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

Subject: RHIZOME DIGEST: 9.9.05
Date: Fri, 9 Sep 2005 12:05:25 -0700

RHIZOME DIGEST: September 9, 2005



2. rick silva: surface to air
3. alex galloway: CarnivorePE version 2
4. Brett Stalbaum: C5 Landscape Database API 1.0.3 release

5. Peter Horvath: Peter Horvath opening Saturday September 10 AT 64 Steps
Contemporary Art, Toronto
6. Lucy Kimbell: New projects in Berlin and Portsmouth
7. Marisa Olson: New Media Syllabi

8. Michael Szpakowski, curt cloninger: two things (not an exhaustive list)
about which I was wrong on this list

+Commissioned for
9. nathaniel stern: Report from Unyazi

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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: Rosanne Altstatt <roseira AT>
Date: Sep 9, 2005 10:41 AM


Position: Entry level, tenure track academic year appointment beginning
August 14, 2006.

Salary: Commensurate with experience and qualifications.

Responsibilities: Teach cross-disciplinary courses and develop curriculum
in New Media/Intermedia across the four divisions of the Patti and Rusty
Rueff Department of Visual and Performing Arts and in association with the
Purdue University Envision Center for Data Perceptualization. Courses
taught will depend upon candidate?s areas of expertise. Possibilities
include: net art, computer animation, computer-mediated performance and
object art, video installation, video design for dance and theatre, design
as performance, show control systems, Max/MSP/Jitter, scripting and/or
programming for visual and performance artists, and related areas.
Continuing professional work in creative endeavors and/or research beyond
Purdue University is required as is participation in usual departmental

Qualifications: M.F.A. or equivalent professional experience required.
Professional experience and university teaching preferred. Applicant must
be a practicing New Media/Intermedia artist with a strong theoretical
basis and have expertise in two or more of the following: motion capture,
CAVE? technology, motion graphics, tele-presence, robotic or sensor-based
technology, performance art, programming and/or scripting, human-machine
interface, virtual reality, or other related areas.

Department: The Patti and Rusty Rueff Department of Visual and Performing
Arts is comprised of four divisions (Art & Design, Dance, Music, and
Theatre) and has more than 950 undergraduate majors, 57 graduate students,
58 faculty and 15 professional and administrative staff members.

Facilities: The Yue-Kong Pao Hall of Visual and Performing Arts is a
state-of-the-art facility with eleven computer labs, design and
performance studios with integrated technology, and rehearsal,
performance, and exhibit spaces dedicated to the visual and performing
arts. Audio production studio and performance spaces, music computing,
visualization of three-dimensional objects and environments, motion
capture, digital photography, and digital textile production are some of
the technologies available to support a wide range of experimental
techniques, research., and teaching. The Envision Center for Data
Perceptualization is an interdisciplinary, high-performance visualization
teaching and research facility that supports computer graphics, advanced
visualization, and human computer interface technologies such as auditory,
haptic, and multimodal interaction. These technologies are integrated with
state-of-the-art advanced computational!
networking and high-end immersive visualization environments.

Procedure: Send a letter of introduction, a resume of professional and
(where applicable) academic experience, a digital portfolio (CDs, DVDs,
websites, etc.) of representative work, copies of reviews of art works (if
available), a statement of teaching interests and (where applicable)
previous teaching experience, three names and contact information of
current references, and a self-addressed stamped envelope for the return
of visual materials to:

Star Brown, Administrative Assistant to the Department Head
Yue-Kong Pao Hall for Visual and Performing Arts
552 West Wood Street
Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2002

Application: The preferential deadline is January 31, 2006. Screening will
continue until the position is filled.


