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: 03.24.06
Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2006 10:57:17 -0800

RHIZOME DIGEST: March 24, 2006

++ Always online at ++


1. Conor McGarrigle: Call for entries : Stunned Net Art Open 2006
2. dmacwilliam AT Director, Intersections Digital Studio (IDS)
3. Juliet Davis: Call for Papers

4. Turbulence Commission: "Ten-sided" by Francis Hwang,
et al

5. jillian mcdonald: artists' talks: Luke Murphy + Marcin Ramocki, March
6. Lea: Press Release: Object Lessons at Gigantic ArtSpace [GAS] (New
York City)
7. Christiane_Paul AT New artport | Tate Online commission:
"Screening Circle" by Andy Deck

+Commissioned by
8. Nathaniel Stern: Interview with Michael Szpakowski

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

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

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +


From: Conor McGarrigle <lists AT>
Date: Mar 21, 2006
Subject: Call for entries : Stunned Net Art Open 2006

Submissions are now invited for the fourth edition of the Stunned Net Art

The Net Art Open takes a different approach to the curation of Net Art
online. Rather then present a single event based exhibition selected by a
curator or panel of selectors the Net Art Open is an ongoing blog based
process delivered by RSS feed. Curatorial bias has been removed by
accepting all work which meet the criteria The result is a true reflection
of the state of Net Art now.

The emphasis in this edition will be bringing the exhibition to the
audience taking account of the changing way people access the net. With so
much new work being produced all the time even with the best will in the
world it's difficult to keep up so the Net Art Open will be blogged one
work at a time with RSS feeds for newsfeed readers and blog aggregators,
each entry will be tagged for technorati and and a flickr pool
will be created. In addition each entry will feature on the front page of

New in this edition we will reintroduce a little curatorial bias by
inviting a number of guests to, yes, curate a personal selection from the
exhibition and we will be investigating a gallery version of the Open.

The net art open was started in 2002 by Conor McGarrigle and Arthur X
Doyle as part of the Irish Museum of Modern intervention,
subsequent editions were in 2003 and 2004-5.

Closing date for the first call April 20th.

More information from

Net Art Open

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +


From: David MacWlliam <dmacwilliam AT>
Date: Mar 22, 2006
Subject: Director, Intersections Digital Studio (IDS)

Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design + Media is one of Canada's leading
art and design institute's offering undergraduate and graduate courses in
art, design and media. We are opening Intersections Digital Studio (IDS)
of Art, Design and Media in Fall 2006. Our goal is nothing less than to
create the best and most innovative multidisciplinary research centre in
the arts in Canada and the world. We are inviting applications for a
Director, IDS to lead this exciting initiative in the rapidly evolving
multidisciplinary domain where traditional art disciplines and new
technologies meld in highly innovative creative expressions.

Reporting to the President, the Director, IDS is responsible for the
development, growth and leadership of the new research centre, with a
particular focus on promoting and stimulating a culture of teaching and
research collaboration within the Emily Carr community and among a broad
and diverse external community. The Director establishes and maintains
strong collaborative relationships with key individuals within and outside
of Emily Carr to secure research and development funding from a variety of
sources. The Director is also responsible for the day-to-day operations of
the IDS facility. In collaboration with the President, this position
provides strategic direction in the development of the goals, objectives
and philosophy of research at Emily Carr.

The successful candidate will have an advanced degree (Ph.D.) (or
equivalent educational and teaching experience) and a strong background in
post-secondary interdisciplinary research in the art, design and media
fields, with particular technical expertise in 2D and 3D prototyping
equipment and other technologies required for the growth and development
of IDS. S/he will also have a successful record of securing substantial
research funding from diverse sources. Experience in managing a research
centre or department is essential.

In addition to the requisite education and experience, a strong commitment
to the goals and vision of IDS and a demonstrated ability to enhance the
integration of research in digital technologies with traditional creative
approaches to art and design is essential. Strong collaborative leadership
skills in research and strategic planning and the ability to establish
successful working relationships with a variety of individuals within
Emily Carr and the external community is critical.

