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: 8.26.05
Date: Fri, 26 Aug 2005 14:57:00 -0700

RHIZOME DIGEST: August 26, 2005


1. Francis Hwang: New on Track your Location by city
2. Marisa S. Olson: Digest will now go out on Fridays

3. Lea: ¿blog? art project - call for submissions
4. Alicia: Call for Entries ::: SF IndieFest ::: Deadline 10.15.05

5. Greg Smith: vague terrain 26/08 - toronto
7. Katie Lips: Inside the Inbox; real people, real SMS messages, the 'SMS
log' by Treasuremytext

8. Søren Pold: The Algorithmic Revolution

+commissioned for
9. joni taylor: Conference Report: Garage Festival

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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 Lauren Cornell at LaurenCornell AT

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From: Francis Hwang <francis AT>
Date: Aug 23, 2005 8:03 AM
Subject: New on Track your Location by city!

Hey everyone,

Today, the Rhizome Location feature is getting even better: We're going
to start creating city nodes, too, so people can list themselves, and
find other people, by cities.

Right now I've just turned on cities for the United States, because
that's where most of our Members live, and because it's a territory I
know well, so picking appropriate names is a little easier.

If you are a Member, and you live in the U.S., you can now go to and choose to be searchable under one of
these cities:

Los Angeles
New York
San Francisco
San Jose

Here, for example, is the location page for NYC:

Though right this minute, I'm the only person who's tagged myself as
living in NYC. That should change soon, I'd imagine ...

Cities will be coming for more countries soon--hopefully starting next
week, once I feel confident that the overall system works fine. In the
meantime, please start using it, and let me know if you have any
questions or problems.


Francis Hwang
Director of Technology
phone: 212-219-1288x202
AIM: francisrhizome

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Refresh! The First International Conference on the histories of media art,
science, and technology.
Hosted by the Banff New Media Institute, Leonardo/ISAST, and the Database
for Virtual Art.
September 28-October 1, 2005

The Banff Centre, Banff, Alberta, Canada

For info. and to register
Visit: <>
E-mail: luke_heemsbergen AT
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From: Marisa S. Olson <marisa AT>
Date: Aug 24, 2005 4:03 PM
Subject: Digest will now go out on Fridays

I just wanted to make an informal announcement that we're going to
begin sending the Rhizome Digest out on Fridays, rather than Sundays,
beginning this week.

There's no super brilliant reason for this other than the fact that it
works best with my schedule, as Editor, and it seems like the best
weekday to summarize the week's activities, on Raw. I hope it works
nicely with your inbox flow, as well.

Your feedback is always welcome, of course!

All the best,

Marisa S. Olson
Editor and Curator at Large,
marisa (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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From: Lea <lalela02 AT>
Date: Aug 22, 2005 9:50 AM
Subject: ¿blog? art project - call for submissions


Blog, one of the most spread forms of expression on the web, varying
from personal diaries to community weblogs, professional knowledge
exchange resources, political campaigns and more. In their different
manifestations, blogs (moblogs, videoblogs, photoblogs, etc.), became a
phenomenon influencing in many cases upon social and cultural areas:
journalism, politics, alternative knowledge sources, literature, art, etc.

The ¿blog? project takes blog as art and as a stage for net artworks
investigating the language, the aesthetics, the impacts and the practices
of blogs, blogging and the blogoesphere.
In this context, it's worth mentioning the project --one of
the first projects dealing with the notion of blog as art -- operating for
about a year and publishing blog-defined art projects.

¿Blog? project acts (is envisioned to act) as a platform for an open
discussion on the topic and as a pool for submitting works. invites submissions of art projects making use of blog as a
tool, subject, or both as well as texts investigating the blog-art
interplay in a broad sense.

Selected texts and artworks will be exhibited (separately) on the website. The launch of the project will be accompanied by an
opening event and the discussion, that will get documented on the website.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + 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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From: Alicia <alicia AT>
Date: Aug 22, 2005 7:06 PM
Subject: Call for Entries ::: SF IndieFest ::: Deadline 10.15.05

The San Francisco Independent Film Festival seeks your most delicous,
twisted, unique, historical, fictional, subtitled, stop-motion, curious,
cadaverous, outsider, outstanding and otherwise brilliantly-executed
indie-films and videos.

For more information on submitting your
Animation films (35/16mm) & videos (BetaSP/dvd/dv/mini-dv)
for the 8th Annual SF IndieFest (Feb. 2-14, 2006),
check out .

