stallman's more radical idea of "free software." IBM and other large
companies are now heavily invested in, develop and critically depend upon
open source software. So, my answer is yes, universities have a lot to gain
by moving some of their business to open source software. But, I don't
think there are good open source alternatives for all categories of
software. Actually it is good to remember, conversely, that there are
non-commercial alternatives to several crucial categories of open source
software, categories that are the foundations, the very "backbone" of the
software layers of network technologies (e.g., DNS-BIND, OpenSSL, sendmail,
and, arguably, the Apache web server). So, the commercial vs. open source
distinction is a false dichotomy and the more important criterium to
remember when one does choose to work with commercial software is to ask
whether or not the company producing the software is an ethical company. An
"ethical company" might be an oxymoron in a conventional Marxist's lexicon,
but I think this is a crucial problematic to address if one hopes to
understand our current circumstances of post-industrialization.

TS: How does your writing of media philosophy enter into your teaching?
Which books or essays do you find most helpful in your teaching?

WS: I believe that its important to understand that technologies incorporate
frozen -- i.e., reified -- social, economic and political relations. For
example, if you have DSL in your home, you almost certainly have more
bandwidth coming into your house than you have going out of your house. In
other words, structured into the network wiring is the assumption that you
are a consumer, not a producer of information because the engineering has
been done to make it easier for you to download information from the
Internet rather than to upload information. Information technologies
contain many forms of catachresis (frozen metaphor) that more often than not
started life as quirky philosophy projects and are now "frozen", but working
as silicon and gold components. For example, the 19th century philosopher,
George Boole, had a project (An investigation into the Laws of Thought) to
try to algebraically deduce truths that is now literally printed into the
very foundations of computers: we know these foundations in contemporary
technology as "Boolean Circuits." I try to teach my students that each of
these frozen decisions could in fact be undone and replaced with something
else. What would result might be an entirely different technology. This sort
of investigation/thought experiment is also the basis for my own research
and scholarship: I am interested in challenging and finding alternatives to
the foundations of computer science and network architectures by locating
the presuppositions built into contemporary, new media technologies. An
example of this kind of work is the "Translation Map" that Sawad Brooks and
I did ( in which we re-read the founding essay
of the field of machine translation, a text written by Warren Weaver in
1949. Weaver proposes to understand translation as a problem of coding and
decoding. We show the absurdity of Weaver's proposal -- and the 50 years of
work in machine translation that has been done based on Weaver's proposal --
and we illustrate a possible alternative by prototyping a network technology
for collaborative editing in which translation is understood to be a form of
collaborative work between people, rather than as a de/coding problem to be
handled exclusively by a machine. To impart this perspective to my
students, I like to have them read original documents from the history of
technology (e.g., like the texts included in Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick
Montfort's "New Media Reader" (MITPress)) and also to read work from science
studies and critical theory that describes technologies as assemblages of
socio-technical relations. Bruno Latour's book, "Science in Action" is one
thing students in my "Introduction to Digital Media" course are asked to

TS: In a recent interview Ralf Homann, faculty at Bauhaus University, told
me that Walter Gropius demanded an educational practice in the arts that
focused students on economics from very early on-- Gropius thought of the
artist as a polished, perfected craftsman. He claimed that academies
separate art from life, from the "industry." Today, there is no such thing
as "the industry" for which students could be prepared. It's not like in
other areas where a predictable skill set secures a job. In new media the
skill sets are drastically changing and what was justifiable and useful
yesterday may be irrelevant and dated tomorrow. How do you address this

WS: On the one hand I disagree: I think there are very specific "craft"
skills that are relatively stable and that can be taught to students of
digital media. For example, programming is a general skill that is
essential to the construction of all digital media. Even if one does not
know a particular programming language, if one knows how to program it is
really not a big challenge to learn another language. On the other hand, I
agree: there is no one industry for which students are being prepared.
Digital media of today is like writing was to Plato's Athens: it is a
"solvent" being incorporated everywhere and it threatens to dissolve and
rearrange disciplinary boundaries as well as industry differences. Every
department in the university must today wrangle with the questions of new
media. Some of the oldest departments, e.g., departments of classics, have
been the most innovative in addressing the possibilities and problems of new
media. A lot of what computers and networks do in industry and government is
to automate processes that had previously been done by hand: forms of
production, like bureaucratic procedures are being automated. Bureaucracy --
which means literally "rule by the bureau, or the office" -- is being
replaced by "computercracy" -- rule by computational methods. Larry Lessig
and other legal scholars have been very articulate in pointing out the legal
ramifications of this kind of transformation. But, if people don't think
too deeply, computercracy ends up looking a lot like bureaucracy. For
instance, the so-called "desktop metaphor" that structures the interface
most of us use when we operate a computer, is a relatively direct borrowing
from the technology of the office -- files, folders, trashcans, desks, etc.
So, the crucial challenge is to teach fundamentals -- that may in fact be
"crafts" -- so that graduates can rethink computerization where ever they
find themselves.

