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: 12.30.01
From: list@xxxxxxxxxxx (RHIZOME)
Date: Sun, 30 Dec 2001 10:52:11 -0500
Reply-to: digest@xxxxxxxxxxx
Sender: owner-digest@xxxxxxxxxxx

RHIZOME DIGEST: December 30, 2001


+editor's note+
1. Alex Galloway: Net Art Commissioning Program--Reminder!

2. atty: net-art01 nominations
3. mriver: Live MTAA 12/31/01

4. Mark Amerika: net.dialogue.6--Digital Hallucinogens

5. Jordan Crandall: Fitness in Wartime

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Date: 12.30.01
From: Alex Galloway (alex AT
Subject: Net Art Commissioning Program--Reminder!

Happy new year!

Let me remind you of our Net Art Commissioning Program. Rhizome invites
proposals for three net art commissions with total awards of $15,000

The deadline for proposals is February 15, 2002.

For more information, and to submit a proposal, please visit:

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Artistic Environments of Telepresence on the World Wide Web" by Luisa
Paraguai Donati and Gilbertto Prado addresses the use of live images in
artistic spaces. Find out what events you'll participate in via the web.
Pick up a copy of LEONARDO's Digital Salon, Volume 34 Number 5 and
visit: AT :

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Date: 12.26.2001
From: atty (atty AT
Subject: net-art01 nominations
Keywords: internet, exhibition

After some delay from normal schedule ...

nominations are open for net-art01, the fourth annual edition of the
open and democratic arena for 'net-art' projects


(as you will notice the domain has changed to or from which was kidnapped for ransom by
russian porn e-mafia type)

net-art01 is kindly hosted online by warp-interactive and Monbro of

AND non-virtually hosted by the squatted pub and venue BRADYS of
Brixton, London (conjunction of songs 'Living on the Frontline' and
'Electric Avenue' + conjunction of many rail and road networks + many
other network conjunctions past, present and future)

entries to net-art01 will be publicly projected on to various suitable
surfaces in the centre of Brixton from BRADYS from 4.30pm to 6.30pm
every evening

at the end of net-art01 voting (approximately end of January '02) for
the first time we will be holding an award ceremony consisting of a
banquet in BRADYS with food prepared by the famous 'ROB the chef',
assorted entertainments, with guests of honour Florean and Alexandria
from and Mike and Emerald from More details
for those who might like to attend later ...

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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: 12.28.2001
From: mriver (mriver AT
Subject: Live MTAA 12/31/01
Keywords: performance, exhibition

The Update Live Redirect (AKA Everyone in Seedbed)

To celebrate the end of the year and the end of our stay on the
Whitney's Artport splash page, MTAA will perform a live redirect/remix
of the vitoAcconciUpdate on January 31, from 2PM to 5PM EST.

How can you get involved? Just email mriver AT an URL (off list
please) you would like to see within the work. We will be changing the
site as much as we can during this 3 hour window so stop by and watch
the fun (just F5 or reload). We'll also be video-conferencing through
iVisit (, so you can see/chat us sweating it out
live. At the end of the three hour window, we will be returning the
vitoAcconciUpdate to its former self.

The remix work will be documented at

iVist location information will be posted will be posted on list and at on 12/31

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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: 12.29.2001
From: Mark Amerika (Mark.Amerika AT Colorado.EDU)
Subject: net.dialogue.6--Digital Hallucinogens
Keywords: internet, design, audio, animation

"telltarget ("memoryfield") {
gotoAndPlay ("disintegration");

"Digital debris. Excess cache. Spiritual bedlam.

"The glue of minds.

"Ultimate execution: triggering a digital weapon, a recordable
memory device that captures your seeing for you, that tells it
like it is, but with a supplemental metacommentary that is
always ready to rip you, mix you, burn you into being.

"Who are the image killers?

"Who writes the Action Scripts?"


+ + +

Mark Amerika: I just received email from Andrew Chetty, new media
curator at the ICA in London, saying that our collaborative project,
FILMTEXT, and the net art retrospective it is part of (HOW TO BE AN
INTERNET ARTIST), will get an extended exhibition profile in the New
Media Centre. The second exhibition will take place January 9-31. How do
you feel about having your web work in a high-traffic art institute like
the ICA?

