. blog —

An invitation to discuss the

future of Rhizome's editorial content.

By Michael Connor

Pierre Huyghe, A Journey that Wasn't

Today is the start of my first full week here at Rhizome in the role of Editor & Curator. I’m really excited to have this opportunity to help shape the next phase of the organization.

In its most recent incarnation, Rhizome’s editorial content has taken the form of a journal rather than a blog. Texts such as Jacob Gaboury’s Queer History of Computing series and Paul Graham Raven’s This Is a Game: A (very) Brief History of Larp have offered in-depth, critical looks at Internet art and culture.

Looking ahead, we will continue to foster this kind of scholarly and in-depth writing, but we will also place a renewed emphasis on presenting visual artworks and documentation thereof, as well as more conversational, international and community-oriented content. Content that is, you know, more rhizomatic. (Rhizomey?) This is, after all, a non-profit that began its life as a mailing list.

In this spirit, I want to kick off my tenure by inviting your thoughts on Rhizome’s editorial future. At the end of this post, you’ll see a rarely used function on our site known as a “comments box." What would you like to see more of? Less of? What do you think we do well, and what could we improve on?  

Even better, please take this Reader Survey organized by Nectar Ads, who are responsible for the art-related advertising you see in our sidebar. We’ll be looking very closely at the responses and feedback we get through this, and your participation would be greatly appreciated.

Consider the ice broken. I look forward to continuing the conversation!

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Eduardo Cachucho 2 years, 7 months agoReply

It is a pity that the Artbase hasn't been updated in more than a year. It used to be an interesting place to find out what is happening on the scene in a quick way.
The move towards a scholarly journal and more in-depth articles is a source of valuable reading material. Documentation of visual artworks could fascinating, especially in the following the early stages of projects, documenting how they take form initially and what processes are undertaken from a conceptual and architectural framework for a digital artwork.

artfagcity 2 years, 7 months agoReply

I'd like to see more posting in general. Rhizome is a great resource, but not every post is going to appeal to me. I like new media art news and I don't see very much of it on the site. It's exactly the kind of thing that'd have me returning to the site frequently.

Michael Connor 2 years, 7 months agoReply

Thanks!! So this thing does work after all :)

When you say "news"… what kinds of things are you most interested in? Digested listings of upcoming events, reports from recent events, staff changes or behind-the-scenes skullduggery at new media art institutions, tech news relevant to artists, newly posted artworks? All of the above? Something else?

Michael Szpakowski 2 years, 7 months agoReply

HI Michael
& welcome. I've been around Rhizome for a long time, since 2000 or so. It's been hugely important to me in all sorts of ways and even though I have a number of issues with the direction it has taken of late I still feel hugely loyal to it. In my view the one thing you could do to engender a sense of community, without sacrificing for a moment any of the other innovations from over the years, is to restore the mailing list and consolidate Discuss and Announce there.
If you want an example of why and how this is possible check out Furtherfield's Netbehaviour list


(and, this, note, functioning both as mailing list and posts to the site, so no technical issues there)
- still thriving, still full of insight & quirk even after everyone involved has been told a million times that mailing lists are passé.
Whether mailing lists are fashionable or not they are uniquely levelling in terms of a discussion poised between real time and old fashioned letter, they are uniquely democratic in that ownership of an unmoderated list signifies only an *enabling* role for the owner and where the field -the collective space where it all plays out is uniquely flat and neutral, unlike Twitter or the corporate tangle that is ( the horrible, horrible, horrible in my view) Facebook. Most important is the ease of discussion. Read it, write your reply, send.
The sense that I have had over the last five years or so, maybe more, is that Rhizome members, their opinions and peculiarities and even their work became an embarassment to the leadership that was intent, with the New Museum link up &c. in situating Rhizome firmly within the conventional artworld. Personally I'm not actually against that - there was much of the cult about "netart", much of the desire to stay a medium sized fish in a small and safe pond and, personally, my interests are in an artworld expanded by the digital and the network, and a network which is not afraid to swim in the deep, dangerous and polluted waters of the artworld, that artworld which stinks of commerce, stupidity and self-aggrandisement so much of the time but which also gives rise to huge, rich, complex and beautiful ..er…*things* ( which *things* are part of what makes us truly human, which reinforce that humanity, which are worth fighting to preserve ). Rhizome has been *awfully* top down for a very long time. Recently it has felt *only* top down. Some of that topdownness has manifested in beautiful, interesting and useful commissioned writing. None of that would be compromised by re-opening the kind of discussion which made Rhizome so enticing and indispensable before, and by creating passageways between the commissioned writing and the - for want of a better word - "community".
That's my three-penn'orth. Whether it has any effect or not I'm sure I will continue to visit the site, enjoy following links,recommend the site to my students &c. What I'd like, though, is to feel once again that I'm part of something.
best wishes

PS This is distant, but not unconnected. It feels cynical and wrong that "Announce" posts that are clearly put there by borderline crooks after the money of the enthusiastic and unwary ( and often young and impoverished) should be able to be set as "no-reply". I assume this is because such posts generate income for Rhizome. If we were able to torch these people in open discussion I for one would think about raising the amount I donate each year.

nathaniel stern 2 years, 7 months agoReply

I agree with the sentiments in Michael S's comment here. I too was an early member (99 or 2000), and used to feel very connected to Rhizome - both through the email list, and through the coverage - even though I left in New York in 2001. The coverage spanned much more than NYC and Internet finds in the mid-2000s, both in commissioned texts (I did a number myself in Johannesburg and Milwaukee, among other places), the commissions, and most importantly dialog. But the web site vs list, and the consolidation at the New Museum, seems to have limited rather than expanding Rhizome's engagement. While sites like Hyperallergic are courting writers in other cities throughout the US and abroad - and the same is true of Furtherfield - Rhizome is mostly sticking to home base. When the recent commissions announcement explained that NYC artists would be given priority, for example, rather than get angry, I just saw it as a disappointing, but natural, progression - further alienating non-New York natives. Rhizome still holds a place in my heart, and I like a lot of the content, but it's all at a distance. It feels less like a community, and more like a blog, closer to Art F City - though the latter is meant to be a review and news source, and Rhizome used to be something more.

Michael Connor 2 years, 7 months agoReply

About your PS - what do you mean exactly? Please send me an example, if you would. I'm new here. The email is editor (at this website)

Nick Hasty 2 years, 7 months agoReply

Hi Michael,

Just to clarify, Rhizome makes no money from these announcements (and would never think of doing so). The only posts that generate income for the organization are non-member Jobs postings.

