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: 09.22.06
Date: Fri, 22 Sep 2006 13:12:28 -0700

RHIZOME DIGEST: September 22, 2006


1. Lauren Cornell: WiredNEXTFest -- discounted tickets for Rhizome Members

2. Kathleen Quillian: Call for Proposals - LMJ 17: My Favorite Things:
The Joy of the Gizmo
3. digital AT New Technology Public Art Commission
4. emwod33 AT URBAN PLAY - Trampoline - Call for Submissions

5. Cary Peppermint: Open Enrollment: The Department of Network Performance
6. marcin ramocki: 8 BIT: world premiere at Moma
7. eb AT Interface and Society: conference, performances and

8. Rob Myers: Open Source Art Again

+Commissioned by for KEYLINES+
9. Patrick Lichty: New Media as Genre: Two Reflections, Parts 1 and 2

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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: Sep 15, 2006
Subject: WiredNEXTFest -- discounted tickets for Rhizome Members


This year?s WIRED NextFest is happening at the Javits Center in New York
from September 29th through October 1. Rhizome Members receive a 40%
discount on tickets, all details are below. If you?re interested, please
email tickets AT with ?WIREDNextFest? in the subject line.


Executive Director


Rhizome members receive 40% off General Admission Tickets to WIRED NextFest

WIRED Magazine invites NYAS members to attend the third annual WIRED
NextFest, at Javits Center, in New York City. WIRED NextFest is the
premier event on future technology in the U.S., featuring over 125
exhibits on the future of communication, design, entertainment,
exploration, green, health, play, security and transportation.

WIRED NextFest, WIRED?s vision of a new world?s fair, is open to the
general public from Friday, September 29th through Sunday, October 1.

WIRED NextFest
Friday, September 29,2006
Hours: 9 AM to 6 PM
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Hours: 9 AM to 6 PM
Sunday, October 1, 2006
Hours: 9 AM to 3 PM

Javits Center, Hall 3B
New York City

Futuristic exhibits include robots, flying cars, private space planes,
fuel-cell concept cars, unmanned aerial vehicles, hypersonic sound beams
and much more, from inventors, companies and R&D labs around the world.

Rhizome members can purchase tickets to WIRED NextFest by visiting <> and entering the promo code
RZNFDSC. Tickets cost just $12, that?s 40% off the regular general
admission price. You must purchase your tickets online at to
receive the 40% discount.

For more information on WIRED NextFest, go to

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From: Kathleen Quillian <isast AT>
Date: Sep 19, 2006
Subject: Call for Proposals - LMJ 17: My Favorite Things: The Joy of the

Leonardo Music Journal Call for Proposals
LMJ 17: My Favorite Things: The Joy of the Gizmo

If, as Marshall McLuhan so famously suggested, the medium is the message,
then the gizmo must be the one-liner. From baroque violinists to
laptoppers, sound artists have long fetishized the tools of their trade,
the mere naming of which can provoke an instant reaction: Shout "LA-2A,"
"TR-808," "JTM45" or "Tube Screamer" in a room full of musicians, and you
will notice the eyes brighten, the breath shorten and the anecdotes pour
forth. But only to a point: Many a "secret weapon" is held close to the

This is the chance to get that secret off your chest: LMJ 17 will address
the significance of physical objects in music and sound art in a time of
increasing emphasis on software and file exchange. We are soliciting
papers (2,000--5,000 words) and briefer artist's statements (500-1,000
words) on the role of purchased or homemade instruments, effect boxes,
pieces of studio gear, "bent" toys, self-built circuits, and so on, in
your work as a composer, performer, artist, producer, recording engineer,
etc. Wherever possible, please include photographs of your subjects (300
ppi TIFFs preferred).

Please submit a brief proposal by 23 October 2006 to Nicolas Collins at
<ncollins AT>. Final texts and all materials (text, image, sound
file) must be received by 2 January 2007. Contact Nicolas Collins
<ncollins AT> with any questions.

