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: 7.10.05
Date: Sun, 10 Jul 2005 12:12:42 -0700

RHIZOME DIGEST: July 10, 2005


1. Lauren Cornell: Member-Curated Exhibits

2. Doug Easterly: 1-yr Full Time Faculty Position
3. christa AT Application Deadline R&D Fellowship at Open Lab at
4. Kevin McGarry: FW: [NEW-MEDIA-CURATING] Fwd: [dorkbotsf-blabber] Long Now
job opening

5. Jim Andrews: dbcinema

6. Jim Andrews, Jason Van Anden, Rob Myers, Bob Wyman: Is Programming Art?
(via programmer\\\'s perspective)

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Rhizome is now offering Organizational Subscriptions, group memberships
that can be purchased at the institutional level. These subscriptions allow
participants at institutions to access Rhizome's services without
having to purchase individual memberships. For a discounted rate, students
or faculty at universities or visitors to art centers can have access to
Rhizome?s archives of art and text as well as guides and educational tools
to make navigation of this content easy. Rhizome is also offering
subsidized Organizational Subscriptions to qualifying institutions in poor
or excluded communities. Please visit for
more information or contact Kevin McGarry at Kevin AT or Lauren
Cornell at LaurenCornell AT

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Date: 7.08.05
From: Lauren Cornell <laurencornell AT>
Subject: Member-Curated Exhibits


So - in the 6 months or so since Rhizome launched its Member-Curated
exhibits, 30 have been organized. Curatorial approaches have ranged widely:
some are quite personal, while others offer more formal explorations of
themes such as sound art, data visualization or identity. You can see all
the exhibits at

Today, we will begin to share these exhibits with the general online public.
Rhizome staff will spotlight one exhibit per month by featuring it on the
front page and also highlighting it on the Member-Curated page. During that
month, the selected works (regardless of the date they were entered in the
archive) will be available for anyone to view.

We are starting with ?Well, they aren¹t Twinkies¹ curated by Erin O¹Brien
which includes work by Gustavo Romano, Gregory Chatonsky, Valery Grancher,
Roch Forowicz and Jeanie Finlay.

I hope you enjoy it!


Lauren Cornell
Executive Director,
New Museum of Contemporary Art
210 Eleventh Ave, NYC, NY 10001

tel. 212.219.1222 X 208
fax. 212.431.5328
ema. laurencornell AT

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Date: 7.04.05
From: Doug Easterly <playfight AT>
Subject: 1-yr Full Time Faculty Position

The Department of Transmedia at Syracuse University is seeking a person to
fill a 1-year full time position, for the academic year Fall 05/ Spring 06.
This is NOT an adjunct position, but a temporary replacement for a
tenure-track line with competitive salary and full benefits. Candidates
should have experience in Video, Digital Photography & Computer Art. While
this is a nonrenewable position, anyone hired would be welcome to apply for
the tenure-track line, as we will be undergoing a formal search this
upcoming year.

Please send a c.v. (pdf, doc, url) to Douglas Easterly, deaster AT -
and I will forward your information to our chair and department for

D o u g l a s E a s t e r l y
Associate Professor
Computer Art / Transmedia
Syracuse University
deaster AT

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Rhizome ArtBase Exhibitions

Visit the fourth ArtBase Exhibition "City/Observer," curated by
Yukie Kamiya of the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York and designed
by T.Whid of MTAA.

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Date: 7.07.05
From: christa AT
Subject: Application Deadline R&D Fellowship at Open Lab at Eyebeam

Eyebeam R&D seeks inaugural fellows to work on creative technology projects
in the Eyebeam Open Lab. The fellowship is a unique opportunity to
participate in a new kind of research environment and contribute to the
public domain.