The aforementioned announcement posts are user generated, just as discuss, and since they're not "obvious" spam they pass through the moderation process. If you come across these posts, please alert the staff or leave a comment on the post itself inquiring about the author's motivations. They'll be promptly removed I'm sure.

And thanks for contributing to this awesome discussion. It's nice to be able to read these emails from a non-staff perspective. :)



Jennifer Chan 2 years, 7 months agoReply

I'm a young one and I've been following Rhizome since 2008. I'm a pretty rare commenter. I think its a good overview of "new media art" for students and newbies, but I think these days I people offshoots that are more current and manageable. I hate to sound like a nagging user but I lingered on the site more around hte discussion forums when the navigation bar was tabbed instead of drop-down.

There are a variety of short and longer reading pieces on ArtFCity that I enjoy because sometimes there really is only 10 minutes to read art news. Something between what Animal is doing with coolhunting net pieces that are pleasant and easy to understand in 5 mins (all summarized in one paragraph), and 30 min e-flux style reads that are more in-depth. I somehow want these to be available in a saveable format for an e-reader too.

I would also like to see "artistic" guest posts from casually academic pundits like Curt Cloninger and Tom Moody instead of the usual Q+A profile interviews. ArtFCity invites/moderates guestbloggers, this way new information on particular art scenes reaches their blog and makes it not so NYC-centric, maybe this is something you could consider. Finally, having two writers write a review on a same big media art museum show might be interesting… just some ideas.

Jennifer Chan 2 years, 7 months agoReply

Correction: these days people need a variety of offshoots from the longform criticism*

Michael Connor 2 years, 7 months agoReply

Thanks for the great ideas!

Iga88 2 years, 7 months agoReply

I'd like to see more posting in general. Rhizome is a great resource, but not every post is going to appeal to me.

Theresa Ramseyer 2 years, 7 months agoReply

(I hope this doesn't post 3 times, since this is the third time I have tried.)


I get Rhizome's emails, but don't get out to the site much, so maybe these are already in place - but I'd like to see some reviews of the events, etc., and maybe some online tutorials/discussions of how to look at art, what's art, and so forth.

I live in the Midwest USA, around Joplin, MO, and almost all we have here are pictures (photography and painting), though occasionally there are fiber art and mixed media shows, with touches of sculpture and pottery.

I have to stay local; don't even get to Springfield, much less Kansas City or Tulsa/Oklahoma City. I look at Rhizome's emails to see what I'm missing :).

So, it would be nice for me to read some factual reviews. 'This is what this looked like,' and/or 'This is what this sounded like,' for example.

I have a dial up connection, so using YouTube and Vimeo can be lengthy. I appreciate them, but reading is faster, especially with the amount of emails that I get from rhizome.

Maybe, to save space, you could only keep the reviews etc. for two years?

Also, what I know about art you could fit in a thimble and have room for Jupiter left over. I'm learning - slowly - about older art (the great painters, etc.), but I get lost in modern and not so modern.

I'm not sure whether to try to start a discussion on Rhizome about artists and/or referring to websites that aren't Rhizome.

Keep up the good work!


Michael Connor 2 years, 7 months agoReply

I am so impressed that you took the time to comment on this site on a dialup connection… Thank you for the feedback.

Dyske Suematsu 2 years, 7 months agoReply

Hi Michael,

The last big debate you and I had on Rhizome was on Iraq war, so that would mean about a decade ago. Personally, that was the height of my involvement with Rhizome, and it fizzled out after that.

Although I do agree with your observations about Rhizome, I'm not sure the solutions you offer are realistic. I think every organization, like every person, has a "will to power", and as they age, there is a natural path that they to take where their own survival takes precedence over their stated mission. Rhizome started out as a self-organizing community to help one another. It was a support group with no real hierarchy; artists helping one another. I think many organizations start this way but such a structure is limited in what it can achieve. It's like a group of soldiers who refuses to build a watchtower so they can only see what can be seen from the ground. In terms of survival and power, it is not an effective strategy.

Just as in science, we all build on the knowledge and ideas we inherited from the past. This is how power is built also. We graft ourselves onto the existing power structures. We cannot build power entirely from scratch on our own. People graft themselves onto prestigious universities by getting degrees from them, onto successful corporations by working for them, onto well-known publishers by writing for them, onto respectable museums and galleries by having exhibits, onto famous people by befriending them, and so on… Rhizome grafted itself onto the prestige of New Museum and other institutions, nothing unusual there.

Now that I'm in my 40s, I notice that most people around me are no longer satisfied with supporting one another on the ground. We all want to build structures by grafting onto the existing structures. I think this is a natural progression, and Rhizome too has taken this path. But one thing that I do worry a bit about is whether the net/digital artists are keeping up with the speed at which Rhizome is building up. In my view, net/digital art hasn't been able to gain the recognition it deserves, and I think it failed for the same reason the music industry is failing: digital content is hard to sell or monetize. (Other industries like book publishing, film, and industrial design too will follow the same fate eventually.)

The digital artists who managed to succeed financially are those who make sellable objects that can be neatly hanged on museum walls or propped up on pedestals, which goes against the reason why many artists were originally drawn to "digital" in the first place (to escape the power structure that physical objects necessitate or impose).

Some might argue that financial success is irrelevant, but in reality, money is a very effective gauge in determining what people value. What we say do not always correspond to what we actually do, and we all tend to value action more than words. We could rave about a certain artist or artwork, but when our own money is at stake, we act differently. And, money, after all, is probably the most flexible medium an artist can have. We cannot naively seek some sort of purity in our theoretical practices; to live in reality is to bridge this gap in our own ways. And, I think Rhizome is taking its own path in bridging this gap. It is a sign that they are maturing as an organization.

So, what would I suggest for Rhizome? I think the net/digital art world could use a vertical organization like Rhizome. I don't think it should try to be everything to everyone. In fact, I don't think that is possible. It is ironic that an organization named after the philosophical concept of "rhizome" is building a vertical power structure, but as I said above, every organization (or person) eventually reaches a point where its own survival and power takes precedence over its stated mission. I think this is human nature, and I believe that Rhizome could (is already) offer a lot by being vertical.

