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: 9.16.05
Date: Fri, 16 Sep 2005 10:53:54 -0700

RHIZOME DIGEST: September 16, 2005


1. Joshua Ippel: Mind in Matter: Constructions of the Built Environment
2. Troy Innocent: ::: THIRD ITERATION - Final Call for Papers & Artworks
3. drew hemment: CFP - Mobile Music Technology workshop 2006

4. Sal Randolph: whereyouare, an invitation

5. Ken Goldberg: atc AT ucb: fall 2005-spring 2006
6. nick AT 23 Reasons to Spare New York: Music Videos from
the Art Rock Scene
7. Greg Smith: vague terrain 24/09 Toronto

+Commissioned for
8. Ryan Griffis: Interview: AUDC and the Disappearance of Architecture

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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: Joshua Ippel <joshippel AT>
Date: Sep 12, 2005 8:54 AM
Subject: Mind in Matter: Constructions of the Built Environment


Beneath our feet and above our heads, sidewalks, lawns, plazas, blocks,
gardens, buildings, streets, and curbs surround and bound the spaces in
which we move and live. Much more than a lifeless negative space, these
elements of the built environment provide us with symbols through which we
construct our understanding of the world, deriving stories about our past,
present and future.

At the same time, architects, planners, and designers, acting under the
influence of political, social, and economic forces, tear down, alter,
construct, and preserve these physical forms in an attempt to shape the
environment along socio-political and aesthetic lines. The tension
between these ?intended? uses and the meanings assigned to the resulting
physical environment by different individuals and groups is played out in
nearly every social arena, from the political to the interpersonal.

As an art space located just north of downtown Champaign, Illinois,
OPENSOURCE Art is itself not free from troubling questions about its
situation in the physical environment and the polarizing interpretations
of that circumstance. OPENSOURCE can be viewed, on one hand, as a
progressive-minded, community-based art space bringing new life to an
aging and abandoned neighborhood. Another view is that OPENSOURCE is an
opportunistic appropriation of a vibrant historical neighborhood by a
privileged group of artists complicit in a process of displacement and
imperialism. Cognizant of these polemic interpretations of our own
existence, we feel that OPENSOURCE serves as a sensible starting point for
an investigation into the creation of structure and meaning in the built

Mind in Matter seeks works that explore the ways in which we perceive,
interpret, and react to these tensions in the constructed forms and spaces
that surround us.

Contributions might choose to address the following:
? Site-specific installations that engage with the realities of
OPENSOURCE?s situation in the spatial and temporal urban fabric;
? Other site-specific installations (in OPENSOURCE or elsewhere) that
respond to the built environment;
? Differing interpretations of and reaction to elements of the built
environment at varying scales;
? Political ramifications of the interpretation of forms and space;
? Creation of social cues in the urban design process;
? The arbitrary and artificial divide between ?scientific analysis? and
?artistic reaction.?

October 7th ? Submission deadline
October 14th ? Notification of acceptances
Nov. 3rd ? Artwork due at OPENSOURCE
Nov. 10th ? Opening reception, 7-10 pm

Submission guidelines:
Please submit a detailed proposal that includes documentation,
installation time and contact information. Documentation may be in the
form of, but not limited to, drawings, sketches, slides, video, cd and
dvd. Supporting materials (cv, portfolio, statement, etc.) are not
necessary, but would be helpful.

Proposals may be sent via postal service, email or delivered in person.

12 E. Washington
Champaign, Illinois 61820

opensource AT

NOTE: If you would like your proposal returned, please include a
self-addressed package with sufficient return postage in the form of
stamps. Accepted works must include return packaging and proper postage.
Materials that cannot be returned will become donations to OPENSOURCE.
OPENSOURCE is not responsible for lost or damaged material.

Curation process:
This show will be juried by five people, including at least one OPENSOURCE
co-director. Inclusion or exclusion of each piece will be decided by a
majority vote. Any work submitted by members of the committee will be
voted on by the full OPENSOURCE membership at the Oct. 14 member meeting.

