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: 3.25.05
Date: Wed, 30 Mar 2005 20:40:12 -0800

RHIZOME DIGEST: March 25, 2005


1. Just opened: "The Connection that was. Or was it?" curated
by Macky Wendell
2. Rachel Greene: Second Beijing International New Media Arts Exhibition and

3. Cece Wheeler: Computer Arts Faculty Position

4. abe linkoln: linkoln loops (six from screenfull)

5. Philip Galanter: Re: Internet2: Orchestrating the End of the Internet?

6. Trebor: Interview with Eduardo Navas
7. Eduardo Navas: Re: Interview with Eduardo Navas

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The Rhizome Commissioning Program makes financial support available to
artists for the creation of innovative new media art work via panel-awarded

For the 2005 Rhizome Commissions, seven artists were selected to create
artworks relating to the theme of Games:

The Rhizome Commissioning Program is made possible by generous support from
the Greenwall Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation
for the Visual Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Date: 3.22.05
From: "" <webmaster AT>
Subject: Just opened: "The Connection that was. Or was it?" curated by
Macky Wendell

Just opened ...

+ The Connection that was. Or was it? +
+ Curated by Macky Wendell +

I started poking around in the ArtBase and I came across my first piece, it
really inspired me to create the exhibit I have here. The driving force
behind the pieces I've chosen is the concept of possible connections. In
some ways these pieces represent a version of the internet, a concept of
being so close to someone yet so far away. Each piece deals with the
connections between two or more people that could have been but weren't.

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Rhizome ArtBase curation allows any Rhizome member to
curate an exhibit from works in the ArtBase. Go to to see a list of all open exhibits.

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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: 3.23.05
From: Rachel Greene <rachel AT>
Subject: Second Beijing International New Media Arts Exhibition and

Begin forwarded message:

> From: z <z AT>
> Date: March 21, 2005 1:13:06 AM EST
> To: rachel AT
> Subject: Second Beijing International New Media Arts Exhibition and Symposium:

> ##############
> For Immediate Release:
> - Second Beijing International New Media Arts Exhibition and Symposium
> Presented by:
> Tsinghua University, CHINA
> ZKM | Center for Art and Media Technology, GERMANY
> V2_ Institute for the Unstable Media, THE NETHERLANDS
> China Millennium Museum
> May 31 2005 â?? June 30 2005, BEIJING, CHINA
> No.9 Fuxing Road
> Haidian District Beijing, China.
> post code:100038
> In collaboration with:
> Ars Electronica Center, AUSTRIA
> NOVAMEDIA, Australia's New Media Arts Agency, Australia
> NTT InterCommunication Center, JAPAN
> BANFF Center for the Arts, CANADA
> Media Center for Art and Design, SPAIN
> New York Institute of Technology, USA
> Exhibition
> With the resounding success of the First Beijing International New Media Arts
> Exhibition and Symposium in May of 2004, 2005 sees another stellar gathering
> of the international new media art community in Beijing. Under the auspices of
> Millennium Dialogue, and hosted by Tsinghua University, Chinaâ??s leading
> educational and research university, co-presented by ZKM, Center for Art and
> Media Technology of Germany and V2_ Institute for Unstable Media of the
> Netherlands, in collaboration with Ars Electronica Center of Austria,
> NOVAMEDIA of Australia, NTT InterCommunication Center of Japan, Canadaâ??s
> Banff, Medi AT austria from Austria and New York Institute of Technology of the
> United States, the Second Beijing International New Media Arts Exhibition and
> Symposium takes to the Chinese capital a highly charged new media art
> exhibition revolving on the central theme â?? IN THE LINE OF FLIGHT.
> In the Line of Flight â?? Transcending Urbanscapes
> Chinese modernization is, to much extent, a process of urbanization. Rapid
> developments in urban areas mark a significant transformation creating
> fundamental reconfigurations of ethnic demography, city topography, and social
> processes, as well as cultural and artistic production and reception. Like in
> many other Asian countries, nascent urban centers in China are increasingly
> permeated by the latest communication and distribution infrastructures,
> swiftly becoming global high tech nodes in ways never seen before.
> In an ever-expanding technological urban culture cell phones, television,
> internet, radio, cinema and photography mediate and construct our everyday
> experiences. They affect the very foundation of social, cultural, economical,
> scientific and political constructs in contemporary urban life.
> At the heart of this transformation lie excitement, anxiety, aspiration,
> perplexity, hope and desire. Artists both within China and from around the
> world are exploring this new mediated public domain extensively. By developing
> new artistic strategies and means of expression, they exploit the specific
> qualities and potentials of these media. They engage, reflect, and critique
> the new technological urban settings and raise questions about the
> contemporary condition engendered by media technologies.
> Titled â??In the Line of Flightâ??, the Second Beijing International New Media
> Arts Exhibition seeks to explore the multiple emotions and complex feelings
> toward the phenomenon of this historic challenge in China and to examine the
> precedents of its global neighbors, by investigating media technologies in the
> wake of their disruptive and deterritorializing potential.
> The International Exhibition comprises works selected by a group of
> distinguished curators, each giving his/her own insightful approach to the
> broad thematic structure, rendering a diversity of interpretations and raising
> issues imminent and critical to the fluctuating social, cultural and economic
> circumstances of urban life across the world. â??In the Line of Flightâ?? presents
> representative works of telematics, responsive environment, net art, large
> scale interactive installation, software art, wearable technology, and other
> new forms facilitated through media technologies. The exhibition suggests
> integrity in diversity, possibilities derived from multiplicity, urbanity in
> locality. It testifies to a new aesthetic sensibility accentuated by the
> struggle of city dwellers, proposing new perspectives on contemporary urban
> conditions from around the world.
> Curators (In alphabetic order)
> * Alex Adriaansens
> * Sara Diamond
> * Antoanetta Ivanova
> * Yukiko Shikata
> * Peter Weibel
> * Zhang Ga
> Academic Exhibition
> Parallel to the International exhibition, a number of internationally renowned
> academic institutes will present their faculty and student works as an
> academic exhibition.
> Symposium On New Media Art Practice and Education
> Section One: New Media Art as Global Cultural Alchemy
> Media Art as global laboratory experimentation foregrounds new purview of
> artistic production. Since the early 90s, rapid technological innovation
> according to Mooreâ??s law, has reshaped the world in which constructs of
> politics, economics and culture undergo significant transformation and
> transmutation, prompting imminent questions as to what constitutes art in an
> Information Society. Historically, technological progress has also expanded
> the operational realm of art itself. The Cartesian view of the world
> culminated in the illusory rendering of Realism, the image deconstruction of
> Modernism was a result of rapid mechanical reproducibility at the turn of the
> century. The current Information Society obscures the boundary between the
> virtual and the real, alludes to an interoperability of object and subject,
> and embarks on an expedition into micro nano-biospheres and macro space
> warfare. It signals an epoch that uneasily oscillates between multiple forces
> in light of Heisenbergian Principle of Uncertainty in its most complex
> interpretation. No longer sufficient are simple questions of ideology,
> economical determinism, the new condition demands ad hoc improvisation, rapid
> prototyping, instantaneous sampling. A new kind of alchemy that operates not
> only on the production of objects but also on the (re-)construction of
> subjectivity, is yet to be born. This is a laboratory experimentation
> exercised both locally and globally in collective efforts as well as
> individual endeavors. New Media Art working at the crossroad of technology and
> innovation is inevitably assuming the role of alchemist of the 21st century.
> Urban environments epitomize these technological advancements on a global
> scale, both creating implosion in developed countries and explosion in
> developing countries. The dynamic and sometimes traumatic transformations of
> evolving urban cultures have also provided test beds and become catalysts for
> new visions of artistic intervention and creative potential. It is against
> this unique backdrop that many artists and theorists engage in their practices
> and experimentation.
> The â??New Media Art as Global Cultural Alchemyâ?? conference hosted by In the
> Line of Flight is a forum where artists, curators and theorists come to
> investigate the multiplicities of new media art, explore diverse
> interpretations of its practices under the complex contemporary circumstances.
> Participants from around the world will engage in focused discussion and
> debate.
> Section Two: Understanding Media Art Education
> As digital media plays an ever-increasing role within a broader range of
> academic domains the territory of media art education within the university
> also begins to expand and cross disciplinary borders. There is an explosion of
> educational methodologies and models that attempt to situate electronic media
> practice and theory within the mainstream academic subjects of art, design and
> architecture through the formation of new departments and curricular
> structures. New relations between the humanities studies and the sciences are
> proposed in these programs. The developments of new models of media art
> education are still in a state of experimentation and thus demonstrate a
> tremendous diversity of approaches. How and what can we learn from these early
> attempts and from their interdisciplinary characteristics to develop mature
> models?
> To what extent does interdisciplinarity define the emergence of new aesthetic
> practices and working academic methodologies? How are these framed within the
> confines of traditional media and design departments? What formal and informal
> structures are needed to construct interdisciplinary and dynamic programs
> within (or outside) the specialized learning mechanism that has been dominant
> over the last hundreds of years. How to develop new educational models in the
> arts that are able to deal with the complex social, technological and cultural
> settings of our increasingly technological culture against which media art
> practice is contextualized? And how to maintain artistic autonomy in an
> interdisciplinary backdrop where business becomes increasingly intertwined
> with the academic funding resources?
> â??Understanding New Media Art Educationâ?? will be featured as the second half of
> the conference hosted by In the Line of Flight aiming to create a dialogue
> among institutions and students addressing the issue of the integration of new
> forms of artistic media practice within the academic context. Speakers from
> around the world will present challenging models and thoughts on this topic.
> The conference theme will be situated within the Chinese context to create a
> fruitful exchange during the second day of the symposium.
> Artistic Directors:
> Lu Xiaobio, Zhang Ga
> Supported by
> Ministry of Culture, P.R. China
> Ministry of Science, P.R. China
> Ministry of Information Technologies, P.R. China
> Ministry of Education, P.R. China
> China Art and Literary Association
> Chinese Artists Association
> Ministry for Science, Research and Art, Baden - Wurtemburg, Germany
> Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Netherlands
> Mondriaan Foundation, Netherlands
> Australian Government
> Australia - China Council
> Foreign Affairs Canada
> Banff Centre, Canada
> Embassy of Canada, China
> Alberta Innovation and Science, Canada
> Novamedia, Australia
> Media Partners
> China News Agency
> CCTV (Central China TV
> Peopleâ??s daily
> China Education Daily
> GuangMing Daily
> China Youth Daily
> Beijing Youth Daily
> Wenhui (Shanghai)
> Morning Post
> Art Observer
> Art and Design
> China Intellectual Rights Repoarts
> China Entrepreneur
> Tsinghua University TV and News Center
> Visual China
> New China Daily
> Science Daily
> Science Periodical
> China Library News
> China Culture Daily
> CCTV â?? Digital Arts
> CCTV Cultural News Channel
> Radio China Cultural News
> Beijing TV
> CG Magazine
> Vision Magazine
> New Tsinghua Magazine
> Tsinghua TV
> MUSIC Magazine
> Beijing Stars Daily
> Capital Daily
> Beijing Evening News
> Time Out Beijing
> Symposium schedule will be announced soon

