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: 09.29.06
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2006 10:32:05 -0700

RHIZOME DIGEST: September 29, 2006


1. Marisa Olson: The Copy and Paste Show

2. Jenny Porter: Director Vacancy
3. Joseph DeLappe: 2nd Call 1st Reno Interdisciplinary Festival of New Media
4. kristoffer.gansing AT Networked Digital Storytelling - places
5. Karen Gaskill: INTERVAL06 - Call For Submissions

6. ryan griffis: Mon Oct 2 Terminal Air at CAVS
7. Recent Turbulence Commissions
8. Marisa Olson: ON and Off at The Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery
9. james: i7o Zhu opening in Ars Virtua Friday at 7pm

10. mark cooley: absence / presence: a conversation with artist charles

+Commissioned by for KEYLINES+
11. Nato Thompson: The New Media Backpedal

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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: Marisa Olson <marisa AT>
Date: Sep 29, 2006
Subject: The Copy and Paste Show

Rhizome is pleased to announce the opening of The Copy and Paste Show,
guest-curated by Hanne Mugaas. This is our second online exhibition in the
Time Shares series.


The Copy and Paste Show explores the evolution of copy-and-paste culture,
where the copying of digital material has become a major technique in the
construction of online identity and style. Featured artists include: Seth
Price, 808, and artists collaborative, Ida Ekblad and Anders Nordby. Each
explores how copy and paste techniques, paired with different digital
tools, influence web aesthetics, music production, and relationships on
and offline.

Organized by Rhizome and co-presented by the New Museum of Contemporary
Art, Time Shares is a series of online exhibitions dedicated to exploring
the diversity of contemporary art based on the Internet. Every six weeks,
Rhizome and invited curators will launch a new exhibition featuring an
international group of artists. The series is a component of Rhizome's
Tenth Anniversary Festival of Art & Technology

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Marisa Olson
Editor & Curator at the
New Museum of Contemporary Art

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From: Jenny Porter <porter AT>
Date: Sep 25, 2006
Subject: Director Vacancy

Based in Liverpool, European Capital of Culture, 2008, FACT is recognised
worldwide as one of Britain's most innovative and enterprising arts
organisations; dedicated to the support, development and presentation of
artists' work in film, video and new media.

c. ?50K
Following the appointment of FACT's Director, Gill Henderson as the first
Director of CreateKX in London, FACT is seeking to appoint a Director with
outstanding creative leadership qualities to build on FACT's past and
present achievements in the context of the Capital of Culture year and

For more information or to request an application pack please contact:
Alan Smith, Operations Director, FACT, 88 Wood Street, Liverpool. L1 4DQ
Tel: 0151 707 4444
Email: asmith AT
Closing date for applications: Friday 20th October 2006
Interviews in Liverpool.

We welcome applications from any individual regardless of ethnic origin,
gender, disability, religious belief, sexual orientation or age. All
applications will be considered on merit.

FACT is a registered charity No. 702781.
Company limited by Guarantee Registration No. 2391543

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From: Joseph DeLappe <delappe AT>
Date: Sep 25, 2006
Subject: 2nd Call 1st Reno Interdisciplinary Festival of New Media

Please post on Rhizome Raw!

Department of Art/224
University of Nevada, Reno
Reno, Nevada 89557
Contact: Joseph DeLappe, Chair
delappe AT


The First Reno Interdisciplinary Festival of New Media

Attention Graduate Students!

Call For Proposals: Exhibit, Netart, Present, Perform, Project(full dome)

The 1st Reno Interdisciplinary Festival of New Media will highlight the
work of currently enrolled graduate and phd candidates working in
experimental digital media at Universities throughout the United States
and abroad. Graduate students working in and across disciplines are
encouraged to submit works to be considered for this unique opportunity.
The event breaks down into five interrelated events/venues: exhibit,
netart, perform, project and present.

We invite proposals from currently enrolled graduate and phd students to
submit work for consideration. Artists working in all visual and
performative media incorporating digital systems, including but not
limited to: interactive art, robotics, slash artists, movement/dance,
gaming, net art, full-dome video/animation, generative systems, sculpture,
locative media, electronic music, sound art, experimental theater,
performance art, etc. are invited to apply. Collaborations and works in
progress are welcome and encouraged.

A limited number of travel/accommodation grants are available and will be
awarded by the festival jurors.