The Open Lab is dedicated to public domain R&D. We are seeking artists,
hackers, designers and engineers to come to Eyebeam for a year to develop
pioneering work. The ideal fellow has experience creating innovative
creative technology projects, a love of collaborative development, and a
desire to distribute his or her work as widely as possible
.Participation in the R&D Fellows program includes:
- One year fellowship
- 4 days/week commitment
- $30,000 annual stipend + health insurance
Application: Please submit your application by August 15th; fellowships will
begin in the Fall of 2005 (flexible start date).
Applications can be completed at R& D website at Eyebeam:
For further information on Open Lab and prior Eyebeam R&D projects:
Contact/ Questions: openlab AT

540 West 21st Street
New York, NY 10011

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Date: 7.09.05
From: Kevin McGarry <kevin AT>
Subject: FW: [NEW-MEDIA-CURATING] Fwd: [dorkbotsf-blabber] Long Now job

------ Forwarded Message
From: Susan Joyce <Fringe17 AT AOL.COM>
Reply-To: Fringe17 AT AOL.COM
Date: Fri, 8 Jul 2005 16:12:27 EDT
Subject: [NEW-MEDIA-CURATING] Fwd: [dorkbotsf-blabber] Long Now job

We are now hiring for the curator of the initial collection of file format
converters for our new File Format Converter Project (see job announcement
below). Feel free to pass on to people you may know who are interested. We
would like this person to be in the San Francisco Bay Area locale that can
spend at least a couple days a week in our offices in the Presidio.


We have begun a project to locate and organize all of the world's file
format converters, with an emphasis on understanding formats for long term
data preservation. We are looking for someone to lead the curation and data
design efforts of this project.
This is initially a 2-3 month effort, with possible continuation.
Compensation commensurate to skills and experience.

Ideally, you should have:

* A desire to make something that is the best in the world
* An interest in digital data preservation
* Broad experience with software applications and operating systems
* Some database management experience
* Good technical communication skills
* Good analysis and synthesis skills
* The ability to work with speed and efficiency
* Comfort working in a UNIX environment and with open source tools
* Experience with at least one programming language

To find out about us, please check out Please send a
resume and a short cover letter all as plain ASCII, in the body of an email
to kurt AT
(attachments will not be read)

.........dorkbot: people doing strange things with electricity..........

------ End of Forwarded Message

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + 2005-2006 Net Art Commissions

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

For the 2005-2006 Rhizome Commissions, eleven artists/groups were selected
to create original works of net art.

The Rhizome Commissions Program is made possible by support from the
Jerome Foundation in celebration of the Jerome Hill Centennial, the
Greenwall Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and
the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Additional support has
been provided by members of the Rhizome community.

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Date: 7.06.05
From: Jim Andrews <jim AT>
Subject: dbcinema

dbcinema :

this is in progress. this is, like, v 0.1.

you type in a concept top left, press enter, stare, and free associate.

same syntax as google searches. in fact it is a google search.

some interesting concepts:

jenny holzer
joseph kosuth
visual poetry
visual art
visual music
pamela anderson
ian hamilton finlay

i'm using director to make this. director is pretty good for image
processing and compositing. and advanced google image search will do things
like return just black and white or greyscale images. so these can be used
as masks and also be processed over time. things like that are in the future
for this image engine.

also, as you may know, i like to do interactive audio work. but like visuals
too with them. this piece will eventually be the image engine for some
interactive audio works. you've seen the visual music prevalent on the
screen these days. mostly its music videos or abstract patterns that respond
to amplitude. nice, but i'd like something else. this is v 0.1 of an image
engine for audio works. this can combine the strong abstract dimensions of
what you think of when you think of visual algorithmic art with the
relevantly representational. and it opens into the social/collective in
interesting ways.

also, it frees me up from making pictures in the normal ways. i prefer to
write images. riffing on the google global image database with a few
well-chosen keywords and a lot of 'image display schemas' (there is only one
now: one after another, simplest possible) could generate lots of
significantly different dbcinema pieces.

there's a dowload manager, a media manager, a query manager, and an image
display manager at this point. various other managers to go along with lots
of 'image display schema'. and other things that you normally find in a
browser, like history and so on. would also be nice to be able to edit
pieces. all down the road.