Head on over to
to download an entry form. Send it, along with your VHS/DVDs, stills,
press kits, entry fee and tidbits to:

SF IndieFest
530 Divisedero St
SF, CA 94117

Entry fee is $20 for shorts (any film less than 50 minutes), and $30 for
If you'd care for your entry to be returned, please include a SASE + add
$5 to your entry fee.

::::Entries must be postmarked by October 15th, 2005::::

We're looking forward to seeing your latest work!
-Jeff, Bruce, & Alicia at SF IndieFest

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Support Rhizome: buy a hosting plan from BroadSpire

Reliable, robust hosting plans from $65 per year.

Purchasing hosting from BroadSpire contributes directly to Rhizome's fiscal
well-being, so think about about the new Bundle pack, or any other plan,

About BroadSpire

BroadSpire is a mid-size commercial web hosting provider. After conducting a
thorough review of the web hosting industry, we selected BroadSpire as our
partner because they offer the right combination of affordable plans (prices
start at $14.95 per month), dependable customer support, and a full range of
services. We have been working with BroadSpire since June 2002, and have
been very impressed with the quality of their service.

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From: Greg Smith <smith AT>
Date: Aug 22, 2005 6:47 PM
Subject: vague terrain 26/08 - toronto

This is just a brief reminder that after a 3 year hiatus, the event
promotion organization formerly known as clonk returns to Toronto on
Friday August 26th with the first in a series of events under a new
moniker; Vague Terrain. Vague Terrain will serve as a promotional vehicle
for forward thinking electronic music/arts events in Toronto and digital
arts online as a quarterly journal.

This evening will featuring live performances from..

tinkertoy - lautmaschine / noise factory recordings
naw - noise factory recordings / vague terrain
aidan baker -
video by robin armstrong

Friday August 26th/2005
toronto AT art bar / the gladstone hotel
limited capacity
$5 / doors open AT 9pm
1214 queen st. west

For more information please take a look at our URL our online flyer or contact us at
vagueinfo AT

The first issue of will be launched this
October and it will be dedicated to an exploration of digital detritus.

The next vague terrain event is scheduled for Saturday September 24th and
will feature a live PA from Vancouver Based Zora Lanson recording artist
Granny'Ark, Spider Recording's Akumu, & naw.

Artist Information...

tinkertoy - noise factory recordings/

Tinkertoy is a Toronto based duo comprised of Andrew Wedman and Paul
Shrimpton. Both Andrew and Paul came from classical music backgrounds to
form Tinkertoy in 2000 -- a project that has since evolved into a unique
style of washy, sometimes melodic techno. Tinkertoys music is about the
discovery of beauty in sundry noise. Their sound palette is developed
through an extensive process of sampling outdoor environments and
natural instruments and remodeling those samples using their
own-programmed software. Tinkertoy's sound is always based on
experimentation, and they bring this approach to their live performances.

naw - noise factory recordings / vague terrain /

Montreal native Neil Wiernik currently living in Toronto, began his
explorations in electronic music making as early as 1988. Known to push
the boundaries of his musical form from designing new or manipulating
existing sound making devices and software to creative uses of production
environments and sound sources, naw's music is a blend of sound
manipulation/design, experimental music and dub-tech rhythms, which on the
surface sound quite simple, but incorporate a number of touches that steer
this artist away from being simply another minimal techno or experimental
laptop artist. He combines post-house, dubby minimal techno, microsound
and thick ambience, to create his own version of deep techno, house and
other electronic laptop oriented music. Neil has released music on various
national and international record labels, including releases on Noise
Factory, Complot, Clevermusic, Piehead and Pertin_nce. As naw, Neil has
performed extensively along side a variety of national and international
artists both in and outside of Canada. In 2004 and 2005 naw will released
his follow up noise factory record full length called: "green nights
orange days", as well as a full length outing with Pertin_nce Records
called: "terrain vague". These two records find Neil at his deepest,
dubbiest and most experimental sounding yet. The release of these records
will coincide with a series of North American and European tour dates
through out 2005.

aidan baker -

Aidan Baker is a Toronto-based musician and writer. As a solo artist, he
explores the deconstructive possibilities of the electric guitar creating
music that ranges from &/or encompasses ambient/experimental to
electronica to post-rock. He has released numerous albums on such labels
as Drone Records, Piehead Records, Zunior Records, & Die Stadt Musick.