about Warren Sack

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Date: 1.26.05
From: Thomas Petersen <thomas AT>
Subject: Art is a software plug-in. An interview with Peter Luining

Originally published at Artificial,
Article with images:

Dutch artist Peter Luining's digital artistic production spans over many
styles and formats. Since he entered the early net art scene, his works have
explored the nature of interactivity, dealt with the relationship between
sound and minimal graphics using various aesthetic, and conceptual
perspectives. His works have been presented at several prestigious venues
worldwide and he has acted as a curator himself. Peter recently visited
Denmark for the Read_me festival 2004 where he presented some new art works
consisting of alternative add-ons ('plug-ins') which are installed as a part
of the image editing software Photoshop. These plug-ins add unexpected
dimensions to the existing software, making the interaction with the
software the frame within which the art happens - not so much the resulting
images. Thomas Petersen asked Peter about his work in general and his
perspective on the digital arts scene. View Peter Luining 's work at:

Q: You have been working with computer based art for quite a while now. Tell
me about your previous work and how it has developed into your present

A: I started to do autonomous work for the internet in 1996. I was
fascinated by the way you could easily make things interactive with html (a
language in which web pages are programmed). My first work researched the
possibilities of interactive sound and images. These were quite simple
pieces; with a click you came to another page on which another sound and
animation played. By giving people more choices on a page to navigate I
created more complex works.

In these early days cross-platform compatibility was the most problematic
aspect. When I discovered Flash this seemed to solve the problem. With Flash
my work changed from figurative to abstract, which had several reasons, but
now looking back I would say one of the most decisive reasons for the
abstraction was that if you used anything else than the internal vector
shapes (blocks, dots, line) in Flash you would not really gain anything in
the sense of byte size, which means download speed. So in fact you were
hooked to the internal logic (and aesthetics) of this program.

Soon after I started using Flash, I discovered that the possibilities of the
program were limited, there were for example hardly any ways to do more
complex things with sound, so I moved to the program Director. While keeping
the abstract shapes in my work, it got more complex in the sense that I
started to use more interactive elements like letting people choose their
sounds from the net (e.g. objekt 14). A key experience for me was the public
space project BGO MUI*5 I did for the Dutch Department of Justice in The
Hague. Here I deepened the aspects of interactivity by doing a real
site-specific networked multiuser installation. Because I really had
problems to get the software of this project going, it made me start to
think about the material (code) I was using.

This process of reflection actually led to my first conceptual piece of
software: ZNC browser. This is a browser, which in the first place was meant
to make the process of what a piece of software does, in this case browsing,
transparent. What ZNC does is translate html to ASCII numbers which in turn
are translated into color and sounds.

The next step for me was the investigate the direct visual surroundings of
computer art work and their influence on the work. With this I mean for
example the influence of the GUI (Graphic User Interface) or the type of
computer on which the work runs. This investigation led to another
conceptual piece called Window, which is just a window where the stage was
literally cut out. I cut this out to focus all attention to the frame.
During the programming process, however, I discovered that I could program
it so that you actually could click through the window. This makes it look
and feel like a sort of material object that you can move over your desktop.

After Window I started to become interested in image editing software. To
work with this kind of software has become so ordinary that you hardly think
of its added possibilities anymore. Besides all the standard options these
programs have the possibility to put in plug-ins (that can be made by any
person with some programming knowledge). In nearly all cases these plug-ins
are just meant to do special effects or to fine tune a picture. So I started
to think of a series of plug-ins that would apply the ideas of new media
philosophers on images.