Specific works are likely to be solicited, and some flexibility may be
exercised for these entries with regard to scheduling.

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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: Troy Innocent <troy AT>
Date: Sep 14, 2005 12:05 AM
Subject: ::: THIRD ITERATION - Final Call for Papers & Artworks

FINAL CALL for Papers & Artworks

The Conference Committee has been inundated with a great number of
requests to extend the deadline for submission of Papers,
Technical/Artist Talks and Artworks. The new and absolute final date for
submission is now September 23, 2005.

For submissions being posted, please email iterate AT so
we can confirm receipt of your material.

third international conference on generative systems in the electronic arts
November 30th to December 2nd, 2005: Melbourne, Australia

THIRD ITERATION is the third international conference on generative
systems in the electronic arts. It investigates three major themes ?
human-computer creativity, generative meaning systems, and the
computational sublime. Following on from First Iteration (1999) and
Second Iteration (2001), this year?s conference will be held in
Melbourne, Australia.

For further information please visit the conference web site at or contact us via email
at iterate 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: drew hemment <drew AT>
Date: Sep 15, 2005 8:46 PM
Subject: CFP - Mobile Music Technology workshop 2006

Apologies for cross-posting.



Combining mobile technology and music promises some exciting developments
in a rapidly emerging field. Devices such as mobile phones, walkmans and
iPods have already brought music to the ever-changing social and
geographic locations of their users and reshaped their experience of the
urban landscape. With new properties such as ad hoc networking, Internet
connection, and context-awareness, mobile music technology offers
countless new artistic, commercial and socio-cultural opportunities for
music creation, listening and sharing. How can we push forward the already
successful combination of music and mobile technology? What new forms of
interaction with music lie ahead, as locative media and music use merge
into new forms of everyday experiences?

Following two successful workshops that started to explore and establish
the emerging field of mobile music technology, this third edition offers a
unique opportunity to participate in the development of mobile music and
hands-on experience of the latest cutting-edge technology. The programme
will consist of presentations from invited speakers, in-depth discussions
about the crucial issues of mobile music technology, hands-on group
activities and break-out sessions where participants can get valuable
feedback on their work-inprogress projects. The invited speakers include
Michael Bull (University of Sussex, UK), often dubbed by the press as
'Professor iPod' for his iPod and car stereo user studies that reveal
fascinating trends for mobile music.

The workshop will take place at the University of Sussex in Brighton, UK.
Brighton is situated on the British 'Sunshine Coast' and easily
accessible: only 30 minutes from London/Gatwick airport and 60 minutes
from central London.

Don't miss this chance to help shape the mobile music landscape!


We invite practitioners, artists, designers and researchers from all
areas, including music, technology development, new media, sound-art,
music distribution, locative media and industry to register for this
international mobile music workshop.


Are you working on a mobile music project and looking for feedback from
like-minded people to help you to move on with your ideas?

We invite submissions of work-in-progress projects exploring the topic of
mobile music. Projects will be discussed, receive critical review as well
as support with ongoing problems and issues. Your work should not be
completed yet, but either be on-going or just about to get started.
Potential projects could include but are not limited to mobile music
systems or enabling technologies, interface design, on-going or planned
user studies, ethnographic fieldwork, art pieces and other areas relevant
to mobile music.

Submissions should include a presentation of the project, explain its
relevance to the field of mobile music and describe issues and problems
that could be discussed during the workshop. Please include a short
biography with the submission.
Accepted project authors will be given time to present and discuss their
work and will receive feedback by smaller groups of workshop participants
including specialists in the field. Authors are encouraged to bring
material and prototypes to the workshop.

Submission format: one page in ACM SIG publications format.
Submission deadline: 28th November 2005
Notification of acceptance: 15th December 2005


In addition to the presentations, discussions and project feedback
sessions the workshop will also offer handson group activities to explore
technological platforms.

