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: 05.19.06
Date: Fri, 19 May 2006 12:21:19 -0700

RHIZOME DIGEST: May 19, 2006

++ Always online at ++


1. Lauren Cornell: Commissions feedback synthesis

2. Alejandro Jaimes: ACM Multimedia Arts Program Call for Art/Papers
3. juha huuskonen: Article - a nordic biannual exhibition for unstable
and electronic artforms

4. Perry Lowe: Marching Plague by Critical Art Ensemble - Book launch at
5. Jim Andrews: great page of links to algorithmic art on the net
8. jessicaallee AT Call For Work: State of Exception

+Metadata Thread - Part 4+
9. Patrick May, Richard Rinehart, Marisa Olson, Lauren Cornell: Metadata

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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: May 15, 2006
Subject: Commissions feedback synthesis

Hi all:

So, I just re-read the Commissions thread. I'd like to synthesize the
feedback we received. We will consider it when designing the open voting
for next year.

1) Written narratives were too long; voters felt reviewing proposals at
500 word count was onerous, artists felt it kept people from looking at
their projects

2) Some artists felt their projects received too few hits; besides being
awarded a grant, one benefit artists may receive from submission is
visibility and discussion of their work. A question is whether projects
are being affected by the way proposals are presented, i.e factors outside
their projects

3) "New media" model over voting; voting creates hierarchies that aren't
in line with ways that popularity or rank works online. Rhizome staff is
also interested in exploring alternate models; the current system was
created by previous Director of Technology Francis Hwang and, while we see
much value in it, we also see the open voting as an ongoing experiment and
therefore open to change.

4) Larger grants. Working on it! Maybe once there are Jim Andrews
Foundations, toegristle corporations and Sal Randolph Charitable Trusts,
raising money around Internet-based art will become easier :) Lee Wells
posted our supporters to the list. In this generous gesture however, he
didn't list our individuals members and I'd like to note that without
their support granting would not be possible. You can view many of them

Anything else?

Now that we're in the final stage, I'd like to thank everyone who has been
involved. This includes the members who voted and gave feedback and the
artists who submitted proposals. Submitting your work to an open voting
system takes courage and I commend all of the artists who participated.


Lauren Cornell
Executive Director,
New Museum of Contemporary Art
210 Eleventh Ave, NYC, NY 10001

tel. 212.219.1222 X 208
fax. 212.431.5328
ema. laurencornell AT

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From: Alejandro Jaimes <ajaimes AT>
Date: May 15, 2006
Subject: ACM Multimedia Arts Program Call for Art/Papers


ACM Multimedia 2006 Interactive Arts Program
Santa Barbara, California (USA), October 22-28, 2006

EXTENDED DEADLINE **** June 1, 2006 ****

Sponsored by ACM SIGMM. In collaboration with Leonardo.
Supported by Intel.

ACM Multimedia is the premier annual multimedia conference. The ACM MM
Interactive Arts Program brings together the arts and multimedia
communities to create the stage to explore, discuss, and push the limits
for the advancement of both multimedia technology through the arts, and
the arts through multimedia technology.

We invite artists working with digital media and researchers in technical
areas to submit their original contributions to the following two tracks:

*CONFERENCE*: papers describing interactive multimedia artworks, tools,
applications, and technical approaches for creative uses of multimedia
content and technology. We particularly encourage papers with a strong
technical content written by artists, as well as technical papers with a
strong art component.

* MULTIMEDIA ART EXHIBITION*: "Remote: Networked Realities & Prospective
Locative Hacks." We seek multimedia artworks that raise issues related
communication (human-human, human-computer-human, etc.) and that place a
strong emphasis on the role of the notion of awareness, be it cultural,
linguistic, network-centric, spatial or geospatial. The emphasis for the
exhibition is on interactive art works that realize powerful artistic
concepts using multimedia content and technologies. Emerging and
established artists are strongly encouraged to submit.

Accepted papers will be published in the ACM Multimedia Conference
proceedings and a selection of the works accepted will be published in a
Leonardo Gallery in the Leonardo Journal and on line in the Leonardo
Electronic Almanac.

All submissions (short papers, long papers, and art works) are due JUNE 1,
(firm, extended deadline!).