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Date: 7.06.05 - 7.08.05
From: Jim Andrews <jim AT>, Jason Van Anden <jason AT>,
Rob Myers <robmyers AT>, Bob Wyman <bobwyman AT>
Subject: Is Programming Art? (via programmer\\\'s perspective)

Jim Andrews <jim AT> posted:

"...the aim of all this is to create poetry. So, I like to speak about
algorithmic poetry. A poem is a text that procures you poetry if you read
it. The code I'm trying to write is a text that procures you poetry if a
computer reads it for you...."
Frédéric Durieu

Donald Knuth is a renowned computer scientist, but the idea of 'the art of
programming' as promulgated in a book like that series is terribly outdated.
There are dimensions to contemporary software art that were not
anticipated/anticipatable by Knuth. He sees the 'art' as consisting in
choosing the right algorithms and the right implementations of the right
algorithms. *Perhaps* this is true once you decide what the thing is going
to do. But it leaves aside the whole question of what the thing is going to
do. And why one would want to do such things. And the relation of these
things to what's going on in the world. Programming is now a part of
writing. Writing is a broader thing than it was. The art of programming is
not simply a craft of design and engineering but involves all the sorts of
issues we find in other arts plus its connections with engineering and
mathematics, which occur also in other arts where the making is not without
relation to things like engineering and mathematics. Such as architecture.


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Jason Van Anden <jason AT> replied:

Warning - the following article is quite possibly a waste of time for the
more erudite amongst us ;) Regardless - I found this article rehashing the
age old question as to whether programming is art, from a programmer's
perspective, interesting (and easy to read).

Jason Van Anden

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Rob Myers <robmyers AT> replied:

On Wednesday, July 06, 2005, at 01:14PM, Jason Van Anden
<jason AT> wrote:

>Warning - the following article is quite possibly a waste of time for the more
erudite amongst us ;) Regardless - I found this article rehashing the age old
question as to whether programming is art, from a programmer's perspective,
interesting (and easy to read).

The Slashdot discussion on this is quite fun as well:

Paul Graham's essay on the subject:

And a well deserved critique of it:

So is programming art? And which part of "no" don't people get? ;-)

- Rob.

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Jim Andrews replied:

to extend what i posted a couple of days ago.

because knuth is a (deservedly) renowned computer scientist, people think he
must know about the art of programming--particularly since he wrote a
multi-volume book with that title. and that book is a classic. but if you
pick any of the volumes up, you would find very little if any talk of art in
it. it is a big book of algorithms. how do you most efficiently search
through text to find a given string? it addresses questions like this. how
fast is the algorithm? it addresses questions like this, also. can the
algorithm be proved to be the best we can do? etc.

the art of architecture, should we speak of it, i think we could agree, is
not circumscribed within the matter of how you build a structure. it isn't
addressed so much in the physics books and the engineering books, the
references that detail the properties of the materials etc. which isn't to
say that those books have nothing to do with the art of architecture. a good
architect will know how to consult such books and be intimately familiar
with the principles that underly them. just like a good programmer will know
how to read books like knuth's and be familiar with the principles that
underly his massive and impressive analysis of algorithms. but the art of
programming is discussed as little in knuth's books as is the art of
architecture in the physics and engineering books on architecture.

knuth identifies the art of programming with how we choose and implement our
algorithms. and that is not without art. but the art of programming is far
broader than such issues. just as the art of painting is far broader than
the issue of how you paint a painting. we see that this is largely a
question of technique and craft. just as the question, in architecture, of
how you build a structure is largely a matter of craft and technique.
whereas the issues of art occur largely in more global contexts.

why would you want to make the thing? what are its relations with its
brothers and sisters? what are its relations among the history of ideas? how
can its meaning be interpreted? how does it mean? what sort of statements
are involved? is it in any sense innovative? if so, how so? what is the
experience of it like? these are less quantitative than ambiguous and
qualitative questions and issues. and of course there are many more such

the work of art, whether it is binary or analog, is typically made by people
who have some awareness of these sorts of questions and issues and it can be
read/experienced in such contexts in a rewarding manner; it usually
addresses some such set of questions more or less explicitly, even if
ambiguously, even mysteriously. even if there is utility to the work, as
there is, typically, in works of architecture and software.