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From: digital AT <digital AT>
Date: Sep 20, 2006
Subject: New Technology Public Art Commission

The Junction in Cambridge, UK, is seeking to commission an artist
(individual or collective) to produce an innovative and exciting high
profile public artwork encompassing new technologies for the south façade
of its original auditorium. This is the second of two commissions funded
by Turnstone Partners and Arts Council England East for the site, the
first being Bins and Benches by Greyworld in 2005.

Expressions of interest are invited from artists, to be received before
the 1st October 2006.

The budget for this commission is £60,000 (to include fee, production and
installation costs). For more information, including a detailed brief,
please see

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From: emwod33 AT <emwod33 AT>
Date: Sep 21, 2006
Subject: URBAN PLAY - Trampoline - Call for Submissions

Trampoline Nottingham ? Platform for New Media Art
Call for Submissions
Urban Play

Deadline: 23rd October
Event to be held on 23rd November

The Theme - Urban Play:
The city is paved with pixels, the flow of traffic becomes the flow of
bits, the flow of people, the flow of electrons. Streets and circuit
diagrams become meshed. The race has begun.
Each one of us becomes a player in the game of the city, furiously
manipulating the control pad, tapping buttons, flicking switches. Leaping
from platforms, scaling the walls ? the concrete/media playground is
before us.
Hurtling around corners, lunging up surfaces, shooting through the streets.
Join the rush and surge of the city, find new ways to play the game.

Trampoline invites you to participate in ?Urban Play? a one day event held
on 23rd November in Nottingham, UK. Its objective is to merge video
gaming, art and design with the investigation of the city space. The
structures of the city are increasingly pervaded by new media with
screens, cctv, electronic networks, mobile devices, implements often
designed to control our movement through urban space and even to remove us
from our surroundings. We wish to investigate how new media can form an
even tighter relationship with our immediate environment ? challenge and
subvert its conventional structures ? hacking the city.

What we are looking for:
We are searching for work which explores urban space and methods of play,
in particular projects which combine these areas in examining and
utilising new media elements of the city,
We invite you to submit proposals of urban games, creative computer games,
video, interactive installation, audio guides, sound, music and
performance ? exploring play, gaming, new media and the city.

We especially encourage the submission of participatory works which
promote a high degree of audience involvement ? this includes informal
exploratory workshops as well as completed projects.

Key points to focus the proposal on are:
· The relation between the work and the city
· The element of play and
· Its encouragement of audience participation

How to Submit work:
Please fill in the Submission Form, downloadable from

Submissions should include:
Description of work

Please note for those submitting video works:
We would request that you send the full version of your video works in PAL
avi data format if possible

Deadline to submit proposals is October 23rd 06
Submissions should be postmarked by this date

Please send your applications to:
Emma Lewis
14-18 Broadway Media Centre
Broad Street

Urban Play intends to challenge our notions of gaming and the city;
Going beyond the playstation
Going beyond the screen
Going beyond the wall

Any queries please contact Emma Lewis emma AT +44 (0)115


·We will not be able to pay for artists' travel costs to Nottingham
·Work, which requires production budgets or extensive set-up times, cannot
be taken on.

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From: Cary Peppermint <snp AT>
Date: Sep 19, 2006
Subject: Open Enrollment: The Department of Network Performance

Open Enrollment 9.19.2006

The Department of Network Performance

Network Performance - Arts 404.JO
Times: Ongoing, Always, 24-7
Professor: C. Peppermint
Dept. of Network Performance
Fall 2006 - current

Course Outline
This is not MySpace. This is Arts 404.JO, simultaneously a networked
course and performance intended to assist students in the
conceptualization, development, and implementation of online instances of
networked performance-art practices.

