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: 12.02.05
Date: Fri, 2 Dec 2005 11:15:10 -0800

RHIZOME DIGEST: December 02, 2005


1. Francis Hwang: Stepping down as Director of Technology
2. Lauren Cornell: Campaign note

3. Franziska Schroeder: Positions at the Sonic Arts Research Center in
4. Sherry Hocking: Media Arts Residencies - Spring 2006
5. Diane Field: Abstract Visual Music Call for Submissions

6. jillian mcdonald: "Snow Stories" web launch
7. Pall Thayer: The Party at the Center of the Universe

8. Jo-Anne Green: Turbulence 2005 Fundraiser :: Art Donated :: Please
Support Us
9. Lauren Cornell: free103point9/ Rhizome open call

10. Lev Manovich: We Have Never Been Modular

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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: Nov 28, 2005 11:40 AM
Subject: Stepping down as Director of Technology

Hi everyone,

I'm writing you all with some news: Rhizome is looking for a new Director
of Technology. Early next year, I will train in my successor and then step
down. There's no need to say goodbye just yet, since I'll be around for a
few more months. But now is as good a time as any for me to talk about why
I'm going, and what it means for Rhizome.

Mainly, the reason I'm leaving is to pursue other projects. I don't want
to say much more than that: Some of what I've got in mind is so nascent
that to even describe it publically would be to give it too much credit.
Working at Rhizome has been a fantastic experience, and a tremendous
education. Now I want to take what I've learned and apply it to different
kinds of problems, and unfortunately, that means I won't be able to give
Rhizome the attention it deserves from its Director of Technology.

I've been at Rhizome for more than three years, and it's been a tumultuous
time: Three Executive Directors, five offices (if you count the "virtual
office" as one), three web servers, two membership policies. Somewhere in
there I managed to write more than 20000 lines of Ruby code, not to
mention the snippets of PHP and Perl required to stitch my new ideas into
the code inherited from my predecessor Alex Galloway.

It wasn't for nothing. For one thing, we kept ourselves afloat
financially--no small feat given the arts funding climate of the last few
years. And we continued to innovate, with such additions as improved
search, the front page reBlog, our Location feature, and commissions

But the challenges aren't all behind us. The environment that Rhizome
operates in is currently shaped by a number of broad questions--not the
kind of questions you can ever answer definitively, but the kind that you
ask in order to force yourself to see the landscape anew. We've been quite
active in letting these questions inform our mission, and we'll continue
to do so after I'm gone: What's Rhizome's role in a critical atmosphere
that increasingly accepts new media art as just another facet of
mainstream contemporary art? How will the art world take to the next wave
of emerging technologies--be they blogs,, GreaseMonkey, or
VOIP--and what part will Rhizome play in their adoption? And given our
shoestring budget and staffing, how can we improve the feedback and
participation we get from our thousands of Members and users?

These are difficult questions, and Rhizome will continue to face an uphill
climb to financial stability, but I'm still optimistic about Rhizome's
future. Our two-year-old affiliation with the New Museum of Contemporary
Art provides us with much-needed administrative support and sound advice.
And Rhizome is lucky to have a phenomenal staff. I've enjoyed working with
Marisa Olson remotely, and she has already brought a lot of great ideas to
Rhizome. Furthermore, Rhizome will be in excellent hands with Lauren
Cornell. Since coming on in May, Lauren's been working tirelessly to
absorb everything she can about this tremendously complex organzation, and
already her drive is starting to pay off--whether in this year's energized
fundraising effort, new collaborations such as our Open Call with
free103point9, or the upcoming redesign. I'll miss working alongside
Lauren, but if I'm lucky, from time to time she'll let me come around and
make her nervous by watching her type. She loves that.

So, a little about how the transition will work: We'll be posting the
opening today, at and other places, and
we're hoping to begin the selection process immediately after the
application deadline of January 1st. I'll be pretty involved in the
selection process, the better to weed out candidates who don't possess the
l33t h4xx0r sk1llz. We're expecting to spend a lot of time training, and I
will write lots and lots of documentation. Those 20000 lines of code don't
explain themselves, you know. Then I'll step out of the way, though I'll
be around in some form or another.

