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: 10.31.07
Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2007 22:45:14 -0400

RHIZOME DIGEST: October 31, 2007


1. Lauren Cornell: Re-launch of

2. jw121276 AT 2008 Residency Season At Artists' Enclave at I-Park
3. trudy AT Assistant Professor
4. Eddie Shanken: ISEA 2008 Singapore July 25-Aug 3
5. mesas AT Chair and Professor - Department of Media Studies and Film
6. Marisa Olson: Assistant Professor - CUNY
7. Anette Schäfer: TRAMPOLINE, YEAR 10 - Call for Submissions
8. Marisa Olson: Eyebeam Eco-vis Challenge - Deadline extended - Reminder

9. cstefanis AT Take a Deep Breath - Tate Modern, 15-17 November 2007
10. Luis Silva: LX 2.0 Project's new project by Carlos Katastrofsky: lastwishes
11. Marisa Olson: Fwd: KURTZ'S LAWYERS ASK FOR DISMISSAL: SUNY Professors Criticize Case

12. Marky Martin: A curious relationship with physical objects.

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From: Lauren Cornell <laurencornell AT>
Date: Oct 25, 2007
Subject: Re-launch of

Rhizome is pleased to announce the re-launch of our website. Take a look and let us know what you think:

Our goals for the re-design were to expand and enrich our community features and to make the overall site more clear and easy to use.

Below are a few very exciting (well, we think so) new developments.

1) We upgraded our main community platform – our email list raw -- by separating it into three distinct channels: discussion, opportunities and an arts calendar. These three channels are web-based, i.e. you must post to them online, but they can all be subscribed to via email and RSS.




The exchange of art and ideas around a new medium has always been at the core of Rhizome. We hope that our new discussion forum will spark more critical conversations, and that our community will find the new calendar and opportunities channels to be useful connecting points to the field.

NOTE for subscribers to raw: You are now subscribed to both discussion and announcements (calendar and opportunities). If you'd like to switch up your subscriptions, sign into Rhizome and go to subscriptions in your account. You will still be able to post to Rhizome via email January 15, 2008. We wanted to give people time to adjust to the new system.

2) We improved our individual profile pages so people could better represent their art, influences and writing on Rhizome. Below is a sample page from one of our staff members:

As you can see above, we enhanced the portfolio section, and added areas for members to upload their own audio, video as well as link to their own blog.

While we were making improvements to these individual pages, we decided it would be best to make our Member Directory a general feature, i.e. open to everyone. It has been re-titled Profiles and now encompasses our members, and also the artists in the ArtBase, and others who've signed up.

INSTRUCTIONS: If you'd like to fill out your profile, sign in and adjust the sections under Profile in your account.

3) In general, we oriented the site around our two core organizational values: art and community. The site is now more 'visually' art-centered; see our emphasis on art on the front page and look forward to more illustrative views of our online archive, the Artbase.

It is thanks to member support that Rhizome has reached this point and also been able to lay down a strong foundation for new features to come. It is also thanks to our director of technology Patrick May who produced the site and laid a strong foundation for future development. We'd also like to thank the design firm Gelo Factory for their collaboration.

So, please give us feedback! Tell us what you like, don't like or want more of. And, please be patient with us as we work out bugs and, when you stumble across any, let us know: webmaster AT .

Thank you so much for your continued support and participation. We hope you like the new and improved .

Lauren Cornell
Executive Director

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Theatre/Video: Assistant Professor (tenure track to begin August 2008). MFA required, Ph.D. or equivalent professional and academic experience considered. Teaching responsibilities may include, but are not limited to, courses in: acting; voice/diction; on-camera performance; directing; script analysis and script writing; digital video production and editing. Other duties may include directing Theatre/Video productions; collaborating with colleagues on other productions and activities, mentoring students with their creative processes; departmental and institutional support. Qualified applicants must submit letter of interest (include email address if applicable), vita, unofficial transcripts, evidence of teaching effectiveness, recent examples of personal work and at least three letters of reference (to be sent directly by references or confidential placement file) to: Dr. Marilyn D. Hunt, Chair, Department of Communication Studies & Theatre, Missouri Western State University, 4525 Downs Drive, St. Joseph, Missouri 64507. Deadline: December 1, 2007 or until filled. Review of applications will begin immediately.
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From: jw121276 AT <jw121276 AT>
Date: Oct 26, 2007
Subject: 2008 Residency Season At Artists' Enclave at I-Park
December 31, 2007