I think the main conflict here is that we all want everything to last forever. Nothing does. Rhizome as it existed 10 years ago is now gone. There is no reason to lament this. Things come and go. The only constant in life is change. As Rhizome begin to build a vertical structure, it will leave room for another rhizomatic organization to take its place. Both will have their own pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages.

The main disadvantage of a vertical structure is that it is always necessarily built on assumptions, which will always be deconstructed sooner or later (in paradigm shifts). All structures are illusory in this sense, and never last forever. The people who grafted themselves onto these illusory structures to gain their own power will defend/protect these structures at any cost (because their own survival and well-being is dependent on it). But this is how life goes. Alternatively, we could refuse to build structures, so that there will never be any targets of attacks or criticisms, but is that any better? It's very much like being a militant atheist who derives his meaning in life by negating religious people, a co-dependent relationship where both sides equally contribute to (and dependent on) the power of the concept "god". They are sharing the same passion, like a campfire, the only difference is where they are standing.

When we refuse to pursue illusory things in life, we are assuming somewhere deep down that there are indeed non-illusory things in life, which is the ultimate illusion of all. All that we can do in life is to build illusory structures and destroy them when they no longer serve any purpose. I think this is how life goes on, and nobody escapes or stands above this process.

curt cloninger 2 years, 7 months agoReply

Hi all,

I am here now posting this simply because I was invited via an email from Michael Szpakowski. Otherwise I wouldn't have known about this thread at all. I had to log-in to even post, which is how long it's been since I've posted anything here.

Michael Connor, congratulations on your new position. If you really, pragmatically want to encourage participation in the community discussion section, then you have to be willing to occasionally post threads begun in the community discussion section as entries in the main content area on the front page. Otherwise, nothing will change.

In academia, faculty are always being asked to complete surveys. Nothing ever changes based on the surveys. So the surveys serve three functions for the administration: 1) they are a way that the administration can waste faculty time, 2) they are a way the administration can pacify the faculty into feeling as if the administration cares about their input, and 3) they provide some sort of data that the administration can give to the board of directors to show that the administration has collected some sort of data.

Likewise, every three years or so, some new person is placed in charge of the dead-in-the-water "community" aspect of rhizome, and they ask for input from the community. They get input, nothing changes based on the input, and thus no community re-emerges. The community at rhizome historically ended with this byline: "rhizome: at the new museum." That sums up in a wonderfully oxymoronic phrase the difficulty of shoehorning several distributed, international, hobbyist/activist/passionist new media art communities into a hierarchical, commodified, centralized, Manhattan art community.

The dearth in Rhizome community participation currently seems to be a situation of either:
1) too much to lose OR
2) not enough at stake.

So, in the first case, there are a group of young Brooklyn/Berlin artists to whom appearing on the front page of Rhizome is something like getting your picture on the cover of the Rolling Stone, Rolling Stone. To them, posting to the community discussion section is just too risky. You don't want to appear anywhere on Rhizome just speculating and honestly talking about stuff. Maybe you will accidentally say something stupid, and then your potential art star street cred will be blown, and nobody will put you in their list of the next 50 upcoming x artists in whatever x online or print magazine. Heck, this same group is hesitant to post more than a two sentence response to some Petra Cortright Facebook selfie for fear of someone responding, "nice post, bro." They aren't going to suddenly engage in public dialogue at rhizome. Add a thumbs up like button, and maybe this group will emerge.

In the second case, you've got a bunch of older artists (over-30! Egad!) and theorists from around the world (some in New York, but by no means the majority) that have no motivation to post at rhizome anymore. They have been marginalized at rhizome over the years (for whatever editorial reasons); they can (and do) already have meaningful discussions on lists like netbehaviour, crumb, empyre, and occasionally even afc. Sadly, I have had more meaningful dialogue on a single Alan Sondheim facebook post than I have had on Rhizome in the last six years. (I'm not dissing the quality of Rhizome's editorial articles, which I have enjoyed.)

I look forward to another call for increased rhizome community participation in the next three years. Good night and good luck. (Here's hoping y'all prove me wrong this time.)


joseph mcelroy 2 years, 7 months agoReply

Hello Michael Connor,

I am writing in response since Michael Szpakowski asked me to take a look and give my thoughts. Long ago I was an active member and net-artist, essentially a respected gadfly to the main goings on here. I used to argue quite a bit. Since then, my activities have brought me into the mainstream of online marketing where I have a bit of success, and which have brought me to a focus on community marketing.

While I haven't been active, I have observed over the years that Rhizome has blurred its understanding of the community it serves. Originally, the mailing list served a community of makers and proponents. Those trying to share ideas on making net-art and excited about the possibilities of the future. What is it now? What does it want to be? I have been closely paying attention so I can't really answer those questions - but I am sure it is no longer the makers.

If you are seriously going to revive the community of Rhizome, at least with regard to the makers, then I ask you to consider what are the values you share in common with the community and how will you communicate those values? What is the emotional code of that community that will make content resonate? And most importantly, to make you a necessary member of the community as an organization… how will you empower the community? If you have a clear understanding of the community, and can answer those three questions you can at least provide useful content - though I suspect that a dedicated approach to community could do a lot more - perhaps respark a renaissance or create a real market.

Dyske Suematsu 2 years, 7 months agoReply

Hi Curt,

This is so true (it made me laugh out loud):

"To them, posting to the community discussion section is just too risky. You don't want to appear anywhere on Rhizome just speculating and honestly talking about stuff. Maybe you will accidentally say something stupid, and then your potential art star street cred will be blown, and nobody will put you in their list of the next 50 upcoming x artists in whatever x online or print magazine."

I agree with you, Curt; I don't think forming a community like what Rhizome was a decade ago is possible. Back then, the idea of "Net Art" or "Digital Art" was so new that there was no power structure of any sort, which meant that nobody had nothing to lose by frankly expressing their thoughts and opinions. Now there is indeed too much at stake. They are better off keeping their mouths shut and let their fancy sponsors and patrons project the mystique of "artists" onto them. It is not just Rhizome that matured; perhaps the entire world of net/digital art did.

But again, I think this is how life goes on. It's very much like how artist communities move within New York City. Young emerging artists move into a dangerous, desolate neighborhood and give it vitality and excitement, which draws more people into it, which in turn makes the area safer, then the area attracts some progressive businesses, and eventually it turns into a shopping mall like SoHo is now. In a way Rhizome is a digital version of SoHo; they are now safe enough to attract major corporate sponsors but at the same time it means there is too much at stake to do anything "RAW" like they used to.