This is a five year contract with the possibility of renewal. Salary will
be commensurate with experience with excellent benefits. Please forward a
current curriculum vitae and letter of application (quoting competition
#A001-2006) by 4:00pm, Friday, 31 March 2006 to:
Human Resources, Emily Carr Institute
1399 Johnston Street, Vancouver BC V6H 3R9
Fax: (604) 844-3885 Email: hr AT

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

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.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +


From: Juliet Davis <info AT>
Date: Mar 22, 2006
Subject: Call for Papers

Call for Papers:
College Art Association Conference, NYC 2007


Chair: Juliet Davis, University of Tampa, 302 49th St. N., St. Petersburg,
FL 33710

>From fine-art games to electronic literature, new media have introduced a
host of terms that might seem contradictory in the context of traditional
art scholarship and cultural studies. While some writers have made cases
for new media as extensions of art and literary traditions, others see
completely new cultural forms that largely break with tradition.
Furthermore, while some cultural studies scholars have seen interactive
media as the ultimate postmodern expression, others note modernist trends
such as generative-software artists' focus on form. This panel seeks to
identify attributes of new media that distinguish them--culturally,
politically, and phenomenologically--from their predecessors in art and
literary worlds. How does the configurative nature of computer-generated
art differentiate it from a traditional interpretive work?

How might we make distinctions about types and degrees of interactivity
and immersion in all these media? How does the pleasure of experiencing
interactive media correspond to our notions of the pleasure experiencing
other kinds of art, such as viewing a film or reading a novel? How does
digital media uniquely problematize representation? How do these problems
compare to those in other media, currently and historically? To what
extent do these problems relate to digital art as medium versus digital
art as genre, and to what extent do they indicate an art movement that
might be characterized as modern, postmodern, or beyond postmodern?
Proposals from artists, historians, and theoreticians are welcomed;
nontraditional formats are encouraged.


1. CAA individual membership is required of all participants.

2. No one may participate in the same capacity two years in a row.
Speakers in the 2006 conference may not be speakers in 2007; a 2006
speaker may, however, be a discussant in 2007, and vice versa.

3. No one may participate in more than one session in any capacity (for
example, a chair, speaker, or discussant in one session is ineligible for
participation in any capacity in any other session), although a chair may
deliver a paper or serve as discussant in his or her own session provided
he or she did not serve in that capacity in 2006. Exception: A speaker who
participates in a practical session on professional and educational issues
may present a paper in a second session.

4. Session chairs must be informed if one or more proposals are being
submitted to other sessions for consideration.

5. A paper that has been published previously or presented at another
scholarly conference may not be delivered at the CAA Annual Conference.

6. Acceptance in a session implies a commitment to attend that session and
participate in person.


Due May 5, 2006

Proposals for participation in sessions should be sent directly to the
appropriate session chair(s). If a session is cochaired, a copy should be
sent to each chair, unless otherwise indicated. Every proposal should
include the following six items:

1. Completed session participation proposal form, located at the end of
this publication.

2. Preliminary abstract of one to two double-spaced, typed pages.

3. Letter explaining speaker's interest, expertise in the topic, and CAA
membership status.

4. C.V. with home and office mailing addresses, e-mail address, and phone
and fax numbers. Include summer address and telephone number, if

5. Slides, videotapes, or other documentation of work when appropriate
(with SASE), especially for sessions in which artists might discuss their
own work.

6. A stamped, self-addressed postcard for confirmation that proposal has
been received. If mailing internationally, it is recommended that
proposals be sent via certified mail, return receipt requested.



Due September 1, 2006
At the session chair's request, a final abstract must be prepared by each
speaker and submitted to the chair for publication in Abstracts 2007.
Detailed specifications for preparation of abstracts will be sent to all

Due December 1, 2006
Speakers are required to submit the full texts of their papers to chairs.
Where sessions have contributions other than prepared papers, chairs may
require equivalent materials by the same deadline. These submissions are
essential to the success of the sessions; they assure the quality and
designated length of the papers and permit their circulation to
discussants and other participants as requested by the chair. Failure to
comply with the deadline or with a chair's request for materials in
advance may result in a speaker's name being dropped from the program,
even though his or her name may appear in the online Preliminary Program
in October 2006.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +


From: <turbulence AT>
Date: Mar 18, 2006
Subject: Turbulence Commission: "Ten-sided" by Francis Hwang, et al

March 18, 2006
Turbulence Commission: "Ten-sided" by Francis Hwang, with Johannes
Gorannson, Jess Kilby, Tao Lin, Brendon Lloyd, Jessica Penrose, Glenis
Stott, John Woods, Taren McCallan-Moore, and why the lucky stiff

"Ten-sided" is a textual performance in which ten authors collaboratively
improvise on a single online narrative. For three months, each author will
blog as a fictional character. All ten characters must somehow be
connected, and all ten authors are responsible for ensuring that this
connection is explored through the course of the story. However, authors
are forbidden from coordinating the story beforehand. Instead, they can
only take their cues from one another's public entries. The resulting
improvisation resembles a jazz performance or a session of exquisite
corpse, but in a new form of creative practice that comments on and
employs the multi-vocal nature of blogging communities.