** Please see the website for details on conference topics, exhibition,
Please direct any inquiries to acm.arts.inquiry AT


Alejandro Jaimes, FXPAL Japan, Fuji Xerox Co. Ltd.
George Legrady, University of California, Santa Barbara
Lonce Wyse, Institute for Infocomm Research & NUS, Singapore

JoAnn Kuchera-Morin, Marko Peljhan, University of California, Santa Barbara
G. Legrady, L. Wyse, A. Jaimes

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From: juha huuskonen <juhuu AT>
Date: May 15, 2006
Subject: Article - a nordic biannual exhibition for unstable and
electronic artforms

* Article *

- a nordic biannual exhibition for unstable and electronic artforms

* Call for artistic contributions *

i/o/lab and the curatorial team of Article hereby invite you to submit
proposals for artistic work and conference talks to be included in Article

We are interested in productions from areas including but not limited to:

- interactive objects
- work for mobile devices
- video or concepts for broadcast television
- internet-based work
- installations for public spaces
- installations for gallery spaces
- public actions
- social events
- workshops

We are primarily interested in completed productions but will give equal
merit to incomplete/suggested work and proposals in the evaluation of

Article wishes to present work which is either site- or context-specific,
or intended for traditional display spaces, work which explores and
exploits the potential for artistic expression in everyday surroundings
and objects.

The artists/groups we invite will receive artists fees and funding for
travel and board. We will also offer some production support, technical as
well as financial.

Article will be launched in the last half of November 2006.

* Call for conference contributions *

Article will be accompanied by a one-day conference, covering the topics
of the exhibition and the field of unstable and electronic artforms. We
are interested in contributions in the form of presentations/talks on
subject areas relevant to the practice and theory of art in this field.

* About Article: *

Article is one of the main projects for Stavanger 2008 - European Capital
of Culture. Article 2006 will be a pilot project for the 2008 installment,
but also to underline that Article is intended as a biannual event BEYOND
the scope of the European Capital year.

Article will be comprised of: a main exhibition; a conference related to
the themes of the biannual; in-depth practical and theoretical workshops
and seminars; and contributions from local resources and other
collaborative partners.

The goal of Article is to promote artforms which don't merely employ
electronic techniques in its production and display, but also actively
comment on technology, the ethics and politics of technology and the
evolution and dissemination of technology. Article wishes to establish an
open arena for artforms which critique and engage social processes and
present reflected positions on the expressive qualities and contexts of
the media.

By «Unstable artforms» we intend to encompass art which is not
institutionalised and stabilised by traditional frameworks of production
and distribution, art which crosses disciplinary boundaries, which engages
unusual contexts and references, or art which is not anchored by
permanent, static objects.

The basic proposition and theme of the biannual is the artistic and
democratic potential in the use of technology in a socially engaged art
practice. Article will give this ephemeral and experimental art a context,
and present it to a local, national and international audience.

Article intends to present productions / work which are site-specific or
made for traditional exhibition venues, work which explores and expands
the potential of artistic expression in our immediate environment and
objects. Article will be produced in close collaboration between i/o/lab,
the norwegian production network for electronic arts, and invited groups
and individuals from the nordic arts scenes.

* Application deadline and addresses *

Application deadline: 15. June 2006

Your application / project proposal can be sent as attachments to an email
to the following address: iolab AT

You can also send us a snail mail to this address:
P.O.Box 308 Sentrum
4002 Stavanger

The application should include:

- Project description *OR* outline of conference presentation
- Summary / abstract of the project, ~150 words
- Budget
- CV and biographies
- Photo documentation, sketches, DVD, CD

(contact us first if you wish to transfer large files over the net)

* Evaluation and notification: *

The applications/ project proposals will be evaluated by a programme
committee and the organizers. Applicants will receive answers ASAP after
the 15th of June 2006, and final confirmation within a month, for projects
we wish to include in the exhibition.

* Selection / Programming Committee / Process *

The content of Article 2006 will be selected by a programming committee,
comprised of individual artists, organizers and theoreticians specially
invited to participate. The invited individuals will form a group of
people with rich experience in organizing events such as this.

* The Programme Committee *

The Programme Committee for Article 2006 consists of Hege Tapio and Kevin
Foust from i/o/lab and the following individuals, each with extensive
experience in the practice and mediation of unstable arts:

Jon Brunberg, Sweden. See:
Juha Huuskonen, Finland. See:
Mogens Jacobsen, Denmark.