To a certain level this worked but soon I discovered that results of these
conceptual media filters became uninteresting. For example the Deleuze
filter, I had made, created a root structure on a picture... Too literal. I
picked up the filter project and especially the search for unexpected
filters in a new series called 'formulas,' in which I forced myself to
ignore my programming knowledge and just started to type in code in a simple
and stupid looking way, by just adding and multiplying letters or numbers in
the programming language till the filter would give a black or white result
or there would be no result at all. Also the filter would have the name of
the code I used. This led to a series of filters which sometimes had very
long names. The most exciting part came when I put these filters into the
Photoshop plug-in directory. When chosen in Photoshop itself the result was
that it took over Photoshop's interface completely.

Q: I find your plug-in series interesting because they can infiltrate
ordinary users' interaction with a well-known piece of mainstream software -
actually having the potential of being used regularly. This strategy seems
quite different from early experiments with e.g. alternative browsers, as
these pieces could often not be used for meaningful surfing. What do you
hope to achieve with the tool aspect?

A: I did not really make these filters with the intention for ordinary
software users to use them. They were made for an art context in the first
place. Personally, I see them as artworks that transgress ordinary use of
what you could call banal pieces of software. So, there is no strategy here
to infiltrate. I do however have no problems when the plug-ins are used by a
different group than their target audience (which is an art audience).
Something like what Matthew Fuller calls 'not just art'. I do however want
to stress again that this is not the underlying thought by which they where
made. That software art can actually become a tool in the hands of others is
an interesting side product, but my interest at the moment is first and
foremost the use of the inherent aesthetics of specific software and doing
something interesting (unexpected) with them. The filters were developed out
of the idea of using existing software and my contemplation of its use and

In this connection it's also interesting to tell that for the recent show
'New Photographic Approach I' I did a screen recorded movie in which I
explain what Photoshop is, what filters are and what the filters that I made
do. With this work I want to get even people who don't know anything about
Photoshop and filters to get into this kind of work. So the work was
actually presented in a form of documentation in an 'institutional' art
space, while the real things are available on the net.

Q: Your 'formula' works deal directly with code as material and your
Photoshop works in general comment on the everyday use of mainstream
software from a position within the software. What interests you about
bringing forth these aspects of software and programming?

A: First there's of course the plug-in aspect. It looks like the evolution
of software is moving more and more towards a few specialized host programs
that everybody use (as for example Photoshop for image editing) and that
give certain basic functions which can be widened by plug-ins. While in the
past you saw lots of competing programs that almost could do the same,
besides a few special possibilities of course, you nowadays see a few large
host applications left that offer a more open structure and allow plug-ins
that can do all kind of extras. The best example is the development of music
software, where in the beginning there were all kinds of stand alone
software synthesizers. Nowadays all serious developers of these synths make
them so they can be plugged into a host application as a sequencer program
like Cubase. So in fact it's just a logical step to start developing special
software (plug-ins) that fit in such a host application, instead of building
a whole new application that does the same and has some special functions

Secondly 'formulas' can be seen as tools to edit and fine tune a picture.
Which is in fact a sort of artisan sort of labor, a sort of craftsmanship.
My plug-ins can be seen as a referrer to this craftsmanship, or better
making the sort of labor you need to do when you build filters (the
programming) explicit. When you open 'formulas' you see the filters that are
named the same as the code and you immediately see all the work it takes to
just make some filters.

Q: In your view, what is the position of computer based art forms in
relation to the art world in general and how do you see the future of this

A: I would like to refine this question because I think you can talk about 2
kinds of art circuits here: 1.) Something which you could call the
'institutional' art world (museums, galleries) and 2.) The world of new
media centres (ZKM, V2) and new media festivals (Ars Electronica,
Transmediale). I experience and see that these circuits are separated.
At the moment you hardly see any interest of the 'institutional' art world
in computer related works. In the new media (or tech) related world there's
a huge interest in these kinds of works, although the only things this
circuit seems to be after is works that use the latest technology and/ or
socio- political implications of these kinds of works. The development I see
at the moment is that, besides the hypes in the recent years of net and
software art, which brought some computer works into the 'institutional' art
world, this type of art seems be pushed to the 2nd circuit because that's
where the expertise is (I have heard this from several fine art curators). I
think they choose the easy solution, which is to get rid of all the
difficult aesthetical and presentational questions, but they also seem to be
unaware that the circuit where there is the tech expertise is totally
uninterested in aesthetical or traditional art questions and is often only
interested in the latest technology and socio- political questions. For the
future I hope that somehow both worlds would open up, especially because
both circuits could really gain a lot from each other.