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From: rick silva <rick AT>
Date: Sep 7, 2005 9:34 AM
Subject: surface to air

new work: surface to air
over 4 thousand surface pics from 4 continents taken over 4 years.

tags /
black / 15 pages / 288 photos /
blue / 15 pages / 296 photos /
brown / 34 pages / 680 photos /
gray / 45 pages / 887 photos /
green / 28 pages / 544 photos /
orange / 13 pages / 255 photos /
pink / 6 pages / 119 photos /
purple / 4 pages / 66 photos /
red / 17 pages / 321 photos /
white / 18 pages / 348 photos /
yellow / 16 pages / 301 photos /


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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: alex galloway <galloway AT>
Date: Sep 7, 2005 11:24 AM
Subject: CarnivorePE version 2

hey rhizomers..

i'm hoping some of you can download and test the new version 2 (beta)
of CarnivorePE. to solve previous bugs in the windows version, the
app has been completely rewritten in java and has been tested on
MacOSX, Win2k+XP, and Slackware Linux. if you like, you can test it

please let me know if it works for you. feedback always welcome...

if you have made a carnivore client in the past, fire it up and let
me know if the new carnivore works with your client. backward
compatibility is key, so let me know if you have problems...


+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + 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: Brett Stalbaum <stalbaum AT>
Date: Sep 8, 2005 10:21 AM
Subject: C5 Landscape Database API 1.0.3 release

C5 Landscape Database API 1.0.3 release
An Open Source GIS API for Digital Elevation Model processing and
performance (c) C5 corporation 2002-2005, under the GNU Lesser Public License

As exhibited (1.0.3b) in Fair Assembly: Making Things Public, online
project at the Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (The Center for Art
and Media Technology), Karlsruhe, Germany, Curator: Steve Deitz.

* DEM packages
* RDBMS packages for DEM data
* Support for processing DEM data dynamically
* Analytic table support for landscape searching
* Simple GUI (demtool) for viewing DEMs
* Support for data export and management

Overview of C5 Landscape Database API 1.0.3

The C5 Landscape Database API 1.0.3 began as a Digital Elevation Model
browser and data export tool, (DEM Tool), written in java. Now a part of
the C5 Landscape Database API packages, the C5 DEM Tool is still useful
for browsing a collection DEM files via a simple graphical user interface.
But since the original release of the Dem Tool utility and related classes
in 2002, the library of related Java classes have grown and were
significantly reorganized. The mission of the API also drifted
as C5 theorized the relationships between landscape data and art practice
and began implementing software mediated performances in the landscape,
all of which led us to theorize more, rewrite the software, and perform
yet more experiments in the landscape. Now merged with the capabilities of
a number of C5 Perl modules (which were retired after being ported to java
this year), the software has evolved into a robust platform for data
mediated practice in the landscape, through much experimentation and
performance during the course of developing the C5 Landscape Initiative

For more information on C5 Corporation

Current Applications of the API:

The Other Path (2004 and ongoing)
See also Deitz, Steve, *The Path More or Less Taken*, May 2005

The C5 GPS Media Player - a visual interface providing the ability to
navigate and display the GPS tracks and their related media

And various other projects... C5 hopes others will find these packages

Written in Java, C5 Landscape Database runs on UNIX variants and Windows
systems with Java 1.5 (Java 2), or any other system for which Java 2 is

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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: Peter Horvath <rhizome AT>
Date: Sep 2, 2005 1:36 PM
Subject: Peter Horvath opening Saturday September 10 AT 64 Steps
Contemporary Art, Toronto



Bradley Baker, 64 Steps Contemporary Art, 1164 Queen St. W. Toronto,
Canada. Gallery hours Wednesday - Saturday 12 - 5. Opening reception
Saturday September 10, 7pm - 10pm

Phone: 416.535.7837

Email: 64steps AT


64 Steps Contemporary Art is pleased to announce the opening and
subsequent exhibition of Peter Horvath's newest work of web cinema
'Tenderly Yours' as a projected installation. A 65 page, limited edition
hardcover publication accompanies the exhibition.

With appearance and narration spoken by Joséphine Truffaut, Tenderly Yours
resituates the personal, casual and ambiguous approach of French new wave
cinema in a net art narrative that explores love, loss and memory.