* More information / Questions *

If you have any questions, you can call Hege Tapio (tel. +47 51 11 54 59)
or Kevin Foust (tel. +47 51 11 54 58) or send an email to iolab AT

Our website will also contain additional information.

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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
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2002, and have been very impressed with the quality of their service.

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From: Perry Lowe <perry AT>
Date: May 12, 2006
Subject: Marching Plague by Critical Art Ensemble - Book launch at EYEBEAM

Marching Plague
from Critical Art Ensemble
Book release, talk and screenings
Wednesday May 24, 2006 - 6:00-8:30pm
at Eyebeam 540 W. 21st Street between 10th & 11th Aves., NYC

Please join us for a book launch and an evening of conversation concerning
contemporary warfare: an anti-war event. Critical Art Ensemble present
their latest book, Marching Plague: Germ Warfare and Global Public Health
published by Autonomedia and appearing in conjunction with their piece
"Marching Plague" in the 2006 Whitney Biennial. This event is open to the
public free of charge and will take place at Eyebeam, 540 W. 21st Street
between 10th & 11th Aves.

The evening will include brief presentations by artists Gregg Bordowitz
and Paul Chan, biotech-hobbyist Eugene Thacker and CAE Defense Fund
representative Lucia Sommer. Films from Peggy Ahwesh, Lynn Hershman and
the Yes Men, along with the Crtical Art Ensemble's film "Marching Plague",
produced/ commissioned by Arts Catalyst, will be screened on monitors
throughout the evening.

Marching Plague examines the scientific evidence and the rhetoric
surrounding biological warfare, particularly the development of anthrax
and other bio-weapons, and makes a strong case against the likelihood of
such weapons ever being used in a terrorist situation. Studying the
history and science of such weapons, they conclude that for reasons of
accuracy and potency, biological weapons lack the efficiency required to
produce the widespread devasta-tion typically associated with

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From: Jim Andrews <jim AT>
Date: May 14, 2006
Subject: great page of links to algorithmic art on the net

this is one of my favorite pages of links on the net:
. this is antoine schmitt's page of links to algorithmic art.

"This site is dedicated to the forms of art using programs as a first
class material. So actual and yet so classical.

algorithmic art
cybernetic art
generative art
genetic art
artificial art
interactive art
software art
=> programmed art

Systems - models - simulations - processes - cybernetics - real time -
artificial entities - animats - robots - interactivity - intersubjectivity
-perceptive systems - autopoïesis

This site mainly consists in a list of links to sites having to do with
dynamic programmed art (exhibitions, theory, documentation of pieces,
technologies, critiques)."

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Rhizome Exhibitions

The GIF Show, open May 3-June 3, at San Francisco's Rx Gallery, takes the
pulse of what some net surfers have dubbed ?GIF Luv,? a recent frenzy of
file-sharing and creative muscle-flexing associated with GIFs (Graphic
Interchange Format files). Curated by Rhizome Editor & Curator at Large,
Marisa Olson, the show presents GIFs and GIF-based videos, prints,
readymades, and sculptures by Cory Arcangel, Peter Baldes, Michael
Bell-Smith, Jimpunk, Olia Lialina, Abe Linkoln, Guthrie Lonergan, Lovid,
Tom Moody, Paper Rad, Paul Slocum, and Matt Smear (aka 893). GIFs have a
rich cultural life on the internet and each bears specific stylistic
markers. From Myspace graphics to advertising images to porn banners, and
beyond, GIFs overcome resolution and bandwidth challenges in their
pervasive population of the net. Animated GIFs, in particular, have
evolved from a largely cinematic, cell-based form of art practice, and
have more recently been incorporated in music videos and employed as
stimulating narrative devices on blogs. From the flashy to the minimal,
the sonic to the silent, the artists in The GIF Show demonstrate the
diversity of forms to be found in GIFs, and many of them comment on the
broader social life of these image files.

Become MySpace friends with the exhibit!

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From: Kanarinka <kanarinka AT>
Date: May 16, 2006

A public lecture by spurse for the RISD Digital+Media Program


RISD Auditorium 7 p.m.

In this lecture, spurse will definitively define the following concepts:

1) emergence
2) artificial life
3) digital
4) analog
5) algorithm
6) cooking
7) bacteria
8) computer

In addition to RISD Digital+Media students, this lecture will also be of
interest to: architects, philosophers, scientists, gardeners and the
hospitality industry.