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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: 3.23.05
From: Cece Wheeler <wheelerce AT>
Subject: Computer Arts Faculty Position

Dynamic and fast-growing Computer Arts program is looking for a full time
instructor to teach animation, 3D modeling and web design. The Computer
Arts Department combines design and technical skills with a concept-based
approach to new media design.

Qualifications Required: a BFA or BA in computer arts, multimedia or
related field. Related occupational experience and a commitment to serving
the needs of a diverse student body. Demonstrated professional activities.
Good recommendations.

Qualifications Preferred: Significant coursework in the areas of animation,
3D model rendering, web design.

THOMAS NELSON COMMUNITY COLLEGE is a comprehensive, multi-campus community
college in historic southeastern Virginia at the mouth of the Chesapeake
Bay. It serves the cities of Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson, and
Williamsburg and the counties of York and James City. The College had a fall
enrollment of 8,512 head count and 4,773 FTE.
TNCC is a learning centered college seeking individuals to complement our
quality faculty. The successful candidate must be committed to working with
a diverse student body residing in a multicultural setting and to utilizing
technology in the delivery of instruction.
Expectations of Successful Candidates: Demonstrated teaching skills,
commitment to the community college philosophy, strong interpersonal and
communication skills, a commitment to diversity issues, a strong orientation
to teamwork, the ability to work effectively with a non-traditional student
body at an urban community college,
demonstrated professional activities, excellent recommendations, and
familiarity with computers and the application of technology to instruction.
General Responsibilities of Teaching Faculty: Teaching load of 12 credits
per semester which may include courses on and off campus, day and evening,
weekdays and weekends, providing courses utilizing distance learning,
participating in curriculum and course development and assessment, providing
academic advising, and participating in division and college committees.
Responsibilities include: Teach courses in computer arts. Advise curricular
students. Participate in course and curriculum development. Serve on college

Rank and Salary: $33,835 - $47,877 Rank and salary commensurate with
education and experience.
Starting Date: August 16, 2005
Application Process: A State of Virginia Employment application form, a
letter of application, resume, personal copies of all college transcripts,
names of three references with current addresses and telephone numbers must
be submitted to the Human Resources Department. A review of Application
materials will commence on April 18, 2005 and will continue until the
position is filled.
Faxed, e-mailed or electronic applications will not be accepted. Application
packages are to be mailed to the following address: Thomas Nelson Community
College, Human Resources Department, P.O. Box 9407, Hampton, VA 23670. State
of Virginia Employment Application may be obtained by calling 757-825-2728.
The application form can also be downloaded from
Thomas Nelson Community College is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity
Employer and actively seeks applications from women and minority candidates.

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Date: 3.19.05
From: abe linkoln <abe AT>
Subject: linkoln loops (six from screenfull)

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Date: 3.21.05
From: Philip Galanter <list AT>
Subject: Re: Internet2: Orchestrating the End of the Internet?

Thanks back to you Jon for furthering the discussion of some of the
tough issues raised by the new networked communication technologies.

To be clear, my intent in my first response was to address the
question posed in the subject line. That is, I wanted to make the
point that Internet2 is not orchestrating the end of the internet,
and that in fact they are extending and enhancing the very virtues
that you and many others hold to be valuable. I tried to do this by
correcting a number of technical misunderstandings that seemed to
indict Internet2 as a villain, when in fact the opposite is the case.

So I hope it won't be too disappointing if I don't respond to your
second post in a point by point manner. It seems to me that most of
the concern there is really more about the MPAA and the broadcast
flag than Internet2.

Internet2 is indeed talking to the MPAA, but they are talking to
literally hundreds of organizations and interest groups. Some of
those groups hold opposing views and differing visions of the future.
It is in everyone's interest that Internet2 provide a forum for as
broad a discussion of advanced networks as possible.

And I don't want to be put in the position of defending the broadcast
flag. I can see issues and interests on both sides, and find myself
somewhere in the middle. But I'll toss in a few thoughts

First, it's important to remember that more than one market force is
at play here. Yes the MPAA (and RIAA) wants to protect the property
rights of those who create and market media. But the consumer
electronics industry doesn't want to see the end of home recording.
The carrier companies (cable, satellite, ISPs, etc) don't either.
And consumer groups still have a voice. (And so does our
democratically elected government.)

