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: 12.23.01
From: list@xxxxxxxxxxx (RHIZOME)
Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2001 22:55:35 -0500
Reply-to: digest@xxxxxxxxxxx
Sender: owner-digest@xxxxxxxxxxx

RHIZOME DIGEST: December 23, 2001


1. Greg Sidal: Want to buy ASCII art
2. Piotr Sitarski: Computer Games Conference

3. Ivan Pope: Last updated Sept 11 2001
4. m e t a: automatism

5. Marisa Olson: SMS Art

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Date: 12.18.01
From: Greg Sidal (gregsidal AT
Subject: Want to buy ASCII art

'bc' would like to buy your ASCII art. S/he indicates a willingness to
pay up to $300(cd) each for quality works of ASCII art on .

To add your art, click the 'Add art' button. You are welcome to use
HTML tags such as tt, font, etc. to format your ASCII art and highlight
it with color.

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**METAMUTE ECHELON COMPETITION WINNERS: Metamute announces the winners
of the Echelon competition. 1st prize: The Avatar Group - Isis, followed
by runners up: Tessa Laird - Pink Noise and Edward Lear - The Owl and
the Pussycat Assassinate the EuroFeds. Read all the entries:

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Date: 12.21.01
From: Piotr Sitarski (sitarski AT
Subject: Computer Games Conference

International Conference
Challenge of computer games
University of Lodz, Poland
25 - 27 October 2002

Department of Media and Audio-Visual Culture, University of Lodz,
invites submissions of papers examining the phenomenon of computer
games. The conference will provide an opportunity to discuss computer
games in the broad context of sociology, aesthetics, psychology,
pedagogy, and other areas. We also welcome interdisciplinary papers
dealing with computer games design and with the economic aspects of the
computer games market.

The following issues are suggested for discussion:
* History and prehistory of computer games;
* Computer games and traditional media;
* Social impact of computer games;
* Computer games in global and local cultures;
* Sociology of gamers and gamers' subcultures
* Production and distribution of computer games;
* Ethics and axiology of computer games: violence in games;
* Gender and computer games;
* Narratology of computer games;
* Interactivity;
* Multi-user games.

A selection of the conference papers will be published. The language of
the conference will be English and Polish. Presentations should last not
more than 30 minutes.

Conference fee is 50 USD.

If you wish to propose a paper, please send an abstract of no more than
300 words together with a short biographical note by 15th February 2002

Piotr Sitarski
University of Lodz
Department of Media and Audio-Visual Culture
ul. Sienkiewicza 21, 90-114 Lodz, Poland
tel/fax: 48 42 639 01 33
email: sitarski AT

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<> ELO invites Rhizome subscribers to
join leading web artists, writers, critics, theorists for the seminal
e-lit event of 2002. Rhizome subscribers who register before FEB 15 2002
may register at ELO member rates ($25 discount).

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Date: 12.18.01
From: Ivan Pope (ivan AT
Subject: Last updated Sept 11 2001

I wanted to explore the nature of given experience: did the world really
change on Sept 11 2001

I wanted to work with the grain of the Internet

I wanted to make an artwork that has its own external rate of decay

I wanted to develop a use for a new kind of media.

This is the first part of a process.

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Read Peter Anders article "Anthropic Cyberspace"
in the latest LEONARDO Digital Salon Volume 34 Number 5.
Learn first hand about defining electronic space
and give yourself space to think.
Visit our web site AT

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Date: 12.19.01
From: m e t a (meta AT
Subject: automatism

>there is no automatism in communication that creates sense

1 a : the quality or state of being automatic
b : an automatic action

2 : the power or fact of moving or functioning without conscious control
either independently of external stimuli (as in the beating of the
heart) or under the influence of external stimuli (as in pupil dilation)

3 : a theory that views the body as a machine and consciousness as a
noncontrolling adjunct of the body

4 : suspension of the conscious mind to release subconscious images
<automatism --the surrealist trend toward spontaneity and intuition --

2 much control gets in the way not automatic not reflexive consider a
program or a patch or a complex 2 complex for reflex can't express or
not outward or a true representation of inner not feeling not perhaps a
state of mind or a state of being too much programmatic control far too
many intermediate steps and menus and too many intermediaries inhibits a
certain reaction too much voilition concious thought and control self
analysis and second guessing the media the means of expression not
immediate enough the software never became second nature always an
upgrade or an update rendered obsolete before a true symbiotic quality
emerges theory or emergent behavior a suspension of the concious mind is
exactly what is needed in this over mediated environment these ultra-
programmatic mindsets and environments for the creation of sound and
image quite nice yet only engaging one aspect of ourselves and the power
or fact of moving or functioning without concious control either
independently of external stimuli (as in the beating of the heart) or
under the influence of external stimuli (as in pupil dilation) remains
elusive unknown forgotten not unlike yet another email archived forever
via google so ciao.

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Date: 12.19.2001
From: Marisa Olson (marisa AT
Subject: SMS Art
Keywords: communication, language, performance, interact

Fifteen billion SMS (Short Messaging Service) cell phone messages are
sent globally, every month. It's not hard to imagine that most of those
are sent within in the UK. Perhaps as a response to the costly and
inefficient regulation of telephone and internet service in the UK, the
mobile phone has supplanted other forms of communication as the
speediest, most desirable way to chat. SMS is everywhere. Candy bar
wrappers prompt impulse buyers to "TXT 4 GRT PRZS," and everyone is
producing *the* definitive SMS dictionary. Practically anyone over 12
years old, in London, looks as if her hand has been permanently modified
by mobile-augmentation. These phones do not necessarily go anywhere near
the users' ears--unless, say, a friend has SMS'd them the latest Kylie
Minogue tune.

