Question for artists who seek commissions

Posted by Rachel Greene | Wed Jan 21st 2004 3 p.m.

I am interested in finding out from artists who seek commissions...

Do you prefer when there is a theme to the commissions or if the CFP (call
for proposals) is completely open? I would assume the latter but want some
feedback. Thanks, Rachel
  • MTAA | Wed Jan 21st 2004 3:24 p.m.
    totally open! :-)

    On Jan 21, 2004, at 2:00 PM, rachel@rhizome.org wrote:

    > I am interested in finding out from artists who seek commissions...
    >
    > Do you prefer when there is a theme to the commissions or if the CFP
    > (call
    > for proposals) is completely open? I would assume the latter but want
    > some
    > feedback. Thanks, Rachel
  • Pall Thayer | Wed Jan 21st 2004 5:28 p.m.
    Definitely completely open. Themes tend to feel like someone's trying to
    tell you what your work should be about. I usually think, wow, a 3000
    dollar commission would be really nice but their theme really has nothing
    to do with what I've been working on for the past 10 years. If I turn
    around now and do something entirely different just for the money, I'll
    feel like a traitor.

    Pall

    On Wed, 21 Jan 2004, t.whid wrote:

    > totally open! :-)
    >
    >
    > On Jan 21, 2004, at 2:00 PM, rachel@rhizome.org wrote:
    >
    > > I am interested in finding out from artists who seek commissions...
    > >
    > > Do you prefer when there is a theme to the commissions or if the CFP
    > > (call
    > > for proposals) is completely open? I would assume the latter but want
    > > some
    > > feedback. Thanks, Rachel
    >
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is open to non-members
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >

    --
    Pall Thayer
    artist/teacher
    http://www.this.is/pallit
    http://130.208.220.190/
    http://130.208.220.190/nuharm
    http://130.208.220.190/panse
  • Jim Andrews | Thu Jan 22nd 2004 4:18 a.m.
    > I am interested in finding out from artists who seek commissions...
    >
    > Do you prefer when there is a theme to the commissions or if the CFP (call
    > for proposals) is completely open? I would assume the latter but want some
    > feedback. Thanks, Rachel

    if there is coincidence of interest and concern, that bodes well for
    meaningful communication between artist and 'client'.

    yet is 'artist-client' the relationship? yes and no. no, in the sense that
    the 'client' does not specify anywhere near as definitively what they want
    as a 'regular client' does. But, then, commissions are only, typically,
    $2000-$5000. Even monetarily the specifiable is thereby narrowed: the less
    the pay, the less you can specify.

    it has been interesting to see rhizome specify constraints that place the
    work within the rhizome interface as important parts of the interface.
    interfaces into the artbase, for instance, was one of the foci, was it not?

    chris fahey's piece was a delightful project that contributed to the
    searchability and experience of the artbase.

    i would say you got a deal if you got that for $5000.

    there was coincidence of interest and concern between rhizome and chris
    fahey.

    building web applications like that can be very expensive in the
    marketplace.

    also, there is the question of whether getting web development on the cheap
    by giving it exposure and platform in an art context is a worthwhile
    prospect 'politically'.

    some would say that if you really want art, don't make it serve the rhizome
    interface.

    fahey's project is a kind of counter-example which shows the potential value
    of such a focus.

    foci of functionality in the rhizome interface does encourage a kind of funk
    that i like: it is a type of art that bears relation to google's projects.

    in mathematics, number theory has been called 'the queen of mathematics'
    presumably because it is beautiful and useless. of course it is useless no
    more: big primes are in the realm of encryption and number theory.

    so too art needn't be useless.

    it needn't have a 'use' other than zephyr. and you bar the zephyr with spec.
    or zephyrs incongruent in interest and concern.

    so i think one must admit that foci of functionality in the rhizome
    interface has yielded some memorable art as well as a more enjoyable
    interface into the artbase, which the artists appreciate, but it is not a
    type of project that i would want to embark on myself, my zephyrs
    incongruent.

    so perhaps my note is more a comment on the phenomenon of defining specs for
    art comptetions that focus on functionality in the org web site.

    are you thinking of specifying such constraints again or what? apologies if
    i missed the announcement.

    ja
    http://vispo.com
  • nicholas economos | Thu Jan 22nd 2004 1:28 p.m.
    open please, themes make for some strange strategies to try to fit personal interests into a proposal.
    nicholas

    Rachel Greene wrote:

    > I am interested in finding out from artists who seek commissions...
    >
    > Do you prefer when there is a theme to the commissions or if the CFP
    > (call
    > for proposals) is completely open? I would assume the latter but want
    > some
    > feedback. Thanks, Rachel
  • Lee Wells | Fri Jan 23rd 2004 1:11 a.m.
    A Theme please.
    Something to rally around.
    Something to create towards.
    Something to have fun with.
    Something to inspire others to do something slightly different.

    An open call for proposals is so 1999.
    An open call for proposals does not foster any sense of community.

    Themes drive individuals together by working towards a unified goals that
    have nothing to do with one another.

    Collaborations are where its at.

    Would it be possible to get everyone truly collaborating together in the
    Rhizome community?

    Just an opinion.

    Cheers,
    Lee

    on 1/21/04 14:00, rachel@rhizome.org at rachel@rhizome.org wrote:

    > I am interested in finding out from artists who seek commissions...
    >
    > Do you prefer when there is a theme to the commissions or if the CFP (call
    > for proposals) is completely open? I would assume the latter but want some
    > feedback. Thanks, Rachel
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is open to non-members
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >
  • Lee Wells | Fri Jan 23rd 2004 1:13 a.m.
    Make something new.
    Maybe you would learn something new.

    on 1/21/04 17:25, Pall Thayer at palli@pallit.lhi.is wrote:

    >
    > Definitely completely open. Themes tend to feel like someone's trying to
    > tell you what your work should be about. I usually think, wow, a 3000
    > dollar commission would be really nice but their theme really has nothing
    > to do with what I've been working on for the past 10 years. If I turn
    > around now and do something entirely different just for the money, I'll
    > feel like a traitor.
    >
    > Pall
    >
    >
    >
    > On Wed, 21 Jan 2004, t.whid wrote:
    >
    >> totally open! :-)
    >>
    >>
    >> On Jan 21, 2004, at 2:00 PM, rachel@rhizome.org wrote:
    >>
    >>> I am interested in finding out from artists who seek commissions...
    >>>
    >>> Do you prefer when there is a theme to the commissions or if the CFP
    >>> (call
    >>> for proposals) is completely open? I would assume the latter but want
    >>> some
    >>> feedback. Thanks, Rachel
    >>
    >> +
    >> -> post: list@rhizome.org
    >> -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    >> -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    >> -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    >> -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is open to non-members
    >> +
    >> Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    >> Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >>
  • Lee Wells | Fri Jan 23rd 2004 1:16 a.m.
    Yah....
    Put the chains on all of us.
    I am just into this thing for a number 1
    Please make the check out to ______________________.

    on 1/22/04 3:17, Jim Andrews at jim@vispo.com wrote:

    >
    >> I am interested in finding out from artists who seek commissions...
    >>
    >> Do you prefer when there is a theme to the commissions or if the CFP (call
    >> for proposals) is completely open? I would assume the latter but want some
    >> feedback. Thanks, Rachel
    >
    > if there is coincidence of interest and concern, that bodes well for
    > meaningful communication between artist and 'client'.
    >
    > yet is 'artist-client' the relationship? yes and no. no, in the sense that
    > the 'client' does not specify anywhere near as definitively what they want
    > as a 'regular client' does. But, then, commissions are only, typically,
    > $2000-$5000. Even monetarily the specifiable is thereby narrowed: the less
    > the pay, the less you can specify.
    >
    > it has been interesting to see rhizome specify constraints that place the
    > work within the rhizome interface as important parts of the interface.
    > interfaces into the artbase, for instance, was one of the foci, was it not?
    >
    > chris fahey's piece was a delightful project that contributed to the
    > searchability and experience of the artbase.
    >
    > i would say you got a deal if you got that for $5000.
    >
    > there was coincidence of interest and concern between rhizome and chris
    > fahey.
    >
    > building web applications like that can be very expensive in the
    > marketplace.
    >
    > also, there is the question of whether getting web development on the cheap
    > by giving it exposure and platform in an art context is a worthwhile
    > prospect 'politically'.
    >
    > some would say that if you really want art, don't make it serve the rhizome
    > interface.
    >
    > fahey's project is a kind of counter-example which shows the potential value
    > of such a focus.
    >
    > foci of functionality in the rhizome interface does encourage a kind of funk
    > that i like: it is a type of art that bears relation to google's projects.
    >
    > in mathematics, number theory has been called 'the queen of mathematics'
    > presumably because it is beautiful and useless. of course it is useless no
    > more: big primes are in the realm of encryption and number theory.
    >
    > so too art needn't be useless.
    >
    > it needn't have a 'use' other than zephyr. and you bar the zephyr with spec.
    > or zephyrs incongruent in interest and concern.
    >
    > so i think one must admit that foci of functionality in the rhizome
    > interface has yielded some memorable art as well as a more enjoyable
    > interface into the artbase, which the artists appreciate, but it is not a
    > type of project that i would want to embark on myself, my zephyrs
    > incongruent.
    >
    > so perhaps my note is more a comment on the phenomenon of defining specs for
    > art comptetions that focus on functionality in the org web site.
    >
    > are you thinking of specifying such constraints again or what? apologies if
    > i missed the announcement.
    >
    > ja
    > http://vispo.com
    >
    >
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is open to non-members
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >
  • Michael Szpakowski | Fri Jan 23rd 2004 6:11 a.m.
    I've been a bit out of it & not really following
    things properly but I did want to add my
    threepenn'orth
    to this- if I'm out of touch with the ebb & flow of
    the thread forgive me.
    A completely personal & subjective reaction but I
    *love* restrictions - I find they really stimulate my
    imagination. Having said that it tends to be
    *technical* restrictions that really get me going -
    I personally love things like 5k.org and ten second
    films.com , where you're fighting the intractibility
    of the technical brief but the subject matter is your
    own.
    FInally I agree 100% about collaborations -I love
    them, I do as many as I reasonably can & it would be
    nice to encourage more both because I think they're
    aesthetically of interest but also because they break
    down a lot of the unecessary and harmful barriers
    between artists that our competitive world constantly
    fosters and renews
    as I say, just my feelings,
    best
    michael
    --- Lee Wells <lee@leewells.org> wrote:
    > Yah....
    > Put the chains on all of us.
    > I am just into this thing for a number 1
    > Please make the check out to ______________________.
    >
    >
    > on 1/22/04 3:17, Jim Andrews at jim@vispo.com wrote:
    >
    > >
    > >> I am interested in finding out from artists who
    > seek commissions...
    > >>
    > >> Do you prefer when there is a theme to the
    > commissions or if the CFP (call
    > >> for proposals) is completely open? I would assume
    > the latter but want some
    > >> feedback. Thanks, Rachel
    > >
    > > if there is coincidence of interest and concern,
    > that bodes well for
    > > meaningful communication between artist and
    > 'client'.
    > >
    > > yet is 'artist-client' the relationship? yes and
    > no. no, in the sense that
    > > the 'client' does not specify anywhere near as
    > definitively what they want
    > > as a 'regular client' does. But, then, commissions
    > are only, typically,
    > > $2000-$5000. Even monetarily the specifiable is
    > thereby narrowed: the less
    > > the pay, the less you can specify.
    > >
    > > it has been interesting to see rhizome specify
    > constraints that place the
    > > work within the rhizome interface as important
    > parts of the interface.
    > > interfaces into the artbase, for instance, was one
    > of the foci, was it not?
    > >
    > > chris fahey's piece was a delightful project that
    > contributed to the
    > > searchability and experience of the artbase.
    > >
    > > i would say you got a deal if you got that for
    > $5000.
    > >
    > > there was coincidence of interest and concern
    > between rhizome and chris
    > > fahey.
    > >
    > > building web applications like that can be very
    > expensive in the
    > > marketplace.
    > >
    > > also, there is the question of whether getting web
    > development on the cheap
    > > by giving it exposure and platform in an art
    > context is a worthwhile
    > > prospect 'politically'.
    > >
    > > some would say that if you really want art, don't
    > make it serve the rhizome
    > > interface.
    > >
    > > fahey's project is a kind of counter-example which
    > shows the potential value
    > > of such a focus.
    > >
    > > foci of functionality in the rhizome interface
    > does encourage a kind of funk
    > > that i like: it is a type of art that bears
    > relation to google's projects.
    > >
    > > in mathematics, number theory has been called 'the
    > queen of mathematics'
    > > presumably because it is beautiful and useless. of
    > course it is useless no
    > > more: big primes are in the realm of encryption
    > and number theory.
    > >
    > > so too art needn't be useless.
    > >
    > > it needn't have a 'use' other than zephyr. and you
    > bar the zephyr with spec.
    > > or zephyrs incongruent in interest and concern.
    > >
    > > so i think one must admit that foci of
    > functionality in the rhizome
    > > interface has yielded some memorable art as well
    > as a more enjoyable
    > > interface into the artbase, which the artists
    > appreciate, but it is not a
    > > type of project that i would want to embark on
    > myself, my zephyrs
    > > incongruent.
    > >
    > > so perhaps my note is more a comment on the
    > phenomenon of defining specs for
    > > art comptetions that focus on functionality in the
    > org web site.
    > >
    > > are you thinking of specifying such constraints
    > again or what? apologies if
    > > i missed the announcement.
    > >
    > > ja
    > > http://vispo.com
    > >
    > >
    > > +
    > > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > > -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
    > http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > > -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is
    > open to non-members
    > > +
    > > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms
    > set out in the
    > > Membership Agreement available online at
    > http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    > >
    >
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
    > http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is
    > open to non-members
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set
    > out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at
    http://rhizome.org/info/29.php

    __________________________________
    Do you Yahoo!?
    Yahoo! SiteBuilder - Free web site building tool. Try it!
    http://webhosting.yahoo.com/ps/sb/
  • Pall Thayer | Fri Jan 23rd 2004 6:37 a.m.
    That's funny, I just finished writing a post that says the same thing. I
    would prefer technical themes over conceptual. I even stated as examples a
    7k applet or 15 second movie. So I've decided not to send that message
    since it's all been said twice now. But I did want to respond to Lee that
    I do and learn something new everyday and I don't need someone elses
    themes to do that. For instance, I recently learned how I can use live
    seismic data to control audio/visuals. A new project is on my to-do list.
    But if a commission pops up with a theme of "visualizing seismic data",
    I'm all over it.

    Pall

    On Fri, 23 Jan 2004, Michael Szpakowski wrote:

    > I've been a bit out of it & not really following
    > things properly but I did want to add my
    > threepenn'orth
    > to this- if I'm out of touch with the ebb & flow of
    > the thread forgive me.
    > A completely personal & subjective reaction but I
    > *love* restrictions - I find they really stimulate my
    > imagination. Having said that it tends to be
    > *technical* restrictions that really get me going -
    > I personally love things like 5k.org and ten second
    > films.com , where you're fighting the intractibility
    > of the technical brief but the subject matter is your
    > own.
    > FInally I agree 100% about collaborations -I love
    > them, I do as many as I reasonably can & it would be
    > nice to encourage more both because I think they're
    > aesthetically of interest but also because they break
    > down a lot of the unecessary and harmful barriers
    > between artists that our competitive world constantly
    > fosters and renews
    > as I say, just my feelings,
    > best
    > michael
    > --- Lee Wells <lee@leewells.org> wrote:
    > > Yah....
    > > Put the chains on all of us.
    > > I am just into this thing for a number 1
    > > Please make the check out to ______________________.
    > >
    > >
    > > on 1/22/04 3:17, Jim Andrews at jim@vispo.com wrote:
    > >
    > > >
    > > >> I am interested in finding out from artists who
    > > seek commissions...
    > > >>
    > > >> Do you prefer when there is a theme to the
    > > commissions or if the CFP (call
    > > >> for proposals) is completely open? I would assume
    > > the latter but want some
    > > >> feedback. Thanks, Rachel
    > > >
    > > > if there is coincidence of interest and concern,
    > > that bodes well for
    > > > meaningful communication between artist and
    > > 'client'.
    > > >
    > > > yet is 'artist-client' the relationship? yes and
    > > no. no, in the sense that
    > > > the 'client' does not specify anywhere near as
    > > definitively what they want
    > > > as a 'regular client' does. But, then, commissions
    > > are only, typically,
    > > > $2000-$5000. Even monetarily the specifiable is
    > > thereby narrowed: the less
    > > > the pay, the less you can specify.
    > > >
    > > > it has been interesting to see rhizome specify
    > > constraints that place the
    > > > work within the rhizome interface as important
    > > parts of the interface.
    > > > interfaces into the artbase, for instance, was one
    > > of the foci, was it not?
    > > >
    > > > chris fahey's piece was a delightful project that
    > > contributed to the
    > > > searchability and experience of the artbase.
    > > >
    > > > i would say you got a deal if you got that for
    > > $5000.
    > > >
    > > > there was coincidence of interest and concern
    > > between rhizome and chris
    > > > fahey.
    > > >
    > > > building web applications like that can be very
    > > expensive in the
    > > > marketplace.
    > > >
    > > > also, there is the question of whether getting web
    > > development on the cheap
    > > > by giving it exposure and platform in an art
    > > context is a worthwhile
    > > > prospect 'politically'.
    > > >
    > > > some would say that if you really want art, don't
    > > make it serve the rhizome
    > > > interface.
    > > >
    > > > fahey's project is a kind of counter-example which
    > > shows the potential value
    > > > of such a focus.
    > > >
    > > > foci of functionality in the rhizome interface
    > > does encourage a kind of funk
    > > > that i like: it is a type of art that bears
    > > relation to google's projects.
    > > >
    > > > in mathematics, number theory has been called 'the
    > > queen of mathematics'
    > > > presumably because it is beautiful and useless. of
    > > course it is useless no
    > > > more: big primes are in the realm of encryption
    > > and number theory.
    > > >
    > > > so too art needn't be useless.
    > > >
    > > > it needn't have a 'use' other than zephyr. and you
    > > bar the zephyr with spec.
    > > > or zephyrs incongruent in interest and concern.
    > > >
    > > > so i think one must admit that foci of
    > > functionality in the rhizome
    > > > interface has yielded some memorable art as well
    > > as a more enjoyable
    > > > interface into the artbase, which the artists
    > > appreciate, but it is not a
    > > > type of project that i would want to embark on
    > > myself, my zephyrs
    > > > incongruent.
    > > >
    > > > so perhaps my note is more a comment on the
    > > phenomenon of defining specs for
    > > > art comptetions that focus on functionality in the
    > > org web site.
    > > >
    > > > are you thinking of specifying such constraints
    > > again or what? apologies if
    > > > i missed the announcement.
    > > >
    > > > ja
    > > > http://vispo.com
    > > >
    > > >
    > > > +
    > > > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > > > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > > > -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
    > > http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > > > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > > > -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is
    > > open to non-members
    > > > +
    > > > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms
    > > set out in the
    > > > Membership Agreement available online at
    > > http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    > > >
    > >
    > > +
    > > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > > -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
    > > http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > > -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is
    > > open to non-members
    > > +
    > > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set
    > > out in the
    > > Membership Agreement available online at
    > http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >
    >
    > __________________________________
    > Do you Yahoo!?
    > Yahoo! SiteBuilder - Free web site building tool. Try it!
    > http://webhosting.yahoo.com/ps/sb/
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is open to non-members
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >

    --
    Pall Thayer
    artist/teacher
    http://www.this.is/pallit
    http://130.208.220.190/
    http://130.208.220.190/nuharm
    http://130.208.220.190/panse
  • JM Haefner | Fri Jan 23rd 2004 11:02 a.m.
    My sense is that things will fall pretty evenly on both sides.

    (0) Some cannot stand the constraints of a theme, or some already work
    within a theme that they don't think can fit in.

    (1) Others love the challenge of a theme or find it easier to work with
    one.

    I prefer (0) theme, but can apply myself to one (1).

    Now . . . , the idea of technical restrictions really does sound
    interesting!

    Jean

    Jean Haefner BFA, MFA
    Artist | Designer | Educator
  • MTAA | Fri Jan 23rd 2004 11:58 a.m.
    On Jan 23, 2004, at 10:02 AM, J. Haefner wrote:

    > My sense is that things will fall pretty evenly on both sides.
    >
    > (0) Some cannot stand the constraints of a theme, or some already work
    > within a theme that they don't think can fit in.

    Yes! This is the main problem. If curators or art orgs (even one's as
    nice as Rhiz) decide to apply themes to art not-yet created we have the
    problem that art is being made that is at least a year or more behind
    what artists are thinking. The artists are leading the thinking, the
    orgs follow behind. It's fine to curate work that is already created
    and pull out themes from the evidence of the work, but to attempt to
    steer artists thinking is always going to miss the mark of what is
    really going on.

    For example, this theme of games, artists who are making cool stuff
    along these lines have been working on it for years already.
    Progressive artists are already onto something else, but we don't know
    what it is as it hasn't surfaced yet.

    Plus, as an artist who is working on ideas that are many times
    un-stylish or not seemingly current, I usually don't have any interest
    at all in the themes. I don't wish to pander to an institution for $$
    and it's dangerous to one's work as it can sidetrack you as you attempt
    to develop a body of work with themes of your own devising.

    My question is: Why do institutions feel the need to slap
    thematic/content restrictions on work they commission?

    >
    > (1) Others love the challenge of a theme or find it easier to work
    > with one.
    >
    > I prefer (0) theme, but can apply myself to one (1).
    >

    ===
    <twhid>
    http://www.mteww.com
    </twhid>
  • JM Haefner | Fri Jan 23rd 2004 12:36 p.m.
    I agree, I think that the games theme is sending me off the path
    somewhat.

    I've been working with interfaces, video/film, and now a little with
    databases but, with different intentions.

    Perhaps I need to redefine what I think is a game. For example, when
    MYST came out, it redefined what we thought of as a "game," and so, I
    think, did SimCity (and other sims).

    I think the institutions are stuck in the "theme" because it makes for
    a nice, tidy show. They didn't do well with such things as Fluxus art,
    because it was messy and couldn't be put into a room (apply virtual
    space here), and look like a matched set of furniture.

    Jean

    Jean Haefner BFA, MFA
    Artist | Designer | Educator
    www.ephemerati.com

    On Friday, January 23, 2004, at 10:58 AM, t.whid wrote:

    > Yes! This is the main problem. If curators or art orgs (even one's as
    > nice as Rhiz) decide to apply themes to art not-yet created we have
    > the problem that art is being made that is at least a year or more
    > behind what artists are thinking. The artists are leading the
    > thinking, the orgs follow behind. It's fine to curate work that is
    > already created and pull out themes from the evidence of the work, but
    > to attempt to steer artists thinking is always going to miss the mark
    > of what is really going on.
    >
    > For example, this theme of games, artists who are making cool stuff
    > along these lines have been working on it for years already.
    > Progressive artists are already onto something else, but we don't know
    > what it is as it hasn't surfaced yet.
    >
    > Plus, as an artist who is working on ideas that are many times
    > un-stylish or not seemingly current, I usually don't have any interest
    > at all in the themes. I don't wish to pander to an institution for $$
    > and it's dangerous to one's work as it can sidetrack you as you
    > attempt to develop a body of work with themes of your own devising.
    >
    > My question is: Why do institutions feel the need to slap
    > thematic/content restrictions on work they commission?
    >
  • Ivan Pope | Fri Jan 23rd 2004 12:52 p.m.
    >
    > Plus, as an artist who is working on ideas that are many times
    > un-stylish or not seemingly current, I usually don't have any interest
    > at all in the themes. I don't wish to pander to an institution for $$
    > and it's dangerous to one's work as it can sidetrack you as you attempt
    > to develop a body of work with themes of your own devising.
    >

    Personally, I'm not above just submitting whatever I've got on the go at the
    time and seeing whether the curators have any idea of their own theme.
    Generaly not. Or they are fishing for whatever comes through the door.

    Consider the current Rhizome call (not to attack it or anything, for
    illustration):

    Artists seeking a Rhizome.org 2004 commission should propose projects that
    ... reflect in some way on the ... interpretations of "game" found at
    Dictionary.com, [which includes]:

    Informal.
    1.. Evasive, trifling, or manipulative behavior: wanted a straight answer,
    not more of their tiresome games.
    2.. A calculated strategy or approach; a scheme: I saw through their game
    from the very beginning.
    Seeing as artists tend to avoid (or should avoid) literality, I would
    suggest it is up to the viewer to decide what the 'theme' of work is.

    Submit it and see.

    Cheers,
    Ivan
  • Jess Loseby | Fri Jan 23rd 2004 1:08 p.m.
    I generally prefer open commissions themes, as usually I have to
    slightly sledge-hammer my ideas to fit themes. Arguably this is down to
    the gap I perceive in what curators look for (in terms of a curatorial
    thematics) for shows and what is actually the wide reaching thematics
    net (and digital) artists. I find it slightly depressing that curators feel that
    only certain themes 'sell' a show and others don't - it shows a lack of
    trust/faith in the artists. I must admit to stifling a yawn when I read the
    theme for the rhizome commission (for example) was games. It not that
    there isn't fantastic work being done in this area, but it (as a thematic) is
    so unrepresentative of the diverse ideas currently explored by net
    artists. I worry that high profile commissions sticking to these 'safe'
    areas simply re-enforce the (misguided) notion that net (digital) art is
    simply PS2's slightly eccentric sister. o
    /^ rssgallery.com
    ][
  • patrick lichty | Fri Jan 23rd 2004 1:12 p.m.
    > My sense is that things will fall pretty evenly on both sides.
    >
    > (0) Some cannot stand the constraints of a theme, or some already work

    > within a theme that they don't think can fit in.