Spurse is an international collective composed of individuals with
experience in a wide variety of fields. spurse has no (fixed) content or
members ? rather it is a viral multiplicity that is continuously reforming
itself as it becomes new projects and new events. In this, it is open to
change, contradiction, multiplicity, tangents, infection, and betrayal.
Spurse is interested in considering the public as that which must be
continually constructed as a part of the invention of public space. In
this we are interested in emergent forms of individuality ? swarms,
crowds, the person, groups, and ecosystems.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + 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: Lauren Cornell <laurencornell AT>
Date: May 16, 2006





contenu libre / tactical media / open source
hacktivism / medias hackers / no borders / sans frontières
VJs / DJs / / net-performance
grassroots strategies / pensée rhizomatique
techno-nomadisme / NETTIME.ORG!


30 MAI 2006


AT SAT, 1195 St. Laurent
10h00 - 24h00



[[[[[ <--- ]

avec (international) participants:

Ted Byfield / David Garcia / Stephen Kovats
Ken Werbin / Abe Burmeister / NAW & VJ Nokami
John Sobol / Johnny Ranger / Fishead / Lucille Calmel
JoCool / M.I.L.F. / Au Travail / Bob the Builder /
Kirsty Robertson / Gita Hashemi / Kevin Yuen Kit Lo
Michael Lenczner / Aaron Lakoff / Omar Bickell / Ile Sans Fil / CKUT
V2 / Next Five Minutes ..

* un jour de débats publics, présentations et performances *

* a day of public discussion, presentation & performance *

partenaires / partners: / / / SAT
CKUT 90.3 FM / esse / Parachute / V2
Upgrade International /


[english below]

Le mardi, 30 mai 2006, Upgrade Montréal sera l'hôte de la première rencontre
nord-américaine de la liste de diffusion internationale <nettime>.

La Rencontre inaugura aussi l'édition 2006 du festival des arts numériques
de Mutek. est depuis longtemps le point focal du indymedia mondial, du
net-art, des médias tactiques et des arts technologiques. Depuis 1994, sa
liste de diffusion, ses discussions enligne et hors ligne, ses publications
et ses rencontres ont galvanisé une quantité de réseaux transnationaux de
même que leurs praticiens, développant ainsi une expression de cette culture
sous le nom de "net.criticism." En 2006, Nettime célèbre son 11e
anniversaire, fort d'une décennie de publications, d'interventions et de
débats. __Cela étant dit, quel est le rôle continu et l'impact de Nettime de
nos jours_?

Étant un noeud d'Upgrade International, un réseau grassroots d'art
technologique en expansion, la Rencontre posera une série de questions à
l'égard du futur de Nettime: quels en sont les nouveaux participants, et
quelles sont les nouvelles directions prises par les médias tactiques?

Membres du public, artistes, théoriciens, auteurs, codeurs, et curieux de
tous genres sont les bienvenu(e)s à cette série de présentations et de
panels qui seront suivis dÅune soirée de musique et de performance dédiées à
Nettime, ses membres, ses oeuvres, ses passés et ses futurs. Des membres
internationaux de Nettime seront de la partie, ainsi que des modérateurs de
liste. Nettime est une liste ouverte et cet événement est ouvert au public!

==== [english]

On Tuesday, May 30th 2006 the Upgrade Montreal will bring together the first
North American gathering of the global mailing list, <nettime>.

The Gathering will also launch the 2006 edition of the Mutek festival of
digital culture. has long been the focal point of global indymedia, net-art,
tactical media and the technology arts. Since 1994 its mailing lists, online
and offline discussions, publications and gatherings have galvanized a
flurry of global networks and their practitioners, developing an expression
of Net culture known as "net.criticism." In 2006, Nettime celebrates its
11th birthday against the backdrop of over a decade of publications,
interventions and debates. __But what is the continuing role and impact of
Nettime today_?

As a node in the expanding, grassroots technology arts network Upgrade
International, this Gathering poses a series of questions to the future of
Nettime: _who are the new practitioners & what are the new directions in
tactical media_?

Members of the public, artists, theorists, writers, codemonkeys and the
curious are welcome to attend a series of talks and panels followed by an
evening of music and performance devoted to Nettime, its members, it works,
its pasts and its futures. International members of Nettime will be in
attendance including list moderators. Nettime is an open list and this event
is open to all of the public!