Course Requirements and Objectives
(1) Arts 404.JO is an information-arts course titled "Network Performance
Art - Arts 404.JO" Arts 404.JO is intended for:

Artists, Hackers, Cultural Purveyors, Imaginative Housewives, Creative
Construction Workers, Creative Workers, Creative Chocolatiers, Urban
Homesteaders and Back to the Land Types, Special Teachers, Special
Education Teachers Who are Fighting Corporate / State Mandates,
Cosmopolitan Farmers, Innovative People and Animals, Eco-minded Global
Citizens, Cultural Readers, Whole Food Eaters, Savvy Art Critics,
Curators, and Art Historians Who Aren't Afraid to Ride In The Back of
Pick-up Trucks, Cyborg Mycologists, AIs Masquerading As Musicians,
Information DJs, Print-makers, Painters and Ceramicists Who Set
Information Free, etc.

For more info:

*** Image for Blog posting ***
<img src=?>

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From: marcin ramocki <mramocki AT>
Date: Sep 19, 2006


a documentary about art and video games
Premiering October 7th in New York at the Museum of Modern Art (8 pm)
(212) 708-9400 11 West 53 Street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues, New
York, NY.
Second screening: Wednesday, Oct 11, 8.30pm

Marcin Ramocki ? Director/Original Concept

Justin Strawhand - Producer/Co-Director

organized by Barbara London

poster design by Eboy

Cory Arcangel, Isabelle Arvers, Bit Shifter, Bodenstandig 2000,
Bubblyfish, Mary Flanagan, Alex Galloway, Gameboyzz Orchestra, GLOMAG,
Rachel Green, Ed Halter, Paul Johnson, John Klima, Johan
Kotlinski,Nullsleep, Joe McKay, Tom Moody, Christiane Paul, Akiko
Sakaizumi, Eddo Stern, teamtendo,Treewave, Carlo Zanni + additional
artwork by Chiaki, Jodi, John Simon, Velvet Strike and many more.

8 BIT is a hybrid documentary examining the influence of video games on
contemporary culture. A mélange of a rocumentary, art expose and a
culture-critical investigation, 8 BIT ties together seemingly disconnected
phenomena like the 80?s demo scene, chiptune music and contemporary
artists using machinima and modified games. Produced in NYC, LA, Paris and
Tokyo, 8 BIT brings a global perspective on the new artistic approaches of
the DIY generation which grew up playing Atari and Commodore 64.
Some of the artists featured in 8 BIT include Cory Arcangel, BIT SHIFTER,
Bodenstandig 2000, Bubblyfish, Mary Flanagan, Alex Galloway, Glomag, Paul
Johnson, John Klima, Johan Kotlinski, Nullsleep, Joe McKay, Tom Moody,
Akiko Sakaizumi, Eddo Stern, TEAMTENDO, Treewave and Carlo Zanni. With the
help of media critic Ed Halter and new media curator and writer Christiane
Paul, these very recent artistic strategies are put in the historical
context of modernist and postmodernist discourse and examined as potential
examples of a transition into fresh, uncharted territory. 8 BIT insists
that in the 21st century Game-Boy rock, machinima and game theory belong
together and share a common root: the digital heritage of Generation X.

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From: eb AT <eb AT>
Date: Sep 20, 2006
Subject: Interface and Society: conference, performances and exhibition

INTERFACE and SOCIETY investigates artistic practices and strategies that
deal with the transformation of our everyday life through electronic

CONFERENCE: 10th and 11th of November
EXHIBITION: 10th to 19th of November
PLACE: Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo, Norway

See for detailed information.



