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: 5.16.07
Date: Wed, 16 May 2007 18:38:27 -0400

RHIZOME DIGEST: May 16, 2007


1. Marisa Olson: Rhizome Editorial Shift

3. Franziska Schroeder: Fwd: Lectureship AT SARC
4. ana otero: call: video works for OVNI 2008

6. Evelin Stermitz: Cyberfem. Feminisms on the electronic landscape.
7. Nick Hallett: A lab is a lab is a lab at The Kitchen, NYC
8. ed halter: Bard College Tech/Action: Games Conflict Simuation

9. Eduardo Navas: Media Art Histories review (redux)

+Commissioned by
10. Jonah Brucker-Cohen: Conference Report: Futuresonic 2007 Festival

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From: Marisa Olson <marisa AT>
Date: May 14, 2007
Subject: Rhizome Editorial Shift

Dear Readers,

I'm writing to share an editorial policy change with you.

After considerable deliberation we've decided to have our front page news stream published by Rhizome staff only. Our decision is motivated primarily by a consideration of our resources. It is quite costly (labor and technology-wise) to maintain multiple reBlog accounts and to keep volunteer efforts active and consistent. After years of group site editor management, we feel our staff energy would be better expended elsewhere--for example, in developing our TextBase and other publications.

We are incredibly grateful to those who have contributed so much of their time and knowledge to keeping the Rhizome community abreast of the most important issues and practices in the new media art field. It has been wonderful working closely with them and we've listed them as Site Editors Emeritus, here:

Please stay tuned to the front page for continued reBlogging activity and original site content.


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Marisa Olson
Editor & Curator, Rhizome
New Museum of Contemporary Art

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Organizational memberships with Rhizome

Sign your library, university or organization up for a Rhizome organizational membership! Give your community access to the largest online archives of digital art and new media art-related writing, the opportunity to organize member-curated exhibitions, participate in critical discussion, community boards, and learn about residency, educational and professional possibilities. Rhizome also offers subsidized memberships for qualifying institutions with limited access to the Internet. Please visit for more information or contact Ceci Moss at ceci AT

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From: shawn brixey <shawnx AT>
Date: May 10, 2007


May 2007

University of Washington, Seattle, WA.
Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS)

University of Washington, Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media, is seeking to fill one year (with possibility of renewal) Research Fellow/Lecturer Positions in Experimental Digital Video. Established in 2001, DXARTS is a pioneering arts unit with exciting undergraduate and doctoral degree programs. DXARTS brings together current and new faculty from Art, Music, Dance, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Physics, Bio-Engineering, and Design in a pioneering research environment dedicated to the invention and exploration of new forms of digital and experimental art. The successful candidate should be prepared to pursue innovative research in their main field of study (film/video) and to teach introductory and advanced level courses in history, theory and studio practice of traditional, digital and experimental film/video. Applicants for this position should be broadly interdisciplinary with strong creative and technical skill, and substantial practical experience from multiple areas of experimental arts, with their focus emerging out film, cinema, and video genres. Applicants should be fluently versed in a wide array of production and post-production techniques and skills, such as field and studio lighting, cinematography, non-linear editing, visual fx & compositing, motion capture, motion graphics, art direction, narrative structures (both linear & non-linear), custom electronics, machine vision, programming & image processing, auto-poetic cinema, etc.

Masters degree, equivalent or higher required.
Application must include: CV, artist statement, statement on pedagogy, and a portfolio of current professional creative work and research. Support materials must include three references with phone numbers, mail and e-mail address. Samples of previous course design and recent student work are highly encouraged. Portfolio of film/video work must be in NTSC, but may be on CD or DVD, and formatted for viewing on any platform. Other acceptable formats include DVCAM, and MiniDV tape. Please include a SASE for return of materials.

Application materials should be addressed to: Professor Shawn Brixey, Research Fellows Search, DXARTS, 207 Raitt Hall, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-3680. Priority will be given to applications received before August 15, 2007. The University of Washington is building a culturally diverse faculty, and strongly encourages applications from female and minority candidates. The University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer.

For detailed information about DXARTS visit the our website.

shawn brixey professor | director
center for digital arts and experimental media
207 raitt hall | university of washington
box 353414 | seattle, washington 98195
shawnx AT
vm. 206.616.1746 fx. 206.616.3346

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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!

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From: Franziska Schroeder <franziska AT>
Date: May 12, 2007
Subject: Fwd: Lectureship AT SARC

please see below for Lectureship at Sarc.
Very much apologise for all of you who receive this 10xxx...

dr f r a n z i s k a s c h r o e d e r
Research Fellow
Sonic Arts Research Centre
Queen's University Belfast

Tel. 028 9097 5423
Email: f.schroeder AT

Begin forwarded message:

> From: Pedro Rebelo <p.rebelo AT>
> Date: 11 May 2007 13:56:20 BST
> To: cec-conference AT
> Subject: Lectureship AT SARC
> Please distribute, Apologies for cross-posting
> Lectureship in Computer Programming for Musical Applications
> Sonic Arts Research Centre
> School of Music and Sonic Arts
> Queen's University Belfast
> Ref: 07/K670B
> Required to commence as soon as possible, to undertake high quality
> research in line with the School's research strategy, and to teach at
> undergraduate and postgraduate level. Criteria will be given in the
> applicant pack.
> Informal enquiries may be made to Mr. Chris Corrigan, tel: (028)
> 90974830 or email: c.corrigan AT
> Closing date: 4.00pm, Friday 25 May 2007
> The University is committed to equal opportunity and selection on
> merit.
> It therefore welcomes applications from all sections of society.
> Applications should be addressed to the Personnel Manager, The
> Personnel Department, Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland,
> BT7 1NN. Tel: 028 90973044, Fax. 028 90971040, e-mail
> personnel AT,

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From: ana otero <4anaotero AT>
Date: May 13, 2007
Subject: call: video works for OVNI 2008

:: Call for entries
:: Deadline: July 1, 2007
:: OVNI 2008 - The Observatory Archives

The Observatory Archives
The Observatory Archives are intentional in nature and organized around specific themes, bringing together material that supports a critique of contemporary culture through different approaches such as video art, independent documentary and mass media archeology.

OVNI 2008 will take place from the 29th January to the 3rd of February 2008, at the Centre de Cultura Contemporànea de Barcelona in Spain. Dead Line for submissions is: 1st July 2007. Please forward this information to any other film and videomakers you know who may be interested.

ovni 2008 :
Dead Line: 1st July 2007.
ovni online:

OVNI - Arxius de l’Observatori
Montalegre, 5
08001 Barcelona- Spain
ovni (at)


Ovni 2008 - Archivos del Observatorio

Los Archivos del Observatorio tienen un carácter intencional y temático: facilitar una Crítica de la Cultura Contemporánea, utilizando diversas estrategias: video arte, documental independiente, arqueología de los mass media. Los Archivos recogen todo una constelación de trabajos dispares, cuyo denominador común es la libre expresión y reflexión sobre los miedos y placeres individuales y colectivos, construyendo en su conjunto una visión multifacetada, miles de pequeños ojos, que ahondan y exploran nuestro mundo, o anuncian otros posibles. Un discurso cuyos principales valores son la heterogeneidad, la pluralidad, la contradicción y la subjetividad desde la que se realiza. Por si solo un revulsivo a la clonación y repetición de los mass media corporativos. En sus 14 años de existencia, OVNI ha incorporado a los Archivos más de 1.400 documentos y obras. [dvd, subtitulado en castellano].

La convocatoria es temáticamente abierta, dentro de los campos de documental independiente, video arte, arqueología mediática, e incluye también la recepción de material sin editar o de found footage.

Algunos de los programas temáticos de OVNI han sido:

-/ Heterodoxias y Zonas Autónomas (TAZ) - Diferentes formas de pensar, vivir, comunidades... Otros mundos alejados del pensamiento único, heterotopias...
-/ La Experiencia Interior y otras visiones místicas.
-/ Muerte - Cultura y experiencia. Rituales. Obras audiovisuales y found footage.
-/ Trance rituales - Religión - vídeos ya editados, grabaciones de cámara, found footage, que documenten rituales de trance (dikr, haddras, santería, vudú, animismo, predicadores... etc).
-/ Globalización y Resistencia: Argentina, Palestina, Sudáfrica, Irak, Chechenia, Sudán, Movimiento AntiGlobalización, Movimiento de los Sin Tierra.
-/ Perdidos en Babilon: aventuras y desventuras de los supervivientes del Imperio.
-/ El Rayo Catódico - Guerrilla Mediatica - televisión, crítica de los media, información secuestrada y contrainformación, media attack, found footage, arqueología mediática, deconstrucción mediática, arqueología científica...
-/ Identidad y MassMedia.
-/ Turismo Colonial - fenómeno turístico (saqueo de imágenes, secuestro de territorios, teletransportación, don de la ubicuidad, parques temáticos...).
-/ Fronteras - Migraciones, transcultura, aculturización, nomadismo y globalización. Militarización de las fronteras. Ilegales en el paraíso. Europa-Maghreb, USA-Latinoamérica.
-/ Trabajo e ideología - Trabajo y capital, política y realidad, el imaginario del progreso, el lugar de trabajo como representación prohibida.
-/ Especulación urbanística – parquetematización de la ciudad, pérdida del espacio público, reapropiación ciudadana.
-/ Post September 11 2001 - trabajos en soporte video o digital que reflexione sobre esos hechos, bien sea material sin editar, cobertura mediática o trabajos de creación.
-/ Archivos Babilonia - arqueología mediática, documentos que reflejan algunos de los valores más agresivos e intolerantes de la cultura occidental contemporánea y de su génesis: documentales educativos e industriales, primera publicidad televisiva, programas de tele predicadores, marketing, videos de promoción turística, castings para publicidad, etc...
-/ Visiones del Otro - otras imágenes, otra información de culturas cuya representación ha sido casi exclusivamente producida por Occidente.
-/ Rizoma Indigena. Cultura indígena: comunidades, especificidades, conflictos. Representaciones ajenas: a través de la antropología colonial, etnografía, etc...
-/ Ciudades - Retratos de ciudades: escenas de la vida cotidiana, el hogar, lugares de trabajo, recuerdos...
-/ Mundo Máquina - Deconstrucción tecnológica, conspiración de la máquina, euforia digital, vandalismo corporativo: industria genética, farmacéutica, transgénica, biotecnología...
-/ Dream Archives - Archivo de Sueños: Relatos de sueños, el imaginario de una época, los deseos, conflictos, delirios, placeres... etc.
-/ Trabajos relacionados directa o indirectamente con la obra de estos autores y otros de su galaxia: Michel Foucault, Guy Debord, Edward Said, Hakim Bey, George Bataille, William Burroughs, Gilles Deleuze, Noam Chomsky.

OVNI 2008 tendrá lugar del 29 de Enero al 3 de Febrero de 2008, en el CCCB, donde se proyectarán una selección de las nuevas obras adquiridas para los Archivos y paralelamente se podrá consultar la totalidad de sus fondos.

Fecha límite de inscripción: 1 de Julio de 2007

No hay gastos de inscripción.

OVNI se compromete a:

- Al pago de 200 € ( < de 30') o de 300 € (> de 30') en concepto de adquisición de una copia master de consulta individual en Archivo y dos exhibiciones públicas en concepto de presentación de la obra.

Ficha de Inscripción:

ovni AT
Montalgre, 5
08001 Barcelona
Tel. 933 064 100
m. 600 770 988

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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 2006-2007 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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Jon Thomson <j.thomson AT>
Date: May 11, 2007

We're in this show opening tonight in Oldenburg
Do visit either online or in the gallery if you can.

thanks and best wishes,

Jon & Alison


Growing up online in the 90s and 00s

12 May – 1 July 2007

Press Conference: Friday, 11 May 2007, 11 a.m.
Opening: Friday, 11 May 2007, 7 p.m.

Artists in the exhibition:
Cory Arcangel, Jonah Brucker-Cohen / Mike Bennett, Nick Crowe, Exonemo, Ute Hörner / Mathias Antlfinger, Humanbeans, Miranda July / Harrell Fletcher, Olia Lialina / Dragan Espenschied, Les Liens Invisibles, Jillian Mcdonald, Marisa Olson, Tanja Ostojić, Annina Rüst, Thomson & Craighead, / Paolo Cirio / Alessandro Ludovico, Angie Waller

In the last decade, the Internet has become one of the most important tools of the information society. The ability to think and act in a networked fashion is not only crucial to the world’s economy, but has also changed our culture. With the ever-increasing democratisation of the media, new social communities based in the global network have emerged. These communities, operating with their own rules, have come to influence and change our daily cultural activities. “Social softwares” are the communication tools by which interaction and collaboration online takes place, yet their use is regulated more through social conventions than genuine software characteristics.

From an easy to survey, disparate and radical community, which was first built by a group of Internet enthusiasts, a mainstream development has been generated: Participatory platforms, which allow users to upload the content on the websites – such as MySpace, YouTube, or Second Life – have become an important part of the online culture. The difference from those early electronic communities on the Internet is that today users needn’t have specialist technical knowledge and can more easily play a crucial role in the creation of networks, publishing their opinions and their viewpoints to a global public. With its blogs and message boards the internet today offers a space for private opinions to be shared. The interest of online communities lies not only in the distribution of current news and headlines, but in a subjective way in how these are communicated – an individual, personal style, which creates a new form of authenticity.

The exhibition My Own Private Reality demonstrates how artists are using the web to discuss and engage with these new social formations and the effects social software has in the offline/real world. The exhibition is focused on the development (the maturation or ‘growing up’) of activities that define our interactions with the World Wide Web: personal diaries, entertainment, online shopping, fact-finding, and the fact that sometimes you just want to escape real life. All these things have been present before this second Internet revolution, but these works suggest how they have changed in a World Wide Web whose contents are produced by its users. The net-based works included in the exhibition deal with online developments of the last ten years and discuss the new distinctions between private and public, the identity structuring potential of the Internet and the possibility that today one’s own private thoughts are so easily made public. The featured works are not all web-based, but they all reflect the phenomenon of social communities on the Internet.

In this year’s January edition Time Magazine voted “You” as the person of the year in an acknowledgment of the fact of the increasing democratization of the digital media. The exhibition My Own Private Reality questions the truth of this, by including projects that pre-date the more recent phenomena of the Web 2.0 as well as projects which question the sometimes less than public side of the web. The exhibition is an interface for the manifold possibilities of networked thinking and acting.

The works in the exhibition have been selected by Sabine Himmelsbach and Sarah Cook, whose involvement as co-curator has been supported by her work with the online resource for curators of new media, CRUMB (

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From: Evelin Stermitz <es AT>
Date: May 14, 2007
Subject: Cyberfem. Feminisms on the electronic landscape.

Cyberfem. Feminisms on the electronic landscape.
curated by Ana Martínez-Collado
October 20th, 2006 – January 21st, 2007
Espai d'art contemporani de Castelló (EACC), Castelló, Spain

Cyberfem. Feminisms on the electronic landscape, a wider territory; a hybrid space for creativity and activism, constructed with the new digital technologies. For just over a decade now, we have been seeing the rapid revolution and permanent redefinition of feminist issues, policies on identity, artistic practices and new technologies. Theoretical discourses that widen their paradigms and become polluted by other disciplines, myths and stereotypes, are questioned. Artistic practices that reach beyond their own limits, nomad identities, all in the context of gradually advancing information technology.

At the heart of the debate is the issue of identity. It is, unavoidably, a political issue, based on a premise that is fast becoming a paradigm during these first few years of the 21st century: the concept of identity as a “social construct”. The cyborg identity (or identities) is used as a visual metaphor for contemporary subjects. Today, more than ever, Donna Haraway’s famous affirmation that “we are all Cyborgs now” is no longer such a stunning and provocative statement. But what in fact are we? What race, sex, identity, sexuality, race, cultural identity…? Representing identity is, today, a more attractive and dangerous battlefield than ever before.

It involves the construction, redefinition and vindication of new configurations of identity in a new technological and information-based social fabric. In the early stages, artists, critics, political activists and historians were drawn by the ide of colonizing the web and building on the larger landscape provided by IT communications. Driven on by a final Utopian urge, they got involved in cyberspace with the purpose of making global creativity and universal freedom a reality.

It was in this context that feminism encountered a wide-open space, full of possibilities; web territory was clearly a “seductive” area for women to get involved in: this was cyber-feminism. The origins of cyber-feminism coincided with the growth of the wider-ranging feminism typical of the 1990s. It was a feminism that burst onto the culture scene, expanding its theoretical and practical developments. Feminism, like the entire modern programme, has undergone an intensely self-critical process, distancing itself from any form of dogmatism and opening its doors to a multitude of narrative options. These forms of feminism extended their boundaries in terms of recounting experience, discussions on gender and sex, the intercultural universe and the development of new technologies.

Today, to talk of (cyber)-feminism - feminism, the Internet, art, and activism - is to talk of experimental creativity, communication, research, interactivity, activism and association. The Internet has become firmly established as a space where women are visible from multiple and diverse angles.

This multi-faceted diversity was made apparent at the very beginning of the so-called cyber-feminist movement. The movement’s theoretical foundations were provided by Donna Haraway, Sadie Plant, or the scandalous and provocative VNS Matrix. But it became an actual movement when, in September 1997, the First Cyber-feminist International was held during Documenta X, organised by OBN (Old Boys Network).

The aim of the exhibition Cyberfem. Feminisms on the electronic landscape, is to provide an overview of the diverse range of options, discourses and narratives in which women are involved, in the expanded territory provided by the new technologies. It is an open landscape, in which different discourses on gender, sex, controversial biotechnology and intercultural debates all converge, in the global context of new information technology.

This diversity is a feature of the selected participants; artists, critics and activists, both solo and in groups. By widening the field, the chosen formats are also affected, ranging from pieces designed exclusively as Web projects, to installation pieces, performances and associative projects.

Faced with a state of permanent confrontation, conflict and ambiguity, the key to establishing an organised understanding of visual imagery is to take a stance. Taking a stance implies responsibility and political commitment. Technologies are ways of life, social orders, ways of viewing things. World disputes are disputes about how to see things. How should we look at things? Where should we look at them from?

Cyberfem is an attempt to show us this process and query its potential developments in the future. In the context of current geo-political, economic and cultural conflict, a wider, or expanded, version of cyber-feminism can, via partial policies, help to keep presumptions of difference within the same social order alive, and help us to visualize these differences.

Cyberfem imposes its expanded model of projects, embracing installations using various digital technologies, ranging from video to the PC screen with incorporated web devices, interactive projects, performances, lectures, documentation and Web projects. In most cases there is a notable incursion of the expanded field of feminist production into the electronic space, fostering an interrelation of real and virtual spaces as specific to the post-media condition of our culture.

The exhibition will occupy the main spaces at the Espai d´Art Contemporani of Castelló. In some cases, the projects will be step outside the confines of the museum walls with performances, works in the public space and off-museum devices.

Participating artists:
Annie Abrahams, Natalie Bookchin & Alexei Shulguin, Critical Art Ensemble, Salomé Cuesta, Shu Lea Cheang, Coco Fusco & Ricardo Domínguez, Cindy Gabriela Flores, Dora García, Marina Grzinic & Aina Smid, Lynn Hershmann, Identity_Runners (Diane Ludin, Agnese Trocchi, Francesca da Rimini), Deb King, Olia Lialina, Jess Loseby, Margot Lovejoy, Kristin Lucas, Prema Murthy, Ana Navarrete, OBN (Old Boys Network), Julia Scher, Anne-Marie Schleiner & Talice Lee, Elisabeth Smolarz, Evelin Stermitz, Cornelia Sollfrank, subRosa (Hyla Willis Faith Wilding and James Tsang), Victoria Vesna, Linda Wallace and Eva Wohlgemuth.

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From: Nick Hallett <nick AT>
Date: May 16, 2007
Subject: A lab is a lab is a lab at The Kitchen, NYC

For Immediate Release

The Kitchen presents A lab is a lab is a lab

The Kitchen presents an evening of live-cinema featuring unique collaborations between sound and image makers. Utilizing unusual instruments and sound sources including the theremin, brainwave monitors, oscilloscopes, contact microphones, anamorphic lenses, and the magic lantern, participating artists Maria Chavez, Angie Eng, Bradley Eros, Andy Graydon, Sarah Ibrahim, Zach Layton, Anthony Ptak, Joel Schlemowitz, Lary Seven, Ray Sweeten, and Keiko Uenishi will explore the subversions and rediscoveries connecting science, mystery, and desire. Organized by artist and curator Bradley Eros and Assistant Curator at The Kitchen Matthew Lyons, this event will take place at The Kitchen (512 West 19th Street) on Thursday, May 24 at 8pm. Tickets are $5.

Bradley Eros is an artist working in myriad media: experimental film & video, collage, photography, performance, sound, text, expanded cinema & installation. Eros is also a maverick curator, designer, researcher, and investigator whose concepts include ephemeral cinema, mediamystics, subterranean science, erotic psyche, poetic accidents, and cinema povera. Eros has exhibited at 2004 Whitney Biennial and The American Century at The Whitney, The New York Film Festival, London Film Festival, MoMA, Pacific Film Archives, Warhol Museum, Exit Art, Orchard Gallery, Issue Project Room, Diapason, Arsenal in Berlin, Lightcone in Paris, and Image Forum in Tokyo. He frequently works with the New York Filmmakers' Cooperative and Anthology Film Archives and directs the Roberta Beck Mercurial Cinema.

Media Programs at The Kitchen are made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.

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From: ed halter <hey AT>
Date: May 16, 2007
Subject: Bard College Tech/Action: Games Conflict Simuation

For those of you near Bard College, please come by this weekend for our mini conference Games Simulation and Conflict, part of the College's Tech/Action series, presented by The Human Rights Project the dept of Film and Electronic Arts, and the Science Technology and Society program.

All events are free and open to the public.

Friday includes an enactment of Buckminster Fuller's World Game, a screening of the documentary 8 Bit, and musical performance by gameboy maestro Bitshifter.

On Saturday, talks and presentations by Eddo Stern (Darkgame, Waco Ressurrection), McKenzie Wark (author of the recent Gamer Theory) and Alexander Galloway (Gaming, RSG), Bard students (and real world bloggers!) Bonnie Ruberg and Scott Jon Siegel, as well as yours truly. Plus: Whiffle Hurling!

Link: hrp | events.

Friday, May 18th 11 A.M.

Introduction, "Games, Conflict, and the World Game," Greg Moynahan (MPR)

Morning: Non Zero Sum Games

11:00 A.M. - ~2 P.M. Buckminster Fuller's World Game (MPR)

Afternoon: Zero-Sum Games

3:00 P.M. Capture the Flag and Others (CAMPUS CENTER)

4:30 P.M. The Bard Debate Team: Debate as Conflict and Game (MPR)

Evening: 8-Bit Music in Film

8 P.M. Film 8-Bit (MPR) w/filmmaker Marcin Ramocki and performances by Bitshifter and Greg Fox.

Saturday, May 19th

Talks and Presenations 10:30-5:45 P.M. (AVERY FILM CENTER)

10:30-11:15 Gautam Sethi

11:15-12:00 Kathleen Ruiz

12:05-12:50 McKenzie Wark

12:50-1:35 Eddo Stern

2:30-2:50 Bonnie Ruberg

2:50-3:35 Ed Halter

3:35-4:05 Scott Siegel

4:15-5:00 Alexander Galloway

Then later, a few rounds of Whiffle Hurling (no joke!) with Tom Russotti.

More info:

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From: Eduardo Navas <eduardo AT>
Date: May 15, 2007
Subject: Media Art Histories review (redux)

Apologies for the double posting. The following has the correct intro:


TEXT: Media Art - A Mixed History, book review by Horea AVRAM

Media Art Histories, Edited by Oliver Grau;
Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England: MIT Press, 2007.
More information:

Media Art Histories, edited by Oliver Grau aims to occupy a central position among an increasing number of edited volumes of essays or overview histories dedicated to new media art. Like other such endeavours Media Art Histories proposes to fill the gap between a full-speed developing practice, the crystallization of a systematic theoretical knowledge and the establishment of a history (and in fact legitimacy) for the phenomenon of new media art.

The principal merit of this book is synthesized in the title itself: it doesn¹t pretend to deliver a history, but histories, that is, a pluralist account of media art. Indeed, the volume is comprised of a mosaic of approaches and attitudes regarding new media art seen from a historical perspective. However, there is a declared common premise, which is, according to the editor, the need to put media art and its histories on a more stable basis, to bring them to a sort of mainstream institutional recognition, and introduce new media ³full time² in the academic curricula. And there is something more: the affirmed ambition of this book to understand media art not only as a technical/technological gadget but also as a complex theoretical issue situated in a historical context and seen in relationship with other akin disciplines: film, cultural and media studies, computer science, philosophy, and sciences dealing with images.

In the very first sentence of the editor¹s introductory note, Oliver Grau makes a bold statement that ³the book will discuss for the first time the history of media art within the interdisciplinary and intercultural contexts of the histories of art². The book¹s aim is neither more nor less than to lay the first brick for the construction of an ³evolutionary history of audiovisual media². And how will this ambitious goal be achieved? As the editor states, by opening art history to media art, by putting media art against the background of art history while employing reflections from neighbouring disciplines. Now, of course, the tone of the first quoted sentence is a little bit bombastic. This volume is arguably not the first to deal historically with media art. Grau¹s own book, Virtual Art: From Illusion to Immersion contributed much to the development of this theme. But what is certain is that media art, as one of the major practices in contemporary art, deserves broader attention, and this book is intended to be a step towards a wider recognition and a deeper understanding of media art.

Despite its increasingly wider use, ³media art² is still an ³unstable² term that varies according to the author¹s background, institutional engagement, or theoretical intent. In our case, Grau doesn¹t attempt to offer a tight definition of the notion, but the few denominations the editor puts forward in the introductory text are meant to establish the framework for discussion in the pages to follow: besides photography, film and video, a wide range of digital practices like Net art, interactive art, genetic and telematic art, or even robotics, a-life and nanotechnology are to be considered. Media artists? Grau brings in a few names at the beginning, but surely the list of active people in the domain is‹fortunately‹much, much longer (Char Davies, Hiroo Iwata, Karl Sims, Daniela Plewe and David Rockeby).

When examining media art, considers the editor, it is important for us to observe which aspects are new and which are old, and then to familiarize ourselves with media history, with its myths and utopias. We are living in a world of images, where open and/or mobile access becomes more and more the rule (think wearable devices, cell phones, Internet, TV, cinema)‹a visual sensory sphere that profoundly affects our perception of the surrounding world. Yet, our perception is not simply a physiological process but a cultural act, so, in order to decipher the what, how, who, when about new media (art), it is necessary to take a closer look at the legacy left by historical media in literature concerned with (artistic and scientific) visualization. Two possible models for constructing such a complex media art history, believes Grau, are the ³older and successful² tradition named ³image science² (a cultural history-oriented, inter- and trans-disciplinary approach in art history developed by Aby Warburg), and Panofsky¹s ³new iconology², both of which emerged at the beginning of twentieth century. This new interdisciplinary subject it is believed to be in good company with other contemporary disciplines that deal historically with scientific or artistic image.

So, the building of a media art history should start from its origins, hence the title of the first part of the book: ³Origins: Evolution versus Revolution². Part Two ³Machine-Media-Exhibition², goes further and tries to clarify some of the key terms in media art theory. But the concrete forms that nourish media art today are also of great importance, therefore ³Pop and Science²‹the third part‹examines the contemporary cultural context. Finally, Part Four, ³Image Science², deals with what already was mentioned above, the need to establish a functional ³image science².

As is the case with almost every edited book, the texts gathered in this volume are not equal in terms of value or ³scientific weight². Nor do the authors have the same calibre. But Grau knew to find the necessary balance between the more general, lighter texts and the ³heavy-duty², theoretically solid and accomplished writings. Among the contributors are: Rudolf Arnheim, Peter Weibel, Dieter Daniels, Edmond Couchot, Christiane Paul, Lev Manovich, W.J.T. Mitchell, Ron Burnett etc. New media (art) is primarily characterized by immediacy, by the use of ephemeral images, therefore discussing in the first essay the ³coming and going² status of image is an indispensable starting point (Rudolf Arnheim, ³The Coming and Going of Images²). With its programmatic tone, this text is a call for considering images‹even temporary ones‹necessarily in relationship with a more stable historical context. The essays of the first section actually try to consider such a context (see for example Peter Weibel¹s discussion of (neo)-constructivist and kinetic experiments, Dieter Daniels¹ treatment of Duchamp¹s bachelor machines as ³universal machines², or Grau¹s examination of the tradition of a ³cultural technique of immersion²).

Doesn¹t matter how ³new² new media art is, it stands in a continuum with previous practices, even if lots of its intrinsic aspects (especially technical) are radically changed. This is, at least, what the majority of the texts in the second section let us understand. For example, the tendency toward automation can be traced down to primitive art (Edmond Couchot, ³The Automatization of Figurative Techniques: Toward the Autonomous Image²), or, as Andreas Broeckmann demonstrates, there is an aesthetic continuity between analog and digital in what concerns the experiential qualities of art (³Image, Process, Performance, Machine: Aspects of an Aesthetics of the Machinic²).

If there is not a clear dividing line between past/analog and present/digital, new media brings, however, some profound changes. The third section discusses these transformations and one of them is blurring the differences between producer and consumer through interactivity: responding to an old desire, new media offers the viewer ³fully embodied experiences with screen-based media². (Ron Burnett, ³Projecting Minds²). Another aspect of these changes is, according to Lev Manovich (³Abstraction and Complexity²), the fact that contemporary software abstraction relies rather on a paradigm of complexity than on reduction and essentialism like the modernist painting.

Indeed, new media brought image to an unprecedented status, and at the same time they place image at the center of an interdisciplinary analytic debate, one that is called ³New Image Science² (section four). The questioning of the image as a purely visual medium is only one aspect of this debate, and advocating medium¹s intrinsically mixed status is W.J.T. Mitchell¹s goal in his provocative essay ³There Are No Visual Media².

A good point is that the book opens media art histories also toward non-Western territories (for example, medieval Arab automata and contemporary Japanese art). Significantly, the editor avoids to dedicate an‹almost mandatory, in academic publications‹section devoted to gender and sexual aspects of the problem. Media Art Histories prefers to talk about art and media themselves and not about the sexuality of those involved in them. Despite the fact that it lacks the so-useful index, overall, the book can be a good tool for research especially by keeping a fine equilibrium between art history, media theory, philosophy, cultural studies, image science and computer science. Media Art Histories provides a wide view on the complex, in-progress field of media art, in which this volume intends to stand as one of the main bibliographical reference points.


Horea AVRAM is Ph.D. candidate in Art History and Communication Studies, McGill University, Montreal, Canada. FQRSC doctoral fellowship holder. Art critic and independent curator from 1996.

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From: Jonah Brucker-Cohen <jonah AT>
Date: May 16, 2007
Subject: Conference Report: Futuresonic 2007 Festival

+Commissioned by Rhizome+

Conference Report: Futuresonic 2007 Festival
Social Technologies Summit
May 10-12, Manchester, UK

by Jonah Brucker-Cohen

2007 marked the 12th year of Futuresonic, a festival that began as a sound art/ music festival and has morphed into a media art/ mobile communications-themed event with concerts, exhibitions, talks, and screenings staged all over the city of Manchester, England. This year's festival focused on topics ranging from "Free Media" to "Urban Playgrounds" to "Network Infrastructures" and featured a wide array of speakers, artists, musicians, and thinkers from around the globe converging on this urban landscape.

Futuresonic featured a new addition to its exhibition this year, called "Art For Shopping Centres," which included three newly-commissioned art pieces staged inside the city's "Arndale Shopping Centre," a large indoor mall in the center of Manchester's bustling inner city. British artist Graham Harwood's "NetMonster" is a net-scraper application that searches and compiles data on the Internet for historical information related to the 1996 IRA bombing that devastated the city centre near the Arndale, injuring over 200 people. Meanwhile, MediaShed (in which Harwood is also involved) created "Methods of Movement: The Duellists" a videography of two "parkour acrobats" running through the empty Arndale at night, in a continual "duel" that was filmed entirely though the shopping arena's CCTV camera system. This project marked the first use of MediaShed's "GEARBOX Free-Media Toolkit", an open source software application co-developed with Eyebeam's Production Lab, that allows for video editing on free platforms. New York-based artist Katherine Moriwaki's piece, "Everything Really is Connected After All," consisted of a flock of mobile devices that, when brought within radio range of each other, produced emergent audio narratives about the shopping and downtown areas of the city (as told by Manchester locals). The intent of the piece was to focus on the shopping mall as a "non-place" or location that is both unique but still identical in any location around the world.

In the panel discussions and artist talks, lively debates ensued about the state of mobility in public spaces and how, through technological interjections into these spaces, new forms of dialogue can occur. Ottawa-based Anthropologist and avid blogger Anne Galloway organized the conference speakers this year which ranged from sociologists to engineers, social scientists, and corporate researchers, all examining urban space with a critical viewpoint on topics ranging from wireless networks to urban gaming to mobile systems that propagate across economic and social boundaries. The conference itself examined how technology use has become a "social practice" from open hardware and software platforms to collaborative applications that allow multiple users to engage in the creative process at once. This "Socialization" of technology was evident through the various speakers that presented on how distributed systems can enable new forms of urban interventions and collaborative interventions into the city space as an organic creature. This year's festival also held Manchester's first Dorkbot event. Local artist Steve Symons spoke about his MUIO ( interface, a real-time, multi-platform, and open source hardware system (similar to the popular Arduino but without the need for any programming) that allows for sensing the external world and inputting data into applications like PureData, Max/MSP, SuperCollider, and Processing through a standard USB interface.

Although FutureSonic is in its 12th year, the festival is still struggling with defining itself amongst the now multifarious amounts of events focused on how "media arts" meet mobile technologies and platforms. This year's line up of impressive speakers and interesting commissions added some interesting discussions into the mix. Through the next few years, it will be interesting to see how the festival grows and adapts to the current changes in media arts and how successfully it retains its focus on mobile technologies in order to steer away from the larger, all encompassing events that include every form and category of media art practice.

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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 12, number 19. 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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