John Vega: Having FILMTEXT in a major art venue is both an honor and
also abstract. It is an honor in that digital art (and specifically
Flash art) is certainly not part of the mainstream art world and having
an actual on-site version of the piece is one of the real rewards of
creating this piece. It is abstract in that I could consider the ICA
simply another node on the network, meaning that the piece really ISN'T
there physically, but simply extends to there from here. I hope that
this new showing will continue the movement of digital art (, into the museum realm so that more folks are exposed and
challenged by it.

MA: Sometimes Flash art gets a bad rap in net art circles. The biggest
criticism is that it all starts looking and feeling the same. Can you
relate? How can artists working in Flash silence their critics?

JV: I can relate to the criticism as much Flash art has been created
using only the "timeline" or "movie" capability of Flash. In other
words, many commercial and fine art applications of Flash are simply
attempts to create sequences which could just as easily exist in digital
(e.g. QuickTime) or traditional movie forms. What is missing in much of
this work is "surprising familiarity" - the use of interaction,
mathematics, randomness and networking technologies that are available
with Flash's underlying scripting layers that would transform these
simple linear movies into four-dimensional, cyber-physical experiences
where art is created anew each time the users interacts.

Flash artists can silence their critics by pursuing original ideas that
step outside the traditional timeline metaphors (so prevalent in most
commercial Flash work) and extend into metaphysical space where "time"
is dispensed with and the need to derive ideas comes not from what has
preceded (the Flash crap we see now), but from what is yet to be. For
me, nearly anything I can "see" with my artist's eye can be translated
into a net experience using Flash.

MA: Seeing, being seen, and being the seer: this is what FILMTEXT
explores, especially in relation to digital narrative and how the story
behaves (or doesn't behave, as the case may be). One thing I find most
interesting about our use of action-scripting in this work is how we use
the code to, in essence, bring Flash into the net art fold. Which, by
the way, was not so easy for me, as I have been resisting this format
for a few years now. Along these lines, how does Flash art become a kind
of Internet art and what are the net art works that have recently
influenced your thinking as an artist working primarily in Flash?

JV: Flash art becomes Internet art when it extends beyond a simple
"player" and "movie" model, and reaches into the realm of a connected
piece whereby the engine of the net helps fuel the Flash work as it
breathes in datastreams, responds to user's thoughts and emotions
(interaction) and generates the digital art answer.

A good example of what has influenced me lately would be the generative
(and multi-user) work of Mark Napier as well as the ambient-generative
work of Joshua Davis. With Davis's Praystation, we see the "player" and
"movie" dissolve as the art is recursively grown, three dimensionally
displayed, and distributed to the users mind via phosphor screen.

MA: Flash seems so well-suited toward narrative and gaming, both in a
mainstream sense but also in an artistic way. In FILMTEXT, it was weird,
because, even before the Playstation 2 commission, we were already
developing our self-described "ambient game" model where progressing
through different levels became the net art equivalent of navigating
into higher or alternative states of consciousness; as if "playing" the
game were part of a meaning-making adventure i.e. "how much meaning do
I have to generate out of these filmtext scenes to make it to the next
level?" This, of course, brings up the issue of how much intelligence
needs to be programmed into an "ambient game" so that it can deliver
conscious otherness.

JV: Yes. Because the machine (Flash) can monitor, track and evaluate
the user's actions, the idea of game is fully realized with an authoring
tool like Flash. With a net art application, this capability becomes
transparent as the user travels through the artists' dream unknowingly
diverted and persuaded to follow paths intended or not. By evaluating
and acting upon the users' decisions, the game then becomes art as new
idea-seeds are flung and planted into the lines of action-script
blossoming into new cyber-realities which gently (or not) tweak the set
and setting of the digital hallucination.