If you know anybody who'd want to be our next Director of Technology,
please send them our way. Who are we looking for, exactly? Hard to say. We
want somebody who's smart and nice and who knows how to communicate and
has the aforementioned l33t h4xx0r sk11lz. Somebody who'd give this job
the energy and creativity it deserves. Somebody who wants the chance to
make a difference in the lives of artists, curators, students, and
teachers here in New York and around the world.

What else? Oh, yeah: Rhizome changed my life, so that's who we're looking
for. Somebody who's in the mood to get their life changed.


Francis Hwang
Director of Technology
phone: 212-219-1288x202
AIM: francisrhizome
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Please Support Rhizome!
Rhizome launched its membership drive, the Community Campaign, on
September 19th. The campaign is incredibly important to Rhizome's
survival and growth over the next year, and we sincerely hope that you
will help us meet our goal of $25,000 by December 1st by becoming a
Member or making a donation today! This targeted amount will go into
strengthening our current programs, and seeding our energy into new
initiatives. Higher-level donors are thanked on our support page and have
an opportunity to secure limited-edition works by Cory Arcangel, Lew
Baldwin, and MTAA. This is a very exciting time for the organization, and
a great time to get involved. Thank you for your ongoing support.

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From: Lauren Cornell <laurencornell AT>
Date: Dec 2, 2005 1:25 pm
Subject: Campaign note


As you may already know--we reached and even exceeded our Campaign goal of
$25,000. This amount lends a very important measure of support to
Rhizome, our programs and our efforts, and I am truly grateful to everyone
who contributed.

We are listing people who gave donations of $50 and higher on our
Supporters page:

Its a bit trickier to list all of our Members as there are so many, and
the number and names are constantly in flux. We have pointed to the
Community Directory from the front page so visitors can browse through
individual member pages. Any other suggestions of how to recognize people
are welcome.

All the best, and thanks again,

Lauren Cornell

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From: Franziska Schroeder <franziska AT>
Date: Nov 28, 2005 10:56 AM
Subject: Positions at the Sonic Arts Research Center in Belfast

Dear Rhizomers/Rhizomeers.

I hope you find some of these new positions at the Sonic Arts Research
Center in Belfast of interest.


> FOUR positions attached to the Sonic Arts Research Centre, Queen's
> University, Belfast.
> Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Music Technology
> School of Music and Sonic Arts
> Ref: 05/K519B
> The aim of this position is to produce high-quality research and
> publications in music technology and to undertake undergraduate and
> postgraduate teaching in the area of
> research and other areas. Relevant fields of research expertise
> include human-computer-interaction, hardware development for musical
> and/or haptic
> applications, sensor and wireless technologies for creative and
> multimedia applications, image processing and visual technologies for
> creative
> applications. The postholder will be attached to the Sonic Arts
> Research Centre and must be able to demonstrate experience in
> interdisciplinary research.
> ------------------------------------------
> Lecturer in Music Technology
> School of Music and Sonic Arts
> Ref: 05/K506B
> The aim of this position is to undertake high-quality research in
> music technology and to deliver undergraduate and postgraduate
> teaching in the research area and elsewhere as
> appropriate. Relevant fields of research and expertise include
> physical modelling of musical instruments, digital signal processing
> for musical applications, hardware development for musical
> applications, acoustics, room modelling and wave field synthesis. The
> postholder will be attached to the Sonic Arts Research Centre and must
> be able to demonstrate experience in interdisciplinary research.
> ------------------------------------------
> RCUK Academic Fellowship =96 Creative Media
> School of Music and Sonic Arts
> Ref: 05/W405B
> This is a 5 year personal Research Fellowship leading to a permanent
> Academic position. Although staff holding or promised permanent
> positions are not eligible to apply, applications are invited from
> researchers who are currently in receipt of research fellowships or
> grant funding. The Academic Fellow will be based at the Sonic Arts
> Research Centre (SARC) and will develop creatively-led projects in
> visual/video technologies which compliment the audio-based work
> already underway at SARC.
> ------------------------------------------
> Research Assistant
> School of Music and Sonic Arts
> Ref: 05/W403B
> Required to commence as soon as possible for 2 years, to assist in the
> pre-compositional development of musical materials and sytems in the
> preparation of large-scale works for tape, live electronics and
> instruments.
> The Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC) is a newly established centre of
> excellence, dedicated to the research of music technology. This unique
> interdisciplinary project has united internationally recognised
> experts in the areas of musical composition, signal processing,
> internet technology and digital hardware.
> The Centre is established in a purpose-built facility located
> alongside the engineering departments of Queen's University.
> The centrepiece of SARC, the Sonic Laboratory, provides a unique
> space for cutting-edge initiatives in the creation and delivery of
> music and audio. The Sonic Laboratory's uniqueness is vested in the
> degree of flexibility it can provide for experiments in 3D sound
> diffusion and for ground-breaking compositional and performance work
> within a purpose-built, variable acoustic space.
> The Centre was completed in October 2003 and was officially opened by
> Karlheinz Stockhausen during the Sonorities Festival in April 2004.