    This is the main problem. If curators or art orgs (even one's as
    nice as Rhiz) decide to apply themes to art not-yet created we have the
    problem that art is being made that is at least a year or more behind
    what artists are thinking. The artists are leading the thinking, the
    orgs follow behind. It's fine to curate work that is already created
    and pull out themes from the evidence of the work, but to attempt to
    steer artists thinking is always going to miss the mark of what is
    really going on.

    *************************************
    This appears that what I read is that there should be shows where
    artists should be asked to participate in an exhibition solely on their
    name recognition/historical body of work, etc. with less emphasis on a
    narrative arc from the curatorial staff.

    Being that I've been working with curators, artists, writers, and now
    film makers, my sense of perspective of the ways cultural production
    reaches the masses has been greatly illuminated.

    First of all, I have come to the realization that methods of cultural
    production such as curation, film production, etc., are subject to a set
    of constraints which lessen their hold the further you get from the
    institution. However, there is an inverse correlation to legitimacy as
    well, which is a problem.

    If I am reading this properly in that what is proposed is an
    artist-driven cutting-edge show with little through-line of a narrative
    arc for people to grasp, and that the engagement factor will be driven
    solely by the amazing work of the artists, I can only say that this is a
    weak premise. From an artistic perspective, it abandons the crucial
    element of concept. From an audience perspective, it elides any mnemonic
    for the patron to grasp. From an institutional perspective, it's well
    nigh impossible to get a board to approve such a thing as it's so
    amorphous. From a funding angle, foundations need to have some sort of
    indication of the work that is being produced from the institutions they
    are funding. And, from a curatorial perspective, it's unbelievably
    difficult from the perspective as to how one would have a bunch of
    artists, probably going in separate directions, doing their own thing,
    probably in discord with one another.

    I try to curate shows that have a higher standard than many independents
    from a scholarly and conceptual perspective, but from my experience with
    curatorial practice/interfacing with large institutions, metanarrative
    is essential as a form of mnemonic so that they and the audience can
    better engage with what's being shown.
    ************************************************

    My question is: Why do institutions feel the need to slap
    thematic/content restrictions on work they commission?

    My first reaction was: "You're not serious, are you?" Mainly due to
    institutional constraints that call for accountability for the use of
    the funds, as well as the fundraising process, bureaucracy of arranging
    shows, publicity, creating support material and so on, you really have
    to have a narrative of some sort to get people to sign on, or just to
    understand and want to see the show itself. Art is a fairly niche
    culture, and net art is still a very, very small subset of that niche.
    To propose that the artist should be placed in control of the
    institutional agenda is a really interesting, if almost completely
    untenable idea.

    From a practical perspective, I would see just throwing money out to
    artists and having them participate in shows/commission processes
    without some sort of theme would be relatively unsuccessful.

    I understand that the institution has its problems, but I now understand
    much better why they have these problems. Much like the hierarchical
    nature of humanity, I'm beginning to come to accept that many of the
    agendas that we are railing against as artists aren't going away anytime
    soon. The institution has its reasons for doing what it does (good or
    otherwise, but for what it does, they're valid from a pragmatic sense).

    The issue here is while it is quite exciting to do an independent
    curatorial program, it loses legitimacy the further you get from the
    institution unless it is backed up by solid scholarship, or if it is
    done with such professionalism that it refutes the institution itself.

    I think that independent curation is one of the most exciting areas that
    the Internet is offering the art community, but like blogs, these shows
    are proving hit or miss, but are excellent in their willingness to
    experiment.

    ++++++++++++
    In short, I've found that you need a theme to get people to back your
    project and to get people to understand the works better.
  • MTAA | Fri Jan 23rd 2004 2:08 p.m.
    On Jan 23, 2004, at 12:12 PM, patrick lichty wrote:

    >
    >> My sense is that things will fall pretty evenly on both sides.
    >>
    >> (0) Some cannot stand the constraints of a theme, or some already work
    >
    >> within a theme that they don't think can fit in.
    >
    > This is the main problem. If curators or art orgs (even one's as
    > nice as Rhiz) decide to apply themes to art not-yet created we have the
    > problem that art is being made that is at least a year or more behind
    > what artists are thinking. The artists are leading the thinking, the
    > orgs follow behind. It's fine to curate work that is already created
    > and pull out themes from the evidence of the work, but to attempt to
    > steer artists thinking is always going to miss the mark of what is
    > really going on.
    >
    > *************************************
    > This appears that what I read is that there should be shows where
    > artists should be asked to participate in an exhibition solely on their
    > name recognition/historical body of work, etc. with less emphasis on a
    > narrative arc from the curatorial staff.

    Well, I'm talking about commissions, not shows. Apologies if that
    wasn't clear. It's obvious to me that when a curator puts together a
    *group show* it's in everyone's best interest to apply some sort of
    theme to it or it becomes --and this is m.river's label-- the Shotgun
    Show (as in, it's scattered). A theme adds to the work and the viewer's
    understanding of it.

    But when you have an open call for commissions, that is, *new work* one
    needs to ask themselves what is more important:

    some sort of thematic continuity to these artworks? (And if this is
    important, why is it important?)

    ~or~

    good artwork.
    (singular artworks which are driven by the thoughts and concerns of the
    artists instead of the org holding the cash)

    My point is that artists are always the one's driving the important
    things happening in the artworld. And we would get better commissions
    if the art orgs realized this.

    There are plenty of granting bodies who solicit proposals with no
    thematic or content requirements. To name some: Creative Capital,
    Turbulence, NYFFA, etc.

    The main problem seems to be the idea that you'll kill two birds with
    one stone. You'll commission new artwork, while at the same time put
    together a thematic exhibition and IMO the two are exclusive.

    >
    > Being that I've been working with curators, artists, writers, and now
    > film makers, my sense of perspective of the ways cultural production
    > reaches the masses has been greatly illuminated.
    >
    > First of all, I have come to the realization that methods of cultural
    > production such as curation, film production, etc., are subject to a
    > set
    > of constraints which lessen their hold the further you get from the
    > institution. However, there is an inverse correlation to legitimacy as
    > well, which is a problem.
    >
    > If I am reading this properly in that what is proposed is an
    > artist-driven cutting-edge show with little through-line of a narrative
    > arc for people to grasp, and that the engagement factor will be driven
    > solely by the amazing work of the artists, I can only say that this is
    > a
    > weak premise. From an artistic perspective, it abandons the crucial
    > element of concept. From an audience perspective, it elides any
    > mnemonic
    > for the patron to grasp. From an institutional perspective, it's well
    > nigh impossible to get a board to approve such a thing as it's so
    > amorphous. From a funding angle, foundations need to have some sort of
    > indication of the work that is being produced from the institutions
    > they
    > are funding. And, from a curatorial perspective, it's unbelievably
    > difficult from the perspective as to how one would have a bunch of
    > artists, probably going in separate directions, doing their own thing,
    > probably in discord with one another.
    >
    > I try to curate shows that have a higher standard than many
    > independents
    > from a scholarly and conceptual perspective, but from my experience
    > with
    > curatorial practice/interfacing with large institutions, metanarrative
    > is essential as a form of mnemonic so that they and the audience can
    > better engage with what's being shown.
    > ************************************************
    >
    > My question is: Why do institutions feel the need to slap
    > thematic/content restrictions on work they commission?
    >
    > My first reaction was: "You're not serious, are you?" Mainly due to
    > institutional constraints that call for accountability for the use of
    > the funds, as well as the fundraising process, bureaucracy of arranging
    > shows, publicity, creating support material and so on, you really have
    > to have a narrative of some sort to get people to sign on, or just to
    > understand and want to see the show itself. Art is a fairly niche
    > culture, and net art is still a very, very small subset of that niche.
    > To propose that the artist should be placed in control of the
    > institutional agenda is a really interesting, if almost completely
    > untenable idea.
    >
    >> From a practical perspective, I would see just throwing money out to
    > artists and having them participate in shows/commission processes
    > without some sort of theme would be relatively unsuccessful.
    >
    > I understand that the institution has its problems, but I now
    > understand
    > much better why they have these problems. Much like the hierarchical
    > nature of humanity, I'm beginning to come to accept that many of the
    > agendas that we are railing against as artists aren't going away
    > anytime
    > soon. The institution has its reasons for doing what it does (good or
    > otherwise, but for what it does, they're valid from a pragmatic sense).
    >
    > The issue here is while it is quite exciting to do an independent
    > curatorial program, it loses legitimacy the further you get from the
    > institution unless it is backed up by solid scholarship, or if it is
    > done with such professionalism that it refutes the institution itself.
    >
    > I think that independent curation is one of the most exciting areas
    > that
    > the Internet is offering the art community, but like blogs, these shows
    > are proving hit or miss, but are excellent in their willingness to
    > experiment.
    >
    > ++++++++++++
    > In short, I've found that you need a theme to get people to back your
    > project and to get people to understand the works better.