2008 Residency Season at the Artists? Enclave at I-Park

Application Deadline: December 31, 2007

I-Park announces its eighth season hosting The Artists? Enclave. Artists? residencies, self-directed/project oriented, will be offered from May through November 2008. Most sessions are four weeks in duration. Residencies will be offered to visual (including digital) artists, music composers, environmental artists, landscape and garden designers, creative writers and architects. Work samples will be evaluated through a competitive, juried process.

There is a $20 application processing fee required and artists are responsible for their own transportation to and from the area. They also provide for their own food and work materials. The facility is otherwise offered at no cost to accepted artists.

I-Park is a 450-acre natural woodland retreat in rural East Haddam, Connecticut. Accommodations include comfortable private living quarters in an 1850?s farmhouse, shared bathroom facilities and a private studio on the grounds. An electric kiln, music equipment, wireless internet and library facilities are provided.

International applicants welcome. To defray the cost of travel, a $1,000 grant will be offered in 2008 to two international artists whose work is held in particularly high regard by the selection committee (details to follow).

For additional project information, go to our website: Application materials for 2008, including an in depth FAQ, will be available September 1, 2007 and will be available for direct download from the website (Residency Program section).

E-mail: ipark2002 AT Phone: 860-873-2468.

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From: trudy AT <trudy AT>
Date: Oct 30, 2007
Subject: Assistant Professor
March 1, 2008

Multimedia Program
Position Announcement

Assistant Professor
(Tenure Track)

The Multimedia Program at Bradley University is seeking technologically sophisticated candidates with a strong research agenda for a full-time tenure track Assistant Professor in Multimedia. Preferred applicants will possess cutting edge digital production skills and a firm understanding of new media theory and have the ability to teach and create in an established and innovative undergraduate program. The rank for this position is Assistant Professor (tenure-track).

Position: Assistant Professor, Multimedia Program
The Multimedia Program at Bradley University is seeking a technologically sophisticated candidate to fill a tenure-track position requiring teaching, research/creative production, and service responsibilities. The position begins Fall semester (August), 2008. We are seeking theorists, media artists, and technologists who conduct new media creative production or research.

-Teaching classes in the Multimedia Program which may include areas such as new media/interactive design and development, digital culture and theory, video, animation, scripting/programming, interactive installations, gaming, interface design, intermedial performance, mobile device programming, social informatics, and interface design.
-Conducting research/creative production in areas of new media specialization.
-Collaborating with peer departments within the college (Music, Communication, Theatre Arts, Art) and at Bradley (for example, Computer Science) and with students in the development of team based projects, as well as assisting in the development of the program and curriculum.
-Participating in service activities.
-Advising/mentoring students.

Assistant professor. Tenure-track appointment with appropriate terminal degree.

Appropriate terminal degree and new media-related experience. A record of successful teaching at the college, university, or junior college level (teaching assistant with primary course responsibility experience qualifies). A strong portfolio of creative accomplishment and/or publication history.

Position salary will be commensurate with qualifications and relevant teaching or professional experience.

Starting Date
August, 2008.

Applicant files are ?complete? with the reception of:

1. Letter of application
2. Current CV
3. Samples of publications, creative work, or research
4. Evidence of effective college/university/junior college teaching (e.g., quantitative summaries of teacher evaluations; peer or supervisory reviews of teaching; teaching awards, etc.)
5. Artist's statement or research agenda
6. Three current letters of recommendation and up to 3 additional references should be sent to:

Edward Lee Lamoureux, Ph. D.
Search Committee Chair
Multimedia Program
Bradley University
GCC 200
1501 W. Bradley Avenue
Peoria, Illinois 61025
ell AT

Applicants may send digital and/or hard copy files of application materials. Online or digital materials may be submitted as supplementary aspects of the application file. Position begins August, 2008. Review of candidates? credentials will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Questions regarding the position and application materials can be directed to Ed Lamoureux at 309-677-2378 or by email at ell AT

Bradley University, highly rated by U.S. News and World Report, is an independent, comprehensive university enrolling 6000 students. Midway between Chicago and St. Louis, Peoria hosts numerous professional arts organizations and is home for many interactive media firms and outlets.

