Rhizome Commissions Announced!

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Rhizome is pleased to announce the ten emerging artists and collectives that have been awarded grants through the Rhizome Commissions Program. All emblematic of new directions in the field of new media art, the works manifest in a variety of forms from performance, sound to web-based works and touch upon themes from cultural and historic memory, to reality TV, to the possibilities for humanizing participants in mass social networking systems.

Two of the commissions were determined by Rhizome’s membership through an open vote; eight were determined by a jury including Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator of Design at the Museum of Modern Art; Jason Kottke, blogger, Kottke.org; Henriette Huldisch Independent Curator and co-curator of the 2008 Whitney Biennial; Monica Narula, artist, Raqs Media Collective; and Paul Pieroni, freelance curator, critic and Associate Director of SEVENTEEN.

The Rhizome Commissions Program is supported by the Jerome Foundation, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, the Rockefeller NYC Cultural Innovation Fund, and Rhizome members.

2010 Rhizome Commissions

Jury Awards:

Toby Heys of Battery Operated and Steve Goodman aka Kode9, Unsound Systems
Unsound Systems will be an hour-long sonic documentary that explores the ways in which sound, infrasound, and ultrasound have been utilized as weapons, as apparatus for psychological manipulation, and as instruments of physiological influence by industrial businesses, civilian police forces, and military organizations around the world.

Heba Amin, Fragmented City
Amin writes “Cairo exudes the clichés of a romanticized Ancient Egypt and, through its tourism industry, is banking on fantasy.” In this multi-faceted project, Amin will research and locate abandoned buildings in Cairo and then populate Google Earth with sketch-up models of these structures to “counteract the skewed understanding of the city’s experience online where only models of historic monuments exist.” She will then set-up a tourism bureau in Cairo in order to give tours of these forgotten areas to provide a new view of the city.

Jeffrey Crouse, Crowded
Crowded is an montage audio program similar to radio shows like This American Life, The Moth, or the productions of Joe Frank. What makes it unique is that all of the material is is made up of segments of audio requested from and submitted by workers on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk site in return for payment. Crouse will produce a series of shows, comprised of recordings by Mechanical Turk workers, that will culminate in a CD and accompanying book.

Aleksandra Domanovic, 19:30
19:30 is an anthology of television news music from the geographic region of ex-Yugoslavia, starting with the first televised news broadcast in 1958 to the present. Musical news themes are collected with the aim to modify and redistribute them as DJ-friendly tracks. The carrier for this project is a website archiving all the collected music as well as the remixes based on it. All of the material is stored in mp3 format and available for free download.

Chris Moukarbel, Cast
Cast is a long-form video that seamlessly weaves together footage from Reality TV auditions with narrative and scripted scenes. The video will develop the idea of how the decentralization of media and entertainment industries mirror new technology. It will explore how popular notions of performance have shifted away from traditional character and now emphasize the creation of a distilled self. Everyone involved with the project will have access to repurpose any footage shot.

Michael Kontopoulos, Measure of Discontent
Inspired by certain countries' efforts to impose a quantifiable value to the “happiness” of its people (notably, the tradition of Gross National Happiness in Bhutan), and the idea that if you can measure happiness, you can also measure unhappiness, Measure of Discontent aims to quantify and represent anxiety. By quantifying the subjective, in this case, anxiety or unhappiness, the artist aims to render poetic the contemporary American problem: a nation in crisis, and a state of palpable, national anxiety.

Tristan Perich, Microtonal Wall
1,536 small speakers blanket a wall (8 ft. by 12 ft), each emitting tones tuned microtonally to span eight octaves (dividing each half-step into 16 pitches). This dense cluster of sound sources is the subject of a series of musical compositions, continuing the artist’s investigations into the foundations of electronic sound. Each speaker, emitting a single, primitive 1-bit tone, becomes a microscopic voice in the total composition, substituting individual pitch for larger sonic masses.

Red76, YouTube School For Social Politics
The YouTube School for Social Politics utilizes surplus knowledge as its driving force. Scattered throughout YouTube lie countless points of view, scattered moments of histories, both personal and collective. By arranging these video segments - documentaries, personal missives and old family films, newsreels, music videos - new light can be shed on the sociopolitical landscape of history past, and history present. The YouTube School for Social Politics (YTSSP) invites guest historians, artists, and theorists to construct passages of historical inquiry through the assemblage of clips found on YouTube.

Member Awards:

Diana Eng, Fictional Jewelry and Other Wistful Adornments
This project takes the idea of jewelry that blooms, breathes, and moves, and makes it a living reality through the use of interactive electronics. The project will manifest as a collection of jewelry pieces each with a personality fit for fiction and characterized by it’s movements and design.

Tiff Holmes, Solar Circus
The Solar Circus project is a collection of related creative activities: hands-on workshops, nomadic solar-powered installations, and online performances that explore solar-powered art.