f r a n z i s k a s c h r o e d e r
Guest Editor for the Contemporary Music Review
Initiatrice of "Two Thousand + SIX"
Performance Technology Conference

franziska AT

Sonorities Festival of Contemporary Music

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From: Sherry Hocking <etc AT>
Date: Nov 28, 2005 11:02 AM
Subject: Media Arts Residencies - Spring 2006

The Experimental Television Center announces the next deadline for the
Artists in Residency Program, December 15th, 2005, for residencies between
February 1 and June 30, 2006.

The Residency supports contemporary electronic media art projects. The
studio workshop environment offers access to an image processing system,
intensive individualized instruction and time for exploration and personal
creative growth. Artists have an opportunity to study the processes and
techniques of analog and digital imaging and to then use the system
independently in the creation of new works. Participating artists have
complete aesthetic and technical control over all aspects of the making

The image processing system is a hybrid tool set which facilitates
interactive relationships between older historically important analog
instruments such as colorizers and keyers, and new digital technologies
using several G4s, a customized Doepfer A-100 system with sonic and
control modules, software including Max/MSP, Jitter and Pluggo, as well as
DVD authoring and editing software, DVD Studio Pro and Flash. Recording is
mini-DV/DV and DVD. Svhs and 3/4" decks are also available. This rich
electronic environment encourages artists to explore boundaries and
intersections within narrative, documentary and social issue traditions as
well as more experimental forms.

A complete list is available by email and on the web in the News section.

The postmark deadline is December 15th. You are encouraged to email the
written materials.

To apply please send the following:
1. A brief project description
2. A current resume
3. A prioritized set of dates between February 1 and June 30, 2006.
4. A sample of completed work with SASE if you wish it returned.

For more information please contact us.

The Center's programs are supported by the Electronic Media and
Film Program at the New York State Council on the Arts, Daniel
Langlois Foundation for Art, Science, and Technology, the Media
Arts Program of the National Endowment for the Arts, mediaThe
foundation, NYS Challenge Grant Program, The Andy Warhol Foundation
for the Visual Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the
Media Action Grant Program of Media Alliance, and by corporate
support from Dave Jones Design and Black Hammer Productions and by
the contributions of many individual artists.

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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: Diane Field <dianef AT>
Date: Dec 1, 2005 11:12 AM
Subject: Abstract Visual Music Call for Submissions

Call for Submissions
The New York Digital Salon is seeking submissions for the Abstract Visual
Music project. Current plans include an online image and webcast
exhibition, along with public screenings, lectures, and other events.
Images depicting abstract visual music are being sought, along with
time-based work, i.e. Quicktime movies, Flash animations, DVDs,
videotapes, etc. All work must be in digital format. Essays and artist
statements on the creation, theory, and history of abstract visual music
will also be considered for the website, as well as possible publication
in our catalog. Visual music artworks and installations will also be
considered. Software and hardware that allows for the creation of abstract
visual music is also being considered and programmers are invited to
submit their work. There is no entry fee.

The preliminary deadline is February 1, 2006. Please email submissions to
avm AT, or mail them to

Diane Field, Assistant Director,
New York Digital Salon, c/o MFA Computer Art Department,
209 E. 23 St., New York, NY 10010, USA.