The Multimedia Program is in the Slane College of Communication and Fine Arts with the Departments of Art, Communication, Music, and Theatre Arts and consists of approximately 100 majors (and 40 additional minors) taking course work in Art/Graphic Design, Communication/Audio and Video, Multimedia, and supporting departments (music, computer science, education, sociology). The program is unique among its peers and offers students and faculty numerous opportunities for professional and collaborative sponsored projects. Bradley?s renowned Caterpillar Global Communication Center, completed in 1996, is home to the Multimedia Program and the Department of Communication. The CGCC houses computer labs, videoconference facilities, high-end multimedia classrooms and technology and the interdisciplinary radio-television facilities associated with the Department of Communication. The Multimedia Program also utilizes facilities in the Heuser Art Center, the home of Multimedia?s interdisciplinary partner, the Department of Art.

For additional information visit,, and

Bradley University is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer. The administration, faculty and staff are committed to attracting qualified candidates from groups currently underrepresented on our campus.

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Film/Video/Theatre: Assistant Professor, (tenure-track position to begin August 2008) – dynamic individual to teach courses in progressive integrated video/film and theatre department with emerging interdisciplinary graduate program in applied media arts. Department requires innovative professional to oversee the technical production of video, film, and live production and assist in curricular development of graduate classes. Required: M.F.A. in film, video, multi-media, theatre or closely related field. Must demonstrate evidence of quality teaching/advising and commitment to undergraduate and graduate education. Applicant must have expertise with cinematography, lighting, sound and live theatrical production. Applicant must also have a working knowledge in the Macintosh environment, including the major non-linear applications utilized in post-production. Applicant will teach courses as needed but must be able to teach film, video and live technical production. Qualified applicants must submit a letter of interest including e-mail address; vita; recent examples of personal work; and at least three letters of reference (to be sent directly by references or confidential placement file) to: Dr. M. D. Hunt, Chair, Department of Communication Studies & Theatre, Missouri Western State University, 4525 Downs Drive, Murphy Hall 207, St. Joseph, Missouri 64507. Deadline: December 1, 2007 or until filled. Review of applications will begin immediately. AA/EOE.
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From: Eddie Shanken <giftwrap AT>
Date: Oct 30, 2007
Subject: ISEA 2008 Singapore July 25-Aug 3
November 14, 2007
ISEA 2008 Singapore
Call for Papers, Panels and Artist Presentations
Deadline Extended until November 14

We cordially invite submissions to the conference of the International Symposium on Electronic Art 2008 that will be held in Singapore between 25th & 30th July 2008. The conference is held alongside workshops, courses, exhibitions, performances and other in-conjunction events that will be held for the duration of ISEA2008 from 25th July to August 3rd 2008.

The conference, as in previous ISEAs, is expected to bring together artists, theorists, historians, curators and researchers of media arts from around the world to jointly explore the most urgent and exciting questions in the field. The five themes of ISEA2008 are especially focused on eliciting a wide range of international scholars and artists.

Conference Programme

The conference programme will include competitively selected, peer-reviewed, individual papers and panel presentations. This year we are also encouraging artists who wish to share their works with a broader audience of their peers to submitartist presentations where they can speak about the specific aesthetic, conceptual and technological aspects of their works. The conference also promises to present a list of internationally renowned Keynote Speakers expounding on the major themes of the conference. There will also be a special lecture delivered by a Nobel Laureate.

Call for Proposals: Deadline November 14

We welcome contributions from creative practitioners and researchers from a variety of disciplines and institutional contexts as media arts benefits from and exemplifies the interdisciplinary linkages between contemporary art, science, technology and their related philosophies, pedagogies and institutional practices. The submissions must address or be of relevance to at least one of the themes of ISEA2008 in order to be considered for inclusion in the conference. The conference will be of interest to those working in but not limited to the following areas: media art, contemporary art, design, art history and theory, film and media studies, gaming, toy design, human-computer interaction, cultural studies, literary studies, musicology, sound studies, theatre, dance and performance studies, science, technology and society studies, history of science and history of technology, philosophy, history, gender studies, political science, anthropology, sociology and geography.

