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: 04.21.06
Date: Fri, 21 Apr 2006 10:38:50 -0700

RHIZOME DIGEST: April 21, 2006

++ Always online at ++


1. Lauren Cornell: AIRtime ­ Transmission Residencies at free103point9
Wave Farm in Upstate New York
2. milton AT The AT Lab New Media Residency Program

4. marc: New Reviews, interviews & Articles on April 06
5. candice AT Shirley Shor, opening reception at Moti Hasson
Gallery, NY
6. basak senova: the upgrade!istanbul #5
7. Pau Waelder: Ars Electronica 2006 "Simplicity - the art of complexity"

8. Anna Orrghen: Review: Ken Goldberg's Ballet Mori

9. andre AT, Alexis Turner, curt cloninger, Pall Thayer,
Geert Dekkers, Eric Dymond, Ryan Griffis, Nad, Dirk Vekemans, curt
cloninger: considering abstraction in digital art?

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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: Lauren Cornell <laurencornell AT>
Date: Apr 17, 2006
Subject: AIRtime Transmission Residencies at free103point9 Wave Farm in
Upstate New York.

New residency program in upstate NY. See below for details, Lauren

AIRtime Transmission Residencies at free103point9 Wave Farm in Upstate
New York.

E-mail/Postmark deadline May 1, 2006

AIRtime residencies provide a valuable space for artists to pursue new
transmission works with access to equipment and technical support, and
conduct important research about the genre using free103point9's resource
library. Residencies are available by application. Approximately ten
artists are selected each season. Residents are provided with a $150
stipend and meals during their stay.

Residents are housed in a private cabin with WiFi access, on
free103point9's Wave Farm.Wave Farm features 30 retreat-like acres with
meadows, ponds, mountain views, and mature pine forests.

Application Guidelines and More Information is available at:

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From: milton AT <milton AT>
Date: Apr 19, 2006
Subject: The AT Lab New Media Residency Program

The Aesthetic Technologies Lab of the Ohio University College of Fine Arts
is pleased to announce its New Media Residency Program.

We seek to appoint a New Media Artist-in-Residence for each quarter of the
upcoming academic year (2006 / 2007) starting 15th August 2006.

The AT Lab develops and supports artistic projects working at the
intersection of fine arts practice and technological innovation.
Established in 2004 and based in the Appalachian foothills of Ohio, it is
a vibrant center of interdisciplinary research and development, and
collaborative experimentation in new media arts encompassing teaching,
research, and project conceptualization and management.

10-week residencies beginning 15th August 2006; 1st January 2007; and
15th March 2007.

We are seeking an experienced and motivated new media artist with a
significant portfolio and a growing publication and/or exhibition record
for digital / mediated work. You will have a national or international
reputation and possess excellent skills with digital tools and/or web
design as well as the ability to teach online and in person. You will be
familiar with new media forms and the digital arts community and have
proven ability to work independently and with a team.

You will spend 60% of your time developing a substantial new media piece
of your own for an exhibition launch towards the conclusion of your
residency period and 40% of your time contributing to the intellectual and
collaborative life of the AT Lab by hosting courses, workshops, lectures,
and outreach events.

You will be required to reflect upon your practice via an ongoing public
online journal as part of your development time. There will be many
opportunities to benefit from the support, advice and resources of the
College of Fine Art community, and the AT Lab staff.

This residency includes a competitive compensation, housing, some meals,
travel arrangements to Athens, OH, a materials budget, some marketing,
advertising and event support, and onsite resources for project

To Apply:
Please submit your CV, a sample of your works and publication list, as
well as a course outline and letter of interest to:

Dr. Katherine Milton
The Aesthetic Technologies Lab
235 Putnam Hall - Ohio University
Athens, OH 45701
(740) 591-4579
milton AT

Short-listed applicants will be invited to give a presentation to a small
group and attend an interview. We will pay reasonable travel expenses to
interview from locations inside US. We regret we cannot pay interview
expenses to applicants traveling from outside the US.


10-week Residency Artist focusing on New Media Arts

Seeking 1 artist per Ohio University academic quarter, to begin:
15th of August 2006;
1st of January 2007, and
15th of March 2007.

Itemization of Compensations:

Artist's fee: $8,000 / per 10-week quarter

Travel: To/From Athens, OH

Housing: On or near-campus housing will be provided

Meals: 80 - meals covered with a campus meal plan card

Project Support: $2,500 for materials and necessities to enable the project

Total Compensation in fees, materials, travel and accommodations exceeds

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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
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About BroadSpire

BroadSpire is a mid-size commercial web hosting provider. After conducting
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From: Turbulence <turbulence AT>
Date: Apr 18, 2006


Michael Mittelman is an artist, educator and publisher. His work, ranging
from net art to interactive installation, has been exhibited throughout
New England and abroad. As publisher of ASPECT Magazine, Michael has
created a channel for contemporary new media artists to deliver their work
to a wider audience, while simultaneously enabling educators to show video
directly from artists. Michael's current body of work, "Alternative
Domestic" explores psychological, cultural and social issues in the
framework of a domestic apartment.