    ===
    <twhid>
    http://www.mteww.com
    </twhid>
  • Lee Wells | Fri Jan 23rd 2004 2:15 p.m.
    Hey Pall,

    Please know I was not trying to offend with my statement last night.
    Your work is great and I am sure whatever it is that you would propose would
    have a forward influence within progressive media.

    In defense of the the theme.
    You totally get to make something new.

    Cheers,
    Lee

    on 1/23/04 6:34, Pall Thayer at palli@pallit.lhi.is wrote:

    > That's funny, I just finished writing a post that says the same thing. I
    > would prefer technical themes over conceptual. I even stated as examples a
    > 7k applet or 15 second movie. So I've decided not to send that message
    > since it's all been said twice now. But I did want to respond to Lee that
    > I do and learn something new everyday and I don't need someone elses
    > themes to do that. For instance, I recently learned how I can use live
    > seismic data to control audio/visuals. A new project is on my to-do list.
    > But if a commission pops up with a theme of "visualizing seismic data",
    > I'm all over it.
    >
    > Pall
    >
    >
    > On Fri, 23 Jan 2004, Michael Szpakowski wrote:
    >
    >> I've been a bit out of it & not really following
    >> things properly but I did want to add my
    >> threepenn'orth
    >> to this- if I'm out of touch with the ebb & flow of
    >> the thread forgive me.
    >> A completely personal & subjective reaction but I
    >> *love* restrictions - I find they really stimulate my
    >> imagination. Having said that it tends to be
    >> *technical* restrictions that really get me going -
    >> I personally love things like 5k.org and ten second
    >> films.com , where you're fighting the intractibility
    >> of the technical brief but the subject matter is your
    >> own.
    >> FInally I agree 100% about collaborations -I love
    >> them, I do as many as I reasonably can & it would be
    >> nice to encourage more both because I think they're
    >> aesthetically of interest but also because they break
    >> down a lot of the unecessary and harmful barriers
    >> between artists that our competitive world constantly
    >> fosters and renews
    >> as I say, just my feelings,
    >> best
    >> michael
    >> --- Lee Wells <lee@leewells.org> wrote:
    >>> Yah....
    >>> Put the chains on all of us.
    >>> I am just into this thing for a number 1
    >>> Please make the check out to ______________________.
    >>>
    >>>
    >>> on 1/22/04 3:17, Jim Andrews at jim@vispo.com wrote:
    >>>
    >>>>
    >>>>> I am interested in finding out from artists who
    >>> seek commissions...
    >>>>>
    >>>>> Do you prefer when there is a theme to the
    >>> commissions or if the CFP (call
    >>>>> for proposals) is completely open? I would assume
    >>> the latter but want some
    >>>>> feedback. Thanks, Rachel
    >>>>
    >>>> if there is coincidence of interest and concern,
    >>> that bodes well for
    >>>> meaningful communication between artist and
    >>> 'client'.
    >>>>
    >>>> yet is 'artist-client' the relationship? yes and
    >>> no. no, in the sense that
    >>>> the 'client' does not specify anywhere near as
    >>> definitively what they want
    >>>> as a 'regular client' does. But, then, commissions
    >>> are only, typically,
    >>>> $2000-$5000. Even monetarily the specifiable is
    >>> thereby narrowed: the less
    >>>> the pay, the less you can specify.
    >>>>
    >>>> it has been interesting to see rhizome specify
    >>> constraints that place the
    >>>> work within the rhizome interface as important
    >>> parts of the interface.
    >>>> interfaces into the artbase, for instance, was one
    >>> of the foci, was it not?
    >>>>
    >>>> chris fahey's piece was a delightful project that
    >>> contributed to the
    >>>> searchability and experience of the artbase.
    >>>>
    >>>> i would say you got a deal if you got that for
    >>> $5000.
    >>>>
    >>>> there was coincidence of interest and concern
    >>> between rhizome and chris
    >>>> fahey.
    >>>>
    >>>> building web applications like that can be very
    >>> expensive in the
    >>>> marketplace.
    >>>>
    >>>> also, there is the question of whether getting web
    >>> development on the cheap
    >>>> by giving it exposure and platform in an art
    >>> context is a worthwhile
    >>>> prospect 'politically'.
    >>>>
    >>>> some would say that if you really want art, don't
    >>> make it serve the rhizome
    >>>> interface.
    >>>>
    >>>> fahey's project is a kind of counter-example which
    >>> shows the potential value
    >>>> of such a focus.
    >>>>
    >>>> foci of functionality in the rhizome interface
    >>> does encourage a kind of funk
    >>>> that i like: it is a type of art that bears
    >>> relation to google's projects.
    >>>>
    >>>> in mathematics, number theory has been called 'the
    >>> queen of mathematics'
    >>>> presumably because it is beautiful and useless. of
    >>> course it is useless no
    >>>> more: big primes are in the realm of encryption
    >>> and number theory.
    >>>>
    >>>> so too art needn't be useless.
    >>>>
    >>>> it needn't have a 'use' other than zephyr. and you
    >>> bar the zephyr with spec.
    >>>> or zephyrs incongruent in interest and concern.
    >>>>
    >>>> so i think one must admit that foci of
    >>> functionality in the rhizome
    >>>> interface has yielded some memorable art as well
    >>> as a more enjoyable
    >>>> interface into the artbase, which the artists
    >>> appreciate, but it is not a
    >>>> type of project that i would want to embark on
    >>> myself, my zephyrs
    >>>> incongruent.
    >>>>
    >>>> so perhaps my note is more a comment on the
    >>> phenomenon of defining specs for
    >>>> art comptetions that focus on functionality in the
    >>> org web site.
    >>>>
    >>>> are you thinking of specifying such constraints
    >>> again or what? apologies if
    >>>> i missed the announcement.
    >>>>
    >>>> ja
    >>>> http://vispo.com
    >>>>
    >>>>
    >>>> +
    >>>> -> post: list@rhizome.org
    >>>> -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    >>>> -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
    >>> http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    >>>> -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    >>>> -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is
    >>> open to non-members
    >>>> +
    >>>> Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms
    >>> set out in the
    >>>> Membership Agreement available online at
    >>> http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >>>>
    >>>
    >>> +
    >>> -> post: list@rhizome.org
    >>> -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    >>> -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
    >>> http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    >>> -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    >>> -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is
    >>> open to non-members
    >>> +
    >>> Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set
    >>> out in the
    >>> Membership Agreement available online at
    >> http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >>
    >>
    >> __________________________________
    >> Do you Yahoo!?
    >> Yahoo! SiteBuilder - Free web site building tool. Try it!
    >> http://webhosting.yahoo.com/ps/sb/
    >> +
    >> -> post: list@rhizome.org
    >> -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    >> -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    >> -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    >> -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is open to non-members
    >> +
    >> Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    >> Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >>
  • nicholas economos | Fri Jan 23rd 2004 2:26 p.m.
    hello,
    themes don't necessarily encourage collaboration anymore than the lack of one hinders working together on a project. if you need a theme to motivate you and there is an open CFP for commissions, you can make up your own. I agree with t.whid, themes run the risk of excluding un-stylish yet relevant work.
    nicholas economos

    Ivan Pope wrote:

    > >
    > > Plus, as an artist who is working on ideas that are many times
    > > un-stylish or not seemingly current, I usually don't have any
    > interest
    > > at all in the themes. I don't wish to pander to an institution for
    > $$
    > > and it's dangerous to one's work as it can sidetrack you as you
    > attempt
    > > to develop a body of work with themes of your own devising.
    > >
    >
    > Personally, I'm not above just submitting whatever I've got on the go
    > at the
    > time and seeing whether the curators have any idea of their own
    > theme.
    > Generaly not. Or they are fishing for whatever comes through the door.
    >
    > Consider the current Rhizome call (not to attack it or anything, for
    > illustration):
    >
    > Artists seeking a Rhizome.org 2004 commission should propose projects
    > that
    > ... reflect in some way on the ... interpretations of "game" found
    > at
    > Dictionary.com, [which includes]:
    >
    > Informal.
    > 1.. Evasive, trifling, or manipulative behavior: wanted a straight
    > answer,
    > not more of their tiresome games.
    > 2.. A calculated strategy or approach; a scheme: I saw through their
    > game
    > from the very beginning.
    > Seeing as artists tend to avoid (or should avoid) literality, I would
    > suggest it is up to the viewer to decide what the 'theme' of work is.
    >
    > Submit it and see.
    >
    > Cheers,
    > Ivan
    >
    >
  • Lee Wells | Fri Jan 23rd 2004 2:35 p.m.
    Like I was saying games is not a theme.