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From: mesas AT <mesas AT>
Date: Oct 31, 2007
Subject: Chair and Professor - Department of Media Studies and Film
December 31, 2007
Chair and Professor - Department of Media Studies and Film
The New School

The New School seeks a senior media scholar or leader in the media professions to lead a large, diverse, and well established department and to play a university-wide role in developing new programs. The Department of Media Studies and Film includes 450 Media Studies M.A. students (60 of whom are online only), graduate certificate students in Documentary Media Studies and Media Management, and 900 registrations per semester in undergraduate and non-credit classes in theory, criticism, and production, including audio, video, 16mm film, and digital media.

Candidates must demonstrate broad-based expertise in Media Studies and a record of continuing scholarly, artistic, or other professional accomplishments. Candidates should have: a PhD or equivalent achievements, significant administrative experience, the ability to manage a complex media organization, and the ability to relate effectively to a wide range of people, including alumni, funding sources, and industry leaders. Ability to work in a collaborative environment is essential. All areas of subject matter expertise will be considered, with interdisciplinary and new media experience preferred. Having a goal-oriented spirit within a context of academic excellence is important. Salary, rank and tenure are open but candidates are expected to teach in one or more areas of the program's curricular areas.

To apply, please 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 sales AT

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From: Marisa Olson <marisa AT>
Date: Oct 25, 2007
Subject: Assistant Professor - CUNY

The College of Staten Island

Title: Assistant Professor
Location/Department: Department of Media Culture
Compensation: $52,144 - $67,092
Notice Text:
Notice Number: FY14095
Closing Date: Open until filled with review of applications to begin
December 1, 2007


Responsibilities include teaching undergraduate courses, development and coordination of curriculum, departmental and college service, and engagement in an active and productive research agenda.


PhD in Communications or Media Studies required. The successful candidate will show a demonstrated commitment to research, publication, and teaching; teaching experience and the demonstrated ability to teach courses including introduction to communication, communication theories, and research methods; expertise is required in general history and theories of mass communication studies. Candidates will also have scholarly expertise in one of the following areas: new media; advertising/public relations; broadcast/electronic journalism; media literacy; or issues of race, ethnicity, nationality or globalization.


Send letter of application, curriculum vitae, writing sample, sample syllabus, and three letters of reference to:
Dr. Cindy Wong, Chair
Communications Search Committee
Department of Media Culture - 1P-226
College of Staten Island
2800 Victory Boulevard
Staten Island, New York 10314

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From: Anette Schäfer <anette AT>
Date: Oct 27, 2007
Subject: TRAMPOLINE, YEAR 10 - Call for Submissions


29th November 2007, Broadway Media Centre, Nottingham
7.00p.m. - Late


EVENT TO BE HELD ON: Thur 29th Nov 07

Trampoline celebrates over 10 years in new media art…


If we are not to be played and lost like Pawns scrabbling on the surface of a chessboard we need to understand the rules of the game we are engaged in.

As developers buy up our city centres for regeneration into ‘desirable properties for the market’, a similar appropriation is taking place within the spectrum that lies above. The air we breathe is itself becoming digital real estate, an intangible landscape carried on radio waves, filling the voids of our cities like Dark Matter.

The new city is coming – a city whose spaces are connected by hidden electronic passages and data crawl-throughs, spaces where our movements are traceable, recordable and identifiable by the litter of data we carelessly drop and the Web 2.0 we unwittingly spin in the chatter of our networks.

Trampoline celebrates over 10 years in new media art in November with a look at how artists are teaching themselves the game plan for this wireless, super conductive urban landscape that is emerging around us.

Trampoline is calling for submissions in 2 areas of interest:

>From video, animation, installation, sculpture, performance, live music, and web streaming Trampoline welcomes all forms of artistic expression with a critique of digital culture.

In addition to this, Trampoline will curate a programme of new media performance celebrating the diversity of 10 years in this area. Of particular interest are performance video, live streaming, audio tours and participatory, mobile projects.