When: April 27, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Where: Art Interactive, 130 Bishop Allen Drive, at the corner of Prospect
Street, Cambridge


When: May 2, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Where: Art Interactive, 130 Bishop Allen Drive, at the corner of Prospect
Street, Cambridge

The Upgrade! Boston schedule is available here:

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:

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From: marc <marc.garrett AT>
Date: Apr 18, 2006
Subject: New Reviews, interviews & Articles on April 06.

New Reviews, interviews & Articles on April 06.

-Mary Flanagan: Interviewed by Jess Laccetti.
-Free103point9 and Transmission Arts: Reviewed by María Victoria Guglietti.
-Chris Ashley - Look, See: Reviewed by Rob Myers.
-Flick Harrison's Interactive Cinema: Marie Tyrell - Article by Camille
-FurtherCritic Article by [[Mez]]:
Unlearning Paris Hilton [vs: Reconstructing (Gender) Isabella].
On Abe Linkoln's video on 'isabelle-dinoire'.

Mary Flanagan - Interviewed by Jess Laccetti.
An interview with Mary Flanagan by Jess Laccetti about the idea of
works-in-progress and issues around exploration. Flanagan's artwork has
been shown internationally at venues including the the Whitney Museum of
American Art 2002 Biennial, SIGGRAPH, Ars Electronica, Whitney Museum of
American Art's Artport, the Moving Image Centre in Auckland, Central Fine
Arts Gallery, New York, the Guggenheim, University of Arizona, University
of Colorado Boulder, New York Hall of Science, and galleries/events in
Spain, the UK, Norway, Japan, Denmark, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong,
France, Italy, Slovenia, and the US.
Interviewed by Jess Laccetti.

Free103point9 and Transmission Arts.
Since its emergence as a microcasting artist collective in 1997,
free103point9 has consistently pursued the legitimization and promotion of
transmission arts. Today, the clandestine collective is a non-profit arts
organization whose many ventures are: Project space -a gallery in
Brooklyn, New York-, Wavefarm -a research centre currently under
construction-, a radio lab, an on-line radio and a distribution label.
Aware of the need of defining transmission arts, free103point9 has
painstakingly theorized and documented the history and forms of
transmission art: radio and video art, performance, installation, light
sculptures. Textbooks and a growing on-line archive of transmission
artworks are two ways in which free103point9 consolidates the notion of
transmission arts.
Reviewer: María Victoria Guglietti.

Chris Ashley - Look, See.
Every day since 2002 Chris Ashley has created an abstract coloured drawing
in hand-coded HTML tables and posted it to his weblog ?Look, See?. The
structured format of a weblog frames these small but often complex works
perfectly. Weblogs are an informal medium and personal weblogs often have
the quality of a diary or consisting of a confessional nature. This is a
deflating context for art, one that in Chris's case allows some of the
aesthetic content of high and late modernism to be rehabilitated without
bathos. What was once meant to be universal is made personal, not with the
knowingness of Neo Geo but with a remixer's virtuosity and enthusiasm.
Reviewer: Rob Myers.

Flick Harrison's Interactive Cinema: Marie Tyrell.
The film ?Marie Tyrell? came to my attention when I was asked to moderate
the Cinematic Salon, a monthly informal community event in Vancouver,
hosted by Cineworks, a non-profit artist-run cinema centre. The Cinematic
Salon is meant to, ?provide an opportunity for dialogue around film
artistry, in which guest artists show and discuss their work, encourage
other filmmakers at all stages of their careers, as well as for
individuals simply interested in film, meet, discuss and learn from each
other?s experiences in film making.? This particular event was called
?Flick Harrison: Film Interactive? due to its interactive features as a
means to demystify or interrogate the narrative, politics and production
of the film.
Article by Camille Baker.

FurtherCritic Article by [[Mez]].
Unlearning Paris Hilton [vs: Reconstructing (Gender) Isabella].
On Abe Linkoln's video on 'isabelle-dinoire'.

[[Mez]] Explores Abe Linkoln's video on Isabelle Dinoire, the first person
to undergo a partial face transplant, after her dog mauled her in May
2005. Ideologically + representationally Paris Hilton has a surprising
amount in common with her [_House of] Wax_work_drenched performance in the
movie of the same name. In _House of Wax_ she portrays a pe[tulant]rpetual
bottle_x.tension_teen_sex.shell_blonde intent on conveying some
teen_tidbit 2 her jock _clichéd_b/friend.

The FurtherCritic Residency series started early 2002, offering a range of
dynamic and critical reviews, interviews and articles to a diverse,
interested public. Starting with Lewis LaCook, it was continued by Ryan
Griffis and now with ]]Mez[[ (Maryanne Breeze).

All FurtherCritic article's by [[Mez]], Ryan Griffis & Lewis Lacook can be
reach here:

If you want to be a reviewer on Furtherfield contact -
marc.garrett AT

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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.