Festival jurors: Joseph DeLappe, Chair, Department of Art/UNR, Marji
Vecchio, Director, Sheppard Fine Arts Gallery/UNR, Dan Ruby, Associate
Director, Fleischman Planetarium/UNR

Deadline for submissions: Must arrive by September 29th, 2006

Entry Information:
Please send:
- 200 word maximum description of your work/proposal, specify the
event/venue to which you are applying
- current resume
- name and contact info of graduate committee chair/advisor
- appropriate documentation of your work product (DVD, CDrom, URL).
- please inform us of any technical requirements and/or equipment
necessary to show your work.

Email applications, where appropriate, are welcome - send these to
delappe AT .
If you wish the return of your material, please include a SASE. Our
mailing address:

The 1st Reno Interdisciplinary Festival of New Media
Digital Media Studio
Department of Art/224
University of Nevada, Reno
Reno, Nevada 89557 USA

This event is sponsored by the Benna Foundation for Excellence in the Fine
Arts, The University of Nevada, Reno, Department of Art, The Sheppard Fine
Arts Gallery, the Fleischman Planetarium and Science Center, and the
Nevada Museum of Art.

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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
a thorough review of the web hosting industry, we selected BroadSpire as
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From: kristoffer.gansing AT <kristoffer.gansing AT>
Date: Sep 26, 2006
Subject: Networked Digital Storytelling - places left!

Networked Digital Storytelling
Call for Course Participation

Time: November 6, 2006 ? January 18, 2007 - 15 ECTS points

Place: K3 School of Arts & Communication, Malmo University, Sweden


Networked Digital Storytelling is a course that critically explores the
artistic possibilities of new networked media such as videoblogs, social
media, mashups and locative media. Participants in the course use these
technologies in a series of workshops built around the theme of mediating
and telling stories about the city.

During the workshops there will be guest lectures by artists, social media
workers, bloggers, and theorists. Regular teachers are Kristoffer Gansing,
PhD student specialising in alternative media, and Tina Giannopoulos,
cultural producer and architect. The course ends in a common presentation
in the form of an exhibition, installation or urban intervention.

How to apply: If you read Swedish fill out the following form:älanH06.p
The course code is: 00334
More info can be found at: (in Swedish

If you don?t read Swedish, send an e-mail with a statement of interest
to: kristoffer.gansing AT (and you will receive the necessary
papers for applying)

Workshops & Curriculum
1: Networked Stories / Spatial Stories
Untold stories and places of Malmö. Google map mashups + video. With
Bitlab Malmö, Surreal Scania.

2: Hybrid Spaces / Hybrid Media
In collaboration with tv-tv and the t-vlog project.
Ends in a transmission at Copenhagen based tv-station tv-tv.

3: Social media
Going deeper into technologies of videoblogging, participatory culture and
culture jamming. In between workshops there will be a regular theory
class, with close analysis of texts and films. We read everything from
60?s expanded cinema gurus like Gene Youngblood to recent online theorists
like Adrian Miles and Jill Walker. Full course syllabus is available at (literature list is subject to
change / update!)

Relevant links and References
Blog by Kristoffer Gansing, with info about earlier workshops.
Malmo University, School of Arts & Communication site.
The full course syllabus.
The internal course page.

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From: Karen Gaskill <karen AT>
Date: Sep 29, 2006
Subject: INTERVAL06 - Call For Submissions

Becoming Electric
An Interval platform event


Interval invites artists working in new media to submit works that respond
or relate to the concept of 'Becoming Electric', for inclusion in the
third event in the Interval06 programme. The selected work will be
showcased in an exhibition in November 2006 in an empty Public House in
Central Manchester.

Interval is an independent artist led platform with a focus on new media
practice. Established in 2005, it acts as a critical springboard, offering
collaborative exhibition opportunities to both emergent and established
practitioners using technology as a key component within their work.