All submissions must use the NYDS Submissions Form (.PDF), which includes
the artist's name, address, phone number, email, title, year completed,
medium, and other relevant details about the artwork. Please go to to download the submission form.
Mailed submissions with a self-addressed stamped envelope will be
returned. For further information, please contact Diane Field, Assistant
Director, New York Digital Salon dianefield AT or call

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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 commissions.

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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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, today!

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: jillian mcdonald <jmcdonald AT>
Date: Nov 29, 2005 6:54 PM
Subject: "Snow Stories" web launch

web launch:
Snow Stories

Snow Stories is a story engine, which uses appropriated and original film
clips, images, animation, and sound to translate the viewer's written
story into a visual narrative.
Snow Stories was produced, in part, in residence at Harvestworks in NYC.
Additional support from The Canada Council for the Arts, The Experimental
Television Center's Finishing Funds, and Pace University.

Jillian Mcdonald is a Canadian artist, transplanted in New York where she
teaches at Pace University.

* related public presentation Saturday Dec 3rd at 15 Nassau Street, NYC

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From: Pall Thayer <p_thay AT>
Date: Nov 30, 2005 10:10 AM
Subject: The Party at the Center of the Universe

New work:

The Party at the Center of the Universe is an attempt at using data
generated by the public to generate a spatial construct on the internet.
This spatial construct takes into consideration the user's position in
space, orientation in space and identity. Each of these factors will
affect the way a person is represented in the constructed space. A user's
position is determined by reading the strength of their wireless network
connection. A user's orientation is determined by reading the values of
the accelerometer (Sudden Motion Sensor) built in to their laptop. A
user's identity is determined by reading the username of the user
currently logged on to the laptop. The readings are made by a downloadable
Dashboard widget and does not depend on the user's concious interaction.
It runs in the background, transmitting the necessary information to the
party at 5 second intervals. It does not interfere with normal use of the
computer and the user is free to shutdown the widget at any time if they
wish (but it's more fun to know that even though you're in the middle of
an important board meeting or giving a presentation to people who hold
your destiny in the palms of their wallets... er... hands, you're also the
life of The Party at the Center of the Universe).

Hubbles law describes how every point in space sees itself as the center
of the Universe. Due to an effect similar to the Doppler effect
experienced when an ambulance speeds past, the Universe appears to be
expanding away from every point in space, in all directions. So a space
that has the potential to be a single locative indicator of every point in
space, must be the embodiment of the Center of the Universe... and we're
throwing a party! BYOB, good company and music is provided.

Due to the hardware requirements, the currently available client program
will only run on recent models of Apple PowerBooks and iBooks. There are
some laptops from other manufacturers with built in accelerometers, such
as some of the IBM Thinkpads, but as I don't have one, I can't create the
client. Anyone who does have one, is free to download the source material
and make one. However, anyone can observe the infinitely expanding, curved
spacetime of the Center of the Universe.

Pall Thayer
p_thay AT

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From: Jo-Anne Green <jo AT>
Date: Dec 1, 2005 8:54 AM
Subject: Turbulence 2005 Fundraiser :: Art Donated :: Please Support Us

December 1, 2005
New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc./Turbulence Fundraiser

Art work donated by Cory Arcangel, Kate Armstrong, Andy Deck, Jason
Freeman, Mariam Ghani, Peter Horvath, Yael Kanarek, Michael Takeo
Magruder, Michael Mandiberg, MTAA, Yoshi Sodeoka, Helen Thorington and
Ricardo Miranda Zuñiga

Dear Friends,

New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc. (NRPA) will be 25 years old in 2006;
Turbulence will be 10 years old. Despite the expansion of our projects,
the acceleration of our support for net artists, and the valuable
resources we provide in our networked_performance blog and New American
Radio archive, NRPA has seen a decline in its operating support. As a
result, much of our hard work forgoes compensation. Of equal concern is
the dual role our server is forced to perform: archiving work produced
since 1996 and supporting new commissions that require cutting edge
technologies and later versions of its current software. It¹s time for a
new server.

We need your support. Please help us preserve our archives and support
emerging artists and technologies. Numerous Turbulence artists have
generously donated DVDs, CDs, archival prints, T-Shirts and more. Choose
from this impressive array or simply make a donation today.