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From: candice AT <candice AT>
Date: Apr 19, 2006
Subject: Shirley Shor, opening reception at Moti Hasson Gallery, NY

Shirley Shor: On the Fly
April 27 - May 27, 2006
Opening reception Thursday, April 27th, 2006, 6-9 PM
330 West 38th St, suite 211

Moti Hasson Gallery is pleased to present digital-media works by the
San-Francisco-based artist, Shirley Shor. This is this artist's first
solo show in New York.

Shirley Shor received a BA in Art History and Philosophy from Tel-Aviv
University, and a MFA in Conceptual Information Art from San Francisco
State University. Her work has exhibited nationally and internationally,
including recent shows at the Berkeley Art Museum, Yerba Buena Center for
the Arts (San Francisco), SF Camerawork, Gallery Paule Anglim (San
Francisco), Ars Electronica (Linz), Carl Solway Gallery (Cincinnati), and
Herzliya Museum of Art (Tel-Aviv). Shor was a recipient of the 2003 Bay
Area Murphy Award in fine arts and her work was selected for inclusion in
the 2004 California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art. Shirley
Shor's work is part of several public collections, including the Orange
County Museum of Art, San Jose Museum of Art, and Berkeley Art Museum.

The following is an excerpt from a catalog essay by Irene Hofmann,
executive director of the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore:

With dynamic forms, hypnotic movements, and a luminous palette, Shirley
Shor creates artworks that seduce and delight. Part of an emerging
generation of new-media artists who are redefining how computers can be
engaged in the creation of work, Shor makes real-time computer-generated
animations and installations that engage the spatial and temporal. In
Shor's works, animated fields of color, surface and line are in perpetual
fluid motion, expanding, merging, collapsing, and reforming with movements
and shapes that become metaphors for concepts such as conflict, language,
and the passage of time.

Shor's works begin with a conceptual idea that is first expressed as a set
of rules governing an abstract animation of patterns, colors, surfaces,
and movements. The rules are then implemented as code in a software
program that runs on a personal computer in real-time to generate
ever-changing moving images. Each of Shor's images flow into the next, in
sequences that are never repeated. Once programmed, these animations
become projections onto walls or other preexisting architectural surfaces,
or are incorporated into freestanding or wall-mounted sculptural elements.
"In my work," writes Shor, "I think about space as a verb, as an action,
as a dynamic process that we are all taking part in. I recreate space by
constantly changing it. I do so by injecting real time virtual elements
into physical space and physical objects. The raw moments are a synthesis
between the code and the territory."

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

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From: basak senova <basak AT>
Date: Apr 19, 2006
Subject: the upgrade!istanbul #5



25th of April 2006
19:30- A performance by son:DA

son:DA _ artistic alliance _ Golec/Horvat _ since 2000 _ ( ) has presented their work and performed in Moderna
galerija Ljubljana, Institute for contemporary art Sofia, MACRO Rome,
Kunstlerhaus Vienna, Tate modern London, The Renaissance society Chicago,
Stedelijk Amsterdam, Contemporary art museum St.Loise, at Musikprotokoll
am SteirischenHerbst Graz, International festival of animation in Utrecht,
Hiroshima and Zagreb, at Sammlung Essl and on different festivals in
Prague, Hull, Maribor, Florence, Berlin, Zagreb, Napoli alias on
different radio and television stations.

son:DA is one of the guests of the Istanbul Residency Programme at
Platform Garanti supported by American Center Foundation.

performative audio-video constellation 2003-2006
The technical support for this low-fi (analogical) constellation, with the
help of which the compositions are made possible, is made from a simple
sound interface alias coaxial cable, which reacts to the events, course
and changes within the picture electrons on the screen of
monitor-television and eventually, reacts to the simple touch of it. There
is also a analogical connection between audio and video signal, such as
video makes, manipulates, modulates audio signal and vice verse. A simple
electronic signal circle is possible. The before prepared and presented
(projected) pictorial alias audio compositions make up the scores. They
are fundamental materials for the performances and interactivity. The
duration of one loop is defined through the length of the pictorial-audio
composition-score. Manipulation occurs in treating and projecting the
audio and video signal into the system, into the constellation and into
the real space. Modulation happens during the process of the
performance-interactivity-improvisation with constellation, with this
low-tech music instrument. The pictorial material of the different
compositions includes and is represented by moving images (found footage
or original video recording), as well as animated static images, words and
numbers. Compositions could be also made out of new or found audio
samples alias out of very simple or complex sound scores.

During the last three-year period has son:DA created a series of
compositions as technical constellations with their guests (unit 739.
nr.7-G. nr.27-1-2-3. for two monitors. for a question. for Europe.for
monitor, projector, bass and "composition ar_co").

More on alias

AT 17:00
due to the ongoing construction work, santralistanbul will host this
meeting at Istanbul Bilgi University, Dolapdere Campus, The Court Room.


The Upgrade! Istanbul is a monthly gathering for new media artists,
academicians, practitioners, curators and for all of the other actors of
digital culture, organized by NOMAD and hosted by santralistanbul.