For further details on how to submit work, please go to

A Trampoline project with financial support by Arts Council England

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Rhizome Commissions Program

Rhizome 2008 Commissions Announced!
This year, eleven emerging artists/ collectives were awarded commissions in support of new works of Internet-based art. The projects include distributed sound experiments, visually compelling interactive images that blend the sublime and the ridiculous, and pioneering applications that encourage the flowering of creativity across commercial areas of the web. Follow the link below for descriptions of and links to the eleven winning proposals, which also includes our first-ever Community Award, a project designed to enhance participation and communication on Rhizome.

The Rhizome Commissions Program is made possible by support from the Jerome Foundation in celebration of the Jerome Hill Centennial, the Greenwall Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Additional support has been provided by members of the Rhizome community.

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From: Marisa Olson <marisa AT>
Date: Oct 31, 2007
Subject: Eyebeam Eco-vis Challenge - Deadline extended - Reminder


Eco-Vis Challenge at Eyebeam
Imagine better ways of living:Picture ecology and be in the draw to win cash prizes and exhibit at Eyebeam

Not only is there an environmental crisis, but an environmental data crisis. Viewing statistics on environmental change is usually overwhelming, unintelligible, hidden and dense. Eyebeam invites artists to collaborate with technologists to redefine what the future of tracking and visualizing the environment could be.

Eco-Challenge 1 // Deadline November 12th (DEADLINE EXTENDED)

Eco Icons invites participants to create one or more information graphics that could be used to make visible environmental or ecological concerns. Thematically, these are icons that engage the politics of information and the persuasion of graphics.

Eco-Challenge 2 // Deadline December 8th // Upgrade Nov 8th

Eco Vis focuses on the creation of an eco-visualization based on at least one set of the ecological impact data. Your job as an "eco-visualizer" is to reveal the not so obvious or to suggest alternative frameworks. We are employing an open definition of eco-visualization. We encourage both traditional data visualization alongside works that use different means than a graph or chart. We are interested in inciting artists, scientists, designers, and engineers to move data from the spreadsheet into the world. The world is architecture, the world is the Internet, the world is urbanstreets, and the world is trees and dirt. Go engage the world.

Winning designs will be awarded cash prizes and, along with finalists, be included in an upcoming Eyebeam exhibition.

Jurors include:

Martin Wattenberg, artist and researcher
Casey Caplowe, co-founder and creative director of GOOD Magazine
Brooke Singer, artist and Associate Professor, Purchase College/SUNY
Michael Mandiberg, Eyebeam R&D Fellow, and Assistant Professor, College of Staten Island/CUNY

This challenge is an initiative of Eyebeam's Sustainability Research Group and has been crafted by Research Group members and Eyebeam Alumni, Michael Mandiberg and Brooke Singer.

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From: cstefanis AT <cstefanis AT>
Date: Oct 30, 2007
Subject: Take a Deep Breath - Tate Modern, 15-17 November 2007
November 15, 2007
Take a Deep Breath
A symposium at Tate Modern

Thursday 15 November 2007, 14.00-18.00
Friday 16 November 2007, 10.20-20.30
Saturday 17 November 2007, 10.20-20.30

Take a Deep Breath is a three-day interdisciplinary symposium that takes a fresh look at the cultural, social and scientific meanings of breathing. Recent environmental and ethical developments are calling for a rethinking of the value of breath and its manifestations in culture and beyond.The symposium explores contemporary ways of thinking about breathing and encourages dialogue between distinguished international participants from a wide range of disciplines by featuring talks, visual art projects, performances, film screenings, and musical events.

Participants include Steven Connor, Lise Autogena, Cornelia Parker, Jane Boston, Max Streicher, Katerina Gregos, Michael Clark, Nikos Navridis, Mark Cousins, Richard Craig and Mikhail Karikis.

Conceived and organized by Irini Marinaki, Martine Rouleau and Konstantinos Stefanis, London Consortium

For a full list of sessions and speakers please visit

Drinks receptions are kindly supported by Boutari Wines and Cypressa.