We are looking for mobile platforms, systems, installations, applications
or devices that include music features or can be used for musical
projects. The workshop participants will get hands-on experience with
these platforms, so they should be suitable for groups of at least 8
people. This provides you with the opportunity to introduce your platform
to experts and practitioners in the field of mobile music and to gain
valuable feedback. We invite you to submit a platform description, explain
how it can be used for mobile music and how larger groups can use it
during the workshop.

Submission format: one page in ACM SIG publications format
Submission deadline: 31st October 2005
Notification of acceptance: 14th November 2005


Please send your platform or project submission as a PDF file, to all
three, f.behrendt AT (Frauke Behrendt), lalya AT (Lalya
Gaye) and dh AT (Drew Hemment). In the subject line, state
name of the main author.


The number of participants is limited to 25 places. Accepted submitters
are given priority, other participants are accepted on a first-come
first-served basis. Regular fee for the workshop is 70 Euros (47 GBP), and
reduced student fee is 45 Euros (30 GBP). The fee includes morning and
afternoon coffee breaks and lunch for both days.

Registration deadline: 17th January 2006


For more information about the previous and up-coming workshops, as well
as the ACM SIG publications format and travel and accommodation
information, please consult the website:

The 3rd international workshop on mobile music technology is organised by
the Department of Media and Film Studies, University of Sussex (UK), the
Future Applications Lab, Viktoria Institute (SWE) and Adelphi Research
Institute, University of Salford (UK). In collaboration with PLAN
(Pervasive and Locative Arts Network) and Futuresonic.


Frauke Behrendt: f.behrendt AT
Lalya Gaye: lalya AT
Drew Hemment: drew AT

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

For the 2005-2006 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: Sal Randolph <sal AT>
Date: Sep 15, 2005 10:57 AM
Subject: whereyouare, an invitation

Dear friends,

I'd like to invite you to participate in a new project of mine.

Whereyouare ( ) is an experiment in the collective
documentation of neighborhoods. It harnesses the power of folksonomy tags
from a range of sites that host and organize content of different kinds
(flickr for photos, vimeo for video, delicious for links, etc.). To
contribute, you simply tag your content with a tag that is unique to your
neighborhood and the project, and everyone's material is brought together

I began this project with the idea of documenting my own neighborhood of
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, whose quirky and ephemeral beauties are currently
endangered by a wave of new development. Walking my familiar streets I
realized that I couldn't possibly be the only person who had this idea -
many others must be simultaneously working to capture the flavor of this
place, this moment in time. Why not invite collaboration and share our
perceptions of place with each other?

As with most people, recent events have radically altered my idea of what
an endangered or lost neighborhood is, and it seemed right to open the
project up for wider use. Everyone is invited to participate by
documenting any neighborhood they love. Those with material from
neighborhoods which have now been damaged or destroyed by Katrina are
especially warmly encouraged to contribute.

all the best,


:: Whereyoure was created for the new issue of glowlab ( http:// ) ::

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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: Ken Goldberg <goldberg AT>
Date: Sep 11, 2005 10:32 PM
Subject: atc AT ucb: fall 2005-spring 2006

mooring is scarce in diluvian times.
our series resumes on sept 21.

The Art, Technology, and Culture Colloquium
of UC Berkeley's Center for New Media
Fall 2005 - Spring 2006 Speaker Program
Wednesday Evenings, 7:30-9:00pm, 160 Kroeber Hall, UC Berkeley

Sep 21 Jaron Lanier, Artist and Musician, Berkeley
Can Soulful Music Survive Digital Epistemology?

Sep 28 Cobi van Tonder, Artist and Musician, Johannesburg
Ephemeral Gumboots: Dancing the Rhythm of Change

Oct 17* Bruno Latour, Professor and Curator, Ecole des Mines, Paris
From Object to Things:
How to Represent the Parliament of Nature?