Upgrade! is an international, emerging network of autonomous nodes united
by art, technology, and a commitment to bridging cultural divides. Its
decentralized, non-hierarchical structure ensures that Upgrade! (i)
operates according to local interests and their available resources; and
(ii) reflects current creative engagement with cutting edge technologies.
While individual nodes present new media projects, engage in informal
critique, and foster dialogue and collaboration between individual
artists, Upgrade! International functions as an online, global network
that gathers annually in different cities to meet one another, showcase
local art, and work on the agenda for the following year.

Current Nodes: Boston (United States), Chicago (United States), Lisbon
(Portugal), Johannesburg (South Africa), Istanbul (Turkey), Montreal
(Canada), Munich (Germany), New York (United States), Oklahoma City
(United States), Scotland, Seoul (South Korea), Sofia (Bulgaria), Tel Aviv
(Israel), and Vancouver (Canada).

Future Nodes: Amsterdam (Netherlands), Athens (Greece), Liverpool (United
Kingdom), London (United Kingdom), Toronto (Canada), and Wellington (New
Zealand) will launch in the near future.

Organizations: Eyebeam,, New Media Scotland, Art Centre
Nabi, The Western Front, The Society for Arts and Technology (SAT),
InterSpace, i-camp, DCA, CCA,, Art Interactive,
NOMAD/santralistanbul, program angels/lothringer13,,
t-u-b-e, C-M.TV, Lisboa 20, AT. joburg, and the University of the

Upgrade! Background: Since April 1999, a group of new media artists and
curators have gathered in New York City. The first meeting took place at a
bar in the east village with Tim Whidden & Mark River [MTAA], Mark Napier
and founder Yael Kanarek. Upgrade! New York partnered with Eyebeam in
March 2000.


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From: Pau Waelder <pau AT>
Date: Apr 21, 2006
Subject: Ars Electronica 2006 "Simplicity - the art of complexity"

SIMPLICITY - the art of complexity

Increasingly complicated processes and interrelationships determine an
individual's life today. The upshot: a growing need to comprehend the big
picture. Ars Electronica 2006 focuses on the challenges of an epoch in
which complex systems seem to be omnipresent.

Linz, April 21, 2006 (Ars Electronica). Few of us are even capable of
grasping any more all of the diverse computer-based processes that
accompany us through every aspect of life. This is a phenomenon that
inevitably marches in lockstep with a loss of control. After all, whether
it's our car's electronic glitch or the crash of our PC, the problems are
for the most part unfathomable and we can't fix them ourselves. At the
same time, there's the ever-growing amount of time expended ever more
frequently getting up to speed on new computer programs and devices.

Tools originally conceived as ways to simplify life seem to have had just
the opposite effect. And while industrialized societies show signs of
being increasingly incapable of dealing with all the information that
incessantly inundates them, the majority of mankind living in
non-industrialized countries is still totally denied access to information
technology. Thus, the enormous positive potential of this tool remains
unused in important ways.

In the words of Ars Electronica Artistic Director Gerfried Stocker: "The
challenge of the future will be to make complexity comprehensible and
manageable. Thus, simplicity in a positive sense means developing
intelligent strategies to facilitate access to technologies, to make them
more convenient, and to enable users to see what actually happens with the
information moving through them."

Christine Schopf, co-director of the Festival together with Gerfried
Stocker, pointed out: "On one hand, this is a matter of technological
competence; on the other, and above all, this has to do with social
competence on the part of the individual, with decision-making
capabilities about how to utilize technology."

Ars Electronica is confronting the challenges of a complex world. How can
we take optimal advantage of available opportunities? How can computer
programs be made user-friendlier and how can they be designed to let the
individual user assess the potential consequences of their use? What
characteristics ought to be displayed by hardware that lets all people
join Information Society. And which role do artists as trailblazers and
art as an experimental domain play in light of this immense and rapidly
moving deluge of information, options and permanent changes?

The 2006 Ars Electronica Festival's theme symposium will be curated by
John Maeda who, in his capacity as world-renowned graphic designer, visual
artist and scholar at the MIT Media Lab, has been at the forefront of
thinking about simplicity in the Digital Age.

Access, Overview, Responsibility

A central focus of Simplicity is on software that users can operate in
intuitive way, something that gets us off to a great start in our effort
to deal with an increasingly complex world. The design of search engines
illustrates the potential of clear, simple solutions. Search engines
consist of highly complex systems made up of a wide variety of algorithms
that search through the contents of billions of websites. Be that as it
may-doing research in the Internet comes across as the simplest thing in
the world and is something we take completely for granted.

Another item at the top of this year's agenda is access to adequate
hardware. Let's face it: while a part of the world is literally being
flooded with information, the majority of mankind is falling further and
further behind in the struggle to gain access to the democratic asset
"information." The reasons for this are often quite pragmatic. Benchmark
standards for a computer processor do not mandate smooth operation at 105
in the shade, under constant bombardment by desert sand and amidst
repeated interruption of the electrical supply. Affordable systems built
to handle adverse conditions and designed to concentrate on a few key
tasks could improve matters considerably. In this context, simplicity
means results-oriented alternatives to the manufacturers' permanent race
to achieve supremacy expressed in megahertz and gigabytes.