    on 1/23/04 11:36, J. Haefner at webgrrrl@mac.com wrote:

    > I agree, I think that the games theme is sending me off the path
    > somewhat.
    >
    > I've been working with interfaces, video/film, and now a little with
    > databases but, with different intentions.
    >
    > Perhaps I need to redefine what I think is a game. For example, when
    > MYST came out, it redefined what we thought of as a "game," and so, I
    > think, did SimCity (and other sims).
    >
    > I think the institutions are stuck in the "theme" because it makes for
    > a nice, tidy show. They didn't do well with such things as Fluxus art,
    > because it was messy and couldn't be put into a room (apply virtual
    > space here), and look like a matched set of furniture.
    >
    > Jean
    >
    > Jean Haefner BFA, MFA
    > Artist | Designer | Educator
    > www.ephemerati.com
    >
    >
    > On Friday, January 23, 2004, at 10:58 AM, t.whid wrote:
    >
    >> Yes! This is the main problem. If curators or art orgs (even one's as
    >> nice as Rhiz) decide to apply themes to art not-yet created we have
    >> the problem that art is being made that is at least a year or more
    >> behind what artists are thinking. The artists are leading the
    >> thinking, the orgs follow behind. It's fine to curate work that is
    >> already created and pull out themes from the evidence of the work, but
    >> to attempt to steer artists thinking is always going to miss the mark
    >> of what is really going on.
    >>
    >> For example, this theme of games, artists who are making cool stuff
    >> along these lines have been working on it for years already.
    >> Progressive artists are already onto something else, but we don't know
    >> what it is as it hasn't surfaced yet.
    >>
    >> Plus, as an artist who is working on ideas that are many times
    >> un-stylish or not seemingly current, I usually don't have any interest
    >> at all in the themes. I don't wish to pander to an institution for $$
    >> and it's dangerous to one's work as it can sidetrack you as you
    >> attempt to develop a body of work with themes of your own devising.
    >>
    >> My question is: Why do institutions feel the need to slap
    >> thematic/content restrictions on work they commission?
    >>
    >
  • Lee Wells | Fri Jan 23rd 2004 2:37 p.m.
    Are you all in it for the money?
    Are you in it for the Love?
    Are you all in it for the attention?
    Are you all in it for the competition?

    on 1/23/04 11:54, Ivan Pope at ivan@ivanpope.com wrote:

    >>
    >> Plus, as an artist who is working on ideas that are many times
    >> un-stylish or not seemingly current, I usually don't have any interest
    >> at all in the themes. I don't wish to pander to an institution for $$
    >> and it's dangerous to one's work as it can sidetrack you as you attempt
    >> to develop a body of work with themes of your own devising.
    >>
    >
    > Personally, I'm not above just submitting whatever I've got on the go at the
    > time and seeing whether the curators have any idea of their own theme.
    > Generaly not. Or they are fishing for whatever comes through the door.
    >
    > Consider the current Rhizome call (not to attack it or anything, for
    > illustration):
    >
    > Artists seeking a Rhizome.org 2004 commission should propose projects that
    > ... reflect in some way on the ... interpretations of "game" found at
    > Dictionary.com, [which includes]:
    >
    > Informal.
    > 1.. Evasive, trifling, or manipulative behavior: wanted a straight answer,
    > not more of their tiresome games.
    > 2.. A calculated strategy or approach; a scheme: I saw through their game
    > from the very beginning.
    > Seeing as artists tend to avoid (or should avoid) literality, I would
    > suggest it is up to the viewer to decide what the 'theme' of work is.
    >
    > Submit it and see.
    >
    > Cheers,
    > Ivan
    >
    >
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  • patrick lichty | Fri Jan 23rd 2004 2:42 p.m.
    Ok, got it.
    The problem in the case of funded commissions is that the upstream
    funder usually requires a framework to put those resources under so they
    can earmark, justify, etc.

    Patrick Lichty
    Editor-In-Chief
    Intelligent Agent Magazine
    http://www.intelligentagent.com
    355 Seyburn Dr.
    Baton Rouge, LA 70808

    -----Original Message-----
    From: owner-list@rhizome.org [mailto:owner-list@rhizome.org] On Behalf
    Of t.whid
    Sent: Friday, January 23, 2004 12:08 PM
    To: list@rhizome.org
    Subject: Re: RHIZOME_RAW: Question for artists who seek commissions

    On Jan 23, 2004, at 12:12 PM, patrick lichty wrote:

    >
    >> My sense is that things will fall pretty evenly on both sides.
    >>
    >> (0) Some cannot stand the constraints of a theme, or some already
    work
    >
    >> within a theme that they don't think can fit in.
    >
    > This is the main problem. If curators or art orgs (even one's as
    > nice as Rhiz) decide to apply themes to art not-yet created we have
    the
    > problem that art is being made that is at least a year or more behind
    > what artists are thinking. The artists are leading the thinking, the
    > orgs follow behind. It's fine to curate work that is already created
    > and pull out themes from the evidence of the work, but to attempt to
    > steer artists thinking is always going to miss the mark of what is
    > really going on.
    >
    > *************************************
    > This appears that what I read is that there should be shows where
    > artists should be asked to participate in an exhibition solely on
    their
    > name recognition/historical body of work, etc. with less emphasis on a
    > narrative arc from the curatorial staff.

    Well, I'm talking about commissions, not shows. Apologies if that
    wasn't clear. It's obvious to me that when a curator puts together a
    *group show* it's in everyone's best interest to apply some sort of
    theme to it or it becomes --and this is m.river's label-- the Shotgun
    Show (as in, it's scattered). A theme adds to the work and the viewer's
    understanding of it.

    But when you have an open call for commissions, that is, *new work* one
    needs to ask themselves what is more important:

    some sort of thematic continuity to these artworks? (And if this is
    important, why is it important?)

    ~or~

    good artwork.
    (singular artworks which are driven by the thoughts and concerns of the
    artists instead of the org holding the cash)

    My point is that artists are always the one's driving the important
    things happening in the artworld. And we would get better commissions
    if the art orgs realized this.

    There are plenty of granting bodies who solicit proposals with no
    thematic or content requirements. To name some: Creative Capital,
    Turbulence, NYFFA, etc.

    The main problem seems to be the idea that you'll kill two birds with
    one stone. You'll commission new artwork, while at the same time put
    together a thematic exhibition and IMO the two are exclusive.

    >
    > Being that I've been working with curators, artists, writers, and now
    > film makers, my sense of perspective of the ways cultural production
    > reaches the masses has been greatly illuminated.
    >
    > First of all, I have come to the realization that methods of cultural
    > production such as curation, film production, etc., are subject to a
    > set
    > of constraints which lessen their hold the further you get from the
    > institution. However, there is an inverse correlation to legitimacy
    as
    > well, which is a problem.
    >
    > If I am reading this properly in that what is proposed is an
    > artist-driven cutting-edge show with little through-line of a
    narrative
    > arc for people to grasp, and that the engagement factor will be driven
    > solely by the amazing work of the artists, I can only say that this is