So again, my own opinion is still the same: Rhizome is good for what it's good for as they are now. After all, SoHo is good for certain things too. But I don't think it would be realistic to get the rawness of an emerging art community back into a place like SoHo.

Justin Lincoln 2 years, 7 months agoReply

Hi folks,

I've been reading this discussion with great interest for a couple of days now. I think Curt hit the nail on the head in terms of the "too much to lose/ not enough at stake" aspect of posting here at Rhizome.

However my response kind of makes me laugh at myself.
1. I friended Alan Sondheim on Facebook.
2. I posted this tiny reply, my first post on Rhizome I believe.

I think the means of connecting with other digital artists, curators, creators has become more widely available and more dispersed since the early days of Rhizome. That doesn't mean a discursive space for experimenting in serious and playful ways isn't possible here. I hope this discussion might do a little to get that snowball rolling. - Justin

Ewelina88 2 years, 7 months agoReply

I've been also reading this discussion with great interest for a couple of days now. I think Curt hit the nail on the head in terms of the "too much to lose/ not enough at stake" aspect of posting here at Rhizome.

Annie Abrahams 2 years, 7 months agoReply

I find it difficult to ask Rhizome to make a mailinglist, or to have RAW come back.
I am member of Netbehaviour which is a good list but could even be better.
I would prefer to and think it is more realistic to consolidate Netbehaviour and make it more global than to dispers energy.

And for Rhizome … less New Yorkish, less hype and more theorie.


Annie Abrahams 2 years, 7 months agoReply

Ps But maybe there could be other features that could fuel communication between the different generations, styles, network and art approaches. It would be very interesting to try to confront these for instance by organizing "monthly" cross fertilization interviews …

Michael Connor 2 years, 7 months agoReply

(I like this idea.)

nicholasobri 2 years, 7 months agoReply

"fuel communication between the different generations, styles, networks and art appraoches."

Yes please, I feel like New Media/Net Art is so diverse and crazy and pluralistic that there are few people that can move between those scenes and communities with any kind of ease or ability. Being able to have those cross-fertilizations is a really integral to developing that lasting community that Rhizome has to nurtured/developed.

Saul Albert 2 years, 7 months agoReply

Hey Michael,

Congratulations on the job and thanks for this post. It's the first time I've logged in and posted anything in a long time, and the thread has been a good laugh so far.

Here in London I've seen how hard, and in how many dimensions of practice the Furtherfield lot have worked on generating the kind of international good will expressed by many on this thread. Having watched that happen over the last few years, I think the most important thing they've excelled at is careful, considered and honest evaluation of their work. They've always been very open about what they've learned, and warmly invited anyone in to participate in shaping how they respond to that feedback. That openness to criticism and change has allowed the organisation to grow to accommodate the needs and interests of the many different groups and individuals who now rely on it as a cultural infrastructure.

I'm not so familiar with Rhizome these days, so I don't really know what kind of cultural infrastructure it has become in NYC. If it functions as one - whatever the dynamics of that function - perhaps it doesn't need to change. But it sounds like you're trying to open up to the kind of criticism and change that Ruth and Marc have been so active in pursuing reflexively themselves, along with whoever else had an opinion about Furtherfield's activities.

Thanks again, and best of luck with continuing to break up the ice,



Marisa Olson 2 years, 7 months agoReply

Hi, everyone! Wow, I've got to say, it's nice to see some familiar names here! Michael, Congratulations on your new job. As someone who held that same title (and various permutations of it) for several years, I know you are in for a heavy load and I also know that you are also more than up to the task.

Like most of the folks above, I too am a "forever member," from the days of the Rhizome Communications ascii RAW listserv and, later, fancy Dreamweaver/Flash "Splash Pages," to the present. Reena Jana and I were the first two paid writers (poached from Wired!), when Alex Galloway was running "content," which at that time meant programming and editorial–though Rhizome was declaratively non-editorial, so they just commissioned book & exhibition reviews, and some interviews from us that were fed into the RAW stream and included in the Digest as Features. Oy vey, I can still remember the cross-eyed weekly ritual of trying to untangle parallel conversations to reassemble them into a coherent thread for the Digest, when I was editing it–and the race to get it out by noon one day each week!!

I've seen Rhizome go through so many changes, and I've been a part of the back channel conversations on years of them, including huge ones that we decided not to go through with. I have to say that it's always hard to serve a membership-based organization, which is what Rhizome has always thought of itself as. But I can say that every change in content or form has been discussed critically, at length, and typically not without a degree of passion.

I am also biting my tongue because I *really* do not want to put words in any staff member's mouth (past or present), but I can say that I believe everyone who's ever worked there has taken their position as a labor of love, with users/reader/members/community (everyone has their favorite self-identification; semantics trolls please don't hate today!) in mind, and everyone has collaborated with the staff to bring a unique take on how best to serve you in the current creative and technological climate. For instance, I remember that my big objective coming in the door was wanting to change the mission statement to reflect not only net art and not only highly technological art, but also art that "reflects" on technology in a meaningful way. In fact, I think contemplating this change was very much a part of my conceptualizing Postinternet.

There is so much to say here, but I think I'd best sign off. This is not my soap box, and in some way, it feels weird to comment so much. I used to be a Superusing Megaposter, but as soon as I became Editor & Curator, I stepped back to focus on trying to facilitate and amplify other voices, which I do believe every Rhizome Editor has done in their own way.

I'll end with this, then. I'd be surprised if every reader, writer, or editor loved everything that ever appeared (structurally or content-wise) in their newspaper of choice. I'd be surprised if every curator or museumgoer loved every artwork shown (or every exhibition design decision) in their favorite museum. But it's the day we stop reading, stop going to look at art that disappoints me. It's the day Rhizome stops experimenting that scares me. And I wish them well on this new experiment.

nicholasobri 2 years, 7 months agoReply

O hai:

Michael, congrats on the position and glad you broke the ice. I've read some of the thoughtful comments by other people and don't think I have too much to add to other sentiments shared above.

However, I think that there is this pressing thing going on in Internet art/new media right now with regards to the ways that emergent artists in this field are attempting to work their way into a gallery system. Those following this conversation probably have a lot of ambivalent feelings about this process, or else rolls their eyes at the need to rehash these convos so many times for each generation of artists "coming up through the Internet," but I think that the veracity of this conversation (as it appears on other NYC art blogs) might need some nicely added historical precedent. One thing that I used to love to read was sections from the archive and pointing other artist, writers, and students to these resources to give an account of how the so-called scene evolved and changed over time. Being able to look back in order to look forward is a helpful way to extend the dynamic conversation occurring on rhizome in an outward fashion. But idk if that what the org wants to do, but I think it is worth mentioning.