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From: info AT <info AT>
Date: Aug 22, 2005 7:04 PM

The Crystalpunk Workshop for Soft Architecture
September - December 2005, Utrecht, The Netherlands
generated by, hosted by

Hidden in the former utility area of a vacant 13 floor office in Utrecht,
the "Crystalpunk Workshop for Soft Architecture" will evolve an empty room
from nothingness into unknown states of technological enhancement. Unlike
the alphabet that always knows where it is going, this workshop does not.

A Room of a Crystalpunk's Own

The Headmap manifesto, the Coleridgian masterpiece of independent software
development for spaces and places, observed: "Every room has an accessible
history, every place has emotional attachments you can open and save". New
technologies can associate places with layers of free and editable content
from which the past can be re-enacted, like a murder at the scene of the
crime is re-enacted, to re-experience and stir vanished memories. Little
minds living in software can eat any piece of data, extract meaning from
it and email it to you when the right criteria has been met. Our
Crystalpunk Manifesto famously drew connections between disconnected
fields of knowledge and explained to the world our intention to program
minds and matter simultaneously. This workshop marshals these manifestos
of inspiration into real practises with scars of happy absurdi(r)ty
engraved on their souls.


Crystal: The inorganic strategies of the crystalpunk are both chemically
and metaphorically informed by the lessons learned from the transformation
from moleculline mayhem into crystalline order. Crystal growth is
adaptive, particle-noise disrupts tessellation but the crystal works its
way around it softly. Roomology as crystallography? The analogy with
crystals finding form permeates every aspect of this workshop: the room is
filled with latent possibility, the workshop seeds these powers laying
dormant, what remains after 4 months is outward form pushed and moulded
and beaten into shape by events and persons working inside the room with
the material produced by their own every moves inside the room.

Punk: Despite appearances this workshop is not technology-driven but
propelled forward by social interaction and a healthy disrespect for
specialists of all kinds. Punk is not a style or a genre but a principle
of self-education: taking up a technology (an electric guitar, a sensor, a
programming language) ignoring all good practise, refusing to draw a line
between student and teacher. Punks don't spend years practising: they
immediately start a band with the intention to change the world.

Workshop: Knowledge is generated collectively, collectives generate their
own special flavours of knowledge. This workshop creates a social
situation by providing resources to those persons unknown curious enough
to come round and actively encourage those people whose past work we like.
Different interests, backgrounds, talents, skills will mix, seek alliances
and run amok; rapidly the room enhanced starts to generate data, ad-hoc
collaborations find challenging ways for this data to be interpreted.
Within the workshop countless micro-workshops will focus on specific
topics, introducing high-level ideas and technologies to the uninitiated
or to keep everybody up to date on the workshop's output, helping each
other to make sense of the magic properties of technology. This workshop
is a sustained stream of consciousness you can wash your mind/sharpen your
capabilities/empower your potential with.

Soft + Architecture: Buildings learn, rooms have memories, design does not
need its designers, the language of time (piecemeal extensions,
reinventions, rephrasings, accidents, entropy) rewrites their script. A
room, by implication, refuses to be belittled into the function of a
radio, it wants to be a broadcaster too. Continuous sending information to
the world, a room can have a virtual identity and under this guise live a
secret life. For instance: a crystalpunk moves his leg for comfort, a
crystalpunk shakes her head in disagreement, sensors pick up on it,
triggering a wide range of reactions known and unknown, local and faraway.
To paraphrase Ezra Pound: in soft architecture each gesture creates
content that has form as water poured into a vase has form. Content is
recyclable, routed multiple times, finally ending up back where it
initiated: causing a sound closing a door illuminating a cryxal on-screen.
A crystalpunk walks through the room and, like in a crappy disco, !
the floor lights up underneath her feet, too bad he is not feeling very
much like a dancing queen tonight. Soft Architecture is a home grown
architectonic freak show: what the Elephant Man is to the Athletic Body,
the Crystalpunk Room will be to the Smart House.

Now that we have found data, what are we going to do with it?!

Technologists have for decades been playing with the idea of the
supposedly smart home: the entire house adaptive and responsive and
proactive, providing conveniences like that resurfacing dystopian
killer-app: the refrigerator that makes sure the milk never runs out. No
matter how device-centric and profit-inspired these efforts are, and as
such divided by a royal mile from the super-serendipity of Crystalpunk
roomology, this workshop is moving in the same problem-space of obvious
possibilities and unresolved puzzles of making sense from the surplus of
automated data production. Everybody can generate a source of water by
opening the tap, few are given to come up with conceptually stimulating
ways to process the output.