I'm convinced that when all is said and done the typical consumer
will still be able to record at home for all the fair use reasons
currently available to them. The MPAA has said that even they want
home recording to be preserved. Will there be transitional problems?
Will old equipment become obsolete? always. Ask anyone
who went with Beta rather than VHS. Or audiophiles who thought the
Elcassette would lead them to sonic nirvana. Such is the nature of

Next, regarding hackers and the ability to innovate and experiment
with broadcast media. The broadcast flag, to my best understanding,
has to allow for not only hardware recording devices, but also
computers used as home entertainment centers. Can you imagine
Microsoft not demanding this? And to keep the competition fair third
party software vendors will have to have some way to create products
as well.

As a programmer what this says to me is that operating systems will
have to provide a software layer that will allow
playing/recording/skipping/looping video media while preventing (or
attempting to prevent) massive piracy. Those software hooks will
have to be available to any programmer...even kids and
hackers...because ultimately they will be impossible to hide anyway.

Perhaps someone else will come up with an example, but under such a
scenario I can't imagine functionality that is short of piracy and
yet unavailable to random programmers. I'll admit that there is some
speculation in the above...but this is all a work-in-progress and
there is speculation on all sides...even on the EFF site.

Getting back to Internet2. A few quick points.

"Pick-up collaboration" on Internet2 is indeed live and well. But
guess what? Artists didn't invent it. Scientists are leading the
way there. They are also the ones who invented the World Wide Web.
Nevertheless, both are available to artists as open platforms for
creativity. Have at it!

And yes, the Internet2 Commons has a fee attached to it, but you have
to understand what you are getting. Standard videoconferencing (with
Polycoms and Tandbergs and so on) is limited to 3 or 4 sites at a
time. If you want to include, say, a dozen locations you need a
device called an MCU. Along with the MCU hardware cost there are
also maintenance costs and administrative hassles. For many schools
buying and supporting their own MCU's is prohibitively expensive.
And contracting for external MCU services is really expensive too.

For many schools the Internet2 Commons provides very useful
functionality. Rather than tax every Internet2 member they decided
to fund the effort by only charging the schools that want to use it.
Compared to the commercial alternatives the I2 Commons fees are a
really good deal.

There are, of course, other ways to videoconference. iChat on the
Mac is long as everyone else is using a Mac and you only
need to connect to a couple other people. The Access Grid is great,
but it requires multicast (perhaps via a unicast gateway) and isn't
exactly plug and play or commonly used.

For connecting random sites nothing is as ubiquitous as good old
H.323 and H.320. Check out last years megaconference. *372* sites
on every continent but Antarctica connected via video and voice.

Regarding putting low level DRM into routers. All I can suggest is
looking into what it would really take to get such a protocol, or
*any* new extension, into IPv6. At most Internet2 could sponsor a
proposal...not that I think they ever would. And then there would be
an *international* standards process to contend with. I don't care
what the MPAA may or may not just ain't going to happen.

Finally, regarding the better documented Internet2 performing arts
events. You have to remember that many of these events are designed
for a certain kind of setting. More often than not the setting is a
large conference for an audience of several hundred university
technicians and administrators. Such a setting invites a rather
standard "concert" type presentation...and comfortable mainstream

But this is hardly built into the network!

And the master class thing may not be your cup of tea, but in large
parts of the country distance education, and access to the talented
people that tend to migrate to urban centers like NYC, is a
significant breakthrough.

There are all kinds of other options waiting to be explored. Way
back in 1999 NYU's first use of Internet2 involved small
performances, intimate improvisations, and other artistic "pick up"
experiments with theater students at MIT. More recently NYU
Professor and performance artist Barbara Rose Haum did a very nice
piece with collaborators at the University of Kansas.

Personally, when it comes to MARCEL I am less interested in more
academic theory. What I'd love to see MARCEL spawn is more actual
art. And I am sure that as soon as an Alan Kaprow for the network
age wants to reinvent what we mean by "art" and "performance"
Internet2 will be there for them.


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Date: 3.21.05
From: Trebor <trebor AT>
Subject: Interview with Eduardo Navas

Listening To Yourself While Playing With Others

An interview with Eduardo Navas (adjusted by Trebor Scholz)
As part of WebCamTalk1.0

Trebor Scholz:
In February 2003 you founded Net Art Review (NAR), a collaborative weblog
reviewing media art that for the most part is web-based. There are several
fairly large conversational fora that address media art. New media
researchers and educators already greatly benefit from mailing lists like
Empyre, FibreCulture, <nettime>, New-Media-Curating, Rhizome, Rohrpost,
Sarai, and Spectre. What was your motivation for Net Art Review?