"The story is recited by a striking and illustrious persona, who moves
through the city with her lover. Her willful independence is intoxicating,
though her sense of self is ambiguous and a fear of intimacy consuming.
Then, one day she suddenly disappears. Her lover is left bewildered and is
posed to question whether she is a fiction, who fades with every passing
recollection. At this moment, her face reappears only to be united with
that of a movie actress, whose striking resemblance further questions the
certainty of her existence. Here we encounter a series of filmic
?doubles?, of French new wave cinema rendered as net art and in turn, of
net art as cinema." - Celina Jeffery

"Life, for Jean-Luc Godard's 'children of Marx and coca-cola,' was an
extended meditation on politics, pop culture and the vicissitudes of
dating. Peter Horvath adapts the concerns of this generation and the
filmic style in which they were rendered in his new work of net cinema
'Tenderly Yours.' Here, the story of Joséphine--a contemporary French
woman who 'detests money/ thinks herself a marxist/ and thinks she is too
old for her age'--unfolds (...) Nodding both to the early writings found
in the journal Cahiers du Cinema and Lev Manovich's more recent Soft
Cinema, 'Tenderly Yours' exploits net conventions to emulate the
spontaneous, fragmented and naturalistic mode of new wave filmmaking." -
Lauren Cornell

Peter Horvath works in video, sound, photo and new media. Camera in hand
since age 6, he inhaled darkroom fumes until his late 20?s, then began
exploring time based art forms. He immersed himself in digital
technologies at the birth of the Web, co-founded, a site for net
art, and adopted techniques of photomontage which he uses in his net and
print based works. Exhibitions include the Whitney Museum Of American
Art?s Artport, the 18th Stuttgarter Filmwinter (Stuttgart, Germany), FILE
Electronic Language International Festival (Sâo Paulo, Brazil), Video Zone
International Video Art Biennial (Tel Aviv, Israel), the Musée national
des beaux-arts du Québec (Québec City, Canada), as well as venues in New
York, Tokyo, London, and numerous net art showings. He is the recipient of
commissions from at The New Museum, NYC (2005) and New Radio and Performing Arts, Boston (2004). A founding
member of the net art collective, he likes to consider a future
when high bandwidth will be free.

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From: Lucy Kimbell <inbox AT>
Date: Sep 4, 2005 11:41 AM
Subject: New projects in Berlin and Portsmouth

---Product & Vision: Interfaces and boundaries in art and economy

Exhibition at Kunstfabrik am Flutgraben, Berlin, Germany
9 September - 9 October

What happens if a corporation - in this case, the Berlin-based publishing
house Cornelsen - opens its doors to a group of artists? Can artists or
arts and Cornelsen or the corporate sector in general learn something from
each other, or will their autonomy be questioned? The participants of
Product & Vision have studied, amongst others, the finance structure, the
identification of the employees with the company, the products
(schoolbooks), the production process, the image of the company, and the
organisational structure. This exhibition presents the results of this
artistic process in installations, videos, pictures and performances,
together with other works from the field of art and business.

Product & Vision is initiated by artists Mari Brellochs and Henrik Schrat
in cooperation with the Berlin-based art venue Kunstfabrik am Flutgraben.
Product & Vision focuses on businesses/enterprises as a dominating form of
social organisation. Interfaces and boundaries between art and economy are
one of the central issues. How do companies learn, how do artists learn?
What does social responsibility mean for artists, and for companies? On
the other side the enterprise becomes a model, a source of inspiration for
artistic and academic work. To provide a real-life example, the publishing
house Cornelsen has been incorporated into the project as a case study,
producing exciting interactions for both sides. The company gave the
participants of the project insight into their organization and into the
working processes, to develop ideas, comments and criticism about them.

As part of the project, a Reader ?Sophisticated survival techniques.
Strategies in Art and Economy? is published. A catalogue will be published
after the exhibition.