On Being Soft

Knowledge, so it is said, is the agitator of economic growth, a good
education the only insurance against unemployment. Self-education in this
respect is a scrapyard challenge: without any experience you can master
the use of a jet engine, but when announcing yourself at the job centre it
will be back to washing plates or carrying big things if you know what I
mean. But self-education is part not of the world of schools and jobs and
financial solvency and mortgage opportunities, but an involuntary
by-product of the personal creative urge of the kind that start with one
innocent question: "what if....?".

What if I make a lot of noise?

>From the small but liberating gesture of doing so, its miracle usually
diminishing quickly, you may be inspired to find a way forward in a
process easily labelled crystalline. Learning to control the machine that
makes the noise proposes new questions that need further understanding to
be answered. In a different context Sherry Turkle suggested that
self-education is rooted in the curiosity in finding out if, by playing
around with it, you can make things work for the sake of it. This way to
deal with problems, she says, is at odds with the goal oriented alphabetic
way of making things as taught at schools. This 'soft mastery' over
problems relies in a very real sense on the fact that answers will come to
you. A 'lazy' and very unprofessional approach, as you can never explain
what you will do beforehand. The Crystalpunk Workshop for Soft
Architecture is really entirely very splendidly softly unprofessional

On Participating

The Crystalpunk Workshop of Soft Architecture workshop lives in 2 distinct
spheres: in the corner of a gigantic building in a tiny Dutch city and
online where as much realtime roomness is broadcasted as possible.
Participation is local, you are invited to bring your laptop and start
making noise, to join a workshop or to come listen to a presentation. To
those faraway we must mention that, apart from this workshop, there are
very few reasons for visiting Utrecht and the more we admire you for doing
so. From the deepest Africa you are encouraged to turn yourself into a
soft architectonic bootlegger: to render on-line data into representations
formal and fluid, in monotones or RGB, spatially exact or rolling like a
wave. Or perhaps you are more philosophically inclined and prone to
profound reflections, or perhaps breaking things only to rebuild them is
the tea you drink: the social infrastructure will be in place to work and
think along wherever you are.

We do not care if participants don't know anything useful, and likewise we
will welcome you with as much enthusiasm if you do know something useful.
We are not like an alphabet but we are neither a cheap bar: we do ask from
our participants the desire to unwind their own what-if soft scenarios. If
you only want free internet access Beelzebub will bite your head off and
create content that has form as a main artery needing urgent medial
attention has form.

For a workshop that wants to shake the language and experience of
roomness, 4 months is little time, but like with every education, it is
never finished A fact learned can reveal itself useful only years after.
Come as you are: you can be crystalpunk too.

get involved via:

crystalpunk |at| socialfiction |dot| org

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Rhizome Members can purchase the new monograph on Thomson & Craighead,
Minigraph 7, for a discounted rate: £10.80 which is 10% off £12.00 regular
price plus free p+p for single orders in UK and Europe.

thomson & craighead
Minigraph 7
Essays by Michael Archer and Julian Stallabrass
Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead ¹s extraordinarily varied, almost
unclassifiable artworks combine conceptual flair with sophisticated
technical innovation. Encompassing works for the web alongside a host of
other new media interventions, this book ? the first monographic survey of
the artists¹ work ? highlights a number of impressive installation and
internet-based pieces which use digital technology to echo the
art-historical tradition of the ready-made.

Part-supported by CARTE, University of Westminster.

Published by Film and Video Umbrella
52 Bermondsey Street London SE1 3UD
Tel: 020 7407 7755
Fax:020 7407 7766

To order, Rhizome Members should write Lindsay Evans at Film/ Video Umbrella
directly and use the reference ³Rhizome T + C² in the subject line.

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From: Katie Lips <katie AT>
Date: Aug 25, 2005 3:39 PM
Subject: Inside the Inbox; real people, real SMS messages, the 'SMS log'
by Treasuremytext

Keywords: SMS, voyeur, publish, collaborative, mobile, blog, moblog, text
message, reality text ( is first and foremost a
service that stores SMS messages making the world?s
largest SMS Inbox. Thousands of users store thousands of texts every
month. Anyone and everyone can use it to aggregate their mobile content,
treasure it forever and then to re-publish, re-blog, to share their
personal messages with the world. The service contains RSS feeds and a
?Slog? a SMS log that lets anonymous viewer, or voyeurs read the personal
lives of texters. Treasuremytext is a project in which thousands of users
are contributing their deepest, private messages into a public space. What
do people really send, and why do they want to keep this stuff forever?