Eduardo Navas:
I noticed that there was debate about technological issues and exchange
about cultural theory, but rarely were there detailed writings focusing on
the actual art in the form of reviews. Most online artists would release
their own statements, and it would often end at that. Sometimes casual
comments would follow by members of the different lists, and other times
there would of course be heavy exchange of ideas and that was good;
regardless, there was no consistency in how this criticism happened, which
is good for lists but also made it obvious that there was room for other
forms of critical practice online. For example, contributions to Rhizome
were often very good (and still are) but at other times loose and/or ended
in flame wars: people flooding the list with personal insults. There
were/are good articles on C-Theory and Switch, as well as on <nettime>,
which always had very intense exchanges. But mostly these discussions around
cultural issues do not directly focus on specific artworks. And the Empyre
list is also quite strong with its focused, month-long conversations. I
noticed that there was a need for a specific type of criticism, which was
actually being met in part by and Random, both in Italy. (See
references for list of online journals.)

Net Art Review was launched early in 2003, a few months after Rhizome became
a membership pay-service. Rhizome was heavily criticized for the
introduction of membership fees. There was the perception that Net Art
Review was developed in reaction to Rhizome's decision, but I never saw it
like that. I had been trying to set up a critical forum for about a year,
but did not get to invest sufficient time into it before the beginning of
2003. The criticism of Rhizome probably gave Net Art Review some extra
attention, but it was more complex than that.

So, to reiterate, Net Art Review offers a focus on artwork, something that I
see is missing in relation to online culture. Rhizome's net art news comes
the closest to that but I was not satisfied with it because their texts are
limited in length. They do not focus on criticism, but mainly on
descriptions of the works with some supportive commentary. Net Art Review
was founded as a small, decisively low-tech, very simple web portal that
focuses on content production without a feedback option. The feedback option
was not a common feature of blogs at the time. A response option would also
demand more time from the administrators: Lora McPhail (Los Angeles), me
(San Diego) and more recently Molly Hankwitz (Brisbane/ San Francisco). It
will also make things more expensive. But when readers contact us we
correspond quickly. Blogging boomed in early 02 (and apparently still is
increasing in popularity)-- a weblog seemed like a good tool to try out the
idea of a review site. However, we hope to develop the site further. The
regular contributors communicate through a dedicated mailing list. Lora
McPhail, our editor-in-chief, coordinates the writings and oversees the
mailings that are sent to us as either submission or concerns. Molly
Hankwitz is contributing editor and is in charge of the weekly features.
Garrett Lynch is working on a new, more efficient set-up so that we can
eventually leave the commercial Blogger service behind. It is important to
note that Net Art Review is open for anyone who is invested in new media
practice and wishes to share her opinion. (For additional contributors see

TS: Some technologists and cultural producers may question the title "Net
Art Review" as they perceive Internet Art as something that they left behind
us. Net Art fortunately rather quickly overcame its initial hype and is now
one option among many others in the realm of "new media art." I use "new
media art" as an operable term with the clear understanding that, of
course, today's new media will be tomorrow's "old" or "dead media." It does
not statically refer to any particular technology. It's dynamic in its
reference. Reviews in Net Art Review do not entirely focus on Internet Art
but the title of the review site asserts set boundaries. Did you intend this

EN: I ran the name by a few people who have been part of new media art
communities for a long time, some of them said that the title was limiting,
referring to something that was left behind, or that it could place a label
on things that were not related to net art. Net Art Review addresses art in
the networks. It is about net art without the dot. It was odd that when I
mentioned the term many referred to the group specifically, which
demonstrated their influence. For me, net art refers to activities that
function online and challenge the borders of web-based practices. We can
include online hypertext literature, early blogging (starting about 1997),
e-mail art, and online activism just to name a few areas. If you notice, the
description on the website reads: "Net Art Review focuses on net-art and its
crossover to other fields in new media." A lot of the featured work uses
online technologies as both medium and tool (Christiane Paul uses this
approach to consider work in her book, see list). Reviewers write about
anything that is considered creative online practice. They also address
offline exhibitions and conferences, which I think is appropriate. Once
people start to look for specific definitions, it becomes obvious very
quickly that even terms such as "netart," "net art" or "net-art" are not
that easy to define. This is something that Julian Stallabrass does a good
job in explaining in his book Internet Art The Clash of Culture and Commerce
on the Internet. Here he shows that even among the early Internet artists
and critics there was debate about what "net art" could be or what it should
do. So, I do not completely understand the ambivalence to the term by some

At this point the term "net art" is becoming more widely used. When I
founded Net Art Review I considered it a good "bridge" to those researchers
not yet familiar with net art. Net Art Review is usually listed among the
first ten hits for the search term "net art," which gives it a wide
audience. Once the surfer arrives we provide links to all kinds of new media
resources, not only "net art."