Participants of the exhibition:
Acces Local (Paris), Mari Brellochs (Berlin), Cornelsen Verlag (Berlin),
Neil Cummings/Marysia Lewandowska (London), Katja Diallo
(Dordrecht/Berlin), etoy.CORPORATION (Zürich/international), Rainer Goerss
(Berlin), Kent Hansen
(Kopenhagen), Imagination Lab (Lausanne), Lucy Kimbell (London), Learning
Lab Dänemark (Kopenhagen), Orgacom (Amsterdam), osb-i systemische
Organisationsberatung (Tübingen, Wien), REINIGUNGSGESELLSCHAFT (Dresden),
Institut für Ressourcenschonung Innovation und Sustainability (Berlin),
Henrik Schrat (Berlin), Enno Schmidt (Frankfurt a.M.), Barbara Steveni
(London), Joël Verwimp (Berlin).

Opening: 8 September 2005, 7 pm
Performance "I?m an archive?, Barbara Steveni (Organisation + Imagination,

Panel discussion: 9 September 2005, 8 pm
"Organisational Art. Exploring the relationship between art and business"
(in English) with Barbara Steveni (artist, GB), Wolf-Rüdiger Feldmann (CEO
Cornelsen Verlag, GER),Fritz B. Simon (Sociologist, GER), Matt Statler
(Imagination Lab Lausanne, CH). Moderation: Pierre Guillet de Monthoux
(Stockholm University, S)

---Day-to-Day Data

An exhbition of artists who collect, list, database and absurdly analyse
the data of everyday life. Curated by artist Ellie Harrison. Artists
include: Cleo Broda, Richard Dedomenici, Jem Finer, Ellie Harrison, Tony
Kemplen, Lucy Kimbell, Christian Nold, Abigail Reynolds

Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth, 17 September ? 29 October
Danielle Arnaud Contemporary Art, London, 10 March ? 23 April 2006

Other current projects by Lucy Kimbell include:

- Pindices, a collaboration with sociologist Andrew Barry, in Making
Things Public, ZKM Karlsruhe, Germany, until November

- One Night with Rats in the Service of Art, performance lecture at Rules
of Engagement sci-art conference, York, September 5-7

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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: Marisa Olson <marisa AT>
Date: Sep 9, 2005 10:18 AM
Subject: New Media Syllabi

Hi, all. I've started making a list of new media syllabi, here:

It's a very basic list, fleshed-out by my own surfing, Trebor Scholz's
great links, and contributions from subscribers to Rhizome_Raw.
The list includes mostly history & theory courses, in addition to a few
general educational resources.

Please feel free to send me URLs to additional syllabi about which you
know. I will continue keeping the list and if it quadruples in size, I
will post another ping to the list. Meanwhile, bookmark it and watch it
grow! Hopefully it can be a resource to students and teachers, alike.


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From: Michael Szpakowski <szpako AT>, curt cloninger <curt AT>
Date: Sep 8, 2005 7:47 AM

Michael Szpakowski <szpako AT> posted:

For anyone who cares:
I was wrong about Tracey Emin - it's a body of work of real substance &
I'm now especially taken by her drawing.

I was also dead wrong about Cory Arcangel's Data Diaries -I've been
looking at these again prompted by a post on Doron's DV Blog & I think
they're great ( I love the sound in particular, but its all good)

In both cases it was a combination of personal experience ( so, getting
stuck into drawing & also doing hard practical thinking about lots of
different approaches to video) but also mulling ( over some time) over
stuff discussed , points made, here on RAW that made me (a) appreciate the
value of stuff I hadn't really got before & (b) come to slightly more
nuanced positions on some of the philosophical issues.


curt cloninger <curt AT> replied:

Hi Michael,

I'm not trying to put you on the spot or anything, but it would be
interesting to hear you expound a bit more on:
1. what you thought about the works before
2. what you think about them now
3. (most interestingly) what changed in your understanding that caused you
to appreciate them.

Personally, I like data diaries on several different levels, not the least
of which is abstract/aesthetic.

Tracy Emin's work still seems awkward. So much of its alleged impact is
derived from Emin's alleegedly self-aware situationing of the work
vis-a-vis the context of the artworld stage she's been given, which in
turn undermines any endearing outsider impact the work might otherwise
have had. I love the rhetorical deftness of this dis (by Richard
Dorment): "What interests me about Emin is not her relentless
self-absorption, limitless self-pity or compulsion to confess the sad
details of her past life, but that all of this adds up to so little of
real interest." Ouch.