LÅUpgrade est une organisation autonome, internationale et rhizomatique de
rendez-vous mensuels pour la culture numérique et les arts technologiques.
Upgrade Montréal bénéficie du soutien généreux de la Société des arts
technologiques [SAT], ainsi que de ses réseaux formant Upgrade
International, des divers partenaires avec lesquels il collabore, des
artistes faisant don de leur temps, et de l'énergie bénévole de son
triumvirate organisateur. |

The Upgrade is an autonomous, international and grassroots organisation of
monthly gatherings for digital culture and the technology arts. Upgrade
Montreal is generously supported by The Society for Arts and Technology
(SAT), through the networks of the Upgrade International, the various
partners we work with, the artists who donate their time and the personal
energies of its organiser triumvirate.

---- bisous from the triumvirate:

tobias c. van Veen
Sophie Le-Phat Ho
Anik Fournier

tobias c. van Veen _Concept Engineer -
Director, Upgrade Montréal | AT : +
(SAT) Society for Arts and Technology
Montréal, Canada | -

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From: jessicaallee AT <jessicaallee AT>
Date: May 18, 2006
Subject: Call For Work: State of Exception

Studio 27, a micro-cinema showcasing experimental media in the San
Francisco Bay Area, is looking for recent short videos and films. Our next
screening, in July, takes its title and theme from the book State of
Exception by Georgio Agamben. Agamben describes a political condition that
has a compelling contemporary resonance in the United States. In states of
siege or war, governmental institutions have justified the suspension of
civil law, arguing that the higher law of sustaining the state?s
well-being requires that certain civil liberties be withheld. We are
interested in showing documentary and experimental media that responds to
this condition, or that opens a dialogue for discussing the necessity or
consequences of the current administration?s direction. We welcome work
from all sides of the political spectrum.

Possible themes might include: human rights and responsibilities,
conditions of crisis that are under-represented, the impact of terrorism
on everyday life, subversive action and celebration, the degradation of
basic civil liberties, the resurgence of racism and discrimination,
nationalism and xenophobia, $ymbols for a better tomorrow, new techniques
for keeping the public anxious or apathetic, how enhanced surveillance
technologies are eroding our privacy, immigration and alienation, and
incarceration without due process.

For more information on our ongoing quarterly series visit

We will accept work under 30 minutes in length on data DVDs (as a
Quicktime movie file, especially for digital animations), playable DVDs
(all region), or MiniDVs (ntsc).

Submission Deadline (received by): June 30, 2006

Include with your submission a brief written description of the work, and
a short filmmaker bio. Also include a SASE if you would like your
materials returned to you (only U.S. mail will be returned).

Mail to:

Wago Kreider
Studio 27
633 Post Street, #11
San Francisco, CA 94109

Please direct questions to: wagokreider AT

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From: Patrick May <patrick AT>, Richard Rinehart
<rinehart AT>, Marisa Olson <marisa AT>, Lauren Cornell
<laurencornell AT>
Date: May 16-19, 2006
Subject: Re: Metadata

+Patrick May posted:+


On May 1, 2006, at 6:33 PM, Richard Rinehart wrote:

> Yes, perhaps a hybrid model would work. Actually, I think that
> technically, the folksonomy/tagging bit might be the hardest to
> implement (but worth it), whereas also having the AAT/etc terms in
> a list is a pretty easy and fairly static entity to include.

Making the Artbase a folksonomy will go beyond adding tags to the
metadata. Websites like Flickr give up some control in an
effort to encourage participation. The premise is that the main
constraint on the success of a classification system is the actual work of
tagging. These sites focus first on getting more people to tag and assume
that valuable information can be aggregated from the result.

To implement a folksonomy with the Artbase, I suggest we create other
rewards besides the act of tagging itself.

Instead of submitting to the Artbase, artists could "send a Linked Artwork
to RAW". The artwork could be online, linked from the artist's profile,
and a notification could be sent to the RAW mailing list. There also
could be a way to browse the RAW Linked Artworks, just like there are ways
of browsing the calendar or opportunities.

At the same time, these RAW Linked Artworks could be queued for selection
into the curated Artbase, just like RAW emails are queued for selection
into RARE.

> You mention an interesting note about ArtBase including licenses
> for commercial software as having the original software (or better
> yet, source code, see previous post) is helpful for preservation. I
> do rememeber that Howard Besser at NYU had mentioned a couple years
> ago the idea of convincing Congress to give software companies a
> tax break to release their old software into the public domain
> because it has little value for them, but great value for
> preservation. Does anyone else know about this project and what
> became of it. It might be relevant here......