Erich Berger (at/fi) - Interface and Society
Bruce Sterling (us/cs) - Spime: a map of ideas
Susanne Jaschko (de) - On the virtuality of public space
Laura Beloff (fi) - Not imagined, it is real
Per Platou (no) - Failure is success (is failure)
Truls Lie (no) - On Guattaris concept of the "machin" as the mental and
social apparatus that directs our everyday praxis
Adam Greenfield (us) - Everyware: Some thoughts on the social and ethical
implications of ubiquitous computing.
Artificial Paradise (uk) - Instruction Sets
Marius Watz (no/de) - It`s all about the software, baby
Sabine Seymour (at/us) - The Epidermis as Interface, Dynamic Textile

See schedule, ticket information and lecture abstracts at


Art by Accident (Kalle Grude, Jan L&#65533;chst&#65533;er) (no)
Franz Alken and Karl Rueskaefer (de/uk)
Artificial Paradise (uk)
Norene Leddy (with technical lead Andrew Milmoe) (us)
Agnes Meyer-Brandis (de)
Daniel Skoglund (se)
Leonardo Solaas (ar)
Marius Watz (no/de)

See detailed information on the performances and exhibition at http://

In our everyday life we constantly have to cope more or less successfully
with interfaces. We use the mobile phone, the mp3 player, and our laptop,
in order to gain access to the digital part of our life. In recent years
this situation has lead to the creation of new interdisciplinary subjects
like Interaction Design or Physical Computing.

Currently we live between two worlds, our physical environment and the
digital space. Technology and its digital space are our second nature and
the interfaces are our points of access to this techno sphere.

This division will dissolve into a seamless distribution of information
technology into most aspects of our life, advertised as ubiquitous
computing. Immaterial information and physical objects will fuse into an
Internet of Things. Our world will transform into an interface as a whole.

Since artists started working with technology they have been developing
interfaces and modes of interaction. The interface itself became an
artistic thematic in its technical, social and political dimensions.

INTERFACE and SOCIETY investigates artistic strategies and practices which
deal with and build upon the transformation of our everyday life through
information technology and electronic interfaces.

With the rapid technological development a thoroughly critique of the
interface towards society is necessary. The contribution of the artist
thereby is relevant. S/he takes the freedom to deal with technologies
beyond form, function and usability. The utilisation of an eclectic range
of strategies and practices guaranties a diversity of results.


Interface and Society is produced by Atelier Nord in collaboration with
Henie Onstad Kunstsenter and Le Monde Diplomatique (Nordic Edition).
Supported by Arts Council Norway and Freedom of Expression Foundation,
Oslo. Trolleys provided by ISS Lufthavnservice AS


See for detailed information.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + 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: Rob Myers <rob AT>
Date: Sep 22, 2006
Subject: Open Source Art Again

Yochai Benkler describes Open Source as a methodology of ?commons based
peer production?. This means work made collaboratively and shared publicly
by a community of equals. For Eric Raymond the virtue of Open Source is
its efficiency. Open Source can create better products faster than the old
closed source model. Many of the most successful software programs in use
today, particularly on the internet, are Open Source.

Applying the ideas of Open Source to other projects, be they political,
philosophical or artistic, is more difficult than it might seem. The idea
of Open Source as a more efficient means of production has nothing to say
about what Open Source politics or art should be like.

To take the example of the Open Congress event at Tate Modern, artists
struggled to find an Open Source ideology to apply to their art, activists
struggled to find an Open Source ideology to apply to their organisations,
and theorists grinned and invoked Deleuze and Spinoza to cover the gaps.

This confusion is not a problem with the idea of Open Source. Rather it is
the intended result of it. The name ?Open Source? was deliberately chosen
for its meaninglessness and ideological vacuity. This was intended to make
the results of a very strong ideology more palatable to large corporations
by disguising its origins. That ideology is Free Software.

Free Software is a set of principles designed to protect the freedom of
individuals to use computer software. It emerged in the 1980s against a
backdrop of increasing restrictions on the use and production of software.
Free Software can therefore be understood historically and ethically as
the defence of freedom against a genuine threat.

Once software users freedoms are protected the methodology that we know as
Open Source becomes possible and its advantages become apparent. But
without the guiding principles of Free Software the neccessity and
direction of Open Source cannot be accounted for. Open Source has no
history or trajectory, it cannot account for itself or suggest which
taasks are neccessary or important. Free Software requires freedom, which
is a practical goal to pursue.