Also, I think that one of my favorite things about bring online and engaging conversations with other artists is when I get to unplug and meet them in the flesh. Events at 319 scholes have been particularly well known for Internet irl meet ups when they are hosting events. Being able to hash out concerns and discourse with individuals face to face is a super exciting moment/opportunity. Maybe its just me, but sometimes i think talking online only makes for flippant commentary (im guilty of this), and talking face to face makes the concerns more real or heated or significant, or something. It's a different energy that i think artist want more of, and thrive off of. Also i think that all too often we default to social media to act as the container for discourse and idalog, and that sometimes makes me upset, since i wish people spent less time arguing on facebook and more time collaborating on conversations or solutions in person. i understand that this isnt as easy as walking down the street for some people, but I wonder if creating space for discourse could be something that rhizome could take on in a physical gathering that isn't as official as a lecture series. So if there was some way for local chapters of rhizome meet ups or something like that could be a fun way of continuing your desire to be more rhizomatic. Something like the dorkbot meet ups, or upgrade! is what I think would be an interesting model, but I think that the community that rhizome supports is unique in ways that those communities don't always offer. Even reading groups could be something worth looking into? In any event, I think having more sponsored events in the year could bring people together with shared interests in a way that the net sometimes cannot facilitate or else truncate.

Again congrats on the position and can't wait to see how you shape the future of rhizome!

Zoë Salditch 2 years, 7 months agoReply

Hai Nicolas! (^-^)/"

You and I have talked F2F about this kind of programming many times and you know I couldn't agree with you more. You make an excellent point about how community is built IRL and that's one of my goals as Program Director. I love the idea of more informal events, gatherings and the like, to compliment our lectures, panels and performances. Organizing informal and conversational events (both IRL and URL) around these programs could make Rhizome programming more robust and impactful.

I think it's safe to say that Michael and I are very excited to work together to tie programs and editorial so that they feed into one another more seamlessly.


Michael Connor 2 years, 7 months agoReply

This has turned into a really good discussion. I'm very interested in the various perceptions of Rhizome's history that have been shared, and of the differing ways that community has been defined here. For one thing, I think that's the last time I'll refer to Rhizome's community in the singular.

Curt, you make a good point about generational differences in discussion threads here, although I don't share your disdain for lurkers.

I'd really like to hear people's thoughts on discussions from Rhizome in the past that had a real impact on them.

curt cloninger 2 years, 7 months agoReply

Michael, I don't distain the odd lurker. But when an entire community is comprised of lurkers, they're not lurkers anymore – they're readers (and occasional re-bloggers) of journalistic content. And it's not a community anymore; it's an online magazine.

Michael Mandiberg 2 years, 7 months agoReply

I second this thought. Rhizome definitely *formed* a community, which continues to exist (all the usual suspects from RAW are here on this thread), but Rhizome itself is no longer really a community. It is a writer-centered blog, with paid writers. That you called the advertising research poll a "reader survey" is telling. As opposed to a "community survey" or a "members survey."

One other important shift is the emphasis on the archive. The funny thing was that was there from the beginning, but it didn't feel as important. I wanted some of my early work in the Artbase b/c it would lead to viewers. Now, after having reconstructed three three lost projects from Archive.org mirrors, I'm glad they are there b/c I know that at some point my servers will crash or my code will stop working.

Lastly, I want to point out that I found out about this thread from the CRUMB list… which is a kind of case in point.

Good luck Michael


Michael Connor 2 years, 7 months agoReply

Hi Michael, quick point of fact - the survey was organized (and titled) by our advertising partners, Nectar Ads. We wanted to embrace it because we want to support Nectar - they put a lot of energy into the project and bring us much-needed support - so I can appreciate how this messaging might have been unclear. But it's definitely a survey designed for art blogs, which does represent one component of what Rhizome does.

Thank you for bringing up the archive!

Michael Connor 2 years, 7 months agoReply

I generally try to have better grammar than this. Sorry.

Michael Mandiberg 2 years, 7 months agoReply

No worries on the grammar…! Here's some more bad grammar:

I totally understand that they bring support, but isn't it telling that from an economic/structural POV their support brings language that squashes the horizontality of the (small r) rhizome?

And yes, the work that Ben Fino Radin et al are doing is really really important and really ahead of the game. It is taking the work that Jon Ippolito and Christiane Paul were conceptualizing a decade ago, and implementing it on projects that are now artifacts.

Michael Connor 2 years, 7 months agoReply

I think a members survey or community survey is a very different thing from a readers survey. We could also run a commissioned artists' survey, but this would not mean that we see everyone who uses the site as a commissioned artist. Next time we'll call it a lurkers survey.

Michael Connor 2 years, 7 months agoReply

We won't really do that. It would be a terrible idea.

The Readers Survey does reflect the fact that Rhizome has a blog on its front page, and that website content is less horizontal than it once was.

Plenty of food for thought.

Dyske Suematsu 2 years, 7 months agoReply

Hi Michael,

Responding to your question about the past discussions:

I JUST noticed that all of my emails to RAW since 2002 are archived on this site under my profile page. (Curt has 227 pages of them!) I didn't know. Reading the stuff that I wrote in the past is amusing in that I have no idea what I was thinking. (Just re-reading what I wrote a few days ago above, I'm wondering what I was thinking…)

My main outlet is writing, and when I don't debate my ideas with others, I feel like it's all just a bunch of theories or fantasies. That is, for me, "to act" is to debate/discuss. It's very much like writing a piece of software; until people actually use your app, it's just a bunch of code/logic; it's not really an application. And, as soon as people start using your app, you discover a lot of bugs and usability issues, and you learn from them to iteratively perfect your app. This is how I approach my own writing. Some people work on a long book for years without sharing it with anyone, and boom, they publish a magnum opus. To me, this is the same as releasing an ambitious app with thousands of features all in one go without user-testing it. I would be afraid that a large part of it would be deemed irrelevant, and/or many bugs and usability issues would be discovered as soon as it's released. My own approach is very much like the idea of "lean startup" or the urban planning philosophy of Jane Jacobs; I do as little as I can and just get it out, and work iteratively based on the feedback. In other words, my work is always collaborative, like most software applications are. For this purpose, Rhizome was very useful. I wouldn't point to any particular discussions; the entire process was inspirational, educational, and useful. It's where I did my user-testing.