This does not directly relate to metadata, but I'd like to make suggestion
about Artbase preservation techniques. At present we "clone" an artwork
onto our server. This requires a review of the artworks being cloned,
making the cloning process more time-consuming. I think we could have a
smoother process by focusing just on "preservation":

+ The artist could upload an archive ( zip / sit / tgz / etc ) of the
+ The archive would be preserved for future reference.
+ If the original link goes dark, either Rhizome or other interested
parties could choose to clone the project

This would allow us to preserve more artworks, including those which do
not match Rhizome's hosting environment. I'm sure on the internet there
are artworks created in LISP that are worth preserving :-)



+Richard Rinehart replied:+


These are great ideas. Here are some additional thoughts in two separate

On submitting artwork to Rhizome/RAW/ArtBAse, it looks like we'll need to
ask for more metadata in the future, in which case it will
require a form, etc. I guess as long as it's clear that one is submitting
to the ArtBase as well as RAW, that would let folks know why it requires a
form, etc. Of course there would presumably still be the option of sending
a quick announcement to RAW without submitting to the ArtBase, no? But
having the incentive that when you submit to the ArtBase, you are also
submitting to RAW, is of course appealing and, hopefully, motivating.

In addition to a full blown folksonomy, I think it would still be
important to have the contributor/artist tag their work with a
controlled vocabulary standard term (AAT, etc) as well. The controlled
list is much easier to include in a system (it's just a static list) and I
think would be in parallel to the folksonomic system. This would, however,
provide a) immediate and near term compatibility with the large range of
external systems using these standards and b) provide a long term mapping
between the controlled terms and the developing folksonomies that could
help, in the end, to improve and expand said controlled vocab sources.
Thus, Rhizome's and Rhizome members' are able to impact and educate the
larger art world.

+ [....] +

I would propose that the artist be able to choose/select if they want
their entire archive to be downloadable. Some of these submitted works
will include multi-purpose source code, etc. and I know from collecting
such work into a museum that some artists are skittish about giving such
code away. But I also agree that having an open archive of digital works
would be a boon to the community of working artists and educators too. If
you default to giving everything away, then you might lose some people
from participating/submitting, but if you allow the option then you are
able to include the skittish as well as the generous and everyone can
play. no?

+ [....] +

Here are some thoughts on the second part of your proposal:

This portion of your proposal deals with "cloned" works in the ArtBase.
One thing to clarify is that this is more of a storage solution than a
preservation solution. It's important to draw a distinction to set up
realistic expectations in the community. One difference is that a
preservation solution would require that the files be stored in an
archival or semi-archival format and from what I've heard, compressed
files or compressed file groups are the worst for archival storage. But
perhaps compression is just for the initial upload, whereupon they are
unpacked and stored in "raw" form. But a more important distinction is
that preservation would require that upon ingest into the ArtBase, the
files are checked for file validity and that, in perpetuity, they are
periodically checked so that obsolete formats can be migrated to new
formats in addition to migrating the files themselves to newer storage

BUT, even if a true "preservation repository" is too expensive to achieve
initially, I agree that Rhizome could prove invaluable to the community by
taking some early steps such as offering a storage solution. Then future
grants, funding, and staff could be sought to flesh out the thornier, more
labor-intensive preservation issues.

In relation to source code, I guess it would also make sense to ask/prod
the submitting artist to include the original source code and/or
editable/extractable versions of the files too. For instance, when
uploading C-based works; they would upload source as well as compiled
programs and For Flash-based works they would upload .fla files as well as
.swf. The closer to the source; the easier to preserve because you can
generate new copies.

Anyway, I think the idea of having a level of service at Rhizome that is
storage (and not committing to keeping the project running online forever)
would be a good move and a huge help to a growing community. And you've
suggested two good ways to improve the workflow, thus allowing Rhizome to
collect/ingest/store even more works.

+Marisa Olson posted:+

Dear Rhizomers,

I've really appreciated your comments, in this thread. I wanted to take
some time to observe and absorb before jumping into the conversation. Of
course, I bump up against Metadata issues every day, as Editor & Curator,
because these tags are used to describe not only ArtBase entries but also
TextBase pieces--i.e. posts to Raw that get filtered into Rare. I'll be
the first to point out the datedness or frustrating aspects of the current
language, but I would also err on the side of caution before totally
discarding the system.