"Ten-sided" is a 2006 commission of New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc.
(aka Ether-Ore) for its Turbulence web site. It was made possible with
funding from The Greenwall Foundation.


Francis Hwang is an artist, writer, and software engineer. His earlier
artwork includes "The Unauthorized iPod U2 vs. Negativland Special
Edition", in which he combined a U2 iPod Special Edition with
Negativland's back catalog and auctioned the result online; and
"", which uses the Google Web API to turn any HTML page into a
free-associated index for the rest of the web. His writing on technology
and culture has appeared in Spin, Wired, ArtByte, and FEED Magazine. An
active member of the Ruby community, he has spoken at the International
Ruby Conference and currently serves as a technical lead on free software
projects such as Ruby-DBI and the object-relational mapping library
Lafcadio. He lives in Brooklyn with one roommate, two computers, and two

See for additional

For more information about Turbulence, please visit

Jo-Anne Green, Co-Director
New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc.:
New York: 917.548.7780 . Boston: 617.522.3856
New American Radio:
Networked_Performance Blog:
Upgrade! Boston:

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Rhizome ArtBase Exhibitions

Visit "Net Art's Cyborg[feminist]s, Punks, and Manifestos", an exhibition
on the politics of internet appearances, guest-curated by Marina Grzinic
from the Rhizome ArtBase.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +


From: jillian mcdonald <jmcdonald AT>
Date: Mar 22, 2006
Subject: artists' talks: Luke Murphy + Marcin Ramocki, March 28th

Pace University and Pace Digital Gallery are pleased to present Spring
2006 Tuesday evening talks with new media artists.

Please join us on Tuesday March 28th at 6:30pm
Luke Murphy + Marcin Ramocki
Room 313, 163 William Street, New York, NY
directions/map on the website:

Rev. Luke Murphy is an information-based artist whose work is united by
common themes drawn from the impossible task of quantifying the elements
of the psyche and spirit. The work's failure to deliver what they
ostensibly promise is at once menacing and reassuring. Rev. Luke Murphy
was born in 1963 in Boston, MA. He graduated with an MFA from SUNY
Purchase after completing his BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and
Design and a BS from the University of Toronto. He is the co-director of and Vice President of Web Development at MTV Network.
Murphy's talk will accompany his installation, "The Twelfth Gate,
Reflected" at Pace Digital Gallery.

Marcin Ramocki is interested in the computer as a source of non-linearity,
either generative, random or interactive. His interest is specifically in
building metaphors through software. Marcin Ramocki was born in 1972 in
Krakow, Poland. He received his BA from Dartmouth College and MFA from the
University of Pennsylvania. Currently Marcin lives and works in
Williamsburg, Brooklyn and teaches Digital Media at Jersey City
University. He is also a founder and curator of vertexList art space in

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + 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 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.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +


From: Lea <info AT>
Date: Mar 23, 2006
Subject: Press Release: Object Lessons at Gigantic ArtSpace [GAS] (New
York City)

Director, Center for integrated Media, California Institute of the Arts

March 29 ? May 19, 2006

PLEASE JOIN US FOR THE OPENING RECEPTION: Wednesday, March 29, 2006, from

Gigantic ArtSpace [GAS] presents Object Lessons, a group exhibition of
seven emerging artists from the media-saturated terrain of Southern

Part technological history, part emergent media, and part theoretical
response to these media and their innovators, Object Lessons investigates
the current debates of communications literacy and the extent to which we
are constituted by our technologies.

Kelli Cain and Brian Crabtree: Almost Certified (Grade-A noise for
non-discerning consumers) is a distributed network of sixteen precarious
egg-tapping robots. Each individually amplified unit features a select
unconventional egg. Calculated sequences emerge, conducted by beautifully
rendered software on a resurrected mainframe (a sweet Mac LC3).