MA: Yes, that was one thing I found really fascinating about our
collaboration, that is, the entire team of collaborators from Twine and
Williams to you and me -- it was as if we were all intuitively
generating images, sounds, texts, design and action-scripts heavily
geared toward the psychedelic. And yet, even as we were creating this
trippy narrative-game, we were also highly conscious of the final
output, the instrumental use of technology. The ESSENCE of technology
(as Heidegger reads it) was, of course, explored too -- this time in
FILMTEXT via that long meditation on Digital Thoughtography (DT).
Editing the digital images while writing those DT scenes and listening
to Twine sound loops in the background made for a powerful work flow

JV: Working with Twine on FILMTEXT was both a functional and revelatory
experience. The sound art of Twine acted both as functional soundtrack
for the piece and "sound-map" for me as the Flash artist. As with most
multimedia construction, the artist (or designer) ends up listening to
endless playings of the sound objects to be used in a piece. In the
case of FILMTEXT and Twine, this repetitive consideration soon revealed
the true nature of the piece as it eased me into cyber-meditation-space
where my mind's eye opened to the world of FILMTEXT.

+ + +

Mark Amerika's first European net art retrospective, HOW TO BE AN
INTERNET ARTIST, and his new work of net art, FILMTEXT (commissioned by
Playstation 2), will enjoy a second exhibition at the Institute for
Contemporary Arts in London from January 9-31, 2002. The site is
accessible now at

John Vega is a digital artist and animator living in Boulder, Colorado.
His award-winning interface design work can be found at his web base of

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Date: 12.18.2001
From: Jordan Crandall (crandall AT
Subject: Fitness in Wartime
Keywords: mobility, internet, interact, identity, body

Not so very long ago, in America, we were in danger of becoming embalmed
by the image. The specter of the "couch potato," propped up in front of
the television set, haunted what seemed to be an increasingly sedentary
culture. Fused with the image in a kind of mind-meld, the body became a
fulfillment vehicle for the desire-creating machine that is television.
But it very often just became fat. In the early days of cyberspace, this
figure morphed into a "meatself" parked at the computer monitor -- a
viewer who, released from the restraints of the body, frolicked
gleefully in the matrix. In both cases, we had a nearly inert lump of
flesh whose only life signs were tiny eye and finger flickers. With
television, the body was immobilized; with early cyberspace, there was
the premonition of its abandonment -- in a "lifestyled" culture
increasingly at odds with the reality of its flesh. We wondered: what
would become of the body rendered obsolete in the playgrounds of

Those days, for better or worse, were soon over. The rallying cry
became: Time to get in shape! Wrested from the chair and launched into
circulation within new mobile communications landscapes, we were to get
our asses in gear, outfitted with arrays of portable devices. Mobile
phones that were Web-enabled. Palm PCs outfitted with modems. Wearable
GPS systems. Internet-enhanced eyegoggles. Smart shoes. Personal
satellites. Implants.

It made one long for the days when one could just sit there.

Once upon a time in America there was an immobilized viewer, a fixed
screen, and a stream of visuals that seemed to course in between,
pulling the arrested viewer along a landscape that increasingly seemed
as "travel." We went "to" the image -- or rather traveled through it, to
its offerings, whether by Web or television or by the Fulfillment
Vehicle of the automobile. Lodged within a shelter outfitted with ports,
we were held in thrall by the screen yet mobilized in terms of the
places that could be accessed through its confines. Through the image,
the shelter was secured yet made portable. We carried it with us as a
shield. It protected us from the elements and from danger, while with
the remote control or the mouse we fired bullets at the screen in order
to defend that for which it stood. Our house stands for something. We
stood for something. Through this tapping of the finger and the mini-
projectiles it launched, friend/enemy divisions coalesced, helping to
determine the contours of shelter and self. Fueled by the disaster
imaginary -- Hollywood, videogames, CNN -- combat dynamics were filtered
through an easy logistics of Choice. To select a channel and to meld
with the image flow was to create a "for" and an "against" -- a feeling
that "I" stood here against "them" -- and a means of eliminating that
which did not fit within the barricades of the here-and-now. "We will
have none of that in this house," one's parents would say, banishing
opposition to the exterior. The automobile extended the im/mobile home:
we steered through the image, cushioned occupants soothed within the
travel-flow. The car allowed a shiny projectile to be launched across
the commons, its immobile occupant sealed inside, as it raced en route
toward the fulfillment of its duty: to gather resources from afar in
order to fortify the home-in-mobility.

The home-shield and the transmission/transport-weapon. Both
corporealizing, in whatever degree of inertia. The finger-taps on the
remote control, the hands on the wheel, or the hand turning off of the
cathode ray tube as the light fades and the womb of the shelter cradles
its occupant in a soothing net of safety.