    > a
    > weak premise. From an artistic perspective, it abandons the crucial
    > element of concept. From an audience perspective, it elides any
    > mnemonic
    > for the patron to grasp. From an institutional perspective, it's well
    > nigh impossible to get a board to approve such a thing as it's so
    > amorphous. From a funding angle, foundations need to have some sort of
    > indication of the work that is being produced from the institutions
    > they
    > are funding. And, from a curatorial perspective, it's unbelievably
    > difficult from the perspective as to how one would have a bunch of
    > artists, probably going in separate directions, doing their own thing,
    > probably in discord with one another.
    >
    > I try to curate shows that have a higher standard than many
    > independents
    > from a scholarly and conceptual perspective, but from my experience
    > with
    > curatorial practice/interfacing with large institutions, metanarrative
    > is essential as a form of mnemonic so that they and the audience can
    > better engage with what's being shown.
    > ************************************************
    >
    > My question is: Why do institutions feel the need to slap
    > thematic/content restrictions on work they commission?
    >
    > My first reaction was: "You're not serious, are you?" Mainly due to
    > institutional constraints that call for accountability for the use of
    > the funds, as well as the fundraising process, bureaucracy of
    arranging
    > shows, publicity, creating support material and so on, you really have
    > to have a narrative of some sort to get people to sign on, or just to
    > understand and want to see the show itself. Art is a fairly niche
    > culture, and net art is still a very, very small subset of that niche.
    > To propose that the artist should be placed in control of the
    > institutional agenda is a really interesting, if almost completely
    > untenable idea.
    >
    >> From a practical perspective, I would see just throwing money out to
    > artists and having them participate in shows/commission processes
    > without some sort of theme would be relatively unsuccessful.
    >
    > I understand that the institution has its problems, but I now
    > understand
    > much better why they have these problems. Much like the hierarchical
    > nature of humanity, I'm beginning to come to accept that many of the
    > agendas that we are railing against as artists aren't going away
    > anytime
    > soon. The institution has its reasons for doing what it does (good or
    > otherwise, but for what it does, they're valid from a pragmatic
    sense).
    >
    > The issue here is while it is quite exciting to do an independent
    > curatorial program, it loses legitimacy the further you get from the
    > institution unless it is backed up by solid scholarship, or if it is
    > done with such professionalism that it refutes the institution itself.
    >
    > I think that independent curation is one of the most exciting areas
    > that
    > the Internet is offering the art community, but like blogs, these
    shows
    > are proving hit or miss, but are excellent in their willingness to
    > experiment.
    >
    > ++++++++++++
    > In short, I've found that you need a theme to get people to back your
    > project and to get people to understand the works better.

    ===
    <twhid>
    http://www.mteww.com
    </twhid>

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  • Lee Wells | Fri Jan 23rd 2004 2:48 p.m.
    I agree as well.
    Now that Rhizome is hooked up with the New Museum maybe a little curatorial
    assistance is called for.

    Remember the movie War Games with Matthew Broderick, Dabney Coleman and
    Alley Sheedy. 1983.

    The computer asked "Want to play a game?"
    and he chose Global Thermal Nuclear War.

    The game now should be "Save the World from slow death."

    I guess what I am saying is; how can conceptually theme based commissions,
    grants and exhibitions support progressive issues and ideas. In turn raising
    an awareness not only in our own community of Rhizome but to the larger
    society at large. Be it through word of mouth or CNBC and CNN.

    Cheers,
    Lee
    on 1/23/04 12:06, Jess Loseby at jess@rssgallery.com wrote:

    > I generally prefer open commissions themes, as usually I have to
    > slightly sledge-hammer my ideas to fit themes. Arguably this is down to
    > the gap I perceive in what curators look for (in terms of a curatorial
    > thematics) for shows and what is actually the wide reaching thematics
    > net (and digital) artists. I find it slightly depressing that curators feel
    > that
    > only certain themes 'sell' a show and others don't - it shows a lack of
    > trust/faith in the artists. I must admit to stifling a yawn when I read the
    > theme for the rhizome commission (for example) was games. It not that
    > there isn't fantastic work being done in this area, but it (as a thematic) is
    > so unrepresentative of the diverse ideas currently explored by net
    > artists. I worry that high profile commissions sticking to these 'safe'
    > areas simply re-enforce the (misguided) notion that net (digital) art is
    > simply PS2's slightly eccentric sister. o
    > /^ rssgallery.com
    > ][
    >
    >
    >
    > +
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    >
  • patrick lichty | Fri Jan 23rd 2004 2:58 p.m.
    Are you all in it for the money?

    I would like to live at what I'm supposed to do.

    Are you in it for the Love?

    Absolutely.

    Are you all in it for the attention?

    Not in the narcissistic sense. Probably as a secondary means to the
    ends.

    Are you all in it for the competition?

    Absolutely not. I hate competition. However, as a good colleague once
    said, competition and hierarchy not going anywhere. We have to try to
    make what changes we can and try to make it better for us all.
  • void void | Fri Jan 23rd 2004 3:30 p.m.
    totally open themes

    And I'm not being a smarty pants!

    themes help curators put together a "SHOW" instead of a mess.
    but narrow themes should not be put to open call but invitation.

    my humble opinion!

    AE04.
  • Humberto Ramirez | Fri Jan 23rd 2004 4:04 p.m.
    The "theme" is always a facilitating focusing devise as a well as an import=
    ant way of creating communities around specific issues.
  • curt cloninger | Fri Jan 23rd 2004 4:23 p.m.
    My proplem isn't with themes per se, but with the type of themes that most "new media" grants and shows are about:
    1. gaming
    2. telepresence
    3. identity
    4. globalization
    5. code
    6. surveilance
    7. data visualization

    They're all so geekily techno. Like using computers to make art means that the art you make will always be about computers. Like using a network to make art means your art will always be about the network. As if sculpting is about clay and photography is about lenses. Chalk the problem up to a nascent/emergent medium ever staring self-consciously at itself in the mirror like a pre-pubescent girl waiting to see what develops; compounded by a kind of Wired-esque, extropian techno-utopianism; compounded by the post-structuralist obligation to have all one's art in hyper-aware dialogue with its own context; compounded by some implicit politically correct morality that says a work of art has to engage in some heavy-handed, issues-oriented dialectic for it to be worth commissioning as imporant.

    On the other hand, themes like "intimacy" or "ephemrality" or "whimsy" or "culture shock" or "wilderness," etc. don't force any specific genre or approach. They are topical, not procedural or process-specific. And refreshingly, they don't really have anything to do with technology per se, or even current events.

    The problem is, most contemporary new media artists aren't encouraged to pursue their work along such "personal/human" lines. Being personal and human is not the next new thing, and it may even be part of a bourgeois plot to keep us subversive artists from contaminating the political arena with our wack-wack-wacky tactical stunts.

    I find myself agreeing with T. Whid. Better to drill down and pursue whatever [off-]topic themes you are personally into and stay true to those things. Then if a themed commission arises that lines up with your interests, lucky you. If not, you've still got your day job. You didn't quit it, did you?
  • Pall Thayer | Fri Jan 23rd 2004 4:41 p.m.
    Hi Lee,

    I realize my post may have sounded a little harsh but that was not the
    intention. I took no offense in your statement, just wanted to make sure
    that people wouldn't conclude that "make something new, learn something new"
    didn't necessarily mean that you can't do that if you don't accept others
    themes.

    However, I don't believe that making something entirely new necessarily =
    progress.

    ps. Thanks for saying my work is great. Love you forever for that.

    Pall

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Lee Wells" <lee@leewells.org>
    To: "Pall Thayer" <palli@pallit.lhi.is>; "Michael Szpakowski"
    <szpako@yahoo.com>
    Cc: <list@rhizome.org>
    Sent: Friday, January 23, 2004 6:07 PM
    Subject: Re: RHIZOME_RAW: Question for artists who seek commissions