Nov 2 Tom Marioni, Sculptor and Conceptual Artist. SF
Digital Sound as Sculpture Material

Nov 9** Miranda July, Artist and Filmmaker, LA
Ten True Things

Feb 1 Mark Pauline, Artist, Survival Research Labs, SF
Exploiting the Momentum of Self Righteousness

Mar 1 Steve Beck, Artist and Designer, UC Berkeley Engineering
From Pre-Digital to Post-Digital:
Forty Years of Electronic Art and Music

Mar 15 Michael Rees, Digital Media Art and Sculpture, Rutgers Univ.
Monsters and Programs and Other Beautiful Fictions

Apr 5 Shirley Shor, New Media Artist, SF
Dynamic Landscapes

Apr 26 Marina Grzinic, Artist and Writer, Lubiljana
Representing Time in the Absence of Space

May 3 Okwui Enwezor, Curator and Dean, Art Institute, SF
Contemporary African Photography and Film

* Bruno Latour will be on Monday Evening on Oct 17, Morgan Hall, Room 101 *
Jointly Sponsored by Berkeley's Science, Technology, and Society Center

** Miranda July's appearance is presented in conjunction with the Dept of
Art Practice's "INTERVENTIONS" lecture series.

Primary Sponsors: UC Berkeley Center for New Media (CNM) and Center for
Information Technology in the Interest of Society (CITRIS)

Additional Sponsors: Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost,
College of Engineering Interdisciplinary Studies Program, Consortium for
the Arts, BAM/PFA, and the Townsend Center for the Humanities.

ATC Director: Ken Goldberg
ATC Assoc. Director: Greg Niemeyer
ATC Grad. Associate: Irene Chien
Curated with: ATC Advisory Board

Contact: goldberg AT, or phone: (510) 643-9565
For updated information, please see:

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From: nick AT <nick AT>
Date: Sep 15, 2005 9:13 PM
Subject: 23 Reasons to Spare New York: Music Videos from the Art Rock Scene

Ocularis at Galapagos Art Space
70 North 6th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Contact Thomas Beard for further information ::
thomas AT 646.420.0359


23 Reasons to Spare New York: Music Videos from the Art Rock Scene
Sunday, October 2 at 7 PM
Ticket Price $6

Ocularis is excited to present an overview of the NYC art rock community
and its connections to contemporary video art and underground cinema on
October 2.

"23 Reasons to Spare New York: Music Videos from the Art Rock Scene,"
curated by Nick Hallett (of Plantains and Maison du Chic) features the
franticly experimental sound of the city, as realized by such bands as
Antony and the Johnsons, Black Dice, Ex-Models, Foetus, Japanther, Jason
Forrest, Liars, Mitgang Audio, Mixel Pixel, My Robot Friend, Oneida,
Regina Spektor, Ted Leo, and Vaz (to name just a few).

The identification of psychedelic themes by video artists will be the
evening's focus, with stroboscopic, DayGlo imagery re-imagined through
digital means by such filmmakers as Cody Critcheloe, Danny Perez, Devin
Flynn, Disbelief Street, English Kills, Glen Fogel, Karen O, Mighty Robot,
Noah Lyon, Pancake Mountain, Punkcast, Starter Set, and Waverly Films
(again, just a sample here). Plus, we will throw in some alternative
responses to new music by filmmakers like Kent Lambert and Tom Moody.

A broad variety of countercultural media are included, including
documentary, video mash-up, computer animation, and "promotional" music
videos which deconstruct the consumerist models of their top-of-the-pops

Please join us.

About Ocularis

Ocularis is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization that provides a forum
for the exhibition of independent, experimental and documentary film/video
and new media, as well as international and repertory cinema. Ocularis was
established in 1996 as a rooftop film series catering to local audiences
in North Brooklyn. Since then, Ocularis has evolved into a weekly cinema,
a producer of collaborative film/video work and a summer open-air
screening series.

