On December 2 and 3, Rhizome will present Rendered/Realtime, a series of 24 interactive animations designed and developed by Vince McKelvie. The works are displayed on the front page of Rhizome.org, occupying most of the browser window save for a minimal header and footer. Created specifically for this context, Rendered/Realtime uses a technique adapted from video game graphics, the sprite sheet, to allow the user to rotate, move, and deform rendered animated gifs in real time. Rippling and undulating, riffling and turning inside out, McKelvie's 3D forms defy easy visual comprehension, landing somewhere in between liquid geometric abstraction and sci-fi fantasy.
This way of displaying work has some precedent for Rhizome. From 1998 to 2002, visitors to www.rhizome.org would encounter one of a number of artist-created splash pages, each one featuring a link (in some cases, a rather hidden one) to the main Rhizome front page. Splash pages were a gloriously inefficient detour, an unexpected interruption en route to an online destination; they fell out of fashion in the early 2000s as the web became more efficient, and such detours less acceptable. Today, web habits have changed: most of Rhizome's visitors now jump directly from social media to individual pages on the site, and there is once again an opportunity to use (most of) our front page in a more playful way, from time to time; to allow visitors to encounter artwork before they arrive on pages offering information and interpretation.
Rendered/Realtime will only be on the front page for a short time, but it will be archived on Rhizome following the close of the exhibition tomorrow at 6pm EST. We plan to show more works in this way, continuing with a live streamed performance on December 11 at 3PM (details to follow). A few additional things to note: our thinking about this project was informed not only by Rhizome's splash pages, but also by other points of reference including the online exhibition space Club Internet and the website takeovers of Bubblebyte. Also, this is only possible thanks to our new, more minimal header and footer, designed by PWR Studio. You can read about the tech behind the changes on the recenty-launched Rhizome Labs blog, written by Senior Developer Scott Meisburger.