We want other digital artists to work with this SMS RSS capability, and if
suitable reblog this SMS content, or set up their own SMS RSS channel for
other projects.

The project explores the relationships between communication and
publication, trails of information, and data we all leave behind us
continuously as we interact with software and applications and devices.
Many people use the Treasuremytext project to publish their own
communications and as they are doing so they are creating a mass
collaborative consciousness.

The public face of is humorous; it plays with the idea
of the personal and the private world of mobile communication. Many
publicly displayed messages are private in nature; and by publishing, the
collective authors are offering a view into their personal lives.

Through this project, Kisky Netmedia (the project?s creators) are blurring
the boundaries between communication ?service? and creative space, between
application and art exhibit. Kisky demonstrates how this service is
generating its own ever evolving, self-generating form, whilst also
raising the bar in terms of how Netart behaves, through creating work with
truly functional as well as exploratory aims.

Whilst there are distinct voices amidst the noise, the theme of the
collaborative content demonstrates that mobile communication, for most of
us is about continual contact; request and response, affection and
confirmation. Many messages are explicit, many are needy, many are
mundane, but more and more, offers a glimpse into
unconnected yet ubiquitous worlds; it shows snippets of communications,
conversations, detached from each other, yet vocally loud, bold
statements, request, actions, aspirations, and dreams.

The project is perhaps the only place where it is possible to view other
people?s mobile communications. It is a demonstration of disconnected
voices, all surprisingly saying similar things. The people who are
creating this ?not seen anywhere else content? are becoming bolder at
publishing their innermost thoughts anonymously to an unknown audience.

Kisky develops systems and environments which enable audiences to enter,
use and control traditionally closed spaces. This is particularly true of
the mobile phone, which is used by many, but tightly controlled by few.
Kisky uses simple web technologies to open up this space, to create new
creative opportunities for users and audiences. A common themes in
Kisky?s work is the notion of the audience as collaborative creator;
exploring ideas of ?passive publishing? whereby through the act of
communication, there is a communication by-product; content that may in
alternative spaces be viewed as artistic content.

Please feel free to use to blog your own or existing
content. Current ?treasured text? content is available as RSS, XML and My
Yahoo feeds as well as at the ?luxuriously? designed site.

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From: Søren Pold <pold AT>
Date: Aug 25, 2005 4:06 PM
Subject: The Algorithmic Revolution

Originally published at:
Article with images from the exhibition:


'Usually, a revolution is about to happen and it announces itself with a
'roar'. The Algorithmic Revolution has already happened, and, despite
remaining largely unnoticed, it has been all the more effective. There is,
namely, no longer any area of our social and cultural life that is not
penetrated by algorithms: Cameras, cars, planes, ships, household
appliances, hospitals, banks, factories, shopping malls, traffic,
architecture, literature, art, music. The Algorithmic Revolution began
around 1930 in science, around 1960 in art. ' (Peter Weibel, ZKM 2004).

The German Centre for Art and Media (ZKM) in Karlsruhe is currently
showing the exhibition The Algorithmic Revolution which presents a
historical outline of this radical change in the fine arts, music, design
and architecture. The exhibition draws both on the ZKM collection and
selected loans. It can be experienced until December 2005.

Two writers let themselves be inspired and give two different views on the
exhibition in two separate articles. Here is what Soeren Pold wrote.
Soeren Pold is ph.d, associate professor and head of the research project
'The Aesthetics of the Interface Culture' at the Digital Aesthetics
Research Centre in Aarhus, Denmark. Translation: Sofie Paisley.


Inside the glass door by the entrance to the art exhibition 'The
Algorithmic Revolution' at ZKM stands a giant machine, which with its
weight of 1000 kg radiates equal parts white lab coats, German objectivity
and wirtschaftswunder. It's a Zuse Z22 from 1957, the seventh computer
from the world's first computer start-up company, Konrad Zuse AG, and the
oldest functioning vacuum-tube computer. It makes a serious humming noise
and its 415 electron tubes radiate, and is in this way an esthetical
object in itself, drawing admiring and inquisitive glances. You can look
in at the tubes, study the teleprinter and the control panel. At the same
time it is a mysterious machine ? you can't see what it does and how it
processes its data ? you can't read or follow the algorithms. It was used
within building technology, aerodynamics and the construction of nuclear
reactors, but some of the very first digital art was also created on it.
Digital literature was made on this computer as !
early as 1959, when Theo Lutz made computer generated texts based on The
Castle by Franz Kafka, which was one of the very first experiments with
digital literature.