Are you up to defending "My Bed," or is it her entire oeuvre that need be


Michael Szpakowski <szpako AT> replied:

Hi Curt
< I'm not trying to put you on the spot or anything,>

well I pretty much invited it..

<what you thought about the works before...2. what you think about them
now...3. (most interestingly) what changed in your understanding that
caused you to
appreciate them>

I *was* pretty splenetic about Data Diaries - a few things came together
on that but the gist of my position was that it was a one liner -
essentially fairly disposable conceptualism with some almost optional
visuals and sounds ( and way too many of them, in that I felt then that
they were there just to *illustrate the point*) that came with the "idea".
Furthermore Alex Galloway in his intro piece made a big point, indeed a
virtue, ( and of course it was entirely unfair of me to take this out on
the work itself) of that fact that it stemmed from a clever but
essentially very quick hack.

I would want to say that I find the one liner culture in general a
depressing thing & that I see lots of work that gives me no reason to feel
any more charitable to it than I did then. The artistic one liner
currently comes, as you know, almost inevitably with some sort of
explicatory statement, usually by the artist her/himself although in this
case the honours were done by Alex Galloway. In general, its something
I'm pretty uncomfortable with since the pairing of one liner and usually
theory laden explanation is often at kindest banale. Nevertheless I was
wrong about Data Diaries. The main reason is that I was blind then to the
fact that the work is simply enormously beautiful - I've spent a lot of
the past two years thinking about film and video both theoretically and
practically and I think that this has perhaps improved my *looking* - I do
see the piece in a completely different way now
-I've also recognised ( and said elsewhere) that I've come to understand
that artists whom I don't greatly care for have made it possible for me to
use -rather conservatised -forms of their innovations within my own work
and this has made me less ready to rush to judgement.

Secondly I feel less dogmatic than I did about the artist statement, again
partly through personal experience; whilst I hope never ever to be caught
quoting Baudrillard in speaking about my work I realised practically that
when people ask me questions about it I'm not averse to answering, either
artistically and technically, so it seem both hypocritical and perverse to
rail *on principle* against those who provide such answers in advance
(when they write crap, as is so often the case, because someone has told
them that what artists do is to write inpenetrable artists statements,
they are of course entirely fair game). I also have thought a great deal
about how art fits into society more generally,and the more I think about
it the more it seems to me that the life of any artwork exists way beyond
the boundaries of the work itself, indeed way beyond the artworld - it's
part of an huge ongoing conversation between human beings, some of whom
are members of the "artworld" many of whom are not -this is what a
"tradition" is, or rather this is what a tradition is part of. "Everything
is connected" as good old Vladimir Ilyich so rightly said.
So I now accept the factual content of Galloway's introduction as a
helpful and enlightening contexting of the piece.

Lastly, I think I was rather stuck up about craft - I'm not recanting
here, it's something I'll continue to fly the flag for *but* (a) Data
Diaries *is* *very* clever -and a bit like jazz improvisation, which we've
discussed before, the act of creating a particular, apparently effortless
(not quite effortless, I'm trying to say something like
apparently-unstriven-for) piece has to be put into the context of all the
preparatory work on pieces or solos that necessarily prepared the artist
for *this one* (b) which of us has not made work that contains whole
strings of accidents? I think my former , rather prudish, account of how
an artist worked, couched in terms of an initial vision realised through a
highly controlled craft process simply doesn't match up to the evidence of
my own making experience ( and what my increasingly educated eye reads in
the work of others.) which is maybe 50-80% planning and craft, 20-50%