With Gratitude,

Helen Thorington and Jo-Anne Green

New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc.:
New York: 917.548.7780 ? Boston: 617.522.3856
New American Radio:
Networked_Performance Blog:
Upgrade! Boston:

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From: Lauren Cornell <laurencornell AT>
Date: Dec 2, 2005 10:55 AM
Subject: free103point9/ Rhizome open call

free103point9 and are pleased to announce the participating
artists and projects in a special online exhibition launching January 10,
2006. The following web-based transmission projects were selected from an
open call for submissions this fall:

31 Down, www.the Somnambulator
Abe Linkoln & Marisa Olson, Universal Acid
Angel Nevarez and Alex Rivera, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Lowriders
NYSAE, NYsoundmap
Jim Punk, Rrose AsCii morse Code
Leslie Sharpe, SendingSGLLLL

Detailed information about each project will be available at
in the coming weeks.

Lauren Cornell

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From: Lev Manovich <manovich AT>
Date: Nov 29, 2005 11:55 AM
Subject: We Have Never Been Modular

Lev Manovich

We Have Never Been Modular

[ note: the definitions of terms which appear in quotes in this text are
from ]

Thanks to everybody who commented on my text ³Remix and Remixability²
(November 16, 2005). It was provoked by reading about web 2.0 and all the
exitement and hype (as always) around it, so indeed I am ³following the
mainstream view² in certain ways. But I would like to make it clear that
ultimately we are talking about something which does not just apply to
RSS, social bookmarking, or Web Services. We are talking about the logic
of modularity which extends beoynd the Web and digital culture.

Modularity has been the key principle of modern mass production. Mass
production is possible because of the standarisation of parts and how they
fit with each other - i.e. modularity. Although there are historical
precedents for mass production, until twentieth cenrtuy they have separate
histroical cases. But soon after Ford installs first moving assembly lines
at his factory in 1913, others follow, and soon modularity permuates most
areas of modern society. ("An assembly line is a manufacturing process in
which interchangeable parts are added to a product in a sequential manner
to create an end product.") Most products we use are mass produced, which
means they are modular, i.e. they consist from standardised mass produced
parts which fit together in standardised way. Moderns also applied
modulary principle outside of factory. For instance, already in 1932
longe before IKEA and Logo sets belgian designer Louis Herman De Kornick
developed first modular furniture suitable for smaller council flats being
built at the time.

Today we are still leaving in an era of mass production and mass
modularity, and globalisation and outsourcing only strengthen this logic.
One commonly evoked characteristic of globalisation is greater
connnectivity places, systems, countries, organisations etc, becomig
connected in more and more ways. Although there are ways to connect things
and processes without standardizing and modularizing them and the further
development of such mechanisms is probably essential if we ever want to
move beyond all the grim consequences of living in a standardized modular
world produced by the twentieth century for now it is much easier just to
go ahead and apply the twentieth century logic. Because society is so used
to it, its not even thought of as one option among others.

Last week I was at a Design Brussels event where the designer Jerszy
Seymour speculated that once Rapid Manufacturing systems become advanced,
cheap and easy, this will give designers in Europe a hope for survival.
Today, as soon as some design becomes succesful, a company wants to
produce it in large quantities and its production goes to China. Seymour
suggested that when Rapid Manufacturing and similar technologies would be
installed locally, the designers can become their own manufactures and
everything can happen in one place. But obviously this will not happen
tomorrow, and its also not at all certain that Rapid Manufacturing will
ever be able to produce complete finsihed objects without any humans
involved in the process, whether its assembly, finishing, or quality

Of course, modularity principle did not stayed unchanged since the
beginning of mass production a hundred years ago. Think of just-in-time
manufacturing, just-in-time programing or the use of standardized
containeres for shippment around the world since the 1960s (over %90 of
all goods in the world today are shipped in these containers). The logic
of modularity seems to be permuating more layers of society than ever
before, and computers which are great to keeping track of numerous parts
and coordinating their movements only help this process.