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Bob Wyman <bobwyman AT> replied:

Jim Andrews wrote re: The Art of Programming
> if you pick any of the volumes up, you would find very little if
> any talk of art in it.
If the viewer sees no art, is it because there is no art to be seen
or is it because the viewer can not see it?
I've treasured my copies of Knuth's "Art of Programming" since I
bought my first volumes in the early 80's. I hope desperately that Knuth
will live long enough to complete the project and won't be distracted any
more... For me, his books are wondrous aesthetic experiences that equal or
exceed much of what others would claim to be "great" art. Frankly, their
utility is secondary. In fact, some of the volumes are really quite
out-dated in their technical content...
Knuth created Tex, still one of the most powerful typesetting
systems simply to produce those volumes. He created MetaFont, a system for
the mathematical definition of typefaces so that he could create the
Computer Modern Roman typeface which assured that the words he wrote lay
properly, powerfully, and pleasingly on the page. He invented the Mix
language in order to make concrete the algorithms that he discussed. All
this was essentially choosing colors, brushes, and canvas for the very real
"conceptual art" that shines from his discussion of every algorithm and
problem addressed.
Knuth's books are much more than just lists of algorithms. They are
experiences in a conceptual space which is, admittedly, hard for most folk
to enter. But, if you're lucky enough to catch sight of what is there, it is
beautiful. It is art.

bob wyman

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Jim Andrews replied:

If you ask whether programming is an art, and then define it predominantly
in terms of technique and craft, the answer must finally be 'no'. It seems
to me this is what continues to happen in discussions of art and

As I said in my last post, books about a computer science approach to
algorithms are not without art. And Knuth is surely a master thereof. But
there is an art of programming that is beyond the analysis and
implementation of algorithms, as I have said, and it is to the detriment of
the art of programming that technique and craft-centered views of it
continue to prevail.


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Jim Andrews added:

why is it detrimental to the art of programming to define it predominantly
in terms of craft and technique?

this is a question that one could as well ask concerning poetry or other

in a nutshell, craft and technique issues/questions do not address the
human, social/political contexts in which the object/program is operative.

the cultures of computer science (and mathematics) are cut off from their
human concerns. the art/science split makes for both sociopathic science and
ineffectual art. computer scientists should be aware of the artistic
dimensions and traditions, the humanistic concerns implicit in their
discipline. those to whom the students of computer science look up to should
be the great artists of the digital, eventually, who both in their works and
their contributions to computer science strive for a better world and deeper
individual experience and understanding, not simply a more efficient widget
or algorithm.

digital art should attract the best minds. the most driven and talented
artists. who bring it all together. bring it home. and these should also be
the great scientists of the digital. they should not be different creatures.

what is at stake is whether we have societies in which the machine is simply
oppressive of humanity or whether the art of programming can flower into
something beautiful not only in the austerity of mathematics but in its
poetic vision for the benefit and joy of humanity.


ps: is a fascinating review of a
recent biography of Norbert Weiner, the 'father of cybernetics'. he was well
acquainted wih johnny von neumann, one of the main minds behind the rise of
the computer. von neumann was the model for dr strangelove. von neumann was
the inventor of game theory. he also thought that the usa should bomb russia
as soon as possible. see how these two figures contrast.

yet even still, " They shared a passionate interest in biology. Both of them
saw a deeper understanding of biology as the ultimate goal of their
explorations of the science of computing and information." computing is all
about us, is toward our understanding the extent to which we too are
language machines.

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the New Museum of Contemporary Art.

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

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Rhizome Digest is filtered by Kevin McGarry (kevin AT ISSN:
1525-9110. Volume 10, number 28. Article submissions to list AT
are encouraged. Submissions should relate to the theme of new media art
and be less than 1500 words. For information on advertising in Rhizome
Digest, please contact info AT

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