Simplicity as a philosophy has to do more than automate processes.
Simplicity of the future means democratic access, userfriendliness and
full disclosure of how the features function and their potential risks.
Moreover, simplicity opens up a whole array of prospects to make the world
more ecological, easier to comprehend and more just.

Ars Electronica 2006

A series of speeches, discussions and artists' talks in wide-ranging
formats will be the highlights of an encounter with "Simplicity - the art
of complexity" from August 31 to September 5. Artists, software designers
and scientists will elaborate on theories, strategies and successful
approaches to managing complexity. The featured events on this year's
festival program include exhibitions, concerts and performances.

Ars Electronica
Presseteam: Partner der Medien
Press Team: Partner of the Media

Press Releases/Press Kits

Bilder (300 dpi)
Images (300 dpi)

Mag. Wolfgang A. Bednarzek MAS
Pressesprecher / Press Officer

tel: +43.732.7272-38
mob: +43.664.81 26 156
fax: +43.732.7272-638
icq: 263-963-828
<mailto:wolfgang.bednarzek AT>

Mag. Robert Bauernhansl
Assistent Pressebetreuung / Assistant Press
tel: +43.732.7272-966
fax: +43.732.7272-632
<mailto:robert.bauernhansl AT>

Ars Electronica Center
Hauptstrasse 2-4, 4040 Linz, Austria

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From: Anna Orrghen <anna.orrghen AT>
Date: Apr 18, 2006
Subject: Review: Ken Goldberg's Ballet Mori

Ballet Mori and the Acoustic Unconscious
by Anna Orrghen

April 18 is the 100-year anniversary of San Francisco's Great Earthquake.

How can we understand sounds far too sublime to be perceived by the human
ear? This question was brought to the fore by a team of American media
artists led by UC Berkeley's Ken Goldberg in "Ballet Mori," performed at
the San Francisco Opera House April 4 to commemorate the 1906 Earthquake.
Muriel Maffre, a principal dancer of the SF Ballet, danced to sound
activated directly by the movements of the earth. Seismic data from the
Hayward fault was transmitted to the opera house via the Internet and
transformed into a soundscape by composer Randall Packer using Max/MSP.
All in real time. The performance brought to mind Walter Benjamin's
concept of the "optical unconscious." Just as the technology of
photography makes it possible to see things normally invisible to the
naked eye, Ballet Mori's networked sound system facilitates a meditation
on the "acoustic unconscious." It allows the audience to hear the sound
of the earth, which cannot be heard with the naked ear. The result was a
suggestive and very beautiful synaesthetic experience that challenged the
classical ballet audience and ordinary patterns of hearing. Video clips
are online at:

Anna Orrghen is a PhD Candidate in Media and Communication Studies at
Stockholm University. She is currently finishing her dissertation, which
explores the process by which a new medium emerges, with special attention
to the discourses of art and Swedish mass media at the turn of the 21st
century. She also works as a cultural critic in Sweden. e-mail:
anna.orrghen AT

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From: andre AT <andre AT>, Alexis Turner
<subbies AT>, curt cloninger <curt AT>, Pall
Thayer <p_thay AT>, Geert Dekkers <geert AT>, Eric
Dymond <dymond AT>, Ryan Griffis <ryan.griffis AT>, Nad
<nad AT>, Dirk Vekemans <dv AT>, curt cloninger
<curt AT>
Date: Apr 19 - 21, 2006
Subject: considering abstraction in digital art?

+andre AT posted:+

Hello List

Just wondering, do you think Abstraction is?

a. necessarily reductive in nature
b. actually inherently transcendental
c. both a and b above
d. depends, if we are talking performative, generative, iterative or
e. none of the above , but?


+Alexis Turner replied:+

Just wondering, do you think Abstraction is?
a. necessarily reductive in nature + b. actually inherently transcendental
+ d. becomes more interesting if we are talking performative, generative,
iterative or retronascent
but, really,

e. none of the above

or, better still

f. who cares

Your use of the term generic term Abstraction as opposed to the specific
Abstract Art leaves too many other delicious possibilities to consider.

+curt cloninger replied:+

Hi Andre,

I've been reading Paul Klee a lot lately, and I like his take on
abstraction. His answer might be "something like both a and b, with
certain caveats." If there is a spiritual or a transcendental, we are not
going to re-present it simply by drawing the surface of objects with
illusionary renaissance perspective. So to get at the
life/history/essence of an object, we have to try to represent that object
over time, which is hard to do in a single, static, 2D picture plane.

So Klee developed a system of representation to try to get at the source
of what something is. And of course his paintings don't look exactly like
the surface of a thing. But they always have some relationship to the
surface of a thing, because the surface of a thing has at least something
to do with the essence of the thing. And since existence is very complex
and the language of painting is necessarily more simple and reductive,
then the painting will necessarily be an "abstraction," since it can't be
a simulation. But the goal is not abstraction for its own sake. The goal
is to get at the essence of a thing, and in order to do this using the
limited vocabulary of (in Klee's case) painting, it's going to be

Interesting that Klee's systematic approach to representation influenced
Armin Hofmann who influenced Casey Reas whose Processing software is
currently influencing the aesthetic of the generative art scene. All via
a Bauhaus modernist graphic design door, which is a funny door for it to
come through, considering it winds up in the midst of the late modern,
often anti-formalist net art scene.