In collaboration with the London Consortium

Tate Modern Starr Auditorium
40 (30 concessions), booking recommended
Includes refreshments and entry to all events.

For tickets book online
or call 020 7887 8888.

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From: Luis Silva <silva.luis AT>
Date: Oct 31, 2007
Subject: LX 2.0 Project's new project by Carlos Katastrofsky: lastwishes
November 8, 2007
Lisboa 20 Arte Contempornea is launching on November 8th (next Thursday) LX 2.0 Project's new comission, the project lastwishes by Vienna-based media artist Carlos Katastrofsky (

Carlos Katastrofsky (1975) has been creating net art pieces that question both the notion of what an art work is and the notion of ownership of these processual projects, not defined by physical properties. Projects such as internet art for poor people (2006), free interactive readymade (2005) or the original (2005) are just a few examples of Katastrofsky's interest in exploring alternative ways of distributing and owning net art, always within the institutional art world logic and always through a critical, yet playful approach. His projects are mostly conceptual, not defined by fancy visual effects or sophisticated programming. There is no "beautiful" or "poetic" things to be seen on the screen, just the critical use of massified online tools that he masters in order to achieve his own agenda.

lastwishes, the project the artist created specially for LX 2.0, is a great example of the lack of any visual aesthetics in his work. In a simplistic (yet pretty accurate) way, there is nothing to be seen in his new project. lastwishes deals solely with the principles of communication. Mailing lists are popular tools for the exchange of thoughts and opinions: they make multiple (written) dialogues possible as well as the archiving for future references. In this work the mailinglist-software "mailman" is modified to allow only one single posting from a sender. The user is able to subscribe and to receive messages endlessly but post only once and by this immediately get unsubscribed. The idea of "exchange" is thereby turned into something absurd: one can listen but only talk once. Sending a message thus requires meaningful content, "chatting" becomes impossible.

The ephemeral quality of this sending-process reminds of zen-qualities: be quiet and learn to listen but if you really have to say something meaningful then talk. Above that, the question arises: how is communication possible when there is a quiet, listening mass and no one dares to stand up and speak? According to an Austrian proverb, "talking is silver and being quiet is gold", but being quiet only makes sense within the process of communication.

Luis Silva

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From: Marisa Olson <marisa AT>
Date: Oct 29, 2007
Subject: Fwd: KURTZ'S LAWYERS ASK FOR DISMISSAL: SUNY Professors Criticize Case

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Carolyn Tennant <carolyn AT>
Date: Oct 29, 2007 11:37 AM
Subject: KURTZ'S LAWYERS ASK FOR DISMISSAL: SUNY Professors Criticize Case
To: carolyn AT


Email: media AT
Edmund Cardoni: 716-854-1694
Lucia Sommer: 716-359-3061
Professor Paul Vanouse: 716-982-2087
Dr. Richard Gronostajski: 716-829-3471
Dr. Dianne Raeke Ferrell: 412-352-2704
Jacob Kassay: 716-622-6738


SUNY Professors, Co-Defendant's Wife and Daughter Criticize Case
Buffalo, Toronto Support Dr. Kurtz with Multiple Fundraisers

Buffalo, NY – On Tuesday in Federal District Court, lawyers for Dr. Steven Kurtz, Professor of Visual Studies at SUNY Buffalo, will present arguments for dismissal of a surreal post-PATRIOT Act legal case that has attracted worldwide attention.

Dr. Kurtz, founder of the internationally acclaimed art and theater group Critical Art Ensemble, was illegally detained by the U.S. government in 2004 stemming from his acquisition of harmless bacteria used in several of Critical Art Ensemble's educational art projects. Also indicted was Dr. Robert Ferrell, Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, and a scientific consultant on Critical Art Ensemble's projects. After a costly investigation lasting several months failed to provide any evidence of "bioterrorism," the Department of Justice instead brought charges of "mail fraud" and "wire fraud" against Drs. Kurtz and Ferrell. Under the USA PATRIOT Act, the maximum penalty for these charges has increased from 5 years to 20.


"The government's prosecution is an ill-conceived and misguided attack on the scientific and artistic communities," said Dr. Richard Gronostajski, Professor of Biochemistry at the University at Buffalo, where Professor Kurtz also teaches. "It could have a chilling effect on future scientific research collaborations, and harm teaching efforts and interactions between scientists, educators and artists."