But at the same time, the machine precisely indicates the dilemma and
starting point of digital art: unlike the steam engine which Danish writer
Johannes V. Jensen and others praised 100 years ago, the computer lacks
sensuous features. Even though Zuse's vacuum-tube model can instil respect
in most people, the point is the invisible and unreadable, which takes
place in the computer. The computer's processing of data is invisible to
most, we only see the results, and the computer's cultural influence has
in this way to a large extent centred on making processes invisible and on
heightening their efficiency ? about complex quantities of data
automatically stored and put into effect in opaque bureaucracies. The most
important digital art therefore works with the relation between visible
versus invisible, sensuous versus concealed, meaningful versus coded. This
makes it partially step out of the sensuous, which is otherwise the domain
of art. Maybe this is the reason it is so !
frequently overlooked?

If you think digital art is a new thing ? which would be easy to think
from the highly sporadic treatment of the subject by Danish museums ? then
visiting the ZKM and the Zuse Z22 is a good idea. As the literary
experiments on the Z22 points to, the first artists used the computer
40-50 years ago. As early as 1955-56, composers worked with computers and
ten years later we see the first experiments with algorithmic images and
animations created on the computers of the day.

Frieder Nake, who was among the first three artists to exhibit visual
computer art in 1965, also started his artistic experiments on Zuse Z22,
but the works displayed at ZKM were made on later computers. Frieder
Nake's early works are, as several of other early works, attempts at
visualising algorithms and algorithmic processes. At making visible the
invisible and visualising the abstract.

One example of this is images that let random processes determine the
number of edges on a polygon, their lengths and directions, such as Random
Polygon (1965). Or the works where elements are repeated in series, but
transposed by the way individual parameters are changed and influenced by
coincidence. Nake's art is, similarly to other algorithmic art, a kind of
art that depicts the relationship between rigid order and chance, and how
new both organic and rational structures occur.

Frieder Nake was a math student in Stuttgart and was given permission to
experiment with the computer at night in the early 1960s. The first time
digital art (by Georg Nees) was exhibited in February 1965 in Stuttgart,
other more traditional artists reacted with negativity according to Nake.
Max Bense, the organiser, tried defending the digital art against the
insulted artists as being 'artificial art'. An art that was not directly
traceable back to a creative artist expressing himself or his intentions,
but which was created with the help of programmed computers which most
viewed (and still view) as far from the domain of art.

Digital art, however, was not created in a vacuum. At the time of its
appearance the most advanced parts of the art scene were preoccupied with
opening art in new ways and towards new dimensions. Several of these
movements, such as Op-Art, Fluxus and kinetic art, are beneficially viewed
in relation to the cultural history of the computer. The exhibition
establishes this obvious connection by including these contemporary
movements, and it thus places digital art in an art-historic connection.
At the same time, the exhibition points out that the advanced art scene of
the 1960s was preoccupied with, and can with advantage be viewed in
relation to the arrival and growing importance of the computer.

The Fluxus artists dealt exhaustedly with coincidence and with recipes or
instructions as art. At the exhibition you can for example see George
Brecht's 'Universal Machine' from 1965, named after the computer
theoretician Alan Turing's famous description of the computer as a
universal machine and not just as a calculator, which had previously been
imagined. Brecht's universal machine is a box with things in it, which,
when you shake the box, can be arranged randomly on some images. The box
also contains some texts indicating how an interpretation of the placing
of the objects in relation to the images can answer different questions
for the art user.

The exhibition contains several examples of the Fluxus artists' use of
instructions as art, e.g. Tomas Schmidt's typewriter poem from 1964, which
is a typewriter keyboard with numbers indicating which order to press down
the keys in order to produce a poem. In the exhibited form the poem is
unreadable ? it has to be executed before it can be read ? and the
instruction is thus an unreadable code in the same way as a computer
program. The typewriter poem, however, points out this illegibility in the
algorithmic, functional language ? actually, it is this awareness that is
its artifice. Similarly, digital art points out the way the artist and the
human sender take a step back in relation to the expression. The machine
creates the expression ? the artist has like the lab-coated scientist
become an experimenting operator.