The logic of culture often runs behind the changes in economy so while
modularity has been the basis of modern industrial society since the early
twentiteh century, we only start seeing the modularity principle in
cultural production and distribution on a large scale in the last few
decades. While Adorno and Horkheimer were writing about "culture industry"
already in the 1940s, it was not then - and its not today - a true modern
industry.[1] In some areas such as production of Hollywood animated
features or computer games we see more of the factory logic at work with
extensive division of labor. In the case of software enginnering (i.e.
programming), software is put together to a large extent from already
available software modules - but this is done by individual programmers or
teams who often spend months or years on one project quite diffirent from
Ford production line assembling one identical car after another. In short,
today cultural modularity has not reached the systematic character of the
industrial standardisation circa 1913.

But this does not mean that modularity in contemporary culture simply lags
behind industrial modularity, responsible for mass production. Rather,
cultural modularity seems to be governed by a diffirent logic than
industrial modularity. On the one hand, ³mass culture² is made possible by
a complete industrial-type modularity on the levels of packaging and
distribution. In other words, all the materials carriers of cultural
content in the modern period have been standarised, just as it was done in
the production of all goods - from first photo and films formats in the
end of the nineteenth century to game catridges, DVDs, memory cards,
interchangeable camera lenses, etc. But the actual making of content was
never standardised in the same way.[2] So while mass culture involves
putting together new products fims, television programs, songs, games
from a limited repertoir of themes, narratives, icons using a limited
number of conventions, this is done by the teams of human authors on a one
by one basis. And whiile more recently we see the trend toward the resuse
of cultural assets in comercial culture, i.e. media franchising
characters, settings, icons which appear not in one but a whole range of
cultural products film sequals, computer games, theme parks, toys, etc.
this does not seem to change the basic ³pre-industrial² logic of the
production process) For Adorno, this individual character of each product
is part of the ideology of mass culture: ³Each product affects an
individual air; individuality itself serves to reinforce ideology, in so
far as the illusion is conjured up that the completely reified and
mediated is a sanctuary from immediacy and life.²[3]

On the other hand, what seems to be happening is that the "users"
themselves have been gradually "modularising" culture. In other words,
modularity has been coming into modern culture from the outside, so to
speak, rather than being built-in, as in industrial production. In the
1980s musicans start sampling already published music; TV fans start
sampling their favorite TV series to produce their own ³slash films,² game
fans start creating new game levels and all other kinds of game
modifications. (Mods ³can include new items, weapons, characters, enemies,
models, modes, textures, levels, and story lines.²) And of course, from
the verry beginning of mass culture in early twentieth century, artists
have immediately starting sampling and remixing mass cultural products
think of Kurt Schwitters, collage and particularly photomontage practice
which becomes popular right after WWI among artists in Russia and Germany.
This continued with Pop Art, appropriation art, and video art.

Enter the computer. In The Language of New Media I named modularity as one
of the principles of computerised media. If before modularity principle
was applied to the packaging of cultural goods and raw media (photo stock,
blank videotapes, etc.), computerization modularizes culture on a
structural level. Images are broken into pixels; graphic designs, film and
video are broken into layers. Hypertext modularises text. Markup languages
such as HTML and media formats such as QuickTime and MPEG-7 modularise
multimedia documents in general. We can talk about what this
modularisation already did to culture think of World Wide Web as just one
example - but this is a whole new conversation.

In short: in culture, we have been modular already for a long time
already. But at the same time, ³we have never been modular² - which I
think is a very good thing.

November 25, 2005

[1] Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer. The Culture Industry.
Enlightment as Mass Deception, 1947.

[2] In ³Culture industry reconsidered,² Adorno writes: ³the expression
"industry" is not to be taken too literally. It refers to the
standardization of the thing itself ? such as that of the Western,
to every movie-goer ? and to the rationalization of distribution
techniques, but not strictly to the production process? it [culture
industry] is industrial more in a sociological sense, in the incorporation
of industrial forms of organization even when nothing is manufactured ? as
in the rationalization of office work ? rather than in the sense of
anything really and actually produced by technological rationality.²
Theodor W. Adorno, ³Culture Industry Reconsidered,² New German Critique,
6, Fall 1975, pp. 12-19.

[3] Ibid.

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