    > Hey Pall,
    >
    > Please know I was not trying to offend with my statement last night.
    > Your work is great and I am sure whatever it is that you would propose
    would
    > have a forward influence within progressive media.
    >
    > In defense of the the theme.
    > You totally get to make something new.
    >
    > Cheers,
    > Lee
    >
    > on 1/23/04 6:34, Pall Thayer at palli@pallit.lhi.is wrote:
    >
    > > That's funny, I just finished writing a post that says the same thing. I
    > > would prefer technical themes over conceptual. I even stated as examples
    a
    > > 7k applet or 15 second movie. So I've decided not to send that message
    > > since it's all been said twice now. But I did want to respond to Lee
    that
    > > I do and learn something new everyday and I don't need someone elses
    > > themes to do that. For instance, I recently learned how I can use live
    > > seismic data to control audio/visuals. A new project is on my to-do
    list.
    > > But if a commission pops up with a theme of "visualizing seismic data",
    > > I'm all over it.
    > >
    > > Pall
    > >
    > >
    > > On Fri, 23 Jan 2004, Michael Szpakowski wrote:
    > >
    > >> I've been a bit out of it & not really following
    > >> things properly but I did want to add my
    > >> threepenn'orth
    > >> to this- if I'm out of touch with the ebb & flow of
    > >> the thread forgive me.
    > >> A completely personal & subjective reaction but I
    > >> *love* restrictions - I find they really stimulate my
    > >> imagination. Having said that it tends to be
    > >> *technical* restrictions that really get me going -
    > >> I personally love things like 5k.org and ten second
    > >> films.com , where you're fighting the intractibility
    > >> of the technical brief but the subject matter is your
    > >> own.
    > >> FInally I agree 100% about collaborations -I love
    > >> them, I do as many as I reasonably can & it would be
    > >> nice to encourage more both because I think they're
    > >> aesthetically of interest but also because they break
    > >> down a lot of the unecessary and harmful barriers
    > >> between artists that our competitive world constantly
    > >> fosters and renews
    > >> as I say, just my feelings,
    > >> best
    > >> michael
    > >> --- Lee Wells <lee@leewells.org> wrote:
    > >>> Yah....
    > >>> Put the chains on all of us.
    > >>> I am just into this thing for a number 1
    > >>> Please make the check out to ______________________.
    > >>>
    > >>>
    > >>> on 1/22/04 3:17, Jim Andrews at jim@vispo.com wrote:
    > >>>
    > >>>>
    > >>>>> I am interested in finding out from artists who
    > >>> seek commissions...
    > >>>>>
    > >>>>> Do you prefer when there is a theme to the
    > >>> commissions or if the CFP (call
    > >>>>> for proposals) is completely open? I would assume
    > >>> the latter but want some
    > >>>>> feedback. Thanks, Rachel
    > >>>>
    > >>>> if there is coincidence of interest and concern,
    > >>> that bodes well for
    > >>>> meaningful communication between artist and
    > >>> 'client'.
    > >>>>
    > >>>> yet is 'artist-client' the relationship? yes and
    > >>> no. no, in the sense that
    > >>>> the 'client' does not specify anywhere near as
    > >>> definitively what they want
    > >>>> as a 'regular client' does. But, then, commissions
    > >>> are only, typically,
    > >>>> $2000-$5000. Even monetarily the specifiable is
    > >>> thereby narrowed: the less
    > >>>> the pay, the less you can specify.
    > >>>>
    > >>>> it has been interesting to see rhizome specify
    > >>> constraints that place the
    > >>>> work within the rhizome interface as important
    > >>> parts of the interface.
    > >>>> interfaces into the artbase, for instance, was one
    > >>> of the foci, was it not?
    > >>>>
    > >>>> chris fahey's piece was a delightful project that
    > >>> contributed to the
    > >>>> searchability and experience of the artbase.
    > >>>>
    > >>>> i would say you got a deal if you got that for
    > >>> $5000.
    > >>>>
    > >>>> there was coincidence of interest and concern
    > >>> between rhizome and chris
    > >>>> fahey.
    > >>>>
    > >>>> building web applications like that can be very
    > >>> expensive in the
    > >>>> marketplace.
    > >>>>
    > >>>> also, there is the question of whether getting web
    > >>> development on the cheap
    > >>>> by giving it exposure and platform in an art
    > >>> context is a worthwhile
    > >>>> prospect 'politically'.
    > >>>>
    > >>>> some would say that if you really want art, don't
    > >>> make it serve the rhizome
    > >>>> interface.
    > >>>>
    > >>>> fahey's project is a kind of counter-example which
    > >>> shows the potential value
    > >>>> of such a focus.
    > >>>>
    > >>>> foci of functionality in the rhizome interface
    > >>> does encourage a kind of funk
    > >>>> that i like: it is a type of art that bears
    > >>> relation to google's projects.
    > >>>>
    > >>>> in mathematics, number theory has been called 'the
    > >>> queen of mathematics'
    > >>>> presumably because it is beautiful and useless. of
    > >>> course it is useless no
    > >>>> more: big primes are in the realm of encryption
    > >>> and number theory.
    > >>>>
    > >>>> so too art needn't be useless.
    > >>>>
    > >>>> it needn't have a 'use' other than zephyr. and you
    > >>> bar the zephyr with spec.
    > >>>> or zephyrs incongruent in interest and concern.
    > >>>>
    > >>>> so i think one must admit that foci of
    > >>> functionality in the rhizome
    > >>>> interface has yielded some memorable art as well
    > >>> as a more enjoyable
    > >>>> interface into the artbase, which the artists
    > >>> appreciate, but it is not a
    > >>>> type of project that i would want to embark on
    > >>> myself, my zephyrs
    > >>>> incongruent.
    > >>>>
    > >>>> so perhaps my note is more a comment on the
    > >>> phenomenon of defining specs for
    > >>>> art comptetions that focus on functionality in the
    > >>> org web site.
    > >>>>
    > >>>> are you thinking of specifying such constraints
    > >>> again or what? apologies if
    > >>>> i missed the announcement.
    > >>>>
    > >>>> ja
    > >>>> http://vispo.com
    > >>>>
    > >>>>
    > >>>> +
    > >>>> -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > >>>> -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > >>>> -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
    > >>> http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
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    > >>>> -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is
    > >>> open to non-members
    > >>>> +
    > >>>> Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms
    > >>> set out in the
    > >>>> Membership Agreement available online at
    > >>> http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    > >>>>
    > >>>
    > >>> +
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    > >>
    > >>
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  • Lee Wells | Sat Jan 24th 2004 12:33 a.m.
    I agree
    the Rhizome community need more community

    Just my slightly jaded opinion.

    on 1/23/04 15:04, Humberto Ramirez at humbertoramirez@verizon.net wrote:

    The "theme" is always a facilitating focusing devise as a well as an
    important way of creating communities around specific issues.
  • Eduardo Navas | Sun Jan 25th 2004 5:10 p.m.
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "curt cloninger" <curt@lab404.com>
    Chalk the problem up to a nascent/emergent medium ever staring
    self-consciously at itself in the mirror like a pre-pubescent girl waiting
    to see what develops; compounded by a kind of Wired-esque, extropian
    techno-utopianism; compounded by the post-structuralist obligation to have
    all one's art in hyper-aware dialogue with its own context; compounded by
    some implicit politically correct morality that says a work of art has to
    engage in some heavy-handed, issues-oriented dialectic for it to be worth
    commissioning as imporant.
    >
    -------------------

    My response:
    Interesting point. I would say we are moving away from this positioning,
    however. To critique the poststrutural platform is to be looking at the
    past. We should check out what is actually being considered right now.
    Check out After Theory by Terry Eagleton:
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0465017738/qid75064547/sr=2-1/ref=
    sr_2_1/104-4305972-3505503

    Although I have reservations on some of his views, I do think Eagleton does
    propose a push to move on. Check it out. Also, the term "poststructuralism"
    at this point functions much like the term "postmodernism" -- completely
    part of an epistemology that is no longer helpful for our times, but rather
    can be used to better understand the development of ideas.

    > I find myself agreeing with T. Whid. Better to drill down and pursue
    whatever [off-]topic themes you are personally into and stay true to those
    things. Then if a themed commission arises that lines up with your
    interests, lucky you. If not, you've still got your day job. You didn't
    quit it, did you?
    ----------------

    my response:

    I agree with this. I think artists should do what they are going to do
    because they want to, first and foremost. If shows come up that happen to
    fit their current development, so much the better. These exhibits or
    proposals could at times be more technical or more concept oriented. The
    challenge is for the work to hold its integrity regardless of what point of
    view is taken as the entry point. With time other layers of meaning should
    start to surface...

    Best,

    Eduardo
    :)
  • Ivan Pope | Mon Jan 26th 2004 5:27 a.m.
    Just for the record, I didn't write the first bit:
    >
    > Ivan Pope wrote:
    >
    > > >
    > > > Plus, as an artist who is working on ideas that are many times
    > > > un-stylish or not seemingly current, I usually don't have any
    > > interest
    > > > at all in the themes. I don't wish to pander to an institution for
    > > $$
    > > > and it's dangerous to one's work as it can sidetrack you as you
    > > attempt
    > > > to develop a body of work with themes of your own devising.
    > > >

    But I did write the following.

    > > Personally, I'm not above just submitting whatever I've got on the go
    > > at the
    > > time and seeing whether the curators have any idea of their own
    > > theme.
    > > Generaly not. Or they are fishing for whatever comes through the door.
    > >
    > > Consider the current Rhizome call (not to attack it or anything, for
    > > illustration):
    > >
    > > Artists seeking a Rhizome.org 2004 commission should propose projects
    > > that
    > > ... reflect in some way on the ... interpretations of "game" found
    > > at
    > > Dictionary.com, [which includes]:
    > >
    > > Informal.
    > > 1.. Evasive, trifling, or manipulative behavior: wanted a straight
    > > answer,
    > > not more of their tiresome games.
    > > 2.. A calculated strategy or approach; a scheme: I saw through their
    > > game
    > > from the very beginning.
    > > Seeing as artists tend to avoid (or should avoid) literality, I would
    > > suggest it is up to the viewer to decide what the 'theme' of work is.
    > >
    > > Submit it and see.
    > >
    > > Cheers,
    > > Ivan
    > >
    > >
    > +
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    >
  • Rachel Greene | Mon Jan 26th 2004 12:09 p.m.
    A bow of thanks to everyone who replied to my query about themes and
    commissions. Very helpful feedback to have as we start fundraising for
    next year's round. Best, Rachel
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