Ocularis screens weekly at
Galapagos Art and Performance Space.
70 North 6th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
tel/fax: 718.388.8713


Thomas Beard
Program Director
at Galapagos Art Space
70 North 6th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211

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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: Greg Smith <smith AT>
Date: Sep 15, 2005 9:39 PM
Subject: vague terrain 24/09 Toronto

saturday september 24th - vague terrain presents...

granny'ark - vancouver / zora lanson / interdisco
naw - noise factory / vague terrain
akumu - spider records
video / patricia rodriguez - substance communications

art bar / the gladstone hotel
limited capacity
$5 / doors open AT 9pm
1214 queen st. west
toronto, canada

artist information

Granny'Ark is the music project of nomadic media artist Michelle Irving.
Although officially a resident of Vancouver, Granny'Ark spends the other
part of her time at Zora Lanson Label's home base in Berlin. Her first
release Resurgo (2004) garnered praise from The Wire, XLR8R, De-Bug, and
was featured on the late John Peel's legendary Radio One show.
Granny'Ark's music can be described as a blend of explorations in
electroacoustic sampling, and musical structures of rhythm and melody.
Generally, Granny'Ark attempts to transform sounds into a progressive
soundscape that evokes a sense of mood or place in the listener. Sometimes
this might mean enticing them to dance. Her music is featured in the
internationally acclaimed documentary "The Corporation" and another award
winning Canadian documentary "Scared Sacred." In the fall Granny'Ark will
be releasing her follow-up EP on Zora Lanson Label as well as a
collaborative project with Si Cut.db on Biphop. Granny'Ark's "Three Seas
and One Bottle" EP is available for download at

Neil Wiernik (aka naw) has been extremely busy over the 12 months. The
last year has seen the release of two naw albums; ?Green Nights, Orange
Days? on Noise Factory and ?Terrain Vague? on Pertin_nce, as well as an
extensive European tour. Neil's production was recently described by The
Wire as having "the kind of sharpness and clarity usually lost amid the
murk and decay of clicks and cuts and digital delays." Neil recently
moved back to Toronto and began working with long-time collaborator Greg
Smith in the creation of Vague Terrain, an entity which will promote a
series of eclectic electronic music showcases and the website of which
will act as a digital arts journal.

Akumu is Toronto?s Deane Hughes, composer of atmospheric ambience, shadowy
beats and minimal manipulations. Formed as a solo project in 2000, Akumu
has released three full-length albums on his own Spider Records imprint.
His newest CD, Magmas (2005) was conceived and written in Guatemala,
Honduras and Mexico; it is the follow-up to 2004?s Fluxes, an ambient,
zero-bpm recording of unflinching minimalism that The Wire says ?raises
neat hackles across the skin.? For six months, Deane traveled throughout
remote locations, making binaural recordings from which he created the
drone- and loop-based instruments that form the spine of material on both
CDs. Akumu has performed live across Ontario and Quebec, including 2005?s
Mutek festival in Montréal, featuring visual projections of original
photography, animated collages and 2D/3D digital experiments. His live
sets highlight and improvise on Magmas and Fluxes to create an immersive,
flowing sound scape of micro-sonics, ambient drones and low-frequency
pulses. More information is available on Akumu at

Keeping with our mandate of integrating electronic music with digital art,
Vague Terrain will be welcoming back one of our earliest collaborators,
video artist Patricia Rodriguez. Formally trained in the visual arts,
Patricia is a multidisciplinary specialist, integrating analog and digital
technologies. She delights in playing with perception and problem-solving.
A keen synaesthete, Patricia enjoys the neurological mixing of the senses.
Her love for improvisation translates into performances using movement,
sound and light (including video and film), as well as real-time
collaborations with musicians and other artists. She has shown her work
alongside Richie Hawtin, Monolake, Kit Clayton, Derrick May, Steve Bug,
and Damo Suzuki of Can to name a few. She has worked with several
collectives including Clonk, Eight, Wabi, Whipit, Die Lux, and Geekend.
Patricia is currently the Art Director for Substance Communications.