Another factor that helped along my change of mind was my growing
appreciation of the work of MTAA, to which I was originally quite hostile,
but which gradually really got under my skin for a number of reasons -wit,
a way of generating real substance from quite flimsy conceptualist
premises and last but not least the fact that craft-wise their work is
always *so* irreproachably made. I think my essential postition and tastes
have not substantially altered from those I've argued and displayed here
on a number of occasions - what I think has changed is that I'm looking
and thinking better -I've understood that work I intially dismissed has
merits that with a little bit of wriggle room are pretty much within my
consciously articulated tastes-of course enjoying them viscerally is the
key test, the thing that always come first. This brings me on to Emin.
Didn't like her at all -now a lot of what she does, I do like -especially
the drawings & the embroidery pieces & it's a visceral, not an
intellectual change - the drawings were the way in.For the last year or so
I've been struggling with drawing, which I find *really* difficult but
also fascinating and absorbing - I saw some of Emin's a few months back
and they *moved* me.'Bed' seems to me pretty dull, derivative and lazy &
but I now think this is the exception and that I was wrong about her in
general. The reason that I posted the original "recantation" was that I
enjoy enormously the stimulation of being involved with discussions here
about work - I don't think *my* change of heart is of any great
significance to anyone but I did want to say in all honesty that I think I
did make two serious errors of judgement - I don't feel guilty or anything
but I wanted to offer testimony of a mind changing through doing, looking,
thought and discussion.

warmest wishes

Curt Cloninger <curt AT> replied:

Thanks Michael,

That all makes sense.

I haven't seen Emin's drawings, so I can't comment.

Regarding MTAA, I'm surprised at how frequently I wind up showing their
work to students as an example of this or that conceptual approach. For
whatever reason, it is pedagogically illustrative and object-lesson
oriented (while still being funny). We had a lively discussion in class
the other day about the relative merits of:

(but my favorite is still: )


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From: nathaniel stern <nathaniel AT>
Date: Sep 9, 2005
Subject: Report from Unyazi

Electronic Music Symposium and Festival 2005
Wits School of the Arts, University of the Witwatersrand
Johannesburg, South Africa
September 1-4, 2005
by nathaniel stern--

Positioning itself as ?the first festival of electronic music and sonic
art in Africa,? the main successes of Unyazi can be summed up in two
words: listening and exchange. Director Dimitri Voudouris and Associate
Director Christo Doherty hoped that the festival would open up more
potential for experimental sound art in South Africa, by introducing it to
the international scene. It also became a platform for the re-examination
of the polyphyletic origins of electronic music as rooted in listening,
performance, and improvisation --exactly the things that African culture
has to offer.

The two most exciting composers at the festival had to be Pauline Oliveros
and Halim El-Dabh --each of whom gave a lecture, a workshop, and a
performance, in addition to being all-around playful, giving, and
interesting characters.

Pauline Oliveros coined the term ?Deep Listening,? and considers most of
her pieces to be ?Sonic Meditations.? Always interested in the
undetectable delay ?live? music began having after the introduction of
electronics (even with the simplest amps and speakers), her early
experiments used echo and modulation effects, in hardware loops, as a kind
of improvisational collaborative instrument. Having worked with the likes
of Philip Glass and David Tudor (one of her more interesting compositions
is made up of a water bottle chorus and apple box orchestra, circa 1965),
she's now moved into the world of self-produced software, with the
Extended Instrument System (shareware!).

?What were you like at 5?? she asked one of her workshop's participants,
after he questioned how some musicians might be frustrated by her
distortions of their sound. ?Either you want to play with me or you don't;
there's plenty of room for other sandboxes.? At first I found Pauline's
misuse of some technical terms a bit annoying, mixing up CPU with memory,
and continually shifting definitions--like what ?real-time? means. But
after spending some time with her, I realized that she was probably doing
this on purpose; she's cheerful about having no training in music or
engineering, likes breaking (or pretending there aren't any) rules, and
loves bringing non-musicians into the fold. ?Set up an environment like
this,? Pauline contends, ?and pretty soon people start listening,?
improvising, making music. The highlight here was an impromptu duet with
South Africa's own emerging arts celebrity, James Webb. Pauline said he
played ?a mean water bottle.?