For more information and a detailed brief please see:
and go to Upcoming Events

Or download guidelines and a submission form here:

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From: ryan griffis <ryan.griffis AT>
Date: Sep 27, 2006
Subject: Fwd: Mon Oct 2 Terminal Air at CAVS

> Center for Advanced Visual Studies / MIT?s School of Architecture
> and Planning
> 265 Massachusetts Ave, 3rd Fl / Cambridge MA 02139 / 617 253 4415 /
> 7:00 pm
> The Center for Advanced Visual Studies presents
> Terminal Air (Institute for Applied Autonomy and Trevor Paglen)
> Tad Hirsch (Institute for Applied Autonomy) and experimental
> geographer Trevor Paglen will present early research for their new
> project, Terminal Air, an interactive installation that enables
> audiences to track a fleet of CIA-operated aircraft around the
> world. These airplanes, which were first uncovered by an
> international network of amateur aviation enthusiasts and later
> reported on by various investigative journalists, are known to be
> involved in "extraordinary rendition"?the practice of illegally
> transporting terrorism suspects to secret overseas military bases
> for torture and interrogation. Paglen will also talk about Torture
> Taxi: On the Trail of the CIA's Rendition Flights, which he co-
> wrote with journalist AC Thompson. Andrew Woods of Harvard Law
> School will also speak. Terminal Air is supported by 2006-2007
> commission from
> Trevor Paglen is an artist, writer, and experimental geographer
> working out of the Department of Geography at the University of
> California, Berkeley, where he is currently completing a PhD. His
> work involves deliberately blurring the lines between social
> science, contemporary art, and a host of even more obscure
> disciplines in order to construct unfamiliar, yet meticulously
> researched ways to interpret the world around us. His most recent
> projects take up secret military bases, the California prison
> system, and the CIA?s practice of ?extraordinary rendition.?
> Paglen?s artwork has been shown at the Chicago Museum of
> Contemporary Art (2003), the California College of the Arts (2002),
> MASSMOCA (2006), Halle 14 - Stiftung Federkiel (2006), Diverse
> Works (2005), and numerous other arts venues, universities,
> conferences, and public spaces.
> Tad Hirsch is a researcher and PhD candidate in the Smart Cities
> Group at MIT's Media Lab, where his work focuses on the
> intersections between art, activism, and technology. He is also a
> 2005-7 graduate affiliate at the Center for Advanced Visual
> Studies. He has worked with Intel's People and Practices Research
> Group, Motorola's Advanced Concepts Group and the Interaction
> Design Studio at Carnegie Mellon University, and has several years
> experience in the nonprofit sector. Tad is also a frequent
> collaborator with the Institute for Applied Autonomy, an award-
> winning arts collective that exhibits throughout the United States
> and Europe. He publishes and lectures widely on a variety of topics
> concerning social aspects of technology, and has received several
> prestigious commissions and awards. Tad holds degrees from Vassar
> College, Carnegie Mellon University and the Massachusetts Institute
> of Technology.
> The Institute for Applied Autonomy (IAA) was founded in 1998 as a
> technological research and development organization dedicated to
> the cause of individual and collective self-determination. Their
> mission is to study the forces and structures which affect self-
> determination and to provide technologies which extend the autonomy
> of human activists.
> The Center for Advanced Visual Studies is a fellowship program that
> commissions and produces new artworks and artistic research within
> the context of MIT. A laboratory for interdisciplinary art
> practice, the Center facilitates exchange between internationally
> known contemporary artists and MIT?s faculty, students, and staff
> through public programs, support for long-term art projects, and
> residencies for MIT students.
> Call 617 253 4415 for more information or to get involved.
> Thanks to the MIT Arts Council, the LEF Foundation, the Milton and
> Sally Avery Foundation,, and the Loeb Fellowships at
> Harvard.
> Meg Rotzel
> Curatorial Associate
> Center for Advanced Visual Studies
> In the Office M,W,Th
> Massachusetts Institute of Technology
> 265 Massachusetts Avenue
> Cambridge, MA 02139
> 617.253.4415

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From: <turbulence AT>
Date: Sep 28, 2006
Subject: Recent Turbulence Commissions

Turbulence Commissions launched during summer 2006:

by Marta Lwin
with funding from the Jerome Foundation

mobotag reveals the hidden layers of a city through an active exchange of
location based media and text messages via the cellphone. It's collaborative
phone tagging of the city. Part virtual graffiti, part walking tour, mobotag
creates a spontaneous and easy way for tagging a neighborhood via the
cellphone. Send and view messages, images, videos and sounds. See art, read
stories, and watch a hidden layer of the city reveal itself. Respond with
your media and participate in the creative expression and mapping of your
neighborhood. mobotag also features art projects including flyHere, a mobile
phone audio installation featuring native bird calls; bugBytes, collectible
graphical bugs originating at major telecoms around NYC; and lookHere, a
written work in short form by a native NY writer.

by Michael Takeo Magruder
with funds form the National Endowment for the Arts

Monolith[s] juxtaposes two icons of British culture: stone circles
(Stonehenge, for instance) and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
Formulated according to motifs and proportions of ancient architecture,
infused with fundamental mathematics of modern digital communication
systems, each genesis of the artwork's geometry is unique. Variables such as
the time of day, the viewer's location on the Earth, and the position of the
Earth around the sun are incorporated into the artwork, thus instilling into
the realm functions of a rudimentary clock, global positioning system, and
solar calendar. [needs: The technical specifications are detailed on the
Setup/Help page. Please read them before proceeding.]

by Yury Gitman
with funds from the Jerome Foundation

My Beating Blog is an attempt to take the journaling aspect of blogging into
a surrealistic future in which the author literally and metaphorically bares
his heart. For three weeks, a series of posts contextualizing heart-rate
visualizations, GPS-maps, and personal journal entries will give online
users a rare entrance into personal medical-grade statistics, stalker-level
location tracking, and the private thoughts of the blogger. Inevitably,
issues regarding privacy, exhibitionism, and voyeurism playfully emerge as
the blogosphere is infused with biofeedback and location technology. [needs
the following browsers: IE 6.0+, Firefox 0.8+ , Safari 1.2.4+, Netscape
7.1+, Mozilla 1.4+, Opera 8.02+]

by Troy Innocent and Ollie Olsen with the Shaolin Wooden Men and Harry Lee
with funds from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

SWM05 features the distributed bodies of musical-visual form that are
inhabited by the Shaolin Wooden Men (SWM), a virtual band, a 'gang of
numbers' ? me(a)tacodeflesh. SWM require your assistance to manifest as
media creatures. They invite you to send them images of your local
environment in which they can appear. Sending images unlocks access to the
SWM05 mobile site which consists of downloadable micromusic ringtones and
small screen machinima performances. The SWM are everywhere. In a meshwork
of wireless entities, they are media creatures seeking a fragmented
existence to be consumed in the nanoseconds of play-time in the emerging
wireless net. SWM05 will transfigure the SWM by embodying them in a new

by Onomé Ekeh
with funds from The Greenwall Foundation

Perhaps the question "can machines think"? should be re-articulated as "is
the machine different from you or I"? Why is there a perceptive gap between
our tools and ourselves? Do they not constitute consciousness and by
extension the body? The cultural schisms that generate this differentiation
between "man" and "machine" are also responsible for spawning voids and
displacements?and the ghosts that inhabit them. It is these ghosts who
constitute Machine Fragments, sound fictions spun from the perspective of
sentient machines, testing humans for machine intelligence. Not so much to
expose the machinic dimension in humans (we suspected as much), but to
arouse the sense that "Machine" is also a kind of gender. [needs Flash
player 8+ and speakers; optimized for Internet Explorer and Safari]

by XiaoQian
with funds from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

My name is XiaoQian, I am an artist and I create virtual persons online. For
this website I created 6 chinese virtual persons: Mu Yuming a painter,
Shaxpir a hip-hop singer, Wang Shy a ghost in a traditional garden, He
Zhengjun a carpenter working with wood and text, Yi Zhe a guest in a wedding
and myself XiaoQian. You can email me at xiaoqian at
[needs Macromedia Flash Player plugin; Internet Explorer 5+, Mozilla Firefox
1.5.0+, or Safari 1.0+]

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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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: Marisa Olson <marisa AT>
Date: Sep 28, 2006
Subject: ON and Off at The Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery


October 6 ? December 2, 2006
Opening Reception: October 5, 6-8pm

The Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery is pleased to present ON and Off a new show
featuring an international group of contemporary artists.

Ten years since it emerged as a medium for contemporary art, the Internet
and the work it inspires, is no longer confined by the browser window. The
Web influences culture at large: it adapts to new technology, cultivates
demographics, and evolves our cultural needs and norms. The works of Vuk
Cosic, Lisa Jevbratt, Olia Lialina and Dragan Espenschied, Thomson and
Craighead, YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES are testament to its expanding
role in contemporary life.

Long working at the forefront of the medium, these artists explore the
particularities of Web technology and its aesthetics and utility in
projects that clearly transcend the specificity of "Internet Art."
Internationally renowned and widely exhibited both on line and off these
artists offer us compelling insights into our simple, everyday desire to
be connected.

The Gallery is located at 601 W 26th Street, Suite 1240, New York, NY.
The Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11-6.

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From: james <rhizome AT>
Date: Sep 28, 2006
Subject: i7o Zhu opening in Ars Virtua Friday at 7pm

Ars Virtua Gallery and New Media Center presents "immersivity through
Synchronization" by i7o Zhu opening Friday September 29 at 7pm SLT in
Gallery 2 of Ars Virtua.

immersivity through Synchronization

Minimal and Spatial Audio Visual instalation researching the immersivity
value of synchronised stimuli.

Deleuze, alluding to Kant and Schelling, at times refers to his philosophy
as a transcendental empiricism. In Kant's transcendental idealism,
experience only makes sense when organized by intellectual categories
(such as space, time, and causality). Taking such intellectual concepts
out of the context of experience, according to Kant, spawns seductive but
senseless metaphysical beliefs. (For example, extending the concept of
causality beyond actual experience results in unverifiable speculation
about a first cause.) Deleuze inverts the Kantian arrangement: experience
exceeds our concepts by presenting novelty, and this raw experience of
difference actualizes an idea, unfettered by our prior categories, forcing
us to invent new ways of thinking


Second Life is a 3D online persistent space totally created and evolved by
its users. Within this vast and rapidly expanding place, you can do,
create or become just about anything you can imagine. Built-in content
creation tools let you make almost anything you can imagine, in real time
and in collaboration with others. An incredibly detailed digital body
('Avatar') allows a rich and customizable identity.

Ars Virtua is a new media center and gallery located entirely in the
synthetic world of Second Life. It is a new type of space that leverages
the tension between 3-D rendered game space and terrestrial reality,
between simulated and simulation.

To visit Ars Virtua simply create a free account in Second Life
( and run the current client (http:// Once you have this properly installed
follow this link -- secondlife://Dowden/42/59 ? directly to Ars
Virtua, or use

Ars Virtua: Gallery 2, Butler (228, 15, 52)

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From: mark cooley <flawedart AT>
Date: Sep 28, 2006
Subject: absence / presence: a conversation with artist charles cohen

absence / presence: a conversation with charles cohen

A conversation between Charles Cohen and Mark Cooley conducted through
electronic mail - 2006

For a hypertext version of this interview please visit

See Charles Cohen's work at:

MC: I'd like to begin by exploring your use of the "cut-out" in some of
your most well known works. I've been covering your Buff series in
various new media related courses for a couple of years now, and several
questions and points of discussion are frequently raised. Can you speak
first about the dichotomy of absence/presence at work in these pieces: How
do you wish this dichotomy to play out for your audience, and what role
does the content of the original image play in this scenario?

CC: If I may, I?d like to dissect the viewing experience into three
?effects? which the cut-out generates. The ?first effect? is the immediate
recognition of the void; a mere observation, not an intellectual reaction,
per se. The second effect is ?the abstract effect,? which would be any
subsequent intellectual activity for the viewer. This sets up an ideal and
final ?reflexive effect?.

The catalyst for the reaction is expectation. Because we expect nudity (in
the Buff series) the suggestive poses of the subject and the conditioned
responses of the viewer confront the void. This disconnect of what is
expected with what is actually there has a variety of reactions in
viewers. After digesting the experience, however, the question of what has
happened occurs. This question, a momentary wedge in a normal viewing
experience, sets up the ?abstract effect?. The viewer is questioning the
nature of this particular type of imagery as well as the effect of imagery
in general on the mind. It is no longer a transparent and immediate
experience, as it is so often in photography where the experience is
oversimplified. Finally, the pinnacle for the artist is to create a third,
?reflexive? effect. The viewer dissects all viewing experiences to the
degree where the subtleties of the construction of meaning are understood
and, perhaps assumes co-authorship with the artist.

MC: You mention co-authorship and I'm interested in pursuing this concept
because it echoes many of the discussions I've had with students regarding
your work, but before we get into that I am interested in how you came
upon the source imagery for Buff and analogtime (full title, Why I prefer
digital clocks and can no longer pretend to like analog time) ? I'm
wondering if you could speak about the significance of the specific
imagery in the two series. While the cut-out seems to set-up a similar
relationship between viewer and image in both series, it also seems to
lead to very different results in terms of specific associations or

CC: The theme which my work tends to revolve around, the presence of
absence, first surfaced in two photographic series, that and set (See
linked statements for that and set). This work was created in 1997-1999.
As you may or may not know, the Buff series starts with an appropriated
image and the analogtime series is from film negatives that I took and
happen to be in. The Buff work, which I am most known for, preceded the
analogtime series from the Drop Out show at Julie Saul. Buff is an
intellectual exercise to dialog with the viewer about expectation and
imagery in general. I elaborate on this in-depth in the linked statement.
The text from Curve: The Female Nude Now (by Sarah Valdez, Megan Dailey,
Jane Harris) is also related and interesting. The analogtime images are an
emotional exercise that follows the principles of Buff addressing issues
of attachment and lack. I have embedded the intellectual mission of Buff
into an emotional narrative in analogtime. And by being !
seductive and generic, the farewell scene sustains some of the
abstraction issues that I addressed in Buff.

The fact that the main differences relate to love and lust were not
planned per se but are certainly very relevant and seem to be a good way
to differentiate. The white space in Buff would be a novel, retinal fling
(albeit with an important invitation to think) and the analogtime
silhouette would be the profound long-term relationship with a
pain/pleasure point of entry. The similarity of the white space allows the
viewer to project a thought in both cases, but those thoughts are very
different for the two series. In Buff, while the exercise for me is
detached, general and intellectual, for the viewer it may be more
immediate and specific, facilitating co-authorship. While in the
analogtime imagery the picture itself is specific, narrative and attached
for me, the viewer?s involvement is contingent upon appeal?requiring more
participation from the viewer.

I never show the two series in the same room and preferably not at the
same time as the subtleties compete in the experience. The analytical
differences are interesting but don?t translate to an effective

MC: I'm interested in touching on this concept of co-authorship that you
mentioned previously. As you know, many aspects of digital culture (from
products defined as fine art to those defined as entertainment or mass
media) are celebrated and formed around ideas of "interactivity". It
seems unfortunate that "interactivity", which suggests an opening for
co-authorship with the participant, often boils down to a "user" clicking
buttons to get to prearranged content. It has been pointed out many times
that this kind of "interactivity" is not fundamentally different than
flipping through a book or channels on a t.v. remote. Do you think our
culture's fascination with gadgets and clicking buttons has had any effect
on the kind of conceptual interactivity one can have with (or through)
static imagery? Relatedly, I've had many classroom discussions in which
I've posed the question, "what is interactivity?" - almost inevitably,
responses tend to revolve around manipulating gadge!
try. Technologies and representations made with them tend lose their
roles as mediators between people and their ideas and become ends unto
themselves. Communication and interaction seem lost at this level. Do
you think that technology sometimes serves to alienate or distance people
from conscious interaction with their environments? I'm also partly
interested in this question because much of your work seems to suggest or
conjure simultaneous feelings of intimacy and distance or alienation -
not only in your Buff and analogtime series, but I get this sense in your
set, that and Standard Double series as well. What are your general or
specific thoughts along these lines?

CC: Hmmm. That?s a great point of entry for me in particular. I was raised
on the tube. The effect of the preoccupation (if you don?t mind) of the
gadget and related control/interactive devices depends on the individual
and has the potential for positive effect. In the analytical realm,
however, clicking should never merit interactivity. Perhaps co-authorship
is the standard for interactivity.

I was just talking with a friend about a more recent addition to the
analogtime series that explicitly includes issues of memory, narrative,
projection and therefore control. The name analogtime reflects the
multi-temporal nature of the images for which the silhouette is directly
responsible. By ?multi-temporal? I mean the image depicts the record of a
past event/gesture and IS an explicit revisiting of that event in the
viewing present as well as a longing for something in the future. The
silhouette draws attention to the process of making the image as well as
the motivation, and draws the viewer into the equation, making the
narrative relative to the present moment. This reflexivity within the
image, for the viewer and between the image and the viewer is

When you ask if technology causes alienation and distance, I say yes,
except that distance (and alienation) can be an opportunity to understand
the way in which we process mediated images and to enhance interactivity.
It only takes the tiniest pause for a numb moment to reveal profound,
reflective insights. I was an anthropology major in college and I
identified very much with an underlying principle in ethnographic
fieldwork ? participant observation. That is, the blending of analytical
distance with whole-hearted engagement. It is perhaps recognizing this in
my own thinking that drew me toward making art ? for I feel that artwork
is an even more satisfactory resolution of these contradictory thoughts
than prose. I?ll leave poetry alone except that de-contextualized and
duplicitous language has a desirable effect for me.

This contradiction or in-between state of participant observation is
something that is more difficult to convey than language traditionally
permits. If two exclusive voices exist in our mental faculty, that is,
solely participation or solely observation, then it is visual language
that can set up an experience for communication rather than a verbal
account that simply constructs the message for one-way delivery.

In the analogtime pieces I am attempting to blend ?account? with
?experience? using conflicting modes of time to address the same
contradiction in the image as well as that which sets up the image. The
pieces include active gestures like reaching or embracing but they refer
to something not there and therefore past. In the set series there is also
an underlying duality ? that of natural and artificial light. The images
are all taken at either dusk or dawn with an overlap of outdoor lighting ?
betwixt and between. That one cannot discern the time of day is intended
to alienate the viewer as well as highlight a form of beauty in the lack
of knowledge. The same goes for the that series of billboard profiles.
There is no face, or information in the image ? the original function
debunked as the viewer surrenders to questions, not answers.

Ultimately my art and all contemporary art is perhaps a projection of an
inner duality that engages and provokes thought in equal amounts.

MC: I'm interested to know what your thoughts are on how the cut-out has
been popularized in advertising imagery in recent years. There are
numerous examples that I've come across, but the obvious and by far the
most enduring is the iPod campaign. It interests me because it seems an
ideal example of how similar technical and formal applications can be
initiated by very different conceptual intentions and work toward very
different affects for viewer / participant - or stated another way, an
illustration of how context determines meaning. I'd like to know your
thoughts, if you've had any, on how the "cut-out" seems to function in
your work in comparison / contrast to how it functions in commercial
applications - specifically the iPod campaign?

CC: I once scribbled, design is to ?ooh!? as art is to ?oh??. Design seeks
to hook while art aims to cause pause. Apple and its image makers don?t
necessarily want thought, only impulse. Sadly, this is what a viewer often
wants too. The viewer wants what the image wants and we gladly cooperate.
(This is a plug for a great book, ?What Do Pictures Want? by W.J.T.
Mitchell). With this difference between art and design in mind, I try to
take advantage of the seduction dynamic with a little kung fu and some
blank space. I probably mean some other martial art, but I am referring to
the ability to redirect energy coming at you, to turn an ad image on its
head gracefully, like Marx did analytically to a table, unlocking the
implied forces within and re-empowering the viewer. Marx would clearly
side with the viewer (if I haven?t made him roll over yet), because it is
the viewer that constructs the meaning of the message. The result is
revolutionary. Like a French sabo!
t, the silhouette disrupts the fetish mechanism and unleashes a flurry of
thought. The ipod ad insidiously lacks who they think you want to be (the
silhouette). The message is lack itself?you lack meaning without an ipod.
The void I emphasize simply asks the viewer for an idea and in return
grants authority to the viewer.

Regarding the silhouette, I often consider the allegory of the cave and
some general eastern thought, i.e. that the world we experience is merely
light and shadow distraction interpreted by an ego mind. I hope to
transcend the fiction (rather than profoundly reinforce it) by indicating
the relationship between one?s mind and the flickering shadows. My friend
Max who works in IT once said, ?it?s amazing how much you can discern
about a communication only knowing that it took place?. Perhaps, in
looking at a silhouette, the viewer, once implicated and engaged in the
dialog, knows the significance of his role and thus the sensation of
reality without knowing what in fact that reality is.

About the artists

Charles Cohen (New York, USA) Currently represented by Bonni Benrubi
Gallery in New York, Genovese/Sullivan in Boston, Patricia Faure in Los
Angeles and Imago Galleries in Palm Desert, Charles Cohen participated in
the Core Fellowship program at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston after
earning his MFA in photography at the Rhode Island School of Design. In
addition to traditional photography Cohen uses video, digital imaging and
sculpture to explore various aspects of a central theme??the presence of
absence. Cohen often finds or applies abstraction to mundane subjects in
order to complete the meaning of a piece by engaging the viewer. His
"Buff" series has been exhibited in New York, Paris, Boston, Houston, San
Francisco and Portland. It can also be seen in two recently released
books: "Digital Art" by Christiane Paul published by Thames & Hudson, and
"CURVE: The Female Nude Now" by Dailey, Meghan et al, published by

Mark Cooley is a new genre artist interested in visual rhetoric, forgotten
histories and political economy. His work has been exhibited in many
international venues both online and off. Mark is currently an Assistant
Professor in the Department of Art and Visual Technology at George Mason

contact info:
mark cooley
flawedart( AT )

charles cohen
charles( AT )

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From: Nato Thompson

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

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

"The New Media Backpedal"
by Nato Thompson

The fact that radical actions flourished under Clinton but not under Bush
is highly bizarre (if not somewhat amazing at the same time). Surely, one
must consider the radical political landscape in the United States at this
time and attempt to gain a handle on how best to organize radical
political action.

Political action is an open-ended concept that for the sake of this
discussion, we will break down into two particular modes. There are the
classically produced leftist grassroots political actions that work in
terms of lobbying, social organizing, banners, street protest, and
muckraking journalisms. On the other hand, there are the more, how do you
say, theoretical politics. That is to say, the politics of meaning that
encompass our everyday experience, often informed by postmodern books,
that don't particularly make it onto the front page of the New York Times
nor Democracy Now for that matter. Public space, the politics of work, the
disciplinary society, the commodification of counter culture, the
spectacle, Agamben's camp, ambiguity as a form of meaning production and
on and on. These are subjects often written about in lefty art magazines
(such as Rhizome) but magically dropped in the left magazines like the
Nation, Z Magazine, even Clamor.

There is clearly a divide in these two worlds. It is probably not a new
one for many of us as it haunts new media in particular. To clarify the
gap a little more: there is a form of political resistance that approach
politics in what appears to be a straightforward didactic manner. The
framework of analysis runs in conjunction with the tradition of street
protest in the United States, Democracy Now is often playing on the radio,
there is a mystical tally on the newest heinous action in Congress, lobby
groups, the prison industry, and utility is often the guide post for
political action. And then there are those that are at times somewhat more
aloof. They can discuss the character of resistance available in taking a
short cut home, they can discuss the Panopticon and the level of systemic
biopower available in the military welfare state, they can critique the
manner in which contemporary radical politics buy into the spectacle of
counter culture, and utility is often considered a complicated riddle not
easily solved. Now, you might chuckle or be angered by such a flagrant
forced dichotomy and I realize there is movement between these two
approaches. But surely the reader understands this divide. Yet, the
ability to bridge the gap vacillates dramatically depending on the
political temperature of the times.

I would go out on a limb and say that during the second Clinton
administration, art and politics were allowed to be a bit more theoretic.
Questions of the commodification of counter culture, movements toward
extending public space and the like were embraced and merged into a
growing political movement that used the anti-globalization movement as
its spine. Theoretical analysis and pragmatic political gestures merged
haphazardly into an evolving platform of political process.

Life under Bush is quite different. The disappearance of a coordinated
political movement has produced a painful lacuna in the political art
scene. The theoretically minded politics of public space, ambiguity and
visual culture have in large part retreated toward the academic sub sphere
in lieu of a political movement to connect with. Would it be erroneous to
place art and technology directly along this path? The radical action
leftist magazines have moved back toward embracing a pragmatic politics
that utilize typical forms of political resistance (eg.

Without a pragmatic grassroots political movement to connect the dots of
political action, aesthetic micro-resistances (such as most art and
technology gambits) ultimately add up to gestures of aesthetic and
identity posturing interpretable primarily through the lens of new media
social capital. This is not to say the need for this form of politics has
dried up, but that it lacks a necessary cohesive political community that
brings the utilitarian, the ambiguous and the desirous into a unified

In the face of this, what is to be done? New movements emerge (such as the
growth of the immigration movement) and an infrastructure of meaning
(magazines, spaces, organizations, collectives, radio shows) needs to be
produced to close the gap. An infrastructure must be produced that manages
the tensions between the theoretical needs of ambiguity and skepticism
with the pragmatics of didacticism and action. Without considering the
manner in which our efforts work toward this end, new media efficacy runs
parallel with the naivetÇ and convenient posturing that is the current
landscape of identity under spectacle. These are perilous times and the
most risky and beneficial thing we can do, is to build bridges. We must
reconnect the dots and apply questions of spectacle, ambiguous new media
interventions, and theory driven actions on the same platform as the
pragmatic politics of grassroots politics. We must work toward getting
back on the streets and challenging power head on. Without an accompanying
pragmatic approach, new media drifts backward toward gadgetry,
conventions, listservs, and geeky obscurity.

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New Museum of Contemporary Art.

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

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Rhizome Digest is filtered by Marisa Olson (marisa AT ISSN:
1525-9110. Volume 11, number 37. Article submissions to list AT
are encouraged. Submissions should relate to the theme of new media art
and be less than 1500 words. For information on advertising in Rhizome
Digest, please contact info AT

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