It seems obvious to me that we can't throw out all of the old terms, because:

* They are attached to so many works;
* Whether or not they were excited by the terms, artists have previously
used them to describe their work, so we're in the domain of artistic
intention; and
* The terms are a historical reflection upon the evolving discourse of new
media, and as such they index not only texts and artworks, but other
historically important things like trends, vernaculars, etc.

In my opinion, they should be augmented with additional terms and then the
architecture of these options could be improved. There is currently some
redundancy--perhaps even some contradiction, between the tags offered in
the type, genre, and keyword categories, which I believe can be easily
smoothed out. David Chien pointed this out, here, when he suggested that
these all be collapsed under the heading "category."

But, backing up, we would really like to hear from *you* what terms you'd
like to see added. Perhaps we can think of this as a preliminary form of
folksonomy, as it will clearly be generated by you folks! And then I think
that the tagging system can be opened up to additional, simultaneous

The concerns many have expressed over the practice of choosing from an
existing menu of tags, or a "controlled vocabulary," I think relate to
larger concerns that many of us have about the insider vs. outsider nature
of the field. When I look back over some of the more memorable Raw threads
related to the criticism and historiography of new media art, I see a
tension between those who want to rebel against existing aesthetic models
(and all that they imply, from art stardom to the military industrial
complex), and those who see a need to situate work in relationship to
these models. I also know that the notions of hierarchy and control often
get pitted against those of collaboration and sharing, but I think that
there is a need for both--and that they need not be mutually exclusive.

I personally think that a dual-model in which ArtBase contributors and
Site Editors can engage with the controlled vocabulary while also
augmenting it with their own expressions is the best way to reach a happy

This really gets to Rick's question as to the audience of the ArtBase and
TextBase. I tend to imagine a future-tense audience looking back on works
and texts and trying to take them not only for face value, but also to
understand them in relationship to other works and texts of that time
period and/or of that self-identified genre. This is a scenario in which
an existing, shared vocabulary is extremely helpful. It would also
enrichen the study of a work's context, as Rick pointed out when he said:

"Although, if one did use a hybrid model, then that would itself create
the mapping (each work would have both standardized terms and folksonomic
terms applied, so averaging among many works, you'd be able to tell what
terms mapped to each other."

I would like to conclude with one more plea for you to contribute
constructive suggestions for "category" tags to include among our
Metadata. I would also say that our collectively-authored "shared
vocabulary" has potential not only to impact the preservation and
interpretation of works and texts in our own archives, but that it can
also be shared with the field at large. This is an incredible opportunity
for us to share our insights with the field.

I thank you for continuing to share your thoughts.


+Richard Rinehart replied:+

Thanks Marisa,

That's a great summary, and I totally agree that we can have our cake and
eat it too. As a digital or net.artist, I often feel I want to
defend/promote/identify what is unique about digital practice in contrast
to the larger art or cultural worlds.

[In an interesting aside about language; at UC Berkeley we had a long
debate about what to call this "genre" for our campus Center for New Media
and decided that 'computational media' was the most accurate at defining
what is unique about these media and separate them from other artistic
media and separate this artistic practice to some extent because
computation affords functions and opportunities that are new and unique -
BUT in actually naming the Center in a way that is not too geeky and is
understandable to campus administrators, we went for 'new media'. Ironic,

But in my day job at a museum, I don't want to see digital media continue
to be ghetto-ized the way performance/conceptual/installation art still is
(let's face it, museums never really solved the problems inherent in
collecting those genres either). I agree that we can develop our own
vocabulary and at the same time deploy a parallel standardized one. I also
hadn't thought of it, but of course the existing artbase terms are perhaps
the beginnings of the new folksonomy.

As to Type/Genre/Keywords specifically; I still feel that type and genre
are distinct ideas: one is more general and conceptual
(Genre=Impressionism), whereas the other is more about the format of the
work (Type=painting). If we wanted to simplify things (not a bad idea) it
would be important to define what we mean by Category if it's to be a
useful metadata element. And, if indeed a folksonomy is used, then
Keyword, however, becomes obsolete. Just my 2c again, and to echo Marisa,
it would be great to hear from more people on this list; we're talking
about creating the historic record here and this can't be the purview of
just a few people (well, shouldn't anyway!)

+Marisa Olson replied:+

Hi, Rick. Thanks or your response.