Q: Are you implying that the new media circuit may be somewhat self
sufficient or not able to see the point in connecting to the traditional art
world circuit?

A: What I mean is that there is not really a lot of interest in the new
media (art) circuit to look or to connect to the traditional art world. I
think that the main reason for this is that this circuit is rooted more in
the strategic and functional use of media than in formalist questions.

Q: These problems are often made out to being rooted in the first circuit -
i.e. the traditional art world not being able or ready to accept
electronic/digital art works, thus excluding electronic and digital artworks
from recent (mainstream) art history.

A: I am not going to point fingers. The fact is that nowadays there are
specialized new media institutes and they make it easier for (mainstream)
institutions to leave anything that looks too complex or difficult to those
specialized institutes. And with too complex or difficult I don't mean only
technology wise but also regarding the character of the artwork. A simple
example of this is what happened to me a few years ago, when I did a quite
simple interactive installation that consisted of a moving set of blocks
projected on a large screen that could be manipulated by a mouse. At the
opening a quite popular Dutch art critic came in and was terribly excited,
but after I explained that the work was interactive and you could change the
work yourself, he swiftly moved on. I only can guess his motives, but the
most important thing, I think, is the problematic notion of the au thor in
this kind of work. This is because when you start to play, who's the author?
And when you start to think about this it becomes even more complex. If for
example you compare it with the notions of interactivity you can find at
performances, you will find out that computer interactivity is different.
You interact with software that is programmed by an artist. This has even
more difficult implications than a performance where performer and audience
interact and can make an artwork together. In this sense it's important to
place this work in a context in which, besides digital artists, also more
'traditional' artists like Rirkrit Tiravanija are working. With the work of
this accepted artist you also see a shift in concepts of interactivity. I
remember a piece by him that was just a music band rehearsal room, and
people just started to play and use the instruments. It wasn't cleaned so
for every newcomer to this space things could have been changed from the
original setting.

Q: In your opinion, what is needed for the traditional art world circuit to
deal more with computer based artworks?

A: A serious discourse that deals with aesthetic/ formalist questions of
computer based artworks. The problem so far has been that computer based
work was presented in 'institutional' art spaces because it was hot, new,
etc. But because of a lack of any serious discourse or critics placing these
works in a wider art context, the hype was over in no time. Furthermore, as
lots of traditional art institutions jumped on the bandwagon to show
computer art, hardly any of them thought of how to present these works. And
maybe here also artists (including myself) can be blamed. A computer screen
and mouse was enough, while you could criticize this way of presentation,
especially from the side that loads of interactive computer works are just
too complex to experience in a white cube.

So when talking about computer art I'm not only talking about a discourse
but also about a mentality of the artist. I think an artist, if s/he is
interested in showing her/his work in an institutional art space, the first
thing s/he should think of is the way how the work should be presented.
Having learned from seeing people trying to interact with others' and with
my work, I decided to do presentations and performances with my work.
My latest step is making screen movies of work, with sound, that just
explain or tell what happens on the screen. In this sense I see myself
working in the tradition of 70s conceptualists who did their art outside the
institutional spaces, as for example Robert Smithson's Spiral Getty, but
showed clear documents (that are artworks themselves) of these works inside
the institutions. In my case the internet is of course the outside.

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Date: 1.24.05-1.25.05
From: Angela Cachay Dwyer <amcachay AT>, curt cloninger
<curt AT>, patrick lichty <voyd AT>, liza sabater
<liza AT>, "t.whid" <twhid AT>, Ivan Pope
<ivan2 AT>, Francis Hwang <francis AT>, manik
<manik AT ptt.yu>

Angela Cachay Dwyer <amcachay AT> posted:

Do-it-yourself robotic toys, homebrew vidgames, ASCII images, homemade
software - could these be a kind of 21st century folk art?

Roundtable with artists and academics
Surrey Art Gallery (Surrey, BC)
Sunday, February 6, 2 - 3:30pm
Free admission
Location and directions are available from the website

What is electronic folk art?
Is it an art practice that is culturally specific to North America?
Is anyone who appropriates electronic toys, tools and software for their art
an electronic folk artist?
What are the possible forms of electronic folk art?

Artists and academics will share their thoughts on these questions, and
whether electronic folk art exists as a distinct area of contemporary art in
general and/or within the realm of new media.

The invited speakers are:
* Diana Burgoyne (current exhibiting artist and PHD student in Interactive
Arts, Simon Fraser University)
* Don Krug (theorist; folk art researcher and curriculum specialist,
University of British Columbia)
* Leonard Paul (electronic music composer - lauded for his score for the
film The Corporation, and video game audio instructor, Vancouver Film
* Niranjan Rajah (theorist; curator and convenor, New Forms Festival 2005)

Networking reception (3:30 - 5pm) following the Roundtable.

+ + +

curt cloninger <curt AT> replied:



+ + +

patrick lichty <voyd AT> replied:

Actually, perhaps the whole circuit bending genre, which depends
entirely on a "naïve style" approach to reverse engineering, might be
one of the first that could be defined as folk art. I really like this

Is there a New Media "Outsider Art"?

+ + +

Francis Hwang <francis AT> replied:

On Jan 25, 2005, at 6:37 AM, patrick lichty wrote:

> Is there a New Media "Outsider Art"?

Well, there's plenty of digital creativity that is done by people who
have no interest in contextualizing it in the world of fine arts, if
that's what you mean.

Sometimes I read an essay about the aesthetics of code by somebody who
doesn't program very much, and I think: It's like it's the 1980s, and
programmers are like Puerto Rican graffiti artists without MFAs.

+ + +

liza sabater <liza AT> replied:

color me stupid but almost all the first wave of software artists that
i know personally have no MFAs. i find it oxymoronic to need an MFA to
call yourself an artist these days. and does this mean PRicans can't
make art? don't make me go there ;-)

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Curt Cloninger <curt AT> replied:

>Is there a New Media "Outsider Art"?

Hi Patrick,
I've been trying to propagate an meme for a while:
(my wife is almost finished sewing the prizes)
scroll down to "outsider art"

Two articles that seem at least obtusely appicable are Steve Dietz's
"Why Have There Been No Great Net Artists":
and Anne-Marie Schleiner's "Fluidities and Oppositions among
Curators, Filter Feeders, and Future Artists":

In 2000, Irwin Chusid applied "outsider art" criteria to pop music
with some interesting results ( ). I'm writing
an article now that applies Dubuffet's "Neuve Invention" criteria to
pop music, and it's turning up an interesting bunch of musicians as
well (from Devendra Banhart to Cloudead).


Some etymology and semantic clarification:

1. Dubuffet's strict definition of "Art Brut" circa 1945:
anything produced by people unsmirched by artistic culture... So
that the makers draw entirely on their own resources rather than on
the stereotypes of classical or fashionable art.

2. 1972, Roger Cardinal introduced the term "Outsider Art," intending
it to be a translation of "Art Brut" (which is probably better
translated "Raw Art," or so those who know French have said). The
term "Outsider Art" has since taken on a life of its own, becoming a
blanket term which can includes folk art, roadside art, and prisoner

3. In 1982, Dubuffet acknowledged a looser genre of artists who were
neither "outsider" nor "inside." He called this new genre "Neuve
Invention" (which translates "Fresh Invention"). Fresh Invention
artists retain elements of Art Brut's self-taught genius; but they
are also academically trained, aware of current art trends, and not
crazy as loons.


So according to Dubuffet's definitions, it's going to be pretty tough
to find a pure Art Brut net artist (because the internet access
required for the "net art" part more or less diametrically opposes
the quarantine of influence required for the "Art Brut" part). But
you could easily find an electronic folk artist. And since "outsider
art" is a broad and loose term, you could still find an outsider net

To put a fine point on it for argument's sake, I'd say Larry Carlson
( ) is an outsider net artist, whereas
Cory Arcangel ( ) is best
considered a Neuve Invention new media artist.

regarding circuit bending, Bob Moog lives here in Asheville, North
Carolina. You could say he was the first to map circuit bending
capabilities to the external control console and let everybody in on
the fun:

+ + +

t.whid <twhid AT> replied:

One needs an MFA to be an artist!!!?????

good thing MTAA has M.River for our bona fides.

And wasn't Max Herman the master of Electronic Folk Art?

+ + +

Ivan Pope <ivan2 AT> replied:

Sure you don't need an MFA to be an artist. But I do wish more was more integrated with and aware
of art history and practice. A lot of practice is just flailing around
on the margins, interesting but not advancing anything.
You don't need an MFA to be an artist, but you can easily not be an
artist without an MFA.

+ + +

Francis Hwang <francis AT> replied:

Once again, my sloppy terseness threatens to get me in trouble.