Peter Cho: Takeluma is an invented writing system for representing speech
sounds and the visceral responses they can evoke. The project explores the
ways that speech sounds can give rise to a kinesthetic response. The
Takeluma project explores the complex relationships between speech,
meaning, and writing and comprises several animated, sculptural, and print

Sean Dockray: Cabinet is based on a research project in which the recorded
and archived the applauses he has received as a performer and in doing so
has documented the temporary moments when we leave our isolated bodies and
become part of a collective body, with its own temperament and desires.
The cabinet itself is a homemade device that has been designed around its
contents, much like a library's card catalog furniture is based on the
dimensions of a single index card.

Nate Harrison: Can I Get An Amen? is an audio installation that unfolds a
critical perspective of perhaps the most sampled drums beat in the history
of recorded music, the Amen Break. The work attempts to bring into
scrutiny the techno-utopian notion that 'information wants to be free.' it
questions its effectiveness as a democratizing agent.

Tom Jennings: Story Teller is a self-contained system for telling stories,
which are stored as rows of tiny holes in long spools of paper tape. The
stories are on a wide range of subjects, but they are all about text,
mediation, representation and deconstruction.

The Center for Integrated Media is an interdisciplinary, peer-to-peer
experiential learning and studio environment for CalArts graduate students
and visiting artists wanting to explore and critique computer programming,
interactive systems, the Internet, digital video and digital audio
technologies as part of their artwork. The Center is designed for artists
whose work has reached an advanced degree of development and who possess
the desire to integrate multiple forms of media into new modes of
expression, while opening up critical dialogues between artists,
scientists and writers on issues related to new forms of media.

An electronic catalogue, co-produced by CalArts and Gigantic ArtSpace, is

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +


From: Christiane_Paul AT <Christiane_Paul AT>
Date: Mar 22, 2006
Subject: New artport | Tate Online commission: "Screening Circle" by Andy

Screening Circle
by Andy Deck
launched March 22, 06
artport, the Whitney Museum's portal to Internet art

Screening Circle adapts the cultural tradition of the quilting circle into
an online format. Visitors to the site can enter the drawing area to
compose loops of graphics and affect and edit each other's screens. The
pieces can be made by one person or by several people and the arrangement
of the segments can be haphazard or precise. In the screening area, the
resulting motion graphics will be on view instantaneously. The "circle"
invoked in the title refers to the circle of participants, and,
indirectly, to the loop of images that are produced. "Screening" refers to
the pre-viewing of film in the film making process. It is a form of
viewing that allows people to have some influence over the final product.

Accompanied by an essay by Alison Colman, "A temporal block-to-block: The
electronic quilting frame of Screening Circle"

"Screening Circle" is the third in a series of three works co-commissioned
in collaboration with Tate Online. See

Critical texts and video interviews with the artists will accompany the
works at

Previous commissions:

The Dumpster (launched Feb. 14, 06)
Golan Levin with Kamal Nigam and Jonathan Feinberg

The Battle of Algiers (launched March 1, 06)
Marc Lafia and Fang-Yu Lin

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +


From: nathaniel <nathaniel.stern AT>
Date: Mar 24, 2006
Subject: Interview with Michael Szpakowski by Nathaniel Stern

+Commissioned by
Interview with Michael Szpakowski by Nathaniel Stern

Michael Szpakowski has spent the last 30 years collaborating across
varying theatrical, visual, sonic, and digital media. His vlog, "Scenes of
Provincial Life," was recently featured on Rhizome's Net Art News. Rhizome
is our shared community that he claims literally changed his life. We had
an e-conversation about his work, philosophies, and interests.

Nathaniel Stern: I find it fascinating that the two of us were recently so
drawn to each other's work, despite the fact that we knew nothing other
than current projects. When I suggested an interview, you first sent me to
"Enemy of the People" < > -
an interview with your father. It's haunting to me that both of our
parents/ grandparents are Holocaust survivors/ victims from Eastern
Europe. I feel like I might have known. How do you think this comes across
in and/ or influences your work?