Extensive artist & event information, album reviews and artist links are
available at

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From: Ryan Griffis <ryan.griffis AT>
Date: Sep 15, 2005 9:17 PM
Subject: Interview: AUDC and the Disappearance of Architecture

Tandem Surfing the Third Wave: AUDC and the Disappearance of Architecture

- An Interview by Ryan Griffis -

Note: This interview, conducted by email during 2004-5, is a discussion
with Kazys Varnelis and Robert Sumrell, of the LA-based AUDC (Architecture
Urbanism Design Collaborative). AUDC produces published texts, multimedia
installations and a collaboratively-produced wiki, all of which present
their efforts at creating ?conceptual architecture.? One of their more
extensive projects, ?Ether,?
( uses photographs, magazine
articles, and even a Sims mod to follow a complex narrative involving real
estate, telecommunications and cultural mythology as they coalesce at the
site of LA's One Wilshire Building. As an extension of my Tandem Surfing
series of interviews with media arts collectives, I wanted to speak with
AUDC about their experiences navigating the disciplinary boundaries of new
media, history, architecture, and art.

Ryan Griffis: How and why did AUDC begin?

Kazys Varnelis: AUDC began at the Southern California Institute of
Architecture, in 2001, where I was teaching history-theory and Robert was
a graduate student. We found working together immensely productive, a
process that allowed us to step into each other's territories. Advising
Robert on a design thesis (on the web at allowed me to work
creatively while, as my teaching assistant, Robert worked with theory and
research more directly.

We formed AUDC to keep this going. Initially, we had naive thoughts that
we might be a consultancy or design practice like Rem Koolhaas's AMO, but
with the implosion of the 90s economic boom and with AMO?s now-inevitable
degeneracy into making cute proposals about moving the Charles River to
accommodate the Harvard Business School, it became clear to us that this
was the last thing that anyone needed.

Instead we looked to groups like Archizoom and Superstudio for
inspiration. If, in the mid-1990s, architecture had been too caught up in
a disciplinary posturing masquerading as resistance, by 2001, it was clear
that the interest in Deleuzean smoothness and in working with capital had
run its course. More than anything, we thought, we could use the unique
ways of thinking inherent in architecture as a form of research while
history could be revealed to be a form of design itself.

As a collaboration, AUDC works with both of our strengths. Robert builds
drawings and models, and I take photographs and code the web site. Through
the use of our wiki software (, we are able to
collaborate on our texts. The writing on our website is written neither by
Robert nor myself but by the two of us.

Robert Sumrell: Working collaboratively helps us to expand our interests
and test ideas from multiple perspectives. Kazys's background lies in the
History of Architecture, Urbanism, and Telecommunications, while I spent
time in Comparative Religious Studies and Interior Design. When our
interests and knowledge bases overlap (Büro Landschaft or post-1960
Italian design, for instance) we investigate these questions from a
variety of schools of thought, and not just from our shared experience in
architecture school.

Working collaboratively also helps us to avoid comfort zones and familiar
logic. There are few topics of conversation in most architecture schools,
and the terms used to investigate them are exhausted. Even the youngest
students are already hip to the game, rolling their eyes and playing along
as someone spends an hour rambling on about nonsense like "programmatic
indeterminancy" or "interstitial space." Most architecture schools are
reactionary, dealing with their backwardness by limiting research to
ever-more proscribed themes. We want to do the opposite: open up new areas
of research.

RG: To give readers a better understanding of AUDC?s work, I?m wondering
if you could talk about one of your current projects. Maybe the Quartzsite

KV: Quartzsite, Arizona is a town of 5,000 residents in the summer,
located 180 miles from this site. Situated along I-10, some fifteen miles
from the California border, every winter Quartzsite swells with an influx
of snowbirds, campers from across North America, generally escaping the
cold northern climate in search of sunshine, the solitude of the desert,
and the company of like-minded individuals. According to the Bureau of
Land Management and the Quartzsite Chamber of Commerce,
up to 1.5 million inhabitants settle in town every winter, bringing their
lodgings with them, in the form of recreational vehicles or RVs. At any
one time in January and February, hundreds of thousands of residents make
this remote desert town into a substantial urban center.