It's hard to do this with blog format because content on blog is organized hierarchically. Only the editors/contributors can post (start a discussion), and it's curated for general public consumption. Rhizome Raw was completely flat (or "rhizomatic") where anyone could throw anything in the sandbox for everyone to interact with.

For community development, I think we can learn a lot by following Jane Jacobs' basic principles. Instead of imposing a grand vision of how people should interact with one another, we observe how people are/were already interacting, and implement structural changes that support the positive aspects while minimizing the negative aspects. Organizers, in this sense, is serving under the community, not above it. They lend their invisible hands to nudge people to a mutually beneficial direction. I feel that this is what the original founders of Rhizome were doing.

Michael Szpakowski 2 years, 7 months agoReply

In a huge break with our history and with precedent I have to say I agree with almost all of what you write here. The last two paras, in particular, are glorious and could serve as a kind of keynote for any process of reviving involvement in Rhizome whilst maintaining its other virtues.
warmest wishes

Sarah Cook 2 years, 7 months agoReply

Hi Michael and all,
I'm a (very) long-time lurker, infrequent poster to Rhizome, as you know, given that my energies have been devoted to keeping the CRUMB mailing list going, which has changed remarkably little in its similarly young adult lifespan to date.
Michael asked about which past Rhizome discussions had an impact so I thought I'd mention two I remember:

* A debate which occurred when Thomson&Craighead announced their work Beacon, in 2005. The debate was broadly about how it was art, whether it was new art, and what art historical precedents for the work existed (see http://rhizome.org/discuss/view/15830/)
Many of the people who have posted here posted then too. I think the Rhizome mailing lists in all their digested or indigestible forms have been good at peer-reviewing, commending and critiquing new networked art projects, in an almost instantaneous manner, with the artists present to comment.
* A debate which occurred on the CRUMB list in response to Rhizome's announcement of their commissioning opportunity. The debate was mostly about taxonomy (concerning the categories offered up for the commissions). Taxonomies are a perpetual topic of discussion on CRUMB, but I think Rob Murphy then posited the term 'gonzo-taxonomy' as there were a lot of 'medium-specific', 'post-medium', 'post-internet' terms flying about and it was the height of widespread adoption of tagging/folksonomy-making. This was also 2005 - just as Steve Dietz and I were cocurating the exhibition which was called 'The Art Formerly Known As New Media'. Rhizome's metadata consultation project around the ArtBase began the following April (2006).

Michael, I welcome your efforts to continue to redefine Rhizome's usefulness to its many communities and agree with a number of the comments posted here, about how Rhizome has the potential to become more rhizomatic without simply branding event-hubs of itself around the globe. I have other thoughts about the interlinked pasts and collaborative futures of networked new media art organisations, our own included, but I'll save them for F2F discussions over cups of tea.

as ever,

patrick lichty 2 years, 7 months agoReply

I echo everyone else's appreciation for your post, and as a mid-90's Rhizomer and rabid poster, I remember hanging out at the Spring offices in SoHo with Mark and Alex. I remember that after RTMark was in the WiBi in 2000, with Max Anderson going crazy with what we were doing, Cory Arcangel was on Houston and Spring, asking me how to make it as a New Media Artist.

As an aside, he certainly seems to have done a better job of it than I did, even as a tangential Yes Man.

A lot of it changed here. It became institutional, striated, compartmentalized, very much like the infrastructure of a museum. I remember having coffee with Lauren Cornell once briefly after her coming on board that was very collegial and warm. But at the 15th Anniversary party, I felt like I received a boilerplate "Oh, hello, yes, Patrick, we want to thank you for all the support and (free) content that you have contributed over the years." No, Lauren, I'm not being entitled and feeling like I deserve anything but perhaps a little friendship for the thousands of hours that I put into this thing. This isn't a social media site, this was my motherfucking HOME while I was talking about this obscure emerging form of art that no one in North Canton, Ohio had the faintest inkling about. I became a virtual New Yorker through Rhizome and The Thing, and when i came to town, Blackhawk, Jen Crowe, and the McCoys, along with Napier, Klima, etc would throw 50+ person parties with me as an excuse to get everyone together. This wasn't a business, it was a community of artists who knew and cared about each other.

Which brings me to my ChiBuddy Nick O'Brien's comments about the new artists trying to work out working into the galleries. That isn't what it was about at all. We hadn't become part of the art world proper yet (and according to Claire Bishop, we still shouldn't). In the 90's most of us weren't about being part of the art world because until things like net.Condition, the WiBi 2000, Data Dynamics, the SFMoMA show, we just weren't on the radar. We hung out, traded chops, hung at Postmasters (yes, before Bitforms was founded), created other networks like The Upgrade (which is still around but flagging a little).

It wasn't about the business of the art world, Nick. it was about being an artist with a passion for art and technology, and if you got a break, great. There weren't any MFAs in New Media or many galleries that would take us.

I used to feel that Rhizome was a home for me, for art, for discourse; but once I felt it turn into an art system institution tailoring itself to young NYC artists just like everything else, I lost interest in it and started my blog at Furtherfield.

I started doing digital art as a Contemporary at 27 (in 1990). And as Guillermo Gomez-Pena once said, I'm not as young, hip, or pretty, but there's still a swing in that hip.

I guess my point for Michael is that I feel like somewhere along the way, Rhizome has taken various turns; guerrilla, community, institutional, take your pick.

I'd love to be at home at Rhizome again. I've said so much to Heather. However, I don't expect Rhizome to be a scrappy little RAW listserv again. What I think did happen to Rhizome is that it got caught in its own snare of success and Dyske and Curt have outlined many of the issues here very well. I think that what the new management would do well to consider is that where Rhizome had its humanity was not in positioning technological media in the art world or giving credibility to certain members (which I think is a reason why R's affiliation with the New is a little problematic, but something we have to live with), but the maintenance of a haven for discussion and activity and community to flourish. There is a difference between being a strategic, "eyes on the prize" art worlder and being an artist, and that difference lies in your intent, your belief, and your passion.

Fuck the art world. Home is where your homies are.
Rhizome was that for me. It just happened to be in the art world, and I just happened to be a contemporary artist. However, these were incidental. Rhizome was a place where my passions could live and flourish. I hope it can be again.