Michael Szpakowski: I shy away from the idea of "national character." It's
always struck me as deeply absurd that one should feel allegiance to the
particular lump of earth on which one happens to have been born.
Nonetheless, I think my background did have a big influence on me,
concretely through the person of my late father who died aged 91 in 2004.
I adored him & he brought me up with a sense of a world beyond the rather
parochial suburb of Sheffield in the North of England in which I grew up.
He was a link to a vanished world, of pre-WWII Eastern Europe. Most
importantly, he was a paradigm of what it means to be a decent, gentle,
modest, yet resilient human being. His spirit haunts much of my work He
also left me with a soft spot for East European culture - though he had no
great interest in the arts - nature was his thing,

NS: I hadn't seen your "Five Operas" Shockwave works < >, and they kind of
blew me away. When were these made? Can you talk a bit about the
collaborative process? The combination of Kurt Weill-like music with
Brechtian themes, a bit of fluxus style--there's a real interruption of
the 4th wall, but it becomes new in the digital, through your use of clay,
static images, your framing of the frame, found objects, collage. Can you
tell me about your choices for visual representation of the sound?

MS: This project was a coming together of two lives: a personal project &
a massive collaboration, which included arts outreach work. The end
product is online, the original material & collaborators were gathered &
recruited online, but lots of stuff happened in the real world in between.
I issued a call for opera libretti exactly 100 words in length & received
a large number of submissions. Heartbreaking choosing, but I narrowed it
down to five that I thought were unequivocally great. I set them to music
& found singers--a chorus from a local Primary School & soloists from a
Further Education (16-19 yrs) college. It was a long series of
rehearsals--the music is difficult and demanding to sing. We did a
performance of the pieces one night for the kids' parents and friends &
recorded everything the next day. Then I created the visuals. A lot of
these consist of found or appropriated stuff - my drawing skills are
rudimentary, but I can cut & paste with the best of them. So the clay
figures came about because one of the teachers at the primary school
thought it would be fun to make them & I'm for going with the flow. I also
used manipulated photos of participating kids, rough sketches by the
librettists... lots of stuff, lots of image-related ducking & diving.

NS: How would you say these compare to your more recent works: "fresco",
"motion picture", "noir", "road movie"? < >

MS: My interest in computers is to augment the conventional moving image
with another dimension. Instead of a single work, I like using generative
processes, and a database of material to create a suite of closely related
works, pretty much infinite in number. --i.e. A generative work which
would be both somewhat predictable in rhythm, but also surprise you in its
specifics. I'm not terribly interested in "interactivity." It strikes me
as rather dull in most instances. Really great art is always interactive
in a really deep & gripping sense, a sense much deeper than that of
picking from a menu and clicking on something.

NS: Can you tell us a bit about your process? Both generally and
specifically, I mean--what are two projects you've worked on whose
processes differed greatly, why, and which collaborative efforts changed
the way you work or the ways you see your work process?

MS: With the movies, I start with stills, or some video footage. Sometimes
this will involve preparing some kind of performance, or maybe some
drawing or painting, prior to any imaging. Then sometimes it's
simple--edit the video in Premiere, animate the stills. More often it's
quite a complex routine. I'll export some of the footage as stills. Work
on them in Photoshop or whatever, bring them into Director, do stuff with
them there, re-export them as QuickTime. Then quite often do some stuff
within QuickTime, filters, etc. Occasionally, two or three cycles of this
process. There's also the sound/music, which I usually score in Sibelius,
send to a software sampler & then fit to the images, or sometimes the
other way round. I'm quite interested in accidents--so on occasion I'll
deliberately use apparently "inappropriate" music to see how the outcome
reads. I'm fascinated by how the spectator contributes to artistic meaning
& how this meaning is malleable to a point, but not infinitely so. There
are 'anchor points'--the work itself, including the artist's intentions;
social & historical context--how the existence of the work in time
contributes to an accretion of new & altered meanings for it; and finally
what an individual viewer--her psychological makeup, her personal story
etc--brings to the work.

All are in a highly complex dialectical relation. I'm interested in
testing this question of the viewer as meaning-maker, as it were 'inside'
the work, which is where my interests in chance and generativity come in.
In terms of chance operations I'm a Lutoslawskian rather than Cagean--I'm
interested in controlled chance. In musical terms, I'm just widening the
normal parameters of performance a bit. At one time in the Western
tradition, dynamics wouldn't have been notated & nor would the particular
instruments a work was to be performed upon (whereas 20th century
classical notation is in general notoriously fussy). So in works employing
generativity I always try and have a notion of how all possible
combinations of the source material might turn out. I do a lot of testing
& if even only once out of a hundred runs through something unsatisfactory
to me comes up, I go back to work on the piece. Hardly a Zen-like
surrender to chance is it?