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To Hunt, and to be Not Harmed

The vision of legions of Web-enabled citizens on the move in the name of
commerce has morphed into that of a populace armed with communications
appliances, taking to the streets with a warrior spirit, bunkering down
in the name of protectionisms, or engaging in some combination of both.
(We carry our shields with us.) We are assured of our right to hunt --
to shop -- and to be protected from danger, in a world that seems
increasingly fraught with peril. Under the possibility of danger --
danger defined in terms of corporeality as well as transmissions assault -
- a hybrid body is generated to require new fortifications. The logic of
protection intertwines with that of enhancement: to improve is to make
safer; to bring the body up to par is to make it adequate to meet new
production demands as well as to make it adequate to meet new threats.
Inefficiency, the contouring agent of business, combines with danger,
the contouring agent of militarization -- though the distinctions erode
as they outsource together. What does it mean to be a "fit" individual?
What does it mean to be "safe"? What does its "outside" tell us?

Justified in the name of convenience and defense, we are promised a vast
extension of the net, where appliances of all kinds are tied into one
another and where new kinds of observing networks extend a deceptively
soothing gaze of protection. It is an infrastructure where every
movement -- not only just mouse-clicks but street-level activity -- is
trackable and potentially contoured through the advent of location-based
services and new ideologies of preventivity. Through net-enabled
devices, GPS-systems, and monitoring networks connected to shared
databases, we are able to be locked onto for the purpose of targeting
information, creating a desire, steering us in a specific direction,
finding us should Help be necessary, or containing us if we are
suspected of a crime. Combined with the increasing precision of
surveillance technology, the rise of proactive policing, the lowering of
governmental restraints, and the increasing acquiescence of a public
that has been numbed to the threats this might impose, we face a
situation where the body has not been immobilized by the image, or
caused to abandon itself in the face of the image, but is in very many
real senses replaced by it. In turn, the image is replaced by something
else. The mobile user is imaged, transformed into a calculus of
patterns, habits, opinions, and functions by an observing system that
~compels~ movement -- a movement very often called forth and enacted by
those whom it hails.

Frozen in an image, or replaced by one. Detective strategies are always
met with new means of deception. New agencies are spawned. The seemingly
immobilized body at the television or monitor was the site of the
production of new mobilities: a stepping stone toward the fracturing of
mobility, toward the splintering of corporeality into layers of
embodiment, and toward the multidimensional layering of the immediate.
Forms and motions follow one another in an elaborate dance: bodily
orientations and behaviors change in relationship to communications
devices, as they revolve about the body and are intertwined with
specific concepts of what it means to move and to move well. What it
means to move efficiently, what it means to move safely. Different kinds
of movements, technological interventions, combat conventions, and
bodily faculties help to continually shape and constitute one another,
interlacing a "here" and a "there," resolving disparity by warping
distance and space. And further: helping to determine and "us" and a
"them," filtering into the very basis of the political.

Relays between movement and technologies of registration loop through a
newly figurable viewer. Foes are produced; a shelter coalesces; and a
subject appears. Install a projectile and a shield, and one can always
count on a body to appear in the circuit. The projectile maps its
vectors of movement and desire; the shield its bodily and subjective

Exit couchpotato and screen, meatself and monitor, at home and clicking
away upon command. We no longer have subjects and objects that sit; we
have relays or clusters through which forms and movements coalesce. We
have body/machine/movement clusters, into which a fitting (weapon-
gadget) is introduced, and which is enmeshed in an
incorporative/integrative dynamic: its visual faculty extended through
the network, its rhythms intertwined within the demands and enhancements
offered by communications and battle machines, its body lodged within a
protective encasing or squeezed within an invasive projectile.

In this space of mobility, mutations are left in the aftermath, like a
whisk of air from a passing car that coalesces in a form.

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The New Inertia

Fellow Americans: think about these things the next time you feel the
pressure to move. Defend your right to sit still! There are too many
people moving around already. With all this mobility, no one is going to
be home any more.

And remember that it is war out there. Right in the palm of your hand.

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Rhizome Digest is supported by a grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation
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Rhizome Digest is filtered by Alex Galloway (alex AT
ISSN: 1525-9110. Volume 6, number 52. 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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