The potential of the algorithm was also explored in other ways within
contemporary analogue art. The Op-Art movement made virtual images,
created by effects in perception ? a kind of magic images pointing towards
the installations created today by an artist such as Olafur Eliasson.
Other artists were like the mobiles of the kinetic art, more preoccupied
with dynamics ? movements that never repeat themselves, and require an
interacting user to get started. The work becomes a machine without a
practical function such as Jean Tinguely's kinetic reliefs and sculptures.

In this way, the subject is art, which requires a user and an unfolding
before being realised. Works that are not realised until you interact with
them, and which in this way to a lesser extent express something in
themselves. But this is where art reflects the potential in, and the
consequences of, the algorithmic revolution. The machines become
expressive in a new way ? they are not merely impressive objects such as
steam engines, but become a part of communication itself. The artist can
in return take a step back for the benefit of the user, who through the
interaction realizes the work. Art in this way depicts that a new sign and
a new machine has entered the world, mediating the relationship between

In the early sixties these artists already recognised that culture and
society was rapidly changing, and that large humming machines such as the
Zuse Z22 were an important player in this revolution. Even though it had
at first been overlooked, it was also culture, social structures and art,
which came out of the computer. While most people only saw white lab coats
and technical usages, these visionary artists saw the seed of a new
culture and a new art. And their visions still seem very fresh in spite of
the many years ? like visions we are maybe only now beginning to
understand and appreciate. At times they are even shockingly visionary
compared to the more every day interaction we have with the computer
today. Perhaps the potential of the computer was more easily imagined
then, when it was not as ordinary and normalised.

Of course, the algorithmic revolution does not end in the 1960s.
Artistically, the digital art developed into net art, software art and
digital installations of our day, also displayed at the exhibition.
Frieder Nake has stated that he and the other early computer artists were
often frustrated about only being able to exhibit static printouts, when
the actual art was the algorithmic process and its infinity of potential
expressions. Later on it has of course become possible to exhibit dynamic
and interactive works, such as Golan Levin or Casey Rea's generative
works. Computer art has also developed into some spectacular and thought
provoking installations, such as Perry Hoberman's Bar Code Hotel (1994)
where the audience gets to play with a world of 3D figures via bar codes.

These works have to a large extent been related to their historic roots,
when shown in connection with the early algorithmic art. In this
connection they are not only understood as more or less magical and
spectacular works with a playing user in the centre, but also as works
that unfold the algorithmic process ? that take part in the algorithmic

If you are still hungry for more, ZKM also houses other exhibitions
reflecting a fresh look at the societal role of art, e.g. the currently
interesting, but somewhat messy, 'Making Things Public' (curated by Peter
Weibel and Bruno Latour). In the media museum's collection is also a
series of trend setting media artworks by Bill Viola, Nam June Paik along
with significant digital works by e.g. Jeffrey Shaw. It becomes apparent
that also video art looks good in ZKM's digital media-artistic connection.
Finally, the museum also houses a section for computer games. You can
safely set aside a couple of days if you are in the southwest corner of

More about Soeren Pold:

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From: joni taylor <joniponi2001 AT>
Date: Aug 26, 2005 5:52 AM
Subject: Conference Report: Garage Festival

Conference Report: Garage Festival
July 22 ? August 8, Stralsund, Germany
By Joni Taylor

The small harbourside town of Stralsund - situated on the Ost, or Baltic
sea ? may seem like an unlikely place for an electronic media festival,
but the Garage Festival is now in it?s ninth year and doesn?t seem to be
slowing down. What started out with some local artists (spearheaded by
director Carsten Stabenow) using a parent?s storage garage as a temporary
studio has developed into a 4-week event showcasing digital art and a
performance line-up to rival most major electronic music festivals. And
yes, it does still take place in the original garage. So amidst the fresh
herring, brotchen rolls, and the nightly production of a larger-than-life
open-air staging of ?West Side Story,? programmers, noise artists, fringe
scientists, video makers, and artists gathered again, this year, to
develop and present ideas to their fellow participants.

Their playful theme, ?Forget it, don't trust your archives,? was a
statement about the sheer mass of material that digital artists can
accumulate, and a question about how much of it is actually relevant to
their practice. As Stabenow points out, ?Thanks to digitization we are
relieved of the tedious obligation to decide what is worth preserving - we
therefore save everything and decide later what we need.?

The informal environment of Garage is integral to its success. Many of the
projects (including the ?Free Soil? project presented by Nis Rømer and
myself) were progressive and site-specific, taking place during the
festival itself. The week allowed us to conduct research on the
environment of the Baltic Sea, make field trips, and interview local
scientists and activists.