Free Software is a historical development, a set of principles, and a set
of possibilities. Free Software projects have converged on the methodology
that Raymond describes as Open Source because of this. To describe this
methodology as ?commons based peer production? causes further confusion.
There are no peers in a Free Software project. If contributions are deemed
to be of acceptable quality, they are added to the project by its
appointed gatekeepers. If not, they are rejected and advice given. This
methodology is a structured and exclusive one, but it is meritocratic. Any
contribution of sufficient quality can be accepted, and if someone makes
enough such contributions they themselves may gain the trust required to
become a gatekeeper.

This confusion leads to projects such as Wikipedia trying to create an
open space for anyone to use as they wish. This leads to social darwinism,
not freedom, as the contents of that space is determined by a battle of
wills. Wikipedia has had to evolve to reproduce many of the structures of
a real Free Software project to tackle these problems. But people still
regard its earlier phase as a model for emulation, whereas it should serve
as more of a warning.

It is therefore the condition of Freedom rather than the condition of Open
Source that art should aspire to. Prior to the extension of copyright to
cover art as well as literature, art was implicitly free. The physical
artefacts of art were expensive to own and difficult or impossible to
transport. But the content of art was free to use. Michaelangelo could rip
off christian and pagan imagery to paint a ceiling, generations of artists
could riff on the theme of the cruxifiction, and anyone could carve a
statue of Venus. The representational freedom of artists, part of which is
the freedom to depict and build or comment on existing culture, to
continue the conversation of culture, is the freedom of art.

With photography and now electronic media, copyright and trademarks have
increasingly restricted the artists freedom to continue the conversation
of culture. Where once artists could paint gods and kings, they must now
be careful not to paint chocolate and the colour purple or they will
infringe Cadbury?s trademark. And new computer technology makes it
possible to physically lock artists out of mass media imagery, closing off
part of the world from art?s freedom of representation.

In this context artists are not volunteers when they take on issues of
cultural freedom. They are exemplars. Free art, a free culture, is of
vital importance for a free society. Part of this freedom may be ideas of
?commons based peer production?. But it is important not to confuse the
results of an ideology with its principles. It is these principles that
artists should pursue.

How then can art learn from Free Software?

* Artists should campaigning to oppose the extension of copyright and
trademark law and the reduction of fair use.

* Artists should use copyleft licensing to ensure the free circulation of

* Artists who are interested to do so can investigate the use of
collaborative project management.

* Artists who are interested to do so should produce work to show the
value of fair use and the public domain.

* Artists who are interested to do so should challenge copyright
maximalists and censors by using mass media imagery and transgressive

* Artists should use Free Software and free (or ?open?) file formats for
accessibility, and help drive improvement of them.

What mistakes of Open Source can people avoid?

* Read ?Free Software Free Society? and ?Free Culture?, not ?The Cathedral
And The Bazaar?.

* Don?t try to organise your organisation in an ?Open Source? way. That
methodology is for content, not structure.

* Don?t try to emulate early Wikipedia?s world-writeability. Emulate the
meritocratic model that Wikipedia is converting to instead.

* Don?t hide your ideology. Renaming ?Free Software? to ?Open Source? has
cost the people who have done so the biggest software market in the US, as
the military are much more comfortable with ?freedom? than they are with

What are good examples?

* Joy Garnett.

* Kollabor8.

* Open Clip Art Library.

* Remix Reading.

