Rhizome Press

Theresa Duncan's Feminist Video Games Are Everything That's Right About The '90s

Huffington Post | Wednesday, May 13th 2015

The eloquence of this sentence is no anomaly; the entire game follows suit. Players can amble around a coffee shop, a pet store, and a carnival where strange happenings arise. "I mean, these games are not technically amazing, they don't feature any classic game logic, like scores, levels or puzzles with items, there is not even a consistent story that has to be 'completed' by the player," Espenschied said. "The value is really something different here."

The Anxiety of Being Watched by Machines: There's an App for That

Vice Motherboard | Tuesday, May 12th 2015

As if we all weren’t anxious enough already, a panel of federal judges recently deemed the National Security Agency’s indiscriminate collection of telephone metadata totally illegal. It’s just the latest reminder of how widespread systemic surveillance and its seemingly innocuous cousin, data collection, have become. And because we can’t quite know how much the machines "see," more and more we internalize the effect of being watched as if it’s happening at all times, which it very might well be. At least it can feel that way. That anxiety was a recurring theme at this year's "Seven on Seven," in which the New Museum's new media wing Rhizome pairs seven artists and seven technologists, imposing on them the reality TV-style challenge of making something in 24 hours and presenting it the next day.

Art 2.0

W Magazine | Thursday, May 7th 2015

Today, it seems as if the possibilities for digital art’s second wave are as boundless as the Internet itself, as artists from the broadband generation create work containing some of the DNA of traditional mediums like painting, photography, and performance—entirely on their computers. But less than a decade ago, digital art was still in desperate need of what Silicon Valley would refer to as “angels”: patrons with influence, access, and resources to lend it an air of legitimacy. Its start-up practitioners huddled on the fringes of the art world in Web “surf clubs” like Nasty Nets (alumni: Kari Altmann, Jordan Wolfson, Cortright), talking avidly to one another but not so much to the art world at large.

The Terror and Thrill of Potential at Rhizome’s Seven on Seven

Art F City | Wednesday, May 6th 2015

I know it sounds a little over the top, but the results made me proud to even be a witness.* Applebaum brought the trove of classified documents Snowden released to the press, revealing global surveillance programs, which the two then shredded. The paper was used to stuff toy pandas—also the name for undercover police in China—which would also contain a small SD card with the same documents. Rhizome’s Executive Director Heather Corcoran then took the bears back to the United States where they were displayed for us, before their distribution to other similar-minded dissidents.

Offbeat, girly games that pay tribute to a pioneer

Boing Boing | Tuesday, May 5th 2015

Thanks to Rhizome's work, you can now play Chop Suey, Smarty and Zero Zero online, and join an important part of feminist game history that would be hailed as pioneering and inventive even if released for the first time today.

Techno-Art of the Moment, Featuring Laura Poitras, Ai Weiwei and the Mona Lisa

TruthDig | Tuesday, May 5th 2015

The one thing perhaps stranger than how humans watch each other through computers is how computers perceive reality. According to one computer, for instance, the Mona Lisa is “a pretty young blonde in a black dress taking a selfie.” The interface between human and computer was just one of the subjects on view last weekend at Rhizome’s “Seven on Seven: Empathy and Disgust,” a conference at the New Museum in New York City.

Schreddern gegen den Überwachungsstaat

Zeit | Monday, May 4th 2015

Die meisten sind an diesem Nachmittag ins New Yorker New Museum gekommen, um jene zu sehen, die selbst gar nicht da sein konnten. Den chinesischen Künstler Ai Weiwei, der sein Land nicht verlassen kann, weil die Behörden ihm den Pass abgenommen haben, und den Hacker Jacob Appelbaum, der nicht in seine Heimat zurückwill, weil er wegen seiner Arbeit für WikiLeaks mit einer Anklage rechnen muss. Die beiden sind das schillerndste Paar beim Hackathon Seven on Seven der Nonprofit-Kunst-Organisation Rhizome, bei dem immer ein Künstler und ein Hacker antreten, um in 24 Stunden gemeinsam etwas zu erschaffen.


Purple | Monday, May 4th 2015

Photos from the Seven on Seven kick-off dinner.


Artforum Diary | Wednesday, April 29th 2015

The panel was less than rigorous, but it did little to mar the truly fantastic, usable product created by Rhizome that we were enthusiastically celebrating: Any lady noodling on her computer at work can now access an outmoded operating system—via an “online emulation infrastructure”—to play Chop Suey (1995), Smarty (1996), and Zero Zero (1997), Duncan’s idiosyncratic story-driven interactive CD-ROMs for girls aged seven to twelve. “People call them video games,” explained Rhizome artistic director Michael Connor. “I call them art. Other people call them interactive narratives or literature.” Three of the five speakers noted, as a point of contrast, that Barbie Fashion Designer was the most popular CD-ROM for kids in 1996.


Killscreen Daily | Monday, April 27th 2015

Game designer Theresa Duncan contributed three remarkably imaginative CD-ROM games during the "pink" craze of the '90s. While most other female-targeted videogames of that time were blatant Barbie dress-em-up clones, Duncan's adventure games told intimate and kooky stories about being a kid who also happened to be a girl. Teaming up with Rhizome, who's running a digital preservation project for Duncan's three CD-ROM games (Chop Suey, Smarty, and Zero Zero), Weil hopes the jam will help the female-oriented creators of today reconnect with the often overlooked feminine games of our past.

Three days in Beijing with Ai Weiwei, Jacob Appelbaum and Laura Poitras, the global dissident elite

Fusion | Monday, April 27th 2015

Appelbaum came to Beijing to meet Ai at the request of Rhizome, a non-profit affiliated with the New Museum in New York. For the last six years, Rhizome has paired seven technologists with seven artists, and given each duo 24 hours to create a joint art project. Usually, the pairs meet in New York, but that wasn’t possible with these two. Appelbaum can’t return to his home country, and Ai can’t leave his. Instead, the men meet at Ai’s house, an airy studio complex in Beijing’s art district. At the house, Ai and Appelbaum are joined by Poitras, who was invited by Rhizome to make a film about this meeting.


Killscreen Daily | Thursday, April 23rd 2015

Michael Connor, Rhizome’s Artistic Director, also expressed gratitude for the support, specifically for the 463 Kickstarter backers. In introducing the games and why it was important to conserve them, he explained, “You can develop a relationship with [the games] that evolves over time, and each time you return, you understand yourself a little differently, in relation to them, and you understand the works a little differently as your perception of them evolves.” Having never been exposed to them myself, I was surprised at first by how familiar they felt as point and click adventures, but even more so by how amazingly involved and intricate they were compared to other entries from their era.

You Can Now Play Theresa Duncan's Feminist CD-ROM Games at Rhizome

Artnet | Monday, April 20th 2015

"These three games have been a trilogy," said a former co-worker of Duncan's, who was sitting in the audience at Rhizome. "Particularly as a personal statement of who Theresa was, if you look at Chop Suey's position as the innocent child, all the way progressing up to this child at the turn of the century…[and] they were done in three year's time. It's a lot of energy. The collaboration between [Duncan and Blake] was just over the top. I can't tell you. And they thought each other's thoughts were just…magnificent."

Ann Hirsch: Playground at JOAN

Daily Serving | Sunday, April 19th 2015

Ann Hirsch’s Playground, a 65-minute play originally commissioned by Rhizome and performed at the New Museum in 2013, had its second showing at JOAN in Los Angeles on March 28, 2015. Hirsch’s performative and object-based works often explore female subjectivity and sexual power, and Playground draws directly on her experience as a preteen using AOL chat forums in the late ’90s , an online space that enabled her to explore her sexuality at an age when parental monitoring limited her agency.


ARTNEWS | Friday, April 17th 2015

Spearheaded by Rhizome archivist Dragan Espenschied and the result of a successful Kickstarter campaign, the three CD-ROM games (Chop Suey, Smarty, and Zero Zero) were created for young girls during a time when that demographic was mostly ignored by the gaming industry.