Some quotations that seem relevant:

There's this sort of ridiculous idea left over from the 20th century that
abstraction and figuration are legitimate poles. And I from the very
start have incorporated the two things together. I've been fascinated by
the idea that there is really no distinction -- it's just a question of
scale. (matthew ritchie)

Forms react on us both through their essence and their appearance, those
kindred organs of the spirit. The line of demarcation between essence and
appearance is faint. There is no clash, just a specific something which
demands that the essentials be grasped. (paul klee)

It is not easy to orient yourself in a whole that is made up of parts
belonging to different dimensions. And nature is such a whole...

The answer lies in methods of handling spatial representation which lead
to an image that is plastically clear. The difficulty lies in the temporal
deficiencies of language. For language there is no way of seeing many
dimensions at once. (paul klee)

There should be no separation between spontaneous work with an emotional
tone and work directed by the intellect. Both are supplementary to each
other and must be regarded as intimately connected. Discipline and freedom
are thus to be seen as elements of equal weight, each partaking of the
other. (armin hofmann)

In the face of the mystery, analysis stops perplexed. But the mystery is
to share in the creation of form by pressing forward to the seal of
mystery. (paul klee)

The chosen artists are those who dig down close to the secret source where
the primal law feeds the forces of development. (paul klee)

To overcome an obstacle or an enemy
To dominate the impossible in your life
Reach in the darkness
(paul simon)

Art plays in the dark with ultimate things and yet it reaches them. (paul

+Pall Thayer replied:+

I've been doing some research on related stuff recently and it's beginning
to lead into a kind of strange direction. What I'm going to say is not
about digital art in general but about Net-Art in general. For a long time
I've been touting the merits of the abstract and do in fact feel that it's
one of *the* most important moves in recent art. So important that to
simply abandon it as old fashioned would be a shame. It's definitely
important stuff. But as far as Net-Art is concerned, it's hard to ignore
the Pop-Artness of it. It uses elements of mass culture and due it's (most
often) screen-based nature, it tends to have a graphic-design quality to
it. On top of that, it has one more very significant feature that Pop-Art
didn't have. Almost anyone can experience it in an environment of their
own choosing.

Here's a good description of net art, it's: "popular, transient,
expendable, low-cost, mass-produced, young, witty, sexy, gimmicky,
glamorous, and Big Business"

Only, this list wasn't devised as a description of net art. It's Richard
Hamilton describing Pop-Art in the late 50's. Eery, eh? So, wow! If we
consider the primary proponents of these two "schools", we're looking to
try to find a balance between Clement Greenberg and Arthur Danto. That's
pretty intense. I came across a true gem of a find just yesterday. In the
October, 2004 issue of ArtForum, they published a previously unpublished
lecture given by Greenberg on... Pop-Art. Very interesting read but not
surprising that he didn't care for it all. Here's a great quote from the
lecture: "But Pop art has not yet produced anything that has given me, for
one, pause; moved me deeply; that has challenged my taste or capacities
and forced me to expand them."

Danto on the other hand says that art's flight from Abstract Expressionism
(Greenberg's forte) is a turning point where art becomes philosophy which
sounds to me like something very challenging and deeply moving.

Of course, one of the interesting things to consider, is the audience. Who
were Abstract Expressionism's audience? Who were Pop-Art's audience? Who
are Net-Art's audience?

I'm not going to supply any answers. This is just stuff to think about.
But I do feel that Net-Art has the potential to create a meaningful bridge
between Greenberg and Danto and that it's truly worth pursuing.

+Geert Dekkers replied:+

Experiencing art within the domain of your choosing is important -- but
this has always been possible. A buyer/collector of an art object may
choose to experience the object anywhere he/she wishes. But a viewer --
now, a viewer is restricted to the medium where a 3d piece can be
experienced without buying it -- you know, an art gallery, a museum,
someone's home. The enviroment wherein can be experienced is
definitely not of ones own choosing. can only be experienced
within the confines of -- well, the internet. It will always take a
machine to experience You will never be able to walk around it,
look at it from the back. It simply does no exist in our dimension. Now
THAT makes (and before that, video art, ie everything that needs a
machine) very different from anything produces before. Except perhaps
fluxus, happenings.

+Pall Thayer replied:+

Hi Geert,
Good point. I hadn't really considered that. When considering Net-Art as a
mass-media type phenomenon, I guess what concerns me as far as the
location of the experience goes, is the fact that people not generally
interested enough in art to go out and seek it in a gallery or museum or
even those who feel intimidated by formal art settings (the "I don't know
how to talk about art. I'll just feel out of place." types) can experience
the art in solitude without it being a compromise such as looking at
pictures of paintings or sculptures in a magazine. They get the real
thing. And the way things are now, that doesn't necessarily have to be at
home, it can be at a coffee-shop, the library, school, even a park.