* Me. ;-)

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From: Patrick Lichty

+Commissioned by
For KEYLINES, a Project of Rhizome's Tenth Anniversary Festival of Art &

+Please visit KEYLINES to respond or post your own essay!+

"New Media as Genre: Two Reflections," Parts 1 and 2
By Patrick Lichty

A category of artistic composition, as in music or literature,
characterized by similarities in form, style, or subject matter.

noun ( pl. -ries)
1. a class or division of people or things regarded as having particular
shared characteristics : five categories of intelligence.
2. Philosophy: one of a possibly exhaustive set of classes among which all
things might be distributed.
_ one of the a priori conceptions applied by the mind to sense impressions.
_ a relatively fundamental philosophical concept.
-Oxford American Dictionary, from my MacBook


Ever since its emergence, New Media has resisted definitive
categorization, as in seeking to do so many questions arise. What 'media'
constitute New Media? How do these media combine to create forms that we
can determine aesthetic and formal criteria from which concerned parties
can have a basis for critical discussion? Is New Media only Web-, or
Net-based? How does New Media (sic) locate itself within the larger
discourse of Art History? And, as a mild satire, how long can one justify
calling New Media "New"? Will it, after Dietz and Cook, be called "The Art
Formerly Known as New Media"(1), "Pretty New Media, but Not As New as it
Used to Be, but that's OK", or some other nomenclature? Of course, each of
these questions begs a discussion in itself, but are only posed to make a
point or drive a polemic. New Media, for the strength of its fluidity in
form, and the resultant communities that have formed around it, also has
the drawback of being difficult to categorize because of its chimaerical

So, when considers New Media as genre, there is the general problem of
categorizing that which resists reduction to a singular class of forms. I
will not return to the stream of queries that issued forth earlier, but
merely state that New Media's openness returns very context-specific
answers to the interrogator. Lev Manovich, comes as close as anyone has to
defining New Media in his book, The Language of New Media.(2) In it, he
posits five definitive aspects of the form, numerical representation,
modularity, automation, variability and transcoding. The problem in
creating such definitions is liked to the sheer diversity of the field.
For example, Manovich's criteria are well suited to the context of
screen-based New Media, but exceptions begin to pop up everywhere -
robotic works (Feingold et al), purely algorithmic forms that do not use
databases, and so on. This leads this author to suggest reducing his
criteria even further to numerical representation, computation/automation,
time, and perhaps transcoding, which conversely broadens our search for
categorization. That is, if a non-context sensitive categorization can be
done at all. At this point in our investigation, it appears that New Media
is the epistemic slippery pig at the county fair, popping out of our grasp
the moment one thinks they have a firm grip on the situation.

Again, let us ask the question again as to whether New Media can be
considered as genre, given our assumptions regarding its fluidity and only
our few general criteria. Perhaps New Media reflects the recursive and
inclusive nature of the culture from which it came. That is, in
programming parlance, there can be sets of criteria that are then defined
by subsets of other criteria and parameters (as in object-oriented
programming), which could also be set by others. Another way to think of
this is a big Venn diagram that has one, large, ill-defined circle that,
within it, holds other smaller, equally ill-defined circles, and so on.

Perhaps what is more definitive is Martin Wattenberg's IdeaLine (3), a
fluid, bifurcating tree of genres and event-sites that are contained
within the overall rubric of the IdeaLine itself, like a Barr-esque
art-genealogical underwater crinoid. From this, what seems to be one of
the most compelling works to define New Media itself is one that exhibits
a fairly fluid, inclusive, and equally recursive set of categories that
suggest broad fields of formal exploration, rather than a canonical


Perhaps one of the problems in the categorization of New Media is the way
one seeks to define it. Since one of the essential qualities of New Media
is Time, then can we not assume that the nature of New Media as such has
evolved, or better yet, morphed over time? This is the thought of this
author, and I would like to suggest an alternative schema as part of our
inquiry regarding the nature of New Media. This will include my thought of
New Media as Genre, Medium, and future as Movement. Some of these ideas
have not fully manifested themselves, and others can only be argued for
phenomenologically, as even I sometimes disagree with the definitions that
I am about to propose. Therefore, I ask the reader to consider the
following as possibility but not as an authoritative speculation on the
nature of New Media as genre.