NS: I love your new vlog of 100+ quicktime shorts, "Scenes of Provincial
Life." < >
Aside from the sorrowful beauty, the quirky and experimental framing, I
found it fascinating that you also published such a long text about the
work process (on Intelligent Agent < > ).
It feels like less of an artist statement, and more like a glossary of
interventionist strategies. It feels like a very generous series, a gift
to the art world on some level. Can you talk about the series, and your
commitment to others in the digi-arts community?

MS: The fact of the moving image is what rings my bell, more than anything
else--anything. It simply awes me that such a thing is possible, and the
philosophical questions arising from the moving image (& indeed the image
tout court) seem endlessly fascinating. This stream of frames that give
the appearance of motion! Also, the possibility of editing at the level of
each individual frame. The way the moving image brackets within it masses
of different practices: performance--narrative or otherwise--drawing,
painting, sound/ music work, collage, confessional, diary, documentary,
various kinds of appropriation/remixing/variation forms--and also the
possibility of generative work. Once I'd got used to using a computer for
music, I realised that essentially the digital was an enormously
democratic sphere--a stream of ones & zeros is a stream of ones & zeros &
subject to similar processes, whatever it represents - sound, image,
process... I started making pieces of what I suppose could loosely be
called "net art"--things with a degree of interactivity/ generativity
partly because I felt it was the done thing. Then in 2003 there was a call
for ten-second films somewhere. I made a couple of these, one of which, "A
Tiny Opera for Anna," became one of the first in the collection of
QuickTime movies. Then I thought, I love this! I really don't give a
monkey's whether what I am doing is "idiomatic" or not. As for subject
matter, I use what I know--lots of references to my own life but in the
hope (& belief) that there's some universality there, that "everything is
connected" as good old V.I. Lenin said, not at all trivially.

NS: Finally, how does this influence your "double life," and versa vice?
Your CV exhibits a very different image to the net.artist I know from the
ether. Many digital artists have a bread and butter "day job" they mostly
don't talk about in their online personas, but it seems yours have an
interesting interplay. Talk about this work and its impact.

MS: I started off working in 1977, as a musician, in small scale touring
theatre, often with quite a political/ educational edge. I did that until
1988 when I did a math degree. I was set to become a professional
mathematician when someone offered me a job teaching music & theatre & I
couldn't resist the siren call. I taught throughout the nineties but
increasingly also did lots of arts outreach, often site-specific, work for
the arts department of a local council. In 2000 I quit teaching to work
full time in the arts--mostly outreach work, but also for the first time
developing a personal body of work which is what anyone who knows me from
the web will be familiar with. It was like being reborn. Things like
Rhizome, Webartery, Netbehaviour, etc were an absolute lifeline. I'm so
pleased I happened across a reference to Rhizome in Lunenfeld's "Snap To
Grid"--it literally changed my life. I continue to do outreach work. It
keeps one grounded. Currently I'm working with my friend, the dancer &
choreographer Jo Thomson, towards a dance/ music/ video performance piece
in a special school for children with severe learning difficulties & also
with a group of adults with similar difficulties, with whom we have
established a regular working relationship. There's a lot of debate about
this sort of work around "process & product." For me they're equally

(1) Process is not all--if the participants have had a great time & the
end result is crap then you've failed.
(2) Equally if you make something utterly beautiful & the participants
have been miserable, alienated & resentful then you've failed too. You've
got to aspire to make art that is as good as if you'd made it yourself
under perfect conditions, but that also respects, challenges & engages the
non-professional participants. As long as society is organised the way it
is there are going to be specialists. I see no point in downplaying any
skills I have in the interests of a falsely democratic notion of
"empowerment" because inevitably, the artist's influence is still there,
but hidden & hence dishonest. Nevertheless, I do firmly believe cultural
activity to be a profound & universal human drive and need and I look
forward to a world in which everyone will have the right & the time to be
artistically active at a high level and where I and other professional
artists become redundant as professionals, because everyone is doing it,
just as everyone eats, sleeps and breathes.


+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and an affiliate of the
New Museum of Contemporary Art.

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

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Rhizome Digest is filtered by Marisa Olson (marisa AT ISSN:
1525-9110. Volume 11, number 11. Article submissions to list AT
are encouraged. Submissions should relate to the theme of new media art
and be less than 1500 words. For information on advertising in Rhizome
Digest, please contact info AT

To unsubscribe from this list, visit
Subscribers to Rhizome Digest are subject to the terms set out in the
Member Agreement available online at

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +