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: 6.27.07
Date: Wed, 27 Jun 2007 16:48:12 -0400

RHIZOME DIGEST: June 27, 2007


1. Julie Andreyev: Interactive Futures: The New Screen, deadline extended to June 25
2. m: xxxxx call 2007

3. Helen Varley Jamieson: 070707 UpStage Festival
4. abdbda AT BIORAMA AT MEDIA Centre Huddersfield, UK
5. program3 AT CALL FOR ENTRY : Seoul International Film Festival 2007 Net Section
6. james: We are the Strange in Ars Virtua Friday
7. lists AT Land art performance meets digital world

8. Ryan Griffis: Pathogeographies, a review

+Commissioned by Rhizome+
9. Lauren Cornell: Interview with Charlie Gere, Christiane Paul, Jemima Rellie

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From: Julie Andreyev <lic AT>
Date: Jun 20, 2007
Subject: Interactive Futures: The New Screen, deadline extended to June 25

Interactive Futures: The New Screen
Nov. 15-19, 2007 - Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Part of the Victoria Independent Film and Video Festival (VIFVF)
Co-sponsored by Open Space Artist-Run Centre -

IF07 Director:
Steve Gibson - sgibson AT

VIFVF Director:
Kathy Kay - director AT

Open Space Director:
Helen Marzolf - director AT

Julie Andreyev - lic AT
Randy Adams - runran AT
Steve Gibson - sgibson AT


2007 Theme: The New Screen
INTERACTIVE FUTURES is a forum for showing recent tendencies in new media as well as a conference for exploring issues related to technology. The theme of this year's event is The New Screen. IF07 will explore new forms of screen-based media from a diverse body of artists, theorists, writers, filmmakers, developers, and educators. Interactive visual environments, screen-based performances (with or without sound), new forms of narrative experiences, web-based environments, and innovative educational models will all be explored in The New Screen.

The development of tools and strategies for the presentation of screen-based environments has radically accelerated in the past few years. Artists and writers are exploring new ways of controlling narrative flow, formal structures, and ways of viewing. Immersive tools for experiencing visual environments have allowed artists to provide radically subjective experiences of visual surroundings and forms. With the introduction of interactivity, multi-screen environments, and media-rich web-based applications, a new era of performed, live, streaming and/or improvised media art is contributing to the creation of new modes for the screen that are distinct from older forms such as print, film or video art.

The New Screen will include installations, screenings and performances by visual artists, writers and performers. These practitioners are critiquing usual modes of visual interface, such as rectangular screens and determined techniques of interactivity. Interventionist strategies, public participation, experimental projection methods, and destabilizing interactive interfaces are some of the approaches that are used in their work. For IF07, leading Canadian and international artists, researchers, and educators working with screen-based media have been invited to present their work and to participate in the installation, performance, and panel events.

IF07 is seeking further papers, artists' presentations, performances and screenings related to the theme described above. Screenings may include demonstrations and/or documentation of screen-based, interactive and installation projects. Successful submissions will be selected for their critical, innovative and aesthetic tendencies.

Note: We are not currently soliciting proposals for installations as these have been filled by the invited artists listed below.


Kate Pullinger is Reader in Creative Writing and New Media at De Montfort University, Leicester. Her most recent novel, A Little Stranger, was published in January 2006. Other books include the novels Weird Sister, The Last Time I Saw Jane, and Where Does Kissing End? She co-wrote the novel of the film The Piano with director Jane Campion. She also writes for digital media; her multimedia online novel, Inanimate Alice, created with digital artist babel, won the first prize for Digital Art 2005, sponsored by MAXXI, the Museum of the Twenty-First Century in Rome, and Fondazione Rosselli ( Kate Pullinger grew up outside Victoria, BC, but currently lives in London.

Peter Horvath works in video, sound, photo and new media. He immersed himself in digital technologies at the birth of the Web, co founded, a site for, and adopted techniques of photomontage which he uses in his net- and print-based works. Exhibitions include the Whitney Museum Of American Art‘s Artport, the 18th Stuttgarter Filmwinter (Stuttgart, Germany), the Musée national des beaux- arts du Québec (Québec City, Canada), as well as venues in New York, Tokyo, London, and numerous showings. A founding member of the collective, he likes to consider a future when high bandwidth will be free. For IF07, Peter will present his work in the form of a performance lecture/artist talk.

David Hoffos received a BFA with great distinction from the University of Lethbridge. Since 1992 Hoffos has maintained an active exhibition schedule - with over 30 solo exhibitions, including Catastrophe, 1998 (Illingworth Kerr Gallery, Calgary; Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona; Or Gallery, Vancouver; and Blackwood Gallery, Mississauga) and Another City, 1999-2002 (Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge; Trépanier Baer, Calgary; Joao Graça, Lisbon; The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; and Museé des Beaux-Arts, Montréal). In 2003 Hoffos launched the first phase of Scenes from the House Dream, a five-year series of linked installations. His single-channel work has been shown in festivals in over twenty countries. David Hoffos lives and works in Lethbridge. He is represented by Trépanier Baer, Calgary.

Other invited artists/speakers include:
Fiona Bowie, New media artist, Assistant Professor Emily Carr Institute.
Kate Armstrong, New media artist, Director of The Upgrade!
Chris Joseph (aka babel), Digital Writer in Residence at the Institute of Creative Technologies, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK..
Maria Lantin. Computer Scientist, Director of Intersections Digital Studios at Emily Carr.
Lilia Perez Romero, Digital artist and multimedia author, Centro Multimedia (Mexico City).


INTERACTIVE FUTURES is interested in artistic and theoretical work that relates to screen-based new media art.

• Papers, Panels, and Presentations can include DVDs, audio CDs, video tapes, games, web-sites, etc. and should be 45-minutes in length.
• Proposed artwork for exhibition may take the form of performances or screenings.
• Applications should not exceed 500 words. Please include a 200 word max bio.
• All proposals must be submitted in text only format either as an attachment or within the body of the email message.
• Please present examples of your work as a URL to a web-site.
• If your presentation requires specific technologies please describe your needs in detail.

Proposals should be submitted electronically to ONE of the following persons:

• Paper panel series - Randy Adams runran AT
• Performance series - Steve Gibson sgibson AT
• Screenings - Julie Andreyev lic AT

For information on last year’s programming please see the IF06 website:

Note: Papers may be published by Springer Verlag in a joint volume with papers from Digital Art Weeks - - Information forthcoming.


INTERACTIVE FUTURES does not have funding for travel or accommodation for paper presenters. Paper and panel presenters are expected to apply for travel funding from their home institutions and/or granting bodies. INTERACTIVE FUTURES has obtained modest funding to pay for travel, hotel and artist fees for performance and screen-based artists exhibiting at Open Space. Performance and screen-based artists will receive an artist fee according to CARFAC ( regulations.

All presenters and artists will be eligible for the conference rate at Festival Hotels (between $40-125 per night). Passes for Interactive Futures will be priced at $75 for all artists and paper presenters.


Notification of acceptance of proposals will be sent out on or around Friday July 6, 2007.


Papers, Panels, Presentations

The following equipment will be made available for all presenters:

• Mac computer with Monitor, keyboard, DVD/CD-ROM drive.
• Data/Video Projector.
• Sound system with amp and two speakers.
• Wireless high-speed internet access.

Open Space – Performances and Screenings

The following equipment is available for artists at Open Space. Artists should be aware that equipment may have to be shared and therefore should not propose to use all of the below devices simultaneously. Performances should be easy to set-up and take down. Wherever possible artists should supply their own technology.

• 2 Data/Video Projectors.
• VHS Player.
• DVD Player.
• 3-4 Macintosh computers.
• Sound system with amp, 16-channel mixing board, mics, and four speakers.
• Cable modem and wireless internet connections.

For a full list of resources available at Open Space go to:

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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: m <m AT>
Date: Jun 20, 2007
Subject: xxxxx call 2007

xxxxx call 2007

xxxxx call for participation in a speculative 12 hour life coding event (organising hardware and software) to be held in Mid-November as part of the Piksel festival in Bergen, Norway:

Deadline for email submission: July 31st 12AM [midnight]

Life coding is a mapping of the descriptive means of hardware and programming onto the world. In this instance it includes the invention and construction of models and language to actively describe and code the event; instructing, structuring, re-structuring and constructing the 12 hours. Life coding is obviously influenced by the existence of programming, fiction, scripting and execution.

Participation is not limited to potential forms including:

- performative presentations

- advanced participatory workshops

- actions

- interventions

The above will be assembled into shifts which move between hardware, interface and (life) code. Proposals should suggest which shift would be suitable. Proposed topics for shifts include open hardware in relation to control, the world as interface, material as question of substance (soft/hard), and the relation of technology, code and pornography.

Please submit an introduction to your area of research/practise as well as examples of projects, performances, texts, proposals for advanced participatory workshops, performative presentations, actions, interactions, interventions and email your entry to:

m AT


Further information on the event:

xxxxx [2007] is proposed and wilfully structured as a 12 hour life coding event within the context of previous xxxxx activities (Crash 2005, xxxxx 2006), and influenced by Plenum (collaboration with KOP, 2006).

xxxxx [2007] will exist as a major, inspired durational, performative event allowing for exchange and construction between invited international participants who truly exist on the bleeding edge of what could be termed contemporary Crash culture.

xxxxx [2007] expands software and hardware with a wilful emphasis on construction, an interface between theory and the active entry of making' in the world.

xxxxx [2007] as event manifests a free software-led, coded structure of self-organisation, and unique working groups. Although some of these events will be ongoing (for example several working groups, and background material), the 12 hours will be assembled by way of shifts.

With many thanks to Gisle Froysland and BEK, Norway:

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From: Helen Varley Jamieson <helen AT>
Date: Jun 21, 2007
Subject: 070707 UpStage Festival

To mark the launch of UpStage version 2, a festival of performances is being held on Saturday 7 July, in UpStage. 13 shows have been created by artists from around the world, and will be performed live at the festival.

The schedule and further information is available on the UpStage web site,; there will be live links to the stage on the day, and there are links to find your local time for each show.

An exhibition runs from 28 June to 15 July at the New Zealand Film Archive in Wellington, and the 070707 UpStage Festival will be screened in real time at the Film Archive.

New Zealand time is ahead of most of the world, so please check your local time - it may well be on 6 July for you.

All you need to participate is a browser with the Flash player plug-in and an internet connection.

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From: abdbda AT <abdbda AT>
Date: Jun 21, 2007
Subject: BIORAMA AT MEDIA Centre Huddersfield, UK

AT MEDIA Centre Huddersfield, UK


Friday July 13th

Bioarama is a one-day event that illustrates new directions in art, science and technology by bringing together artists who explore notions of life, science and digital realities. By presenting these artists in the context of the DRU Artist in Residence project Biorama will explore a rich territory in which multiple threads of investigation come together to manifest unique interpretations and unfamiliar possibilities.

Biorama serves to contextualise, examine and expand upon the research carried out by Andy Gracie (hostprods) during his residency which weaves together the microbiology of the Pennines around Marsden Moor, traditional and digital networking systems, satellite communications, perceptions of landscape and the history and possible future of interstellar communication.

Biorama will take place in two stages with the Biorama hike in the morning and the Biorama sessions in the afternoon.

Biorama Hike
_leaving from the Media Centre, Huddersfield at 10 am, returning at 2 pm
A 5 mile guided walking lecture and environmental study with Andy Gracie and Brandon Ballangee on Marsden Moor lasting around 3 hours. The walk will cover some of the physical territory featured in Andy's research, the moorland area in which he has been walking, meditating and collecting samples. The talk will cover the parallel conceptual territories including the topography of local transmission masts, the history of interstellar communications, the landscape painting tradition and the micro ecology of the moors. Simple scientific field experiments and samplings will be carried out at various points on the way which will provide a window on the methodologies and concepts which Andy has been attempting to weave together throughout the residency. The hike will strive to provide a holistic experience beyond mere exercise and study where we can experience nanometers and light years, the intimate and the expansive, and the networking of ideas.

Each participant will receive the Biorama Hiking kit with which to enhance their experience of the event. Participants should book in advance as places are limited and should bring sturdy walking footwear and appropriate clothing.

Return transport from Huddersfield and soup will be provided.

To book send an email to:
monica AT

Biorama Sessions
_starting at 3.30 p.m. AT the Media Centre

The Biorama Sessions will introduce a number of artists whose work explores the natural environment, artificial landscapes and interactions with real or imagined lifeforms. Each session will feature a double presentation with two artists introducing their work and exploring common territories before brief open discussion.


Agnes Meyer-Brandis
Andy Gracie
Brandon Ballengee
France Cadet
London Fieldworks

Special musical guests in the evening

designed and presented by
Mónica Bello (CAPSULA)
contact: monica AT


+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + 2006-2007 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 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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From: program3 AT <program3 AT>
Date: Jun 21, 2007
Subject: CALL FOR ENTRY : Seoul International Film Festival 2007 Net Section

CALL FOR ENTRY : Seoul International Film Festival 2007 Net Section

The 8th Seoul International Film Festival is open for entries.

Seoul International Film Festival Net Section is trying to introduce talented visual artists all over the world and their brilliant works and to lead the new audio-visual experiences based on the Internet and New Media. We sincerely hope you consider this exciting opportunity to show your great endeavors in the digital convergence era.

WHEN : September 6 - December 31, 2007




For the official competition section, only works completed after January 2006 may be submitted to the Festival. Submissions should be creative works produced or adopted through digital technology. There will be no restrictions regarding the genre, length or subject matter of the work and all types of works, including fiction, documentary, experimental work, music video, animation, motion graphic, flash animation, game, web-art, etc. will be accepted.


1. Completed application form (can be downloaded from

2. Preview material

- By Post : DVD / DV6mm / CD / VHS (Seoul International Film Festival Head Office - Program Dept. of Net Section, 5F Youahn Bldg. 146-23 Samsung-dong, Kangnam-gu, Seoul, 135-090 South Korea)

- By FTP Server (under 300 MB) : FLASH / WMV / MOV / AVI / MPEG

* For File-Transferring indications, please mail to program3 AT

- By E-MAIL : URL address to program3 AT

3. Complete script in English (.doc)

4. Photo of the Work (.jpg) : more than 300 dpi

5. Photo of the Artist (.jpg) : more than 300 dpi

6. Any other publicity materials related to the submitted work (optional)

* Application form and photos can be submitted by E-MAIL.

* Resolution should be more than 640 * 480.


Seoul International Film Festival Head Office - Program Department
5F Youahn Bldg. 146-23 Samsung-dong, Kangnam-gu, Seoul, 135-090 South Korea
Phone: +82-2-518-4332 Fax: +82-2-518-4333
e-mail: program3 AT

Park, Ju Youn
Program Coordinator
Seoul International Film Festival
program3 AT
bleu3901 AT
Tel. +82-2-518-4332
Fax. +82-2-518-4333
Mobile Phone. +82-11-9923-3190
5F, Youahn Bldg. 146-23 Samsung-Dong,
Kangnam-Gu, Seoul, South Korea
zip code 135-090

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From: james <rhizome AT>
Date: Jun 26, 2007
Subject: We are the Strange in Ars Virtua Friday

Ars Virtua is proud to present the Second Life premier of We are the Strange on Friday June 29 at 6pm SLT.

M dot Strange takes us into the new realm of video game structured and inspired storytelling with his character's harrowing quest for ice cream. The variety of animation styles, game and cultural references and distopian beauty of this work make it important to modern filmmaking. Add to this that m dot strange created this virtually single handedly and had it selected for Sundance based on his YouTube audience and you end up with a very powerful piece of contemporary media.

We are the Strange is an animated feature film in which two diametrically opposed outcasts fight for survival in a sinister fantasy world. After meeting in the somber Forest of Still Life, an abused young woman (Blue) reluctantly follows a care free dollboy (Emmm) to Stopmo City on his unreasonable quest for ice cream. They’re lives are constantly in jeopardy after they’re caught in the middle of a deadly battle between bizarre monsters on their way to the ice cream shop. A flamboyant ultraviolent hero(Rain) appears and effortlessly dispatches all the horrible monsters in his path. Blue meets Rain before he partakes in an impossible battle against the source of all that is evil in Stopmo City. When it seems as if darkness will have the last laugh a gleaming fist made of aluminum foil bursts through the ground thus starting the final showdown between mega_good and hyper_evil.

We Are the Strange is its own imaginative and immersive universe. M dot Strange spent three years painstakingly creating this film, using a range of animation techniques–traditional, stop-motion, computer, and his own unique blend of 8-bit graphics and anime, dubbed “Str8nime.” The stunning visuals are complemented by a soundtrack that is both beautiful and harrowing. The end result is a freaky technocarnival ride that climaxes with a momentous battle between innocence and darkness.

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Support Rhizome: buy a hosting plan from BroadSpire

Reliable, robust hosting plans from $65 per year.

Purchasing hosting from BroadSpire contributes directly to Rhizome's fiscal well-being, so think about about the new Bundle pack, or any other plan, today!

About BroadSpire

BroadSpire is a mid-size commercial web hosting provider. After conducting a thorough review of the web hosting industry, we selected BroadSpire as our partner because they offer the right combination of affordable plans (prices start at $14.95 per month), dependable customer support, and a full range of services. We have been working with BroadSpire since June 2002, and have been very impressed with the quality of their service.

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From: lists AT <lists AT>
Date: Jun 27, 2007
Subject: Land art performance meets digital world

Land Art Performance meets the digital world. Artist’s work presented online for the public to experience.

OAKLAND, CA: June 26, 2007 - The Present Group, a quarterly art subscription service, unveiled an interactive online version of “Earth-Kiln-Bay-Kiln-Bay” today. For his piece (the second edition of The Present Group) artist Presley Martin collected weathered bricks from a beach in Berkeley, CA. To insert himself into the process, Martin glazed and fired these cast-offs before returning them to the beach and arranging them in a simple circular form. As the tide rose and fell, the waves of the San Francisco Bay continued to weather and re-distributed the bricks. With the help of The Present Group and the United States Postal System, the bricks continue their journey around the country, each stage collected and re-presented to the homes of TPG subscribers. Emily Kuenstler sums up the work in her statement,

“I find Martin’s work especially relevant to the times in which we now live. While the seriousness of world events and crises require daily reckoning with meaning, reclaimed objects inherently illicit new meanings, recontextualized. Rethinking where we have been as a society—and how we have gotten here—is crucial; doing so in a pure, considered aesthetic gesture is restorative.”

An interactive, digital version of the work, with video documentation of Martin’s performance, is now available for the public online, along with an interview, critique, annotated links to other resources, and a discussion of the work.

When: Now

A New Way of Supporting Contemporary Art: Subscription Art

The Present Group’s quarterly subscription model is a new approach to funding artists while expanding the base of art lovers and collectors. TPG aims to de-mystify the art world one piece at a time, by interviewing the artist, commissioning critics to help subscribers contextualize the work, and by providing a free online resource and discussion area built around each piece. Subscribers can learn about and absorb each piece at their own pace, in the comfort of their own homes, without the intimidation factor of a gallery or museum. As Oliver Wise, co-founder of The Present Group, points out, “It’s the most current contemporary art class you can take.”

Image Links:
TPG Website -
Boxed Edition -
Dispersed Bricks -
Circular Form -

For more information contact: Oliver Wise – oliver AT or visit

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From: Ryan Griffis <ryan.griffis AT>
Date: Jun 23, 2007
Subject: Pathogeographies, a review

This is an unedited draft of a review that will be published in the
next ArtUS.



June 15-July7
Gallery 400, University of Illinois, Chicago

In an overcrowded London neighborhood in 1854, the powerful combination of cartography and medical knowledge defeated a cholera outbreak that had killed over 600 residents. Dr. John Snow, credited as single-handedly halting the spread of the disease, mapped the proximity of the deaths to water wells and determined that a single well was the source of infection. Subsequently, he managed to have the use of that well stopped, despite the reluctance of local officials, by removing the pump’s handle, thus stopping the outbreak. At least, that’s how the story of the development of medical cartography and epidemiology if often told.

A century after Snow’s formative maps of London’s cholera-stricken Broad Street neighborhood, members of the Lettrist International initiated the theory and practice of psychogeography as the study of how the urban, physical environment impacted the consciousness of its inhabitants. Like Snow, the post-Lettrist Situationists sought to counter a disease they saw contained within the built environment. Also like Snow, they did so with the help of maps - only their maps sought to counter, rather than ameliorate, the oppressive instrumentality of capitalist urban space.

Cartography and mapping, including variations on psychogeography, have become a common trope in contemporary art practice, finding expression in forms across media and subject. It is within this context, among others, that I read the recent exhibition and event series, Pathogeographies. Organized by a Chicago-based collective known as Feel Tank, who’s work investigates “the emotional temperature of the body politic,” Pathogeographies offers an empathic critique of the urban environment, adding social bonding strategies to the oppositional methods of earlier psychogeographic practice.

The exhibition at Gallery 400 is organized into five key themes, giving some framework to the multitude of projects presented. “Moving Company” contained interventions in space and place, such as the Institute for Infinitely Small Things’ “Unmarked Package: A Case for Feeling Insecure” in which the group traveled around the city with a collection of white boxes marked “Unmarked Package” discussing insecurity with passersby. In “Left Luggage,” designed by another Chicago collective, Material Exchange, visitors can browse through a collection of suitcases containing artist projects Laura Davis’ autobiographical “My Eighties Self,” to Matthew Slaats participatory photo-documentary “Timed Change.” Gallery visitors were asked to take an emotional and political breather in the “Slow Feeling” section, where Laurie Palmer’s “Cloud Cover” challenges us to connect the effects of UV light on our emotional health with the architectural and political reality we have constructed around us. “Raw Material” presents informational projects, such as the Friends of William Blake’s “New Yorkers’ Guide to Military Recruitment” and Bonnie Fortune’s “Radical Grandmothers” zine in a space also designed to encourage visitors to produce projects of their own. And for “Body Politic,” Feel Tank organized a series of events distributed throughout Chicago, including their own “Fifth Annual International Parade of the Politically Depressed,” on, appropriately, the Fourth of the July.

At the exhibition opening, Dewayne Slightweight performed “I Want to Know the Habits of Other Girls,” a self-described “queer opera.” The artist performed conversations with characters Gilda Radner, Gordon Gaskill, Limbo Tomboy and The Great Auntie, played by life-sized mannequins made of sewn and stuffed shiny fabric. Slightweight’s choreographed music and recorded call-and-response dialogue, unevenly, but quite movingly, climaxed in a utopian, choral sing-along with the audience.

“I Want to Know the Habits” provided, arguably, a great encapsulation of the desires and overall effect of Pathogeographies. The audience, seated mostly on the floor, in a semi-circle around Slightweight’s minimal yet baroque “set,” was presented with a constructed narrative, but without the mandate to suspend disbelief. Yet, neither was there an imperative to reveal truth. Both fiction and reality can serve to oppress and liberate, their objective status as one or the other matters little to our experience of them. What seems to matter most here is the collective nature of reality, how individual experience is multiplied and magnified through social structures. Emotional states become emotional States.

Even as mapping tools become more and more available to a larger public, it becomes increasingly difficult to believe in the potential of maps to lead us somewhere more liberating. While artists and activists will no doubt continue to visualize the spaces of both oppression and community, the organizers of Pathogeographies seem to suggest that it’s equally important to resist and create those respective spaces. At some point, the handle might need to be put back on the pump.

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From: Lauren Cornell <laurencornell AT>
Date: Jun 20, 2007
Subject: Interview with Charlie Gere, Christiane Paul, Jemima Rellie

+ Editor's Note: Due to the long length of this interview, it has appeared in two portions, in the Digest. Part One appeared in Volume 12, number 24, on June 20, 2007.

+Commissioned by

Interview with Charlie Gere, Christiane Paul, Jemima Rellie, by Lauren Cornell

On March 20th of this year, a vast and promising new space opened in Gijon, Asturias: the LABoral Art and Industrial Creation Centre. Devoted to the 'the exhibition, research, training and production of new art and industrial creation,' LABoral opened with four exhibitions: GAMEWORLD, EXTENSIONS-ANCHORS, LABCYBERSPACE, and FEEDBACK--the latter of which was organized by Charlie Gere, Christiane Paul, and Jemima Rellie. The three curators bring a tremendous amount of experience to FEEDBACK, a show that is ambitious in both scale and premise. Charlie Gere is Reader in New Media Research in the Institute for Cultural Research, Lancaster University & Chair of Computers and the History of Art (CHArt); Jemima Rellie is Head of Digital Programmes at the Tate; and Christiane Paul is Adjunct Curator of New Media Arts at the Whitney Museum of American Art and director of Intelligent Agent. All have published widely on digital art and new media. Their exhibition breaks down established boundaries between disciplines to present a fresh perspective on art history, one that connects new media to artistic practices not usually seen as historical precursors. This interview was conducted via email after the exhibition opened.

LC: Your exhibition, FEEDBACK, casts a broad historical look at art that is responsive. It bridges categories that are often considered mutually exclusive by showing interconnections between software-based projects, net art, light works, early performance, and kinetic sculpture, amongst other forms. Could you discuss the themes of the exhibition and how you arrived at the exhibition title FEEDBACK?

CP: A main goal of the exhibition is to map out precisely the connections you mention above, between early performance, kinetic and op art, algorithmic software-based projects, etc. FEEDBACK focuses on two major themes relating to 'responsive' art. One theme traces the concept of feedback from 'algorithmic' art based on instructions (from natural language, e.g. Sol LeWitt, to code, e.g. Casey Reas) to art that sets up open systems (reacting to outside inputs or its own) and global connections. The second theme explores the concept of light and the moving image from early kinetic and Op Art to responsive notions of television and cinema.

The term 'responsive art' obviously covers a broad spectrum and, given the various themes we are covering, we wanted the exhibition to remain as focused as possible. The term 'feedback' goes beyond responsiveness, per se, since it means that the system is in turn changed by the output or response it produces. The works in the exhibition range from self-sustaining objects that rely on a closed system of feedback to systems with varying degrees of openness that receive input from instructions, the viewer, their environment, or information networks.

JR: We adopted the 'feedback' theme to illustrate the connection between new media and art history, as the term is not only descriptive of much new media art practice but also indicates how new media art is distinct from traditional painting, sculpture, and even photography, film, and video work. So we needed a term that was not media-specific. There are, of course, other terms or even qualities that we could have equally exploited to this effect, including for instance interactivity, non-linearity, or even participatoryness, but we felt that feedback was preferable because it is less loaded as an art-historical term and more importantly, it is more suggestive of the central tenet of the exhibition, that these earlier works have influenced new media art practice today.

LC: Jemima, you discuss in your essay how technology-based art is often marginalized or written out of art history. For this show, you construct a powerful argument that uses the concept of feedback to chart a new course through art history. Can you explain the art historical context you have carved-out for the show and what, if any, historical connections do you find most important or revealing? For instance, you discuss the relationship between instructions in Dada to generative and software-based art, or between Kinetic Art and cinema.

JR: A core objective of the exhibition is to demonstrate that new media art has a much longer history than is, at times, assumed. New media art did not emerge out of nowhere at the turn of the century, but rather its roots can be traced back to works created decades earlier, for instance Laszlo Moholy-Nagy's Light-Space Modulator (1930). In the exhibition we were keen to show that the earlier artists, such as Moholy-Nagy, were often interested in the same issues and opportunities for art that new media artists engage with today, in order to dispel the false notion that new media art somehow sits outside of modern art history.

CG: Art history always involves choices about what to remember and what to forget, choices made in retrospect and designed to simplify the complexity of art practice at any given period and to make it fit a particular narrative. The history of art concerning the 1960s and 70s seems to involve a massive disavowal of the importance of technology and technological utopianism in that period, which was strongly bound up with cybernetics and systems thinking. The recent show at Tate Modern, Open Systems c. 1970, was exemplary of this partial amnesia, as it seemed to suggest that the art being made in that period was mainly minimalist and conceptual, while leaving out exactly the works most directly and explicitly concerned with systems (which had a particular and specific meaning at the time in relation to technological discourses such as cybernetics). FEEDBACK is, to my mind, a directly polemical show intending to recover a forgotten heritage and in doing so show firstly the richer and more complex sets of influences at work then, and also the importance of technology for artists in the period, which, in turn, looks increasingly relevant to our current circumstances.

CP: One of the art-historical lineages we are tracing in the show is a move from instruction-based, generative, and conceptual art to telematics and networks. FEEDBACK reflects on various models of open systems and their inherent characteristics. Instructions and rules as a basis for creating art were an important element of art movements such as Dada, Fluxus, and conceptual art, which all incorporated variations of formal instructions as well as a focus on concept, event, and audience participation as opposed to art as a unified object. This emphasis on instructions connects to the algorithms that form the basis of any software and computer operation. Instruction-based practice is closely related to contemporary generative art in which a process, such as software, a machine, or a procedural invention, is set into motion to create a work of art. FEEDBACK explores generative art in two related threads that connect 'machine-driven drawing,' from Roman Verostko to 5voltcore, with biological systems and artificial life and intelligence (for example, Harold Cohen's Aaron or Sommerer & Mignonneau's LifeWriter).

Another art-historical lineage we are sketching is the one between kinetic and op art works that employ motion, light, optics, and interaction for the creation of abstract moving images; video pieces based on input from the audience or the environment; and contemporary cinematic pieces that react to the viewer or construct a movie in real time on the basis of software or data from the internet. Mapping out this territory was important to us for two reasons: first of all, as Charlie says, these connections are often neglected or forgotten in the process of writing art history; secondly, the connections are frequently made within the new media field, at conferences, in writings, in discourse on mailing lists but, at the same time, nobody has actually seen the works physically together in the same exhibition space. At the opening, many people came to us saying that it was great for them to actually see Moholy-Nagy and the Sinas next to Herwig Weiser and Amorphic Robotworks, next to a Tinguely sculpture, etc.

LC: How do you distinguish interactivity from feedback, in this case?

JR: The two terms overlap, but interactivity suggests to me that a high level of active audience participation is involved, whereas in fact much of the work in FEEDBACK is actually responding to the environment, or the system itself, and does not demand human intervention for full effect. Furthermore, whereas the term 'interactivity' focuses closely on an object-level process under consideration, I would suggest that feedback can connote a relationship that extends beyond the work in question to the practice as a whole.

CP: I would agree with Jemima that interactivity is usually understood in relation to human interaction, although people occasionally use the term 'system interaction' to refer to works that interact with themselves. Feedback is a broader term referring to the process by which a system is modulated, controlled, or changed by the output or response it produces. Of course feedback also is a commonly used term for an evaluative response and the return of information about the result of an activity, and we wanted to include this meaning. On a more metaphorical level, the projects assembled in the exhibition function as a response to each other, returning information about their context to the viewer.

LC: In 2007, there is still so much debate about terms like 'new media art' and 'digital art' in regards to whether they are still relevant or useful. As a goal of this show is to contextualize what we call new media art in a broader trajectory, I wonder what you make of these classifications.

JR: I think we all agree that both of these classifications are fundamentally problematic, and I don't think it is necessary to rehearse all the reasons why to the Rhizome community. But even though they are clunky terms that are difficult to define precisely, they do, I believe, still hold value in that they allow us to point to and discuss a broad and diverse practice that has traditionally been excluded from mainstream art history.

The argument that says that these terms are now defunct and that all contemporary art is now new media art, as it inevitably all now involves new technologies in its production and/or dissemination, is spurious I believe. What this ignores is that there remains something quite distinct about new media art, which fundamentally challenges the established art world infrastructure in both concept and production. This challenge does not simply stem from the media employed in the works, but more importantly from the issues and values they raise.

CP: I very much agree with Jemima. Digital or new media art are certainly problematic terms, and there have been discussions--on the lists, at conferences, and in other contexts--about their shortcomings for years. Art that uses digital technologies as a tool for producing a photograph, video, or even painting, which is the case for a lot of contemporary art, tends to be better understood than art that uses these technologies as a medium, making use of its inherent characteristics--its participatory, networked, non-linear, modular, generative nature. As long as we do not understand the language of new media as we understand the language of painting and video, this art form will not be integrated in the traditional art world. By contextualizing new media art within a broader trajectory FEEDBACK tries to explore at least some of the aspects of the aesthetic language of the digital medium as it relates to more traditional art.

LC: FEEDBACK is the inaugural exhibition of LABoral. When you organized the show, how did you take into consideration the institution's premier and its local context?

CP: We started discussions about the show with the LABoral art centre, its director Rosina Gomez-Baeza, and people from the local government approximately a year before the show opened. Inaugural shows obviously make a statement regarding the mission of an institution, and the exhibition was meant to capture an intersection of art and technology. We all agreed that it would be important to communicate that the LABoral art centre is not simply devoted to the latest technological trends but acknowledges the histories of the intersections between art, technology, and industry. From its inception, LABoral very much tried to bring in and involve local artists and there were several inaugural events doing so, among them the one organized by Eyebeam. From the beginning, FEEDBACK was meant to be a more internationally- than locally-focused show, establishing a broader context.

JR: LABoral sits on a university campus, in an industrial part of Northern Spain. This context--which is reflected in the center's focus on 'Art and Industrial Creation'--allowed us, I would suggest, to present our arguments more forcefully, or straightforwardly perhaps, than if we were for instance exhibiting in a regular regional fine art museum. The focus of the center meant that we could assume that visitors to FEEDBACK would expect to find art works employing new technologies. Indeed, if anything, I think the challenge was to present these works as we would any other artworks, in any other art museum--i.e. to ensure the same quality of experience, of presentation, of interpretation etc as you would find for instance at Tate.

Of course we were particularly keen to include some Spanish artists in the exhibition (Antoni Muntadas and Boj & Diaz), but we were not required to edit our selection in order to promote local artists. These local artists were targeted in an accompanying inaugural program called Extensions-Anchors.

LC: As you mention, LABoral is a space devoted to art, technology, and industry. You took a very diverse, interdisciplinary approach to art and technology. What do you think the challenges and advantages are to opening up a space that focuses on a particular area of contemporary art?

CP: In terms of the exhibition, it was important to us to show the long history of intersections between art and technology. Art has always reflected the conditions of its time; as societies became increasingly technologized during the 20th century (although connections between art, technology, and science are obviously much older), art also more and more incorporated and/or commented on the effects of technologies. Both from an art-historical and aesthetic point of view, these developments remain underexamined, so that a space devoted to art, technology, and industry makes sense and is very much needed. The challenges are to avoid a focus on technology, per se, driven by the interests of the industry, and to ensure that so-called new media art does not remain marginalized with regard to the art world at large.

JR: The danger is that the work in focus is somehow ghettoized and perceived to be outside of mainstream art practice. The advantage is that sustained attention is given to what it is that makes this work distinct from mainstream practice, or special. The challenge is to encourage visitors to the space to value this difference within the broader context of contemporary art.

LC: The works in this show are very diverse and, as you eloquently put it Christiane, the notion of feedback is 'the tissue' that binds them. I really enjoy seeing Jennifer and Kevin McCoy, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Jean Tinguely, and Casey Reas all blended together. How did you determine the selection? And, how did you handle the installation at LABoral, which has such a large exhibition space?

JR: We all put forward the names of artists and individual works that we felt resonated particularly strongly with the central feedback theme, and grouped these according to a series of sub-themes, before making our final selection. Of course there are hundreds of additional works that we would have liked to include, but could not due to logistical reasons - and even space! In order to balance the budget and space available to us, we did deliberately select several large-scale works, such as Marie Sester's, (2007) and David Rokeby's n-Cha(n)t (2001), but these were complemented by smaller-scale works of equal impact including Hans Haacke's Condensation Cube (1963) or Alejandro & Moira Sina's Spinning Shaft (1983). The folded map set devised by the architects, Leeser Architecture, ensured that all these works of varying scale and media are held together and that a coherent experience is sustained when navigating the huge halls.

CP: As Jemima says, it was clear to us that we wouldn't be able to do an inclusive historical survey featuring hundreds of works. Surveys of themes surfacing in this show, such as telematics or algorithmic art, have already been shown at other institutions (Algorithmic Revolution at ZKM, in 2004, or Telematic Connections-The Virtual Embrace, 2001, a traveling exhibition curated by Steve Dietz). We decided to create a fairly tight narrative by bringing together international works representing key aspects of the aforementioned themes throughout time. Our goal was to create a network of connections that critically explores the role of responsiveness in relation to technologies and how the latter have changed cultural life and the social fabric. The works in the exhibition are not presented in chronological order but form certain thematic nodes that branch or connect to other sub-themes. Projects are often presented as pairs, highlighting the realization of a similar idea at different points in time.

The massive scale of the exhibition spaces at LABoral was indeed a challenge for us; artworks can easily get lost in the vast galleries. We worked with Leeser architecture to both 'reduce' the space and develop a design that would connect all the various strands of the exhibition. They came up with the idea of a Situationist map that is dropped into the exhibition spaces and folds to create walls and pedestals for the placement of work. The exhibition design becomes both a backdrop and a work in itself and seemed to be particularly appropriate in that it connects to Situationist notions of constructing situations (in public space). It adds another layer of art-historical connections since Situationist concepts have been an important influence on practices of mapping in new media--and locative, mobile media, in particular.

LC: Participatory culture, sociable media, and Web 2.0 are hotly debated ways to describe the shape of contemporary web- and mobile-based media and the social formations they engender. In this context, artists are emerging less as creators of individual works but more, as Trebor Scholz has put it, as "cultural context producers." How do you think this notion of feedback can be connected to these emerging forms of artistic practice?

CG: There is an absolutely clear historical connection between current conceptions of participatory media and earlier forms of art involving feedback, interactivity, and other cybernetic ideas as well as with cognate concerns about systems, ecology, and so on. In a sense, those using the capabilities of Web 2.0 are involved in practices whose roots can be traced back to John Cage, Fluxus, Alan Kaprow, Telematics, work involving slow-scan and closed-circuit TV, and practices that fed into the thinking that enabled the shift in digital technology from being concerned with batch processing to being about real-time symbol manipulation. Trebor's concept of artists less as creators of individual works and more as 'cultural context providers' is very close to the reconception of the role of art in relation to cybernetics undertaken by Jack Burnham in the late 60s and early 70s. Without the influence of cybernetics on the artistic culture of the late 60s and that culture's influence on how computers might be understood and used, there would be no Web 2.0, at least as it is presently constituted. That said there are important differences between the work of artists in that period and what is being done with participatory media. One of the most important differences, to my mind, is that in the earlier period artists rushed to embrace the technological possibilities of the technology, whereas now they are more concerned with making critiques of the technological claims made for these networks.

JR: The importance of collaboration in the creation of new media art has been regularly debated and endorsed since the launch of Rhizome, but I think this concept is being pushed still further in recent works like Boj & Diaz's Free Network, Visible Network (2004)--included in the exhibition--or, for instance, Furtherfield's VisitorsStudio (2003), or Simon Pope's Charade (2006), all of which, I assume, are the sorts of work to which you refer in your question. In these works the collaboration is less tightly-controlled or directed by the artist/instigator, and the success of the project rests more firmly with the level of engagement... or participation... or feedback that the work attracts from the wider public. So I think the notion of feedback is particularly strong in relation to these works, which essentially fail, or remain empty, in a practical if not conceptual sense, when little feedback is generated.

CP: I very much agree, and I think the shift from artists as content providers (a dubious dot-com buzzword) to context providers is one of the main characteristics of the digital medium. Together with Margot Lovejoy and Victoria Vesna, I have been editing a book titled "Context Providers--Context and Meaning in Media Arts" that explores these issues. I believe that the commercial construct of Web 2.0, with its social networking tools, has created a new, contemporary version of users as 'content providers' who fill 'corporate' contextual interfaces with data and sign off the rights for them. It's interesting to see this new iteration of the content provider, which takes the notion of the artist as content provider for commercial tools and applications in the 90s to another level.

LC: As we've discussed, FEEDBACK illuminates a broader history for new media art, or art that engages technology. What are the current directions you see the field moving towards?

JR: Technology is involved at some stage in the production of most art today, so it is possible to argue that new media art is becoming synonymous with contemporary art. Artists, curators, and the public in general are all increasingly techno-literate and comfortable, I would argue, with using technology not simply as a tool, but also as a medium for art. But art that engages technology is a very imprecise and broad discipline, and some technology-based art is inevitably more innovative, challenging, and engaging than the rest. The work that I personally find most interesting, now, is work that somehow addresses, or incorporates recent technology developments classified under the banner of Web 2.0. By this I am referring to work which is either actively reliant on massive audience participation, or on the manipulation of large quantities of data. I am particularly intrigued by the potential copyright and pro-am implications of this practice on established, mainstream art structures.

CP: New media art is such a hybrid field that it is impossible to identify *a* direction in which it is moving. By nature, it develops in multiple directions. But, as Jemima indicates, there certainly is an increased interest in and focus on social networking and mobile locative media at this time. It will be interesting to see if the corporate construct of Web 2.0 will be balanced by more user-driven, open source alternatives of 'social softwares.'


+ Lauren Cornell is Executive Director of Rhizome.

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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 25. 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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