Halim, on the other hand, was experimenting with wire recorders to
organize found sounds in the 1940s, in Egypt--well before tape recorders
were a twinkle in the loopmaster's eye. He takes pride in the fact that he
was ?just a farmer who played with noise,? until producing his most famous
piece, and becoming an 'international composer' overnight (?neither of
which was I before!?). A contemporary of Haile Selassie's (this isn't
vital to his music career, but plays into his passion for African
politics), he's considered a pioneer in his field, and has worked with the
likes of John Cage and Martha Graham. He's also very sweet, excitable,
more than a bit of a partier (actually pretty hard to keep up with, even
though he's now in his eighties), and a very cheeky bugger.

At his talk, Halim asked his listeners to detach the history of electronic
music from its assumed Western base. In all his research in the ?most
remote parts of Africa,? the commonality he seemed to always find was a
tradition in ?transformations of sound.? Although some forms of
experimental and electronic music sound foreign to the Western ear, he
argued, they ?made sense? to his fellow Africans. This is not a matter of
taking found sounds and overlaying them into a timeline; it's a tradition
of performative ritual and meditation, of finding and re-appropriating
aural instruments. While contemplating this, I kept thinking of when Brian
Eno came and did some workshops in Joburg, and was reminded of an
interview in Wired, where he asked, ?Does this make clearer why I welcome
that African thing? It's not nostalgia or admiration of the exotic--it's
saying, here is a bundle of ideas that we would do well to learn from.?

Aside from their amazing engagement with South Africa's academics,
artists, fellow musicians, and other interested parties, Pauline and Halim
also put on some hot performances. The former worked with her laptop, a
conch, some percussive instruments, her voice, and a few sticks of wood to
produce a semi-improvisational ambience, while Halim had a series of
collaborations with international and local musicians, open to the public.
The best of said duets had to be 'Michael And The Dragon,' on Friday
night, with George Lewis; rustling, kissing, bending and distorting--he's
all up in there--Lewis treats his trombone like a cross between the monkey
bars and a lover. After running this sonic treat through some simple
hardware, and re-mixing it with Halim's real-time wave generation and
electronic tape, the composition literally made my insides crunch.

And so the backbone of the festival was set: playful and provocative,
experimental and exploratory, collaborative, and amusing. I couldn't get
to everything on offer, but here's a report on some of the other work I
saw and people I spoke with.

In the lobby of the Digital Convent, home to Wit's Digital Arts program,
were Toni Olivier's (SA) interactive installations, one of which allowed
participants to trigger and modulate her homemade sounds, and the other, a
cool piece that played short clips from 80s films. It was in the Convent
where Unyazi housed its ?Listening Room? for some international musicians
who could not make the festival, or pieces created in the studio and
intended for headphones. The Listening Room also screened the newest works
of acclaimed SA filmmaker Aryan Kaganof.

After the fest's opening remarks, Thursday kicked off an ongoing, four-day
workshop with Luc Houtkamp's POW Ensemble. It encouraged local musicians
who play indigenous instruments to use computer technology alongside their
acoustic creations. This culminated in a short performance at the end of
the fest. Matthew Ostrowski gave a talk about worldwide shared sounds from
a large database of aural material, and went on to ?sculpt a sonic
experience,? by using a sensor-driven glove and real-time 3-D space in
Max/MSP. Local experimental-jazz-pop star Carlo Mombelli did a set with
Berlin's electro-acoustic newcomer João Orecchia, and Cape Town's Brendon
Bussy collaborated with Trumpet player Etienne Moorcroft to perform a
crazy, piece lacking time signature, ?Tick.?

Thursday's highlight, for me, was the
kinetic-sculpture-installation-performance thing by Canadian Maxime Rioux.
Simply called 'Unyazi 2005,' it used about 30 sculptures of speakers
attached to SA-found noise and musical instruments on springs. Each
individual device was triggered by electrical impulses to create an
orchestra of generative music. Yannis Kyriakides later screened
'Wordless,' an utterly beautiful series of sonic interviews, where he
removed all the words, leaving portraits made only of the breaths and
pauses between. The night ended with South Africa's now-legendary
turntablist and bassist, Warrick Sony (originally from the Kalahari
Surfers), mixing German and African music in real-time.