Said Professor Paul Vanouse, one of Kurtz' colleagues in the Department of Visual Studies, "It's unbelievable that the DoJ is spending millions of taxpayer dollars to prosecute two distinguished professors—one of whom just lost his wife, and the other struggling with cancer—over a couple hundred dollars of alleged 'fraud', even though no party claims to have been defrauded. The waste and cruelty of it all is unfathomable."

The hearing comes only two weeks after Dr. Robert Ferrell, under tremendous pressure and facing serious medical problems, pled guilty to lesser charges rather than facing a prolonged trial. Commenting on the plea agreement, Dr. Dianne Raeke Ferrell, Dr. Ferrell's wife and an Associate Professor of Special Education and Clinical Services at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, said: "From the beginning, this has been a persecution, not a prosecution. Bob is a 27-year survivor of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, which has reoccurred numerous times. He has also had malignant melanoma. Since this whole nightmare began, Bob has had two minor strokes, and a major stroke which required months of rehabilitation." Dr. Ferrell added that her husband was indicted just as he was preparing to undergo a painful and dangerous autologous stem cell transplant, the second in 7 years.

The Ferrell's daughter, Gentry Chandler Ferrell, added: "Our family has struggled with an intense uncertainty about physical, emotional and financial health for a long time. Agreeing to a plea deal is a small way for dad to try to eliminate one of those uncertainties...Sadly, while institutions merely are tarnished from needless litigation, individuals are torn apart. I remain unable to wrap my mind around the absurdity of the government's pursuit of this case and I am saddened that it has been dragged out to the point where my dad opted to settle from pure exhaustion." (To read Gentry Ferrell's full statement, please visit:


The hearing comes at a time of overwhelming public support for Drs. Kurtz and Ferrell. A Halloween Benefit last Saturday night organized by Dr. Kurtz's students drew 200 supporters and grossed $2,200 to help offset his escalating legal fees. Said Benefit co-organizer Jacob Kassay, "Professor Kurtz's case shows that the incredible partisan corruption in the Department of Justice has arrived here in Buffalo. He's a great teacher and artist, and we wanted to do something to help him. And a fundraiser was a way to do that and have fun at the same time."

That fundraiser comes on the heels of a September 8 Fundraising Screening of a documentary about the case co-sponsored by Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center and the Market Arcade Film & Art Center that drew a sold out crowd and raised approximately $5,000, with Dr. Kurtz visibly moved by the audience's massive ovation. Over 300 people remained in the theater for an hour after the film to discuss the implications of the case, other unjust post-PATRIOT Act prosecutions, and what Americans can do to safeguard our Constitutional rights. The film, Strange Culture (directed by Lynn Hershman Leeson and featuring Tilda Swinton, Thomas Jay Ryan, and Peter Coyote) has screened in dozens of U.S. cities after its selection to open both the 2007 Human Rights Watch International Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival doc section. Numerous other fundraisers have been organized on 5 continents, including a 2005 art auction at Paula Cooper Gallery in New York City that raised $167,000 for Drs. Kurtz and Ferrell.

On November 22 & 23, in an act of international solidarity with the Buffalo and New York fundraising initiatives, A Space Gallery of Toronto will present a screening of Strange Culture and Gala Art Auction featuring Naomi Klein as the Keynote Speaker, with contributions from many of Canada's top artists, to raise urgently-needed funds for Dr. Kurtz' legal defense:


Assistant U.S. Attorney Hochul and the DoJ are vigorously prosecuting Dr. Kurtz in a case where no one has been injured, and no one has been defrauded. The materials found in Dr. Kurtz's house were obtained legally and used safely by the artist. After 3 1/2 years of investigation and prosecution, the case still revolves around $256 worth of common science research materials that were used in educational art works by a highly visible and respected group of artists. These art works were commissioned and hosted by cultural institutions worldwide where they were safely displayed in museums and galleries with absolutely no risk to the public. The Government has consistently framed this case as an issue of public safety, but the materials used by Critical Art Ensemble are widely available, can be purchased by anyone from science supply companies, and are regularly mailed.