For those of you who know me for having a more scholarly tone, please excuse my language, but I think passion needs its voice, and it's something that Rhizome has been lacking for a long time.

Michael Connor 2 years, 7 months agoReply

Patrick, next time you're in town, come by the office for a few hugs from current and former staff members.

nathaniel stern 2 years, 7 months agoReply

Someone buy Patrick Lichty a beer. Next time I'm in Chicago, brother :)

Daniel Rourke 2 years, 7 months agoReply

I've enjoyed the discussion here. Though it's heightened my sense of outsidedness! The old web, the new web. Such a golden time to be around when a before and during can be pointed at - the after being, perhaps, where we are trying to avoid heading.

I can't vouch for what Rhizome used to be, but I do know how the netart community functions today, and its dynamism cannot be maintained in an email serve list. Having recently started writing for Rhizome I feel a growing sense of protection for this old ship. Yet…

There is something about netart that very much resides in a continual present, and then there's an old staple, like Rhizome, that even the hardiest gallery-based curator with no Internet knowledge/interest can name drop at a dinner party. Netart doesn't make sense in ten-year-old list serve terms, or veteran websites still clinging on to their 227 page archives. It makes sense now and only now. The household Internet name is by definition nothing to do with netart now. I mean not to negate the positive comments about Rhizome's past, or the great work happening now with places like Furtherfield. But how to foster that Nowness again? And onwards? I will have to get boringly practical…

Look to sites like the theverge.com. A site devoted to cutting edge tech. The frontpage gets updated a few times a day, and so has done away with the old linear scrolling blog format. Instead they opt for a tiled layout that dynamically changes as content is added. In the sidebar popular posts from the community are highlighted, less like mail call outs or forum posts as individual blogs in themselves. People devote themselves to these blogs, feeling that they are their own spaces. The dynamic front page gives anyone the chance to impact the wider verge community.

Look at metafilter.com, which has been around since the days of Rhizome listserve. They brought Digg and Reddit style community to the web then, and do now, with uncompromising attention to detail. There is no metafilter manifesto, and yet ask a member what the community stands for in terms of content and approach and they would be able to tell you. The way this consistency is achieved is through a series of unpaid/low paid mediators, that slave through every post making sure Reddit style divergences and disrespect doesn't over power the central vision. Still better than its clones to this day. Unparalleled commitment to an unwritten cause. For me its one of the most successful examples of a self-controlled community that never feels controlling.

Lastly, Rhizome's presence on Facebook highlights an identity problem alluded to throughout this discussion. A niggle, perhaps, but a huge loss nontheless: Anyone typing 'Rhizome' into their status misses out on the chance to automatically link to the community page. Why? Because the official title is 'rhizomeatthenewmuseum'. Consolidate Rhizome site, twitter, Facebook etc. and you'll instantly find a hidden audience made visible again. Rhizome.org and Rhizome at the New Museum are equally important identities that need to be fostered on their own terms.

Really honoured to be part of this discussion. Can't wait to see where Michael and the team take Rhizome next. Good luck!

Colin Keefe 2 years, 7 months agoReply

The value of Rhizome in the 90’s I think was:

a. the name actually described the structure of the conversation (lateral not hierarchical)

b. it was an actual conversation because of that structure

c. the conversation was held by people who loved using words and loved art.

d. anybody could talk, nobody was privileged

e. people were still sussing out what making art on the internet could actually mean

That’s pretty much it. Find a way to do that again in a way that makes sense for 2013 and you’ll be providing something very useful, and true to roots. The last point obviously was because of a historical moment, but we’re always in a historical moment, really.

My personal interest was never really about net art itself, but the fact that talking about net art was always a larger conversation about what art actually is. Which is a pretty darned rare topic in these latter days of Miami art orgies.

patrick lichty 2 years, 7 months agoReply

Michael, I'll take you up on that. And for lack of more time, glad to have you on.

Rob Myers 2 years, 7 months agoReply

"Netart doesn't make sense in ten-year-old list serve terms, or veteran websites still clinging on to their 227 page archives. It makes sense now and only now"

Did IQs drop sharply while I was away?

Michael Connor 2 years, 7 months agoReply

This is definitely not the tone I want to foster on this site. Go after an argument, sure, but personal insults are out of place here.

Michael Szpakowski 2 years, 7 months agoReply

I'm intrigued by this response after having given it a good deal of thought. Do you think that your role, Michael, is to "foster a tone" ?
Rob Myers is a fluffy bunny who wouldn't hurt a fly but he also has very highly developed bullshit detection installed. His reply (which appropriates lines from "Alien") was extremely rude but funny and to the point. If people write drivel they must expect to be called on it.
It also seems from their reply that the victim of Rob's ire is perfectly capable of taking care of themselves.
I don't want to pull too much of an "in the old days" but, quite honestly, those of us who remember the bracingly toxic environment the RAW could at times be (Kandinsky/Death anyone?) really would not even be moved to raise half a lazy eyebrow at this.
Discussion is not a mutual appreciation society -it is a struggle for understanding and for meaning and against obfuscation and the kind of dumbing down that comes with money, ambition and the kind of neo-liberalised art market we have today. Ideas things *matter*, they have *consequences* so people get passionate and sometimes even reply sharply. Good thing, not bad thing.
In a kind of circle with my first post on this I want to repeat: the whole point about RAW, about unmoderated e mail lists is that they are democratic in an as yet unparalleled way. No one individual"fosters a tone" on them and a good thing too.

Michael Connor 2 years, 7 months agoReply

Here is what Daniel's original comment - the one that Rob quoted prior to his IQ comment - made me think: "That's interesting; maybe archiving discussions is one of the things that is increasing the potential reputation cost of posting for many people." There are very interesting examples (such as 4Chan) where the lack of archiving encourages certain kinds of participation.

I can tell you from our brief collaboration so far that Daniel O'Rourke is a very perceptive individual, and he is definitely someone I would like to have as an active participant here. I don't really agree that Rob's reply was a passionate defense of a specific idea nor a step towards greater clarity. It did slightly come off as hazing. In fact, this is an example of the difficulties with the claim that listserves are inherently democratic - in fact, as with any social gathering, they have certain hierarchies and power dynamics that are carefully negotiated, and regulated through acts like firing a few warning shots across the bow of a newcomer.