Friday saw Rodrigo Sigal presenting, and playing alongside, audio-visual
work from Mexico, and Sandra Ndebele's traditional Zimbabwean dances. One
of the real treats was ?...anywhere far,? a collaboration between Natal's
Electronic Music Studio (Ulrich Süsse and Jürgen Bräuninger) with the
extremely talented jazz musicians Zim Ngqawana (sax, percussion) and Sazi
Dlamini (Mbira, flutes, percussion). After Halim's series of duets,
Friday ended with an incredibly physical dance / performance from Zim
Ngqawana and his saxophone.

Saturday began with Theo Herbst, from Stellenbosch University, using
EyesWeb and a webcam between the audience and a B-Grade film, to playback
and modulate electro-acoustic samples. Pauline's 'Sounding in the
Sonosphere' was the aforementioned gem of the day, and Director Dimitri
Voudouris composed 'L22P08M02,? a political piece dedicated to the
Landless People's Movement. Athena Mazarakis, probably South Africa's most
underrated choreographer, worked with students to produce an appropriately
sombre theatrical accompaniment.

That evening, and the following day in his workshop, Francisco Lopez
(Spain) had to be the man that really opened my eyes to some of the more
experimental and ambient sides of electronic art music. Working solely in
concrète music (the editing together of natural and industrial sounds--in
his case, the former) and performing it acousmatically (?shot and
developed in the studio, and projected in a hall, like a film, at a
subsequent date?--thank you, Wikipedia), he had us walk into 'Untitled' to
find blindfolds on our seats, with an invitation to lie on the floor. His
beautiful piece used the natural world as a source, but never tried to
approximate or simulate from whence it came. He simply layered his field
recordings, which he's been collecting for the last 25 years, to produce
hundreds of compositions.

Francisco's workshop followed electronic music's history through a variety
of practices, and explained his use of acousmatics in order to produce
immersive aural spaces. He laughed about how everyone from DJs to
lip-synchers had been ?upgraded? to performing on stage, while he mostly
uses concert halls for their great acoustics; not really a performer with
a rock star attitude, Francisco just hits the play button and sits down
somewhere else. My favorite project of his was one in which he had blind
participants lead blindfolded sighted people through their cities. The
night ended with Johannesburg-based experimental duo, Schnee--Christof
Kurzman on a G3, clarinet, and voice, Burkhard Stangl on guitar and

Sunday, the final day, saw a lot of hanging out with our newly formed
clique, and a fair number of collaborations between the artists in
residence. I caught a great improv performance by Lukas Ligeti, known
mostly for using combinations of Western and African traditions in new and
interesting ways--he performed with some electronic percussion, and a
marimba lumina.

The festival finally closed with James Webb and James Sey's (SA) new piece
meant for radio, 'The Utopia Travelogues,' a beautiful journey in ironic
text and narrative sound about a lost Englishman in North Africa. My
favorite line had to be, ?I think the poor fool wants to build a
thought-activated sound weapon to use in his pitiful desert wars. Perhaps
he can be converted to the cause... and after dessert we've been promised

>From here, visitors started their tours of South Africa, the Kruger Park,
Cape Town, etc. South Africans are listening a little more carefully to
their surroundings (the Associate Director told me he could now hear three
distinct notes in his leaky faucet), and are feeling inspired while
planning their next projects. Dimitri is working on his solo album (to be
released on Pauline Oliveros' label), he is in talks with Christo Doherty
about starting an experimental sound lab at the University of the
Witwatersrand, and both are already discussing possibilities for the next
Unyazi festival (now declared a Biennale, and scheduled for 2007). I've
promised to down-low their potential guests, but the bar is set, and
they're aiming even higher.

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Rhizome Digest is filtered by Marisa Olson (marisa AT ISSN:
1525-9110. Volume 10, number 36. Article submissions to list AT
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