The legal nightmare of Drs. Kurtz and Ferrell began in May 2004. Dr. Kurtz and his late wife Hope were founding members of the internationally exhibited art and theater collective Critical Art Ensemble. Over the past decade cultural institutions worldwide have commissioned and hosted Critical Art Ensemble's participatory theater projects that help the general public understand biotechnology and the many issues surrounding it. In May 2004 the Kurtzes were preparing a project examining genetically modified agriculture for the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, when Hope Kurtz died of heart failure. Police who responded to Professor Kurtz's 911 call deemed the couple's art suspicious, and called the FBI. Within hours the artist was illegally detained as a suspected "bioterrorist" as dozens of federal agents in Hazmat suits sifted through his work and impounded his computers, manuscripts, books, his cat, and even his wife's body.


The government has pursued this case relentlessly for three and a half years, spending enormous amounts of public resources. Most significantly, the legal battle has exhausted the financial, emotional, and physical resources of Ferrell and Kurtz; as well as their families and supporters. The professional and personal lives of both defendants have suffered tremendously. A trial date has not yet been established.

For more information about the case, with extensive documentation, please visit:

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From: Marky Martin <marky.martin AT>
Date: Oct 31, 2007
Subject: A curious relationship with physical objects.

Culturally, with the ubiquity of digital media, we are developing a curious relationship with physical objects.

I think it's a good idea to look at these developments historically. Definitions of art forms are always up for debate and negotiation. For example, the category now known as "sound art" didn't appear from nowhere, and it isn't purely a product of technology. For me, sound art means dealing with the poetic qualities of the physical apparatus used to create, distribute and reproduce the sonic work. It also means dealing with the complexities of historical conditions and social interactions that surround it .

In my own example, 30 years ago, I had spent three years of my time in the sculpture department of an art school. This was the best way I could find of exploring my practice of "multimedia" – meaning a convergence of categories between artforms and nothing whatsoever to do with computers. I explored photocopy, screenprint, film, sound, the postal systems, and what was then called "environments" (something like, but slightly different to what we now call installation art). I liked the Fluxus idea of the art multiple. Some people interpret Fluxus as part of the process of dematerialising the art object. To me the importance of Fluxus was in questioning art-as-commodity. In other words, dematerialising the artist-as-commodity - negating art as an alienated career path within modern capitalism.

In the late 70s and early 80s there emerged a context known as "cassette culture", wherein marginal musicians and performers could operate in opposition to the capitalistic aim of maximizing profit. I spent most of my time active in this DIY scene,. I produced sound pieces that were home-produced and distributed on hand-made cassettes through the Sterile Records label I ran with my partner. There was great diversity amongst such labels, some were entirely 'bedroom based', utilising new home tape copying technologies whilst others were more organised, functioning in a similar way to more established record labels. Some also did vinyl releases, or later developed into vinyl labels. Many compilation albums were released, presenting samples of work from various artists. It was not uncommon for artists who had a vinyl contract to release on cassette compilations, or to continue to do cassette-only album releases (of live recordings, work-in-progress material, etc.) after they had started releasing records.

A lot of the ethos of file-sharing networks, appropriation/remix/collage of elements of existing recordings, which is now associated with the internet emerged within that period.
But there was still a physicality. It was using things that could be put in the post. It overlapped with the concerns of mail art and many mail artists made sound art and vice versa. Digital audio can be "instant", "free" and "accessible to millions". But a physical object could also be used for other purposes than those it was intended for. It can be contemplated, touched. A physical object exists in time and space, it can wear out and assume new qualities in its degradation and scratches. It is never just pure code.

Composing/improvising/editing for cassette, vinyl, radio, or CD or download, or live performance, are all qualitively different processes. There are also different degrees of intimacy involved. Giving or receiving a compact disc has different ritual meaning to giving or receiving a download. The experience of "live" acoustic sound is qualitatively different to that of recorded sound.

It's important to think of these "object quality" elements - as well as social interaction - as formal poetic elements within arts that use digital platforms. They are the ecological elements that give them their meaning.

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Rhizome Digest is supported by grants from 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 42. 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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