booomerrranganggboobooomerranrang: Nancy Holt's networked video

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Nancy Holt, Boomerang (1974), still from video.

In her time on this planet, Nancy Holt came to be known as a great American Land Artist, and certainly her brilliant installations, like Utah's Sun Tunnels and collaborations with her partner Robert Smithson and their peers, are profoundly significant, but it was her work in film & video that has had the greatest personal impact on me.

I somehow didn't see Boomerang, her 1974 video performance usually credited to her collaborator Richard Serra, until I was a Ph.D. student in Linda Williams's Phenomenology of Film seminar at UC Berkeley's Rhetoric program, but the time delay was more than made up for by the work's formative resonance. In the video, made during Serra's residency at a Texas television station, a young Holt is seen sitting in an anchor's chair before a staid blue background. Despite brief station ID graphic overlays and one minute of silence in the midst of the ten-minute piece (announced as audio trouble and reminding viewers of the work's live TV origin), the work is in many ways sound-centric.

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Liquid Crystal Palace: Jeremy Blake and his new peers

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Jeremy Blake, Liquid Villa, 1999 Digital C-print 29 x 84 inches Edition of 3 + 1AP

Rhizome Editor and Curator Michael Connor, in his prior capacity as an independent curator, co-organized Liquid Crystal Palaceopening on March 1. Because of its relevance to the Rhizome community, we felt it was worth publishing Michael's writing about the show. Rhizome.org will also present Blake's Liquid Villa as a front page exhibition on March 6 from 3pm to 5pm EST, courtesy Kinz Fine Art and Honor Fraser Gallery.

Jeremy Blake's work seemed to be everywhere in the early 2000s. At the time, I was aware that he was successful in a commercial context, and that he didn't really see himself as a new media artist. (Blake always described himself as a painter.) Both of these things annoyed me about him, because I liked new media art, and I took some perverse pride in its lack of market recognition. It was therefore somewhat annoying that I liked the work. It seemed unsettling and druggy and dangerous, and it felt funny and good in my brain.

Since Blake's tragic death, I've rarely seen the work anywhere, and it sometimes pops into my head. So last year, I decided to look at it again, or as much as I could get my hands on. I was living near LA, and I brought my 2-month old daughter to the highly accommodating Honor Fraser Gallery to go through a stack of DVDs. This time around, Blake suddenly seemed closely connected with a number of other artists working today. The connections that emerged in this new viewing began a thought process that culminated in the exhibition Liquid Crystal Villa, opening tomorrow at Honor Fraser and co-curated with Nate Hitchcock.

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Namaste, the ad begins: Bernays & Assoc. sells the e-cigarette

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The following image-essay accompanies a performance given by Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal at This is the ENDD, a forum on the e-cigarette held on February 22. Video of Rosenthal's presentation can be found here.

 

The Bernays & Assoc. Strategy
for Vuse E-Cigarette, Appendix #2

 

Figure 1:


Figure 2:

 

 

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Prosthetic Knowledge Picks: Code and Economics

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"Joy To Ode" by Dominik Podsiadly

The latest in an ongoing series of themed collections of creative projects assembled by Prosthetic Knowledge. This edition takes a look at creative projects and cultural implications that emerge from the meeting of computing culture and economics.

It's interesting that the etymology of the word "economics" goes back to the Greek oikonomikos, meaning "practiced in the management of a household or family," "frugal" or "thrifty," especially considering the term's modern-day association with big capitalism. On a small or large scale, economics has always been concerned with the distribution of wealth and the management of resources, and its principles can therefore be applied in a range of other fields. For example: In the mid-70's, the subject entered into dialogue with the biology (such as Gary Becker's paper "Altruism, Egoism and Genetic Fitness: Economics and Sociobiology" and "Economics from a Biological Viewpoint" by Jack Hirshleifer), where resources such as fitness, energy, disease, or environment were studied in an economic framework.

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Digital Preservation Community, This One's for You: Donate Today

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Olia Lialina and Dragan Espenschied, Once Upon, 2012

Rhizome is a nimble organization that is passionate about the impact we can make in the field of digital preservation—yet the work we do exists outside the funding structures of higher education or institutional research. We think organizations like ours play an important role in the ecosystem of the digital preservation community. If you believe this too, please support us.

A message from Dragan Espenschied: 

I was appointed Rhizome's new Digital Conservator in January, and though I've not even started yet, I've had a lot of encouraging feedback. People are enthusiastic about what this organization can do for the field of digital preservation.

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A New Office for Rhizome (Means Even More Reasons to Donate)

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Today, I'm pleased to share some news: this summer, Rhizome will be moving into expanded office space in the New Museum's building at 231 Bowery, also home to NEW INC, their art, design, and technology incubator—announced in detail today. Building on our 11-year affiliation with the museum and our frequent collaborations across its public programs, Rhizome will support, advise, and otherwise feed in to the incubator project and the work of its new tenants.

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I Mean Business: the e-cigarette store and how we sell technology

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E-cig store in Les Sables, France

On February 22, Rhizome held This is the ENDD, a one-day forum on the e-cigarette. A version of this article was given by the author as a PowerPoint lecture. Video of the talk can be seen here.

Last fall, I spent a month in Arles, a small town in southern France, which has a population of 50,000. This being France, a large number of the residents smoke, and the town has three cafés-tabacs, where you can buy cigarettes. It also sports two different e-cigarette stores, both on the same street, the main drag in the town. It's clear that the stores are not there to sell the cigarettes, but rather, to showcase them.

I presume both these stores will not exist in five years (that may be a generous estimate). Whether or not e-cigarettes replace real cigarettes, as many e-cig providers claim, the needs that the vape stores answer will change as our relationships with these objects shift. They are designed for a particular moment in the history of the e-cigarette, when it's still a little out of the ordinary, when we're still not totally sure what to do with it, how to normalize it, and whether or not it's actually here to stay. There is an immediacy, a consistency, to our associations with smoking and cigarettes (good and bad, the Humphrey Bogarts and the health threats); trading them in for an electronic object is a mental leap that's hard to ignore. These stores exist to help consumers make the leap.

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Hey: Your data-driven headlines are probably just drivel after all, but that's OK

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A few years back, a writer friend who worked at a prominent blog explained to me that her employer's sensationalist, runon headlines were crafted with the help of a cutting-edge A/B testing system. Each article would go live with multiple versions of the same headline; the version to draw the most clicks would become the canonical version. This, I thought, this is the future: algorithms drawing on user feedback to adjust our texts on the fly for maximum impact.

In 2012, I was among the millions of Americans who noticed that Barack Obama and his campaign staff had started writing some kinda weird messages to me. They'd arrive with subject lines like "Hey" or "Would Love to Meet You." They got talked about at dinner parties. After Election Day, explanations were offered in the press. These weren't the brainchild of a mad creative subject line marketing genius. No, they were carefully tested beforehand among multiple variations sent to smaller groups of supporters, and only the most successful versions made it to the full campaign email list. Obama's campaign raised hundreds of millions of dollars through email direct marketing. 

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