Quartzsite fascinates us because it?s a kind of living parable for the
contemporary city. It is void of any qualities and has no higher
aspiration. There are mall-like shopping spaces and residential compounds,
but there is no public space. Production is non-existent. Instead,
Quartzsite is a city of trade, consumption, and tourism. It?s a place in
which individuals go to get away from their neighbors and to become
individuals, but it?s also a place of incredible density where RV is
packed cheek-by-jowl with RV.

AUDC?s installation for the 2004 High Desert Test Sites
( reproduces Quartzsite in the patch
of desert through a series of thirteen signs, each containing a scene from
Quartzsite. The number on each sign corresponds to a number on the map on
the back-side of this page. You may visit the signs geographically or you
may visit them numerically. Visited geographically, the signs allow you to
meander through the topography of this site as you come to an
understanding of the lay of the land in Quartzsite. Read in numeric order,
the signs form a narrative explaining the history of Quartzsite, as well
as providing a sociological and anthropological reading of the community
as it is today.

The project also exists, as does all our work, on the web (at So even though you should go to the site
itself, you can also go to the High Desert Test Sites site, or to the
website. Each site (site/nonsite/website) is distinct, however, and brings
with it its own experience. So in the HDTS version, you begin to
experience not only Quartzsite but also the silence of the desert. On the
web, we hope you begin to explore linear and non-linear processes and the
interaction of this space with more distant ones.

RG: I'm curious about the decision to utilize the kinds of cultural spaces
that exhibit "Art." There is a great contradiction that seems to be
gaining some momentum in shows like "the gardenLAb experiment"
( and "the
Interventionists" (at MASS MoCA), where the art is being made by people
with large personal investments outside of the artworld and its usual
concerns, yet it hardly represents what one could call "outsider art."

RS: Few stable public venues sponsor speculative research projects and
installations. Because of this, not many people know that they exist or
have any experience approaching them. Our projects don't overtly refer to
a product, a sponsor, a design method, or a solution. In the absence of
any of these conditions, the art gallery/museum has become an important
forum for AUDC because it consistently looks for work which is difficult
to categorize and will generally display it in a generic space without
insisting on the participants' adherence to a specific format. There's
nothing better than the white cube is there? The museum/ art gallery is
one of the few remaining places where people gather specifically for the
purpose of concentrating on and interacting with projects (many of which
they do not anticipate immediately, or perhaps ever, fully understanding).
It is the steady influx of these patrons that we are really after, not the
"gallery installation" itself. AUDC has also undertaken and tailored
projects for books,
magazines, and the web. Installations, however, are capable of presenting
complex ideas through a combination of media working together. It is the
practice of art as a history of forms of presentation that interests me
and informs our work. This applies equally well to the designs of trade
exhibits, world's fair pavilions, and history museums.

KV: What we're seeing is a final transformation of the institution of art.
On the one hand, the art museum and gallery have finally fulfilled Robert
Smithson?s prophecy to become discotheques. Most of the contemporary work
in art venues, today, is some form of kitsch. If it provokes a smile or
stimulates a gag reflex, it wins an award. There is no discernible project
in contemporary art, today. As Alain Badiou says of contemporary art, when
everything is possible, nothing is possible. There are no attempts to push
boundaries or to create new possibilities, only to realize and endlessly
retread existing ones.

But we shouldn't be surprised about this. Art is a thing of the past. It
is exhausted as a form of practice. For us, the interesting thing is not
to condemn that condition but to take advantage of it. The academy, with
its requirements of tenure, is still a narrow place. Ultimately that's a
good thing, discipline instills a certain honesty and a need to focus. So
work like ours can't readily appear there. It is neither architecture nor
architecture history, nor architecture theory, nor is it art. Being
unclassifiable, it doesn't fit in the academy.