?Dokumat 5000,? by Nicolas Roy (DE), was a roving, documentary-making
robot, a triffid-like figure outfitted with a video camera. During the
festival, it filmed selected snippets and self-edited eerie glimpses of
street scenes and passers-by. Jan Zimmermann?s (DE) work documented a
month spent pressing one-off vinyl records in his ad-hoc container studio,
and in a mix of new and ancient arts, Alexej Paryla (DE) carved 10
collected fingerprints in stone, to be mounted somewhere in the city. He
told me, ?We are the only ones who don?t actually use this data.? Another
ongoing project was presented by Radio Copernicus. The Polish/German
collaborative set up a permanent radio station above the garage,
broadcasting online and occupying a local frequency. The open forum gave
artists an additional opportunity to present their projects, such as the
?Foofoofoo? software developed by Anna Ramos and Roc Jimenez (E). Their
program offered to capture the ?soundtrack of your life? by collecting all
of the sound files on your system and creating just one audio track.

Stralsund - like many East German towns over the last decade - is
experiencing a symptom known as ?shrinking,? with many residents moving
away and consequently creating excess space. The empty grain houses on the
harbour-front provided a dark and damp setting for the Garage
installations, which was ultimately fitting due to their mostly un-slick
aesthetic. In fact, half an hour of total darkness was even a prerequisite
for viewing ?Camera Lucinda,? by Evelina Domnitch and Dmitry Gelfand
(RU/USA). After adjusting to the light, one could make out the shape of
sound frequencies exploding and emitting their own light source.
Staalplaat Soundsytem (NL/De), famous for their groundbreaking noise
releases, offered ?The Ultra Sound of Therapy,? an audio treatment for
frazzled festival-goers. After being lead onto a hospital bed by a helpful
krankenschwester (nurse), one was administered a series of painless
electro-audio shocks and healing sounds. ?SCrAramBlEed?HaCkZ,? by Sven
Konig (CH), was an interactive, sing-a-long video lounge, where depending
on your input, the Mash-up rappers on screen repeated similar sounds. (We
worked out that it was only fun if you screamed really, really loudly!)

The Garage Festival staff laid out their own archives, providing mixed
media from past festivals and videos from the G_niale film festival, which
occurs during the last week. In a room evocative of many nerdy boys?
record libraries (cue ?High Fidelity?), their own way of archiving these
?objects? said a lot about storage space and media?s future obsoleteness.
Also included, here, was a disturbing-looking shredding machine by Visomat
Industries (De), offering other curators an easy way out.

During the week that I was there, I managed to catch a plethora of new and
surprising sound performances.
Elember Septeventh (De) took the archive theme to heart and literally
played a set of empty, mic?d-up filing cabinets. Remco Shuubiers and Remco
Packbiers (NL - those are their real names) presented a multi-media
overload, using the surprisingly old-skool tools of video and record
players together with multiple projectors. Evocative of early VHS cut-up
parties, they combined obscure TV recordings with dubby found sound. Yes,
it was very low tech, considering these wireless days, but it was also
fitting when paired with Desktopjam (NL), who used patching software for
their performance. Instead of hiding their jitter interface, they
projected it on top of the images they went on to create.

The ?vinyl? night featured an experimental exercise in all things RECORD.
Thilges 3, with Claudia Marzendorfer (A), spent the whole week prior to
their performance freezing ice replicas of their own records, only to
audibly destroy them all in the space of half an hour. The sounds of a
record needle slicing through ice grooves can be hypnotic! Sebastian
Buczek (PL) played wax and chocolate, and Ignaz Schick (De) scratched and
ground his needle though a selection of very un-needle-friendly looking
American atmos stalwart, John Duncan, played an eerie composition in
complete darkness and BMB con (NL) performed a glass dance piece. Tim
Tetzner, from Dense (De), curated an entertaining film line-up, offering
everything from an historical look at recording techniques to
documentaries about Norway?s noise scene.

The mood of Garage is one that emphasizes experimental technologies which
are not necessarily brand NEW, and gives a space to performers and artists
that exist off the ?new media? radar ? people that instead of jumping onto
every new gimmick actually create a craft from the ones they already use.
The feeling, this year, was one of excitement and growth, inspiring future

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Rhizome Digest is filtered by Marisa Olson (marisa AT ISSN:
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