In the early days that I was involved with technological art in the 80s
and early 90s, there wasn't even a definition as clear as New Media for
this broad field of artistic engagement. There was "Cyber-Art",
"Techno-Art", "Computer Art", and so on. Communities of digital artists
existed in pockets on bulletin boards and online communities like
CompuServe, Delphi, Prodigy, and so on, but these were still isolated
pockets of interest. However, after the advent of the Web in 1994, online
communities like Rhizome and The Thing emerged that created larger
communities with an intense interest in the developing potential of new
digital forms, and worked openly among themselves to help one another
develop them.

>From this, New Media emerged as a genre defined by its community rather
than its form. It seemed like there were a profusion of different
technologies that could be used for artistic engagement that just had not
been used before. I believe that at the time most of the listserv denizens
were less intent on defining themselves or their methods than trying to
figure out what tools and methods were available, and further still,
possible. However, in the double bind of increasing recognition through
major international exhibitions, a field that had once been an extremely
tight niche with no criteria gained greater visibility, In addition, it
also defined sub-genres like, Web Art, Browser Art, and so on that
(more or less) are included in the criteria of New Media but are not
definitive of the form(s).

By the turn of the millennium, New Media emerged as a descriptor for a
wide field of computational arts, and this essay suggests that as of 2006,
only broad consensus exists for the definition of this odd 'genre of
genres'. However, in the last few years, I have heard the term New Media
as 'medium', as awkward as that sounds. This is the phenomenological
quandary I have with such a definition; what does it mean to define New
Media as a medium? I see this as an effort to create an identity for a
wide range of practices, as mentioned before, in institutional terms.
Academies have programs in Painting, Sculpture, Print, and Photography,
but often find it difficult to justify a loose set of practices without
defining a 'medium as genre', if I can make so dangerous a distinction.
But then, museums have curators of Asian Art, Modern Art, Classical,
Medieval, African Art, and so on. While there is a broad consensus on
methods and forms within its communities (an New Media Artist probably
can't tell you exactly what it is, but they sure know what they do), and
institutions try to integrate new categories into their structures, I
believe that historians and curators will create another cultural overlay.

While communities and institutions have at least begun to integrate sets
of practices to create a set of consensus regarding New Media, curators
and scholars will seek to historicize the form as New Media ceases to be
"New", and other "newer than New" forms emerge. At this point, this will
be seen as the establishment of New Media as a historical movement. In
some ways this is evident in the formal declaration of New Media as an
(albeit loosely) definitive nomenclature that may eventually come to be
associated with a general sense of a Movement. As a larger oeuvre is
created over time, the overall body of work will come to be associated
with a period of time and associated zeitgeist, which may then be
considered to define the criteria for that scholarly mnemonic. New Media -
a movement in all directions.

In this brief couple of pages, I've sought to theorize New Media as a
genre that defies categorization as such, a mercuric 'genre of genres'
that recurses and shifts like a Schrodinger's Cat whenever you look at it,
to a cultural strand that has changed as culture, community, and practices
change its form. If an epistemology of New Media follows its developments,
forms and effects, perhaps New Media as a 'genre' will continue to be
defined in broad terms, but may be more sharply defined as time goes on.
But what seems to be evident is that New Media's breadth of practices
provides grist for a healthy dialogue on the nature of art, culture and
technology; one that is sure to continue.


1. "The Art Formerly Known as New Media"September 17 to October 23, 2005,
Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff New Media Institute, Banff, Alberta, Canada

2. Manovich, Lev. The Language of New Media, (2001) MIT Press, Cambridge,

3. Wattenberg, Martin. Idealine, Whitney ArtPort, Whitney Museum of
American Art,

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Rhizome Digest is filtered by Marisa Olson (marisa AT ISSN:
1525-9110. Volume 11, number 36. Article submissions to list AT
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