Instead, as our friend Julian Bleeker has said of his own project
(, art installations offer us a place to do what we can?t
do elsewhere. If the gallery provides us a venue, then we take it. If the
academy, or for that matter, the shopping mall would provide a venue, we
would take that. The same goes for the web. It is a venue. Once you
fetishize these places, you?re creating striated space and
you?re in trouble.

RG: Speaking of "speculative research," it seems quite a bit has been
written about 'conceptual architecture,' lately--projects with no
intention of being materialized beyond models. Peter Lunenfeld, in _Snap
to Grid_ commented on Lev Manovich's assertion that computer graphics have
"killed" architecture, saying that his dismissal of 3D space was a bit
hasty. AUDC's projects seem to offer a different kind of "speculation" in
that they seem concerned with analyzing architectural form in order to
offer a critique of some kind, rather than generating theoretical
possibilities for manipulating space and movement ? there's a concern in
your projects for pre-existing spaces.

KV: Our concern with pre-existing spaces stems from our belief that
radical territorial changes are over, that form is obsolete as an object
of research, and that the visual realm is of less and less importance,

Territories are complete. You can add a Frank Gehry concert hall or two,
but structurally speaking that's an updated version of Utzon's Sydney
Opera House. Architecture makes its flourishes in the city core. This acts
as an alibi to sprawl. Disney Hall is funded by Eli Broad, but that?s the
same Broad of Kaufmann Broad, now KB Homes, the largest builders of sprawl
in the country. Disney Hall, Broad says, isn't penance, it's just what you
do in the city while you build sprawl
outside. What you will see is an environment that looks largely identical
to the one we have now. Don't expect the city or the suburb to look
radically different in the future. Instead, expect them to be augmented.

Look at it this way, even if you can use the Building Architect Tool or
Urban Renewal Kit in SimCity, most people don?t. For the vast majority of
players, hours of fun can be derived from playing a game that consists of
combining predefined structures in endless permutations. And although most
SimCity games end with the city destroyed or the mayor thrown out, that
doesn?t seem to stop anyone.

RS: Architecture is not only too costly to construct, it has become
incapable of acting as an agent for change. As a form of media,
architecture addresses collective groups, or a society. We no longer live
under these conditions and act, instead, as a fully-commodified collection
of individuals.

Modernism and the avant-garde have become aesthetic choices. What then, is
an interesting or radical position for the present time? It must somehow
include an interest in the existing world and apathy toward its products.
The old post-modern world of the seventies was a surface application of
history as ironic or decorative elements in a flat eclecticism. It was
never meant to bring back the past, instead it desperately tried to
maintain the idea that all of those goods were behind us and to keep them
at bay by making them odd objects in a greater whole still of the time.
eBay, as a practice, has made this idea obsolete.

RG: Considering that "territories are complete," I'm wondering what you
make of the work of other architecturally invested people, like Marjetica
Potrc (, that seem to be exploring a new
kind of utopian program combining "green design" concepts with an
engagement in globalization discourses.

KV: I appreciate any practice that strives to improve someone's quality of
life. Marjectica Potrc tries to achieve this by making direct
interventions in the city and producing work that illustrates the variety
of conditions in which people live. But we cannot escape our own
complicity and accountability within globalization, nor do we have the
distance necessary to propose visionary alternatives. Andrea Branzi has
stated that environmentalism is opposed to humanity. So is architecture.
The building process is the greatest source of solid waste that
civilization produces. As we mentioned earlier, AUDC was founded to
produce buildings, but we grew past that. Conceptual architecture does not
act in the world of goods, but on the assumptions that structure our
relationship with the world itself. The production of physical forms is
merely a source of fascination and novelty. I am much more interested in
the United Nations guidelines for refugee camps and the temporary
infrastructure continuously recreated in Quartzsite, AZ, than in the
social space of Burning Man or the new Prada store. An investigation of
the first two communities will bring about significant knowledge of
urbanism while the latter two amount to little more than juvenile


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Rhizome Digest is filtered by Marisa Olson (marisa AT ISSN:
1525-9110. Volume 10, number 37. Article submissions to list AT
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