It's no wonder that artists have begun looking to SMS as a new mode of
representation and performance. SMS is a relatively democratic and
inexpensive way to make one's mark on the world--as long as the author
is willing to face the "overwriting" of one's language, as expressed in
the giddy grumble of Guardian SMS Poetry Contest winner, Hetty Hughes:
"txtin iz messin, mi headn'me englis."

Performance artist Tim Etchells is up for the challenge. He recently
carried out an SMS project, called "Surrender Control," under the
umbrella of an impressive London Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA)
new media event series. "Surrender Control" sends 75 SMS text messages,
over the course of five days, to participants who have subscribed by
texting the message "surrender" to a server.

The first of the numbered messages is, like many to follow, witty and
coquettish: "Put your fingers in your mouth." Eight minutes later,
readers are encouraged to "Touch your ankles, feel the skin," while a
bedtime message urges, "Put your hand between your legs." Most of the
messages are instructional, as in "Do things slowly. If someone notices
go more slowly," or the repeated "Make a mistake." Etchells says that it
is not important to him that people actually follow the instructions or,
"Perhaps what's just as interesting," he says, "is to sit in a bar with
friends, or ride the bus home, or sit with family in front of the TV and
just consider for a moment what it might mean, what it might lead to, to
follow a certain instruction."

Some instructions are hard not to follow, as in the one that arrives at
9am on day two: "Think about an ex-lover, naked and tied to a bed."
Others we may fantasize about following (see "Touch two people at the
same time"), while others are more problematic--as in "Think about your
weaknesses," or worse, "Don't eat at lunchtime."

"There are certainly many instructions where the participants need to
make their own decisions about how far they're willing to go," exclaims
Etchells. "To me that's a part of the project. The instructions are
proposals, invitations. But there's undoubtedly an element of
flirtatiousness and temptation in what I propose... People have to make
their choices about what they'll do and what they won't do..."

While some no doubt simply chuckle at and delete Etchells's messages,
even the most fearless followers of his instructions may find numbers 6
("Open your mouth as wide as you can") and 66 ("Steal something")
difficult to accomplish. Over the course of the five days, the messages
become more phenomenological ("Stare at THINGS. Don't look at people")
and less concerned with grammar: "Fingers in mouth."

Participating wordsmiths or others with too much time on their hands may
feel an overwhelming desire to rearrange or combine some of the 75
messages. Adding messages 54 and 13 would produce "Take a small risk.
Imagine tomorrow." A happy, if not cheesy, alternative to prompts like
"Bite your hand until teeth marks are left in it. Then watch it till it
fades," or "Drop something. Make it look like an accident." In general
there is an obvious and largely successful attempt to build suspense.
For instance, day three bleeds into four with this thread:

23.00 hrs 40. Pinch your skin. Hard. Are you dreaming?
24.00 hrs 41. Are you dreaming?
01.00 hrs 42. Are you in love?
02.00 hrs 43. Do you love me?
03.00 hrs 44. Are you scared?
04.45 hrs 45. Are you awake?

Here, Etchells reveals the flair for drama that has brought so much
positive attention to his work as artistic director of Sheffield-based
experimental theatre company, Forced Entertainment.

"'Surrender Control' is a response to the intimate context of mobile
phone use and of SMS as a form of communication," says Etchells. The
project challenges the norms of SMS communication, which is usually a
one-on-one activity wherein people known to each other chat via
abbreviated, personalized text. Etchells's messages (which he resists
calling narrative, preferring the terms 'performance' or 'experiment')
are long, unabbreviated, and relatively anonymous. Subscribers know
little about the artist as an individual, the messages are sent from a
number other than his own, via a timed server, and Etchells does not
know the subscribers, from whom he prohibits replies. He points out that
"the brevity of messages and the ease with which they can be read,
typed, or sent makes it more than possible to conduct real time and
space social activities whilst simultaneously 'conversing' on SMS with
another distant party." Texting, in this sense, allows the user a
simultaneous presence in more than one space. "Surrender Control"
creates a new, phantasmatic or fictional space wherein users who do not
know each other explore social, normative boundaries and desires. Matt
Locke, the former creative director at the Media Centre, in
Huddersfield, calls these "traveling intimate zones." (Locke, who
recently departed for a post at BBC, has become a bit of an SMS
aficionado and offered Etchells a residency to refine "Surrender
Control," last summer, as one in a series of Media Centre SMS efforts.)

SMS, in a sense, is just one among many technologies now used to explore
the representation of new spaces or spatialities Practitioners in the
fields of architecture, drama, robotics, narratology, and various
incarnations of photography have, for some time, been focused on these
explorations and have recently added not only the know well-known
"fourth wall" or "hyperspace," but also fourth dimension, first reality
vs. virtual reality, chronospace, one hundred and one definitions of
"flesh," and other fun terms to our vocabulary of interpretation. A show
on now at London's Photographer's Gallery (called "Re:mote") adds SMS to
the laundry list of technologies employed in lively ongoing debates over
the art historical fate, and aesthetic "value" of documentary and
landscape photography in an age when our ways and means of understanding
dissemination and distance have changed under the influence of life in
networked, globalized culture(s).--A scenario to which many are
resistant to "surrender control."

For now, Tim Etchells simply appreciates SMS as a technology that
creates a culture that exists in new way, creates a new space and a new
kind of interaction not happening before. "To create an art work for
this context is an invitation, one could say, to whisper in the ears of
strangers as they go about their daily business, to push the boundaries
of what is possible or even permissible in this context."

Guardian SMS project (includes winning entries, criteria, and an SMS

ICA, London, New Media Centre


Speakers Corner SMS project:

Other Media Centre SMS projects:
(click on area 1)

Photographer's Gallery, London:

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Rhizome Digest is filtered by Alex Galloway (alex AT
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