But as far as walking around and examining work in three dimensions, I'm
not sure that I would call that unique to screen-based art as painting
exhibitions usually don't invite you to examine the paintings from behind.


+Geert Dekkers replied:+

Right. But what I mean is that in the case of screen-based work, like
digital work, like video work, the space of the work is removed from the
physical space where the box (computer, video set, projection system) is
presented. Which means that there is a conflict between the art work
universe (what goes on inside the box) and the design universe (the
outside of the box). More often than not, this conflict stays unresolved.
Of course, in painting (or any other form where the image carrier is
fixed to the image) this conflict is present. But the conflict doesn't
present itself as strongly as in screen- based art, because of the simple
possibility of switching of the set (you then end up with just another tv)

Much of the appreciation of art comes with setting the context. As in
other art forms -- for example: going to the pictures (to a movie theatre)
sets te context for the experience of a movie. Watching the same on the
telly is just not the same -- as everyone knows. To pin down a traditional
form of art appreciation -- lets say that would be in a gallery, museum,
or someones home, you'd really also have to speak of the context of the
art object, to some extent, the context would be personal, other context
would be collective, and yes, I can imagine context that would be very
unique to the person doing the appreciating, so much so, that it would not
be able to be articulated.

So -- getting "the real thing" might just be somewhat different than you
think it is, Pall. Art needs its institutions -- but art needs to break
its bonds now and again, too.

+Eric Dymond replied:+

I think, or whatever passes for thinking, we have o establish a few
parameters before we discuss the issue of online abstract art.
Before I make a comment, we need to discuss the frame of a web art work.
This frame carries with it an accepted degree of drift.
An abstract painting in a gallery, museum, hallway of an insurance company
doesn't share the same unique frame that online web art has.
Our first goal, before going off on funny tangents is to agree upon "the
frame" and the context that "the frame" brings to the work.
Web art is framed in ways that museum art could only dream of (or reel in
apoplexia during early morning nightmares).
What is this distance between the old static world and the newer mediated
Can we even begin to make comparisons?
Rhizome posts so many new works each day, which is why I love it, but
could an old guard critic like Clem Greenberg get any sense of the new
ideas and feelings these works explore? I doubt it.

+Ryan Griffis replied:+

hi Eric,
i appreciate what you have to say (the comments about framing - right on),
but do you really mean this? what's the point in having an "art" that can
be distributed over a network like the internet/web, supposedly to reach
more people than painting, and believe that someone like Greenberg
couldn't "get it"? don't get me wrong, i'm not saying he would "like" any
of it, but his dislike of it would be because he "got it," not due to his
ignorance - he would actively resist participation. Take Fried's critique
of theatricality in minimalism, for example. He got it, and didn't like
it. Or for a more current example, read Claire
Bishop's crit of relational aesthetics, which is so a contemporary "Art &
Objecthood." She also "gets" relational aesthetics and that is where her
crit comes from... despite her (very) valid points about the denial of
conflict in Bourriaud's relational aesthetics (and its simulation of
egalitarianism/anarchism), her crit comes down to a defense of "Art" and
its boundaries (gender, class, etc) - hence the importance of Gillick and
Hirschorn to her narrative. i mean, someone wants to challenge the
"collaborative" practices of Tiravanija and that's who they come up with??
anyway, just some quick thoughts... that are maybe way off the topic of
abstraction, at least as it's being discussed here.

+Eric Dymond replied:+

Hi Ryan,
These are great points, but I am trying to zero in on web art vs
traditional art framing.
I understand traditional contexts, they have such a great history, and a
great expectation.
The current disourse doesn't address the fact that my computer is expected
to reveal art in the context of a web browser (with back buttons, history,
lnks etc..) or software that always has an escape key.
This is a pretty significant difference between older static works and the
new works that address the issue of the computed frame.
When I look at a Barnett Newman, in person or online, I am framed by the
substances that created the work. He meant for things to be seen in
person, in situu. He also was very particular about insisting that the
existence that created the work be remembered.
Thats not true of online work. Often I spend very little time worrying
about the programming/imaging/author that created the work.
The significance that the 'making' brings is so important in older art.
Don't we now tend to ignore the drag of a brush(which Newman felt was all
important) and deal with the social/technological/mediated event as it
presents itself to us? Its event driven, not individually expressed.
In other words when we take up the digital, we bring with it some baggage
that never entered into the discourse of the older abstract and conceptual
artists? The new baggage could be CNN, Yahoo, Google, Rhizome, The Thing,
NetTime, and on and on.
I think most older abstraction was insulated from these issues
Could the old world of abstraction even be possible in the electronic

+Alexis Turner replied:+

Why does one have to reveal it in a web browser? It is not "web art," it
is, and the Internet and the Web are very different entities, even
if people like to play very fast and loose with the two terms. And this
observation doesn't even touch on the fact that "browsers" are not a
natural law of viewing items on the web. Computer science, and,
following, the web, the internet, browsers, and, are inherently
subject to change by their very nature. They are evolving disciplines,
and defining a frame for their use is an excercise in futility. No
tangent. Just the nature of code. Off the top of my head, I can imagine
several scenarios where a person could create a object which could
be walked around and seen from all sides. The INTERNET and its underlying
CODE are the only required framework, and those can take many physical and
ethereal forms.