I certainly didn't mean that you need an MFA, or can't be Puerto Rican,
to be an artist. Maybe I mean that if you're a working class artist
with no formal art education, then your work is handicapped if you
don't care to get an MFA or learn how to write an artist's statement.
Just like if you are, say, a bunch of CS students who decide to turn an
entire building into a game of Tetris, the art world might take no
notice at all if you don't take the time to promote your work as art.

+ + +

manik <manik AT ptt.yu> replied:

"Uber naive und sientimentalische Dichiung-Here Schiller applied his
aesthetic theories to that branch of art which was most peculiarly his own,
the art of poetry; it is an attempt to classify literature in accordance
with an a priori philosophic theory of ancient and modern, classic and
romantic, naive and sentimental ; and it sprang from the need Schiller
himself felt of justifying his own sentimental and modern genius with the
naive and classic tranquillity of Goethes. While Schillers standpoint was
too essentially that of his time to lay claim to finality, it is, on the
whole, the most concise statement we possess of the literary theory which
lay behind the classical literature of

Language's change.From Schiller to XXI century words "naive"and
"sentimental"passing thru radical changes.For so called "folk art" usual
attributes are naive&sentimental.
We just have to imagine Goethe and Schiller as part of "folk
"Outsider art"could be better term.There's so much example for people who
doesn't "contextualizing"their work with *art*,and their influence was
huge,just in art.
Borders between discipline considered "art"and science(for example) are very
Actually,only folk-in-naive-style-outsider thing on this page is Mr.Hwang

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Date: 1.26.05-1.27.05
From: Jim Andrews <jim AT>, Pall Thayer <palli AT>,
Michael Szpakowski <szpako AT>
Subject: links

Jim Andrews <jim AT> posted:

Should you write about or otherwise link to, one of the tests of
whether you've chosen significant work is simply whether it continues to be
available online over the years.

+ + +

Pall Thayer <palli AT> replied:

This might indicate that the work has some significance but I don't
think I'd go so far as to say that it is a definite indicator. There's a
lot of stuff still out there that is insignificant and I know of a
couple that no longer exist that were quite significant.

+ + +

Michael Szpakowski <szpako AT> replied:

This is an interesting, well expressed and tempting
proposition but *is it true?*
You could mean one of two things, or both -one that
the artist herself maintains her work up there ( and
hence her sticking power and determination, admirable
qualities to be sure, is an index of the ultimate
value of the work, but of course this is subject to
the financial wherewithal - and perhaps also stuff
like state of mental & physical health - to maintain
and publicise a site -certainly an issue in those
parts of the world which are less connected)
Or..if you mean it's to do with whether copies of
artists' works are archived on other sites, then I
think this is a partial indicator, but this is surely
a bit of a beauty contest approach -I'm sure some work
that is feted and celebrated now *will* stand the test
of time but equally much of it will disappear. On the
other hand, I'm absolutely convinced that much work
that is currently ignored and marginal will move
centre stage over time.
I think the uncertainty is inevitable & I personally
welcome it -makes life much more interesting!

+ + +

Jim Andrews <jim AT> replied:

> > Jim Andrews wrote:
> > Should you write about or otherwise link to, one of the
> > tests of whether you've chosen significant work is simply
> > whether it continues to be available online over the years.

> Pall Thayer wrote:
> This might indicate that the work has some significance but I
> don't think I'd go so far as to say that it is a definite
> indicator. There's a lot of stuff still out there that is
> insignificant and I know of a couple that no longer exist that
> were quite significant.

But of course. And, as Michael pointed out, there are places in the world
where it is not particularly feasible to maintain sites. When the economic
crash occurred in Argentina a few years ago, Postypographika disappeared,
which was an early and energetic poetical project by Fabio
Doctorovich and friends. And when net.artists die, their sites may
disappear. When my friend Ana Maria Uribe from Argentina informed me that
she was ill (I didn't know how ill), I had been thinking anyway for some
months of asking her if she wanted to mirror her work on my site; her work
and mine go together well and, playful as her work is, she approached it
very seriously. She was able to ftp her site to and it is a
permanent part of my site now, as long as my site is up.

I agree that it is not a "definite indicator". However, a committment to
trying to keep the work available is usually present in those who are
serious about And that is something that crosses my mind in whether
to write about/link to work.

Then again, Kafka asked his executor to burn his work. Luckily that did not

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