I want to further comment on this idea of not using certain terms, or
wanting to leave them behind; it might have to do with artists being
somewhat aware and ambivalent of the regressive listener, as described by
Theodor Adorno in his ideas of modern music. The regressive listener, in
general, wants to be served new material, which in reality is what they had
already been served in the past. We, of course, see this in Hollywood
movies, but this phenomenon really permeates throughout all specters of
society. Artists' practice is often driven by the ideology of constantly
moving forward, trying new things. But in order to achieve this, it appears
that some would like to destroy or dismiss the past. They feel that the past
limits them from exploring the new. This is not too far-off from how Adorno
sees the regressive listener trying to destroy the old demanding something
that is new. The new in the end is a reconfigured version that makes them
feel progressive. According to Adorno, they are "regressing" to that which
they already know. I understand that artists might not want to be related
with certain terms because once they or their work are recognized as a
paradigm this starts to limit the artists' options to experiment due to the
process of historiography that is put into effect. However, if we consider
Adorno's position (which I know is quite difficult for many, including
myself) the tendency for artists is to often change the tools and the name
of what they do, but they are re-using the same ideological model--the model
of the avant-garde, which has been repeated and re-proposed several times in
different forms either as "myth" of something that only happened in the
past, or as something that is always in action. This depends on whose
history you read, of course. But this is pure regression either way. So, I
think worrying about terms is a way to dismiss something that will only be
reconfigured to make people comfortable.

I propose a listener who does not try to destroy the old, but one who
actually moves forward with it. If it gets old and people want to move on,
it is because the ideology of innovation is demanding this of them. "We are
past net art"-- that's regressive listening. This starts to sound a lot like
"painting is dead"- an art world clich�© that has been brought up too many
times, yet painting is alive and kicking.
In the end, it is useful for people to be able to latch on to terms, and
reinvest in them. If we consider Guy Debord's theories on the festival, we
learn that we live in a "spectacular time," and that in the past people
(mainly prior to invention of the clock) lived in what he calls "cyclical
time." Festivals demand that people reenact their "history" at the moment of
the gathering. However, this does not really happen in contemporary culture
today. Even though it appears it does when people gather for different
holidays- those meetings are dependent on the clock, on a measurement
striving for perfection, asking us to move forward linearly and not in a
circle. "Progress" is defined on linear terms, even after the
self-reflection postmodernism supposedly made possible. How many times can
you ask the same question? Or actually wait for nothing? If this sounds
boring it may be because the ideology of regression is deep inside of us. I
am not saying that we should go back to cyclical time, but we should
understand what we are proposing when we try to move past a term because it
has had its day.

Guy Debord. Society of the Spectacle (see chapters V, VI)

TS: Earlier you mentioned that accessibility is a large part of what draws
you to net art. When talking about access to technology we cannot leave out
the vast discrepancies between the digital have and have-nots. How do you
take this divide into account?

EN: This is actually an issue I am very aware of. Through NAR I collaborate
with people in different countries to make new media more accessible for as
many people as possible, by providing material in various languages. We do
not use translation tools mainly because they are unable to translate the
subtleties of language. Translation is not just about exchanging the proper
terms, but about considering the sensitivity running in between the lines of
text. By also presenting texts that are not in English we show the real
limitations on the web: the politics of language barriers.

TS: In your recent text "The Blogger as Producer" you draw a parallel
between Walter Benjamin's observation of the popularization of printed
media. According to Benjamin readers became "collaborators" as their tastes
and desires dictated the emergence of new columns in newspapers at the time.
This way the reader felt in touch with her culture and became an author of
sorts. In your essay you say that Benjamin suggested the inclusion of news
writing into the history of literature. We are currently facing a similar
challenge in which many online forums struggle to achieve the same kind of
legitimization that more established peer-reviewed scholarly print magazines
have developed. New media researchers find many different forms for their
work and weblogs are extensively used. Was this struggle to legitimize
online content part of your founding idea for New Art Review?

EN: Net Art Review (NAR) was founded with the idea of legitimization in
mind. The site would need to contend with its perception by different
communities. In the end, I realized that the online resource would position
itself based on the rigor, seriousness, and shortcomings of the site which
is grounded in the commitment of its collaborators, its authors. Our
investment is the delivery of material online. Academics may look at our
work not so differently from the way Axel Bruns observes online activity; by
the way, I am very much interested in his anthropological approach to the
blogosphere that I read in one of your recent interviews in this series. He
has a fascinating scholar-eye view on blogs. But to answer your question,
the type of writing we do on NAR would not be possible without blogging
technology. The people who write for NAR could be considered producers in
Benjaminian terms.
However, I wrote "The Blogger as Producer" with a more open idea in mind.
The original essay was 25 pages long. This short and general online version
only introduces my proposition.

TS: Much of the inspiration of self-organizational cooperative art projects
is founded in their extra-institutional vitality, in finding collaborative
formats for unlearning and foster performative, experimental, and engaged
research that has agency. Their research output in some cases exceeds that
of some small brick and mortar universities. Net Art Review is an online
forum. Are you interested in the creation of networks of discourse also

EN: Yes, we try to negotiate the online/ offline divide. As it was
previously mentioned some of the writings on events are not always
immediately related to online practices. Local and global activities are
becoming more connected. Web cams conversations (like this interview) allow
for things to get more physical. We see each other-- things get less
disembodied. We are about to enter a time where the physical will become
even more emphasized through new technology. GPS devices are an example of
this. I am invested in trying to meet people in person whenever possible.
This does not have to be at a professional event like a conference; it could
simply be a meeting with somebody who happens to visit the city I live in,
or vice versa. The interpersonal bond makes cultural connections much
stronger in the long run.

TS: You are a media artist, a facilitator and writer. Currently, you writing
your Ph.D. with Lev Manovich. Your crate linkages between people. You
produce artwork. Online you facilitate community around discourse. Is it
easy for you to bring these different parts of your cultural practice

EN: The artist as writer is by no means a new model. Just take Art in
America, New Art Examiner, October, and Art Forum. Some of their writers
play the very defined role of the artist/ critic. Our role as new media
artists is more blurry. The culture of new media requires artists to
function as curators, writers, critics and producers. Slowly this is
changing though-- I saw this when I studied at CalArts where I met Natalie
Bookchin, and learned about Alexei Shulgin's work. Natalie curated shows,
wrote about net art, produced artwork-- all in parallels. Amy Alexander
worked in a similar way. When I met her I mainly knew her piece "The
Multi-Cultural Recycler." But Amy Alexander became more active as a
multi-tasker. She is a founding member of, an initiative grouped
around software art.

This multi-tasking was and to an extent is born out of necessity. People who
create challenging work in whichever medium (be it music or code or
concrete) most often have an understanding of many of these areas.
Especially in earlier online art practice, you had to create the exposure
for your work or that of others. This is where a network is useful.

Now we see increasing levels of specialization. Here at the University of
California San Diego, new media art is now taught in the art history
department-- it is recognized as an art historical field. However, new media
as a field of art history requires a breadth of practical knowledge.
Somebody who has no practical understanding of coding will not be able to
fully integrate theory with the work. You cannot develop a historical
narrative about a piece without a real understanding of its back-end. You
need to get your hands dirty for new media research. You have to be willing
to wear many hats-- it is almost like a foundational paradigm. The critical
distance expected in other fields falls apart in new media research.

TS: What is your take on networking-- between a mafioso-like pulling of
strings to get ahead with ones career and the establishment of networks for
discussion there is a big difference. How do you understand this term?

EN: New media scenes can function removed from the mainstream art worlds,
although the lines are becoming more and more blurry. It is common knowledge
that some artists who have a history as online practioners are now
represented by galleries. In any case, I believe that networking is a
necessity and can be productive if one does it with a good attitude. I,
personally, become suspect when I sense dishonesty, and in fact I dislike
people who are dishonest in their intentions. I have met people who try to
"network." But it becomes quite obvious that they are not really interested
in sharing ideas. They simply want to belong to a network. In the art world
that means meeting the right people to get that "show" that will break you
in. I do understand this as I experienced the politics of art school. I see
it at openings, which, at this point in my life, I try not to attend unless
a friend is having one. I am quite social and I want to meet people because
I learned from experience that it gives me an opportunity to share my ideas.
And ideas is what I consider my "product."

In the end, I want to share, and I think that networking needs to be about
topics, it needs to be honest, it needs to be about the other person. If
networking focuses on the creation of work, or about research. I think the
term networking may have a dirty connotation offline sometimes because it is
often related with a straight-up business practice. But online it is a
necessity at this point.

TS: Maybe the word shmuzing better describes the type of art world social
behavior that you refer to. When thinking of arts publications the Austrian
magazine Springerin demonstrates that one can think of art by focusing on
issues instead of the hegemonic star system with its brand name recognition.

Networking, in its positive sense, has changed with the new technological
possibilities for cooperation, online or off. With more possibilities for
interconnection through technological channels from wireless enabled devices
to the Internet-- the question comes up how all these options are used. Do
open publishing, open archives (e.g. encyclopedias), or social software
foster civil society? Networks can build small temporary platforms zooming
in on otherwise overlooked or purposefully ignored topics. Networks can be
powerful 'collaboratories' of people with diverse backgrounds who organize
around a single topic in which they all have an investment (as Ernesto
Laclau describes). However, I do not suggest that all networks or
collaborations are successful.

EN: In the art world it is implicitly accepted that if you want something to
be art it is always about self-interest. Artists want to survive. They want
to be recognized. The question is how to make this self-interest productive
for others. The term "self-interest" may be a bit too negative. I would
suggest the term "personal interest." I can offer an analogy that relates to
your concerns.

I think of collaboration and networking in terms of an Afro-Cuban rumba. In
a traditional rumba, like the Guaguanco, you need at least four members. One
plays the Tumba (the bass in the conga drums), another the Conga (the
mid-range conga drum), another will play the Quinto (the drum which
improvises), while someone else will play the clave sticks (for keeping the
rhythm). One of the performers will sing or they will all sing depending on
the particular tune. Each drum has a specific rhythm that contributes to the
overall groove, and even though the Quinto is designed to improvise, the
other drummers have a chance to express themselves from time to time. They
perform sporadic accents to support the soloist. Each drummer has to keep
her own rhythm tight, and swinging, while others flow in different
directions. Each drummer has to know and not know simultaneously where
everyone is going, this is possible because they will always keep the clave
within their timing. When people are introduced to rumba improvisation they
learn the basic patterns. But once the group moves to a more advanced stage,
they may at times become confused when they listen to how others are hitting
the drums. They often want to listen, while they are expected to keep
playing. Rumberos think of soloing in terms of "talking" with the drum. It
is not about a specific pattern or perfected licks. It is about forming
complex phrases, which include several moments of silence. The best drummers
literary talk with the drum, and this throws-off even experienced musicians
who are new to Rumba improvisation. Musicians in general are able to listen
and play at the same time, but rumberos do it in a very particular way that
is really different from the paradigms of traditional Western music. It
really is a philosophical approach. Most importantly, rumberos must learn
to listen to the improvisation of others. They learn to appreciate it as
listeners in a traditional audience. We could dare say that they listen with
a certain disinterest, while playi!
ng their
own groove. This is not easy to do because people are not used to "talking"
at the same time that they are "listening." Each performer must learn to be
an individual at the same time that she/he contributes to a collective. The
drums must sound like one inseparable rhythm. Western culture is not
brought up to function this way. We either listen or we speak- even trained
musicians do this ideologically. Once we start to play and listen
simultaneously, like the rumberos, we may be getting somewhere; then terms
like "self-interest" might not have a problematic connotation, or maybe they
will not be used at all.