(Sorry, Rob, now you're caught in the crossfire… I know we're blowing your comment out of all proportion now.)

curt cloninger 2 years, 6 months agoReply

The funny thing is, Daniel and Rob are both right smart, and a similar kind of smart, and both live on the same island. It makes me think about arguing on RAW with Michael Sarff in 2001, and then him curating a weekend of performances I did in 2008. And it makes me think of this quote: "Because now, thanks to technology, and everybody being huge pussies about everything…" from this amusing skit: http://youtu.be/gSjLiQxEZlM . Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.

Daniel Rourke 2 years, 7 months agoReply

Come back and let's raise the bar

patrick lichty 2 years, 7 months agoReply

I love the fact that people have locked onto Curt's quote, "too much to lose/ not enough at stake" as if today's artists cower before the curators and critics while simultaneously sniff at the message board because there might not be enough ROI from their time placed into the board. This reminds me of an argument I had with a student who was indignant about having to take classes that he felt he might not get a good ROI from and might not be relevant to his aspirations. This also reminds me of the idea that the young artist has their "eyes on the prize" to the point where there is a gesture of shallow narcissism, and little else. it also shows that Western culture is so risk-averse that no one wants to engage where there is risk, however miniscule of losing their time.

IMO, participating in culture is not about strategically placing yourself to maximize your brand's return on investment so you can sell something at Miami Basel. Don't get me wrong, but when I think like that, I go read Gregory Sholette's "Dark Matter" again and again. I know I'm part of the 2-5% of all contemporary artists who stick it out to 50, and that's my argument of enjoying the process rather than obsessing about the returns, because you're probably going to remain a web designer if you don't become a professor.

The privilege to being part of something like Rhizome is that if you catch traction, you help drive culture. that's amazing. I'm not particularly interested if you wear a tweed jacket and round glasses and obsess about how you're going to get into Pace, because if that's the way you think, you probably won't. At the risk of sounding trite fortune favors the bold who just go out into the wilds of Chernobyl and bring back hunks of radioactive metal.

Be fearless, and who cares if you waste an hour once in a while on a bulletin board. Better time spent than Halo…

curt cloninger 2 years, 7 months agoReply

Here is my art star trajectory, a massively inspiring biographical tale imparting hope and courage to all who dare wander within the circumference of its nurturing glow. I grew up in south Alabama, US. My first band was George and the Weedeaters. We played REM and U2 covers. I was 12. My second band was Voodoo Bar-B-Q. We played originals that fell somewhere between The Minutemen and The Velvet Underground's "Sister Ray." REsearch Magazine was my ARTforum. I was 15. My third band was Infinite Scrotum, falling somewhere between Black Sabbath and Black Sabbath. Outside cultural forces sent free Jandek albums to our college radio station. I was 18. At 26 I got online. My first joys were midnight computer intrusion binges via telnet. Then web design and dreamless.org. Then net art and rhizome.org. Arguing in cryptic englishcode with polyonamous eastern european anarchist collectives ( http://www.lab404.com/plotfracture/cina/ ). getting up to speed on Deleuze, Foucault, Baudrillard to be able to hang in there theoretically with Alex and Mark. Dissing overly political art and championing visual viscerality for its own sake. A real young gun. I was teaching Literature to 12 year olds. Still living in south Alabama. I had been to New York once, on a family vacation when I was 12.

Now I am 44. I teach new media art and theory to undergraduates. I make art. I write. I have 5 children. I finally moved north… to North Carolina. Honestly, I don't really care about the upcoming opening of your latest group show (in Chelsea, Bushwick, Dumbo, Kansas City, Detroit, London, Sao Paulo, Mars), unless I happen to be in your town that week, or unless it has some sort of online instantiation. The following video clip rougly approximates how I feel about your "art career" ( http://youtu.be/In86XlZ_Ays ), although I love you as a human. I am writing this as a way to procrastinate a big pile of grading, just to hear myself talk. God bless the colonies.

randomgenerator 2 years, 7 months agoReply

I'm not an artist, an art blogger, a regular commenter, or an old-school Rhizome-er, and it appears I'm also late to the thread. So I've got that going for me. Nevertheless I care about culture and what exists as an alternative to its (seeming) absence these days. As a young-ish person approaching the internet and then new media art, I find there to be a significant disconnect between early practitioners and the younger generation of today. I think it's great that (as many here have highlighted) new media art is finally becoming recognized within the Art World, but it seems it is thusly being sucked up into Art World's sphere of influence like the annihilating energy ball at the end of Akira (insert .gif, or actually, don't).

Patrick addressed the risk aversion of Western culture and I feel this constant outlining of future risk in decision-making too. Since when did the internet become so colonized by commercial influence? I see ideas about and the implementation of technologies today all too quickly codified, adopted into widespread use, and regarded as universal truths. I see artists of my generation engaging technology only through the truths they have somehow been obliged to accept invoking the concept of 'new media.' With Rhizome I wonder, 'Where's the cultural history?' (I know it's there) and 'Where's the innovation (aside from digital preservation)?'.

It would be refreshing if Rhizome conducted itself with less regard to that constant tracing of future risk, and more with (even a fraction of) the pioneering, political, radical attitude of earlier generations. I think many on this thread are apologists for Rhizome's growth into becoming accepted by the art establishment, but if we accept a highly politicized art world's absolute authority over new media art practice, then Rhizome is playing into the hand of an a priori power structure which may or may not give two shits about the inherent concerns of new media and let's face it, 'technology' today in general. I think we are rushing to legitimize new media art whilst ignoring some huge cognitive dissonances in its practice.

Has new media become fashion? The tech scene is always looking forward and reaching beyond itself, invoking the constant bathwater-refreshing of social hack (as in hackneyed) updates and blogrolls as its grand enabler. In the same breath fashion continually objectifies and Orientalizes the past in the name of novelty and not without various shades of mockery, and through appropriation enforces its own authority over past modes. As I see it new media art today is claiming the same functional space. I rarely see affecting communication between those who made new media a scene when it emerged and those approximating a scene today. I also see that in many of the new media organizations involved in the art world, these foundational members are notably absent (with the exception of comment threads like this one where they come out of the proverbial woodwork to offer some sharp, clairvoyant criticism and then go back to Mars or CRUMB or where-have-you).

For a scene with a storied history and culture surrounding it, there was no ritual handing off, no learning from what the original Rhizome-ers uncovered. Perhaps this is not how contemporaneous culture works. Perhaps all scenes must die quickly for later rebranding.