+Nad replied:+

AT Andre:

What exactly do you mean with trancendental?
There are quite a few definitions of that
term on the market.

AT Curt

>I've been fascinated by the idea that there is really no distinction --
>it's just a question of scale. (matthew ritchie)

??????? this makes no sense to me. What do you think
how he meant that?
How do you apply that for example if you do
the abstraction from "chair" (meaning the actual thing*)
to "chair" (meaning the abstraction as a "thing which
can be used for sitting")??

(*like chair as in a chinese restaurant for eating hot and
sour soup :-))

AT Geert

>You will never be
>able to walk around it, look at it from the back. It simply does no
>exist in our dimension.

This is definitely true for our nowadays internet.
However I think this will probably change if you look at the
already now available 3D technology.
I posted this link already on rhizome, but may be you missed it,
its an example of what#s on the way:

and well finally -"one" can already now walk around an object as an avatar
in virtual 3D space (e.g. on the internet).

+Dirk Vekemans replied:+

> I posted this link already on rhizome, but may be you missed
> it, its an example of what#s on the way:
> 60210.html
> and well finally -"one" can already now walk around an object
> as an avatar in virtual 3D space (e.g. on the internet).

The fact that it uses afterlight (our mental, cognitive process of making
sense of stimuli _after_ they have happened) as a means of visualisation
is imho a vital part in figuring out *what* we'll actually be walking
around. It seems it's in the interfering part ( a continuous actualisation
of waves collapsing to fact, after the fact) that this technology truly
gets revolutionary.

+curt cloninger replied:+

Hi Nad,

I don't think he's speaking philosophically. He's speaking in terms of
abstract forms vs. figurative forms. If you zoom in on a human form,
eventually you get to a scale that makes that form abstract. If you zoom
out from a human form, the same thing happens. Think of the Eames powers
of 10 movie.

+Dirk Vekemans replied:+

aka measurement is interference (procedure of quantum mechanics)
aka abstract is a bad question (posing as an answer, so people question it)
aka distinction is no really is (all i see is pixels on a screen)


chair is a word. How does one ever get to sit on a word? I think of fr
flesh while i ait that (untsoweiter)

Hence: correlating (atom-eating) through cycles of
differentiating>interrupting>differenciating picking up cycles of...

Net-art (or nAârt or whatever) as the flux defined by the rhytmical
construct grid>absence>grid

+Dirk Vekemans replied:+

In other words, if u want:

"The mind, whether expressed in history or in the individual life, has a
precise movement, which can be quickened or slackened but cannot be
fundamentally altered, and this movement can be expressed by a
mathematical form."

WB Yeats (cfr

In dealing with abstraction (searching within, building on...)you're
always dealing with the human:

when it's "bad" digital abstraction is a further _mechanising_ of the
human, the kind of observing acts that, as an interference, is
inescapably a humanisation of the virtual, the abstract observing the
abstracting if you want. The result is contraction, general collaps,
reduction of the reduced, tagging the tagged. A general arrest of
consciousness. (sh)It matters, naturally.

when it's "good" digital abstraction could be offering sideway glances of
the a-human. Imho that can only be achieved by a _machinisation_ of the
poetic (we're too silly to get there ourselves -our consciousness doesn't
allow too much exposure etc). The result would be an opening, an
explosion of the captivated, a freeing of energies, a general leakage of
the Real. (sh)It happens, accidently.

The good and the bad are performing a continuous dance, exchanging
vip-cards on the net so to speak, but it seems, eventually, there's a
rather annoying lack of good around.

But then, ofcourse, there will always be the ugly.

+Eric Dymond replied:+

reitirating with extra bytes:
I think, or whatever passes for thinking, we have to establish a few
parameters before we discuss the issue of online abstract art.
Before I make a comment, we need to discuss the frame of a web art work.
This frame carries with it an accepted degree of drift.
An abstract painting in a gallery, museum, hallway of an insurance company
doesn't share the same unique frame that online web art has.
Our first goal, before going off on funny tangents is to agree upon "the
frame" and the context that "the frame" brings to the work.
Web art is framed in ways that museum art could only dream of (or reel in
apoplexia during early morning nightmares).
What is this distance between the old static world and the newer mediated
Can we even begin to make comparisons?
Rhizome posts so many new works each day, which is why I love it, but
could an old guard critic like Clem Greenberg get any sense of the new
ideas and feelings these works explore? I doubt it.

+Geert Dekkers replied:+


Would you say that the term "framing" that you use is the same as
"contextualising" ??

+Eric Dymond replied:+

it's close enough, framing adds the attribute of presentation in a
specific way.

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