Eduardo Navas thanks Carol Hobson and the Center for Research in Computer
and the Arts (CRCA) for providing an iSight camera.


Online Journals:

The NetKru:

Daniele Balit (Rome, IT/Paris, FR)
Ana Boa-Ventura (Austin, TX, US)
Linda Carroli (Brisbane, AU)
Nicholas Economos (Alfred, NY, US)
Peter Luining (Amsterdam, NL)
Francesca De NicolÃ?â?? (Rome, IT)
Ignacio Nieto (Santiago, CL)
Kristen Palana (New Jersey, US)
Isabel Saij (Cologne, GE/Paris, FR)
Ana Vald�©s (Sweden)
Ocassional Collaborators: (London, UK)
Evelyne Rogue - (Paris, FR)

Rumba in context:

Afro-cuban Music:
Los Papines;;151


Amy Alexander:

Natalie Bookchin:

Blogs and RSS Feed Search Engine

Blog Directory

Latin American Blogs

Theodor Adorno
The Culture Industry

related links:

Richard Barbrook, "The Hi-Tech Gift Economy," First Monday, 1999,
(10 May 2004). <>

Relevant Books:
Net ARt 2.0 by Tilman BaumgÃ?â?¬rtel

El Tercer Umbral by Jose Luis Brea,1463,BREA32JOSE2LUIS,

Internet y Despues by Wolton Dominique,1094,2900000708605,00.html?

Internet Art by Rachel Greene

Digital Art by Christiane Paul

Internet Art The online Clash of Culture and Commerce

Net_Condition: Art and Global Media by Peter Weibel and Timothy Druckrey

Information Arts by Stephen Wilson

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Date: 3.25.05
From: Eduardo Navas <eduardo AT>
Subject: Re: Interview with Eduardo Navas

As it has been a few days since I was interviewed by Trebor Scholz, I find
it necessary to comment on the interview; in particular, the last question.

I request Trebor Scholz to include this comment in the
website, right after my last answer and before the list of references. I
also ask that he send it to other lists that received the original interview
that I may not be including in this e-mail.

The overall interview process was rather organic, both Trebor and I adjusted
our questions and answers until we were happy with them. However, when I
read the last question as it was published in its final form, I realized
that my answer was not responding to Trebor's final question, but rather it
was still largely left untouched extending a commentary on the "art star
system," � an element that was brought up by Trebor in previous questions
when he started to talk about networking in the artworld vs. online
communities. � My commentary on "self-interest" was commenting on his
original point of view on "art stars." � As readers will notice, Trebor took
this specific comment out of his final question/commentary. � When he did
this he also added a long comment on networking that set up a reasoning for
my Afro-cuban analogy. � And this makes my comment on "self-interest" rather
odd in its final form.
Admittedly, when I read his adjusted commentary, I decided to also adjust my
rumba analogy to support the dialogue, not really knowing that my answer was
becoming something else. � I did not realize that with this I ended up
turning Rumba improvisation into something exotic. This hurts me because
this is a musical activity that I have practiced for over ten years. � Had I
realized this at the time, I would have pulled out my rumba analogy, but I
admit I liked it and thought it made sense, at least it did for the initial

I cannot take back the fact that I let the Rumba analogy stand in direct
relation to a commentary on networking as a new media actvity. � But I can
say that I would not have used it to talk about networking in such terms had
that really been the initial question. � As it stands, I find that I can
only write this comment admitting my mistake of letting the process of
editing lead me to accept a position I never intended. � This was my choice,
asI approved the interview for publication. � At this point, I find myself
entitled to clarify that I do not find my analogy appropriate to Trebor's
comment on networking.

So how would I answer or follow up his comment on fostering a civil society?
� I would say that it all starts with basic communication. Something we
lost track of at the end of the interview. � It is ironic that I made a
comment on "listening" while "playing," and while this may work for some
activities such as rumba improvisaton, it certainly does not work for
others. � It is obvious that we both lost our "tune" on that last question.
� Neither the question nor the answer really correspond. � 


Eduardo Navas


Trebor wrote:

> Listening To Yourself While Playing With Others
> An interview with Eduardo Navas (adjusted by Trebor Scholz)
> As part of WebCamTalk1.0

full thread here:

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