> As a digital or net.artist, I often feel I want to
> defend/promote/identify what is unique about digital practice in
> contrast to the larger art or cultural worlds.

Yep, this is exactly what I was getting at with the suggestion that we
build a shared vocabulary together, but then allow individuals to..
individualize it.

> As to Type/Genre/Keywords specifically; I still feel that type and
> genre are distinct ideas: one is more general and conceptual
> (Genre=Impressionism), whereas the other is more about the format of
> the work (Type=painting).

Yes, I agree that this is true in the world at large, but I think that
there is redundancy in our case. Some words appear on both the Type &
Genre list (at least for the TextBase), while others are obviously
missing. There also continues to be debate, in our field, about how to
classify & categorize works of new media art. (This is, perhaps, most
often manifest in the distinction between whether one uses a technology as
a tool or as an object, in their work. To say nothing of using it as a

One issue (or at least this is how I interpret it) is that these lists are
a holdover from the listserv nature of Rhizome's origin. I always look at
the 'Type' terms as terms that describe the type of listserv posting being
archived... But then these terms, on these lists, cross over between
specific works (ie ArtBase index pages) and list posts (ie TextBase

> If we wanted to simplify things (not a bad
> idea) it would be important to define what we mean by Category if
> it's to be a useful metadata element.

Category may or may not be a great word. Perhaps we could even use
something like 'search terms.' In the end, that does seem to be the
whole point--or a major point.

Actually, I just peeked at the area in which MySpace users can upload
videos and they distinguish between 'categories' and 'tags' this way:

<< >>
Select 1-3.

Comedy and Humor
Extreme Videos
News and Politics
Schools and Education
Science and Technology
Video Blogging
Travel and Vacations
Video Games
Weird Stuff


Tags are keywords associated with your video. Separate tags with spaces.
For example: Tom snowboard face plant

<< >>

The point is that people who come to search can now compare what two
different people called 'Weird Stuff;' they could see what personal
words the artist used to describe the work; they could get a suggestion of
what to look for if they don't know what they are looking for; or they
could search for random tags; etc....

But what we'd need, in order to do something like this, is an agreed upon
list of [search terms]. I think the old ones should stay there, even if no
one uses them now, to acknowledge that people once used 'collider' and
there are works indexed under that heading. In fact, none of these terms
are so bad, it's just that they desperately need to be augmented. So many
things are missing. And who decides (and how much does it matter) whether
we use the word(s) audio, sound, phonography, radio, music, podcast, mp3,
wav, etc...?

I would say, though, going back to people's tag cloud suggestions, that it
would be nice to offer these, too. does this, if you're
bookmarking something that's been bookmarked before. It suggests tags that
others have used. You can take them, leave them, edit them, etc. And I
think that a cloud in which more popular tags are bigger (common among tag
clouds--see the one at the bottom of the blog We Make Money Not Art: could give a nice sense of
the popularity or folksonomic effects of a tag.

We could even look into visualizing not only the frequency but also the
duration of a tag. (ie Many people starting using the term 'meme'
around this time, but then it lost popularity in early 2008.) And there
are many ways to track the connectedness of terms--so one could easily see
that, say, 17 people who selected the "shared vocabulary" term "broadcast"
also used the tag "reality_tv," and then navigate to those 17 database

I think that these are the kinds of things that many people appreciate
about taxonomies/ taxonomic interfaces that happen to be 100%
folksonomic, but I think that they can still be done (if not done
better--building a stronger archive, delivering better search results,
providing deeper documentation & contextualization) by combining the
shared vocabulary and the opportunity for folksonomy.

> we're talking about creating the historic record here and this
> can't be the purview of just a few people (well, shouldn't anyway!)

Yes! Absolutely! So please send [search term/category] suggestions, everyone!

Thanks so much,

+Lauren Cornell replied:+

Hi all:

I'd like to start wrapping this stage of the Metadata project up. Of
course, discussion can continue on the list for however long. But, Rhizome
staff is going to consider the recent RAW discussion with a group of
preservation professionals next week. We're hoping to finalize our plan
moving ahead through this discussion.

SO, please send any final comments our way over the weekend.

I want to thank everyone for their input on and off-list, and also Rick
for his excellent moderating!


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Rhizome Digest is supported by grants from The Charles Engelhard
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Rhizome Digest is filtered by Marisa Olson (marisa AT ISSN:
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