Artist Profile: Adham Faramawy


The latest in a series of interviews with artists who have a significant body of work that makes use of or responds to network culture and digital technologies. (This post contains nudity.)

Adham Faramawy, Vichy Shower (2014)

I've always been interested in the way material tensions are handled in your work, wherein great haptic spillovers or leaks actively confuse the natural with the synthetic. In Vichy Shower (2014) for example, you employ contrasting material densities. A model drinks mineral water in a parodic demonstration of refreshment; later, we see a pair of hands moisturizing with a digitally enhanced, absurd and all-consuming slime. It's a quick slip from Evian commercial to a kind of Cronenbergian digital immersion. Do you see these natural materials and digital simulations operating in contrast with each other, or in some kind of mutual continuation?

I like how you've phrased this question; it's florid but makes me feel trapped - as if I need air, almost as though there's no exit. Maybe that's my fault in that that's what the videos offer, as if we're in a room filling with viscous material - it's running down the walls and the doors are locked.

I guess I should answer both at different points? Contrast and continuation don't on the surface seem to be mutually exclusive options. In a way, I suppose what's important is that although there are continuations that stretch even beyond the confines of each work, it's often the case that I include aspects or conditions that ensure the simulation fails; it's that failure or friction that's often the most generative aspect.

Maybe the word "simulation" is a problem in the context of my videos so far. In a naive way, although the post-production describes or stems from a description of existing materials, I often see the images firstly as objects and secondly in some sense as propositions. They behave in multiple ways at once, or maybe sequentially. These images describe materiality while also delineating their own material presence and, by extension, that of the viewer.

Maybe that's convoluted or even a little conceited!


Feed my Feed: Radical publishing in Facebook Groups


Robert M. Ochshorn, The App and the Territory (2014)

These days, Facebook is so widely used that opting out constitutes an act of defiance of the norm. The refusal to participate can be made for personal reasons, but there is a sizeable group who do so as a protest of the corporate control over interpersonal communication. In a 2014 blog post, Laura Portwood-Stacer used the metaphor of "breaking up with Facebook" to describe:

active refusal as a tactical response to the perceived harms engendered by a capitalist system in which media corporations have disproportionate power over their platforms' users, who, it may be said, provide unpaid labor for corporations whenever they log on.

The burdens placed on Facebook's users are certainly significant; they include not only cognitive labor, but also online harassment, dataveillence, and the performance of the profile–which is pulled in multiple directions, at the same time increasingly sexualized (pulled into online dating sites like Tinder) and entrepreneurialized (pulled into sites like Airbnb), even while the display of the body within the profile is regulated in punitive, sexist fashion.

One might question whether opting out constitutes a successful removal from the object of concern, or rather, just another performative act amid the impossibility of ever getting off the grid. In this piece, I want to use the example of the Facebook Group to argue that opting out also involves a disavowal of crucial forms of vernacular culture and solidarity. Through collective, thematic riffing, Facebook Groups offer a crucial form of contemporary social and political experience.

Facebook Groups have a low barrier to entry–for example, one doesn't need to understand domain registration or hosting to build a large network. Domain registrar GoDaddy claims 51 million domain names, but there were some 620 million Facebook Groups as of 2010. More than a third of Facebook's active users participate in Groups; some Groups are public, while others require new members to be approved by an admin. Once in, Groups facilitate communication among members via messages and posts, which may also be moderated. Groups are often established around particular topics, which are can be wonderfully specific: see, for example,"Medical Fashion Quarterly" and "Simpsons Shitposting," and a trove of Groups compiling aesthetic categories including the internet-of-things inspired, "HOMECARE AESTHETICS: Environment and Object, offspring of "CORPORATE AESTHETICS: Environment and Object," that bring iconic anomalies and internet garbage to the kitchen table of your feed so you don't have to waste time in Google image search.


Artist Profile: Lilah Fowler


The latest in a series of interviews with artists who have a significant body of work that makes use of or responds to network culture and digital technologies.

 Lilah Fowler, Module 1 (composition in grosplan) (2015; image courtesy of Clement & Schneider, Germany).

"Which Pixel am I standing on?," an online exhibition on Maria Stenfors's gallery website, opened on July 15. What does the exhibition title mean? What is the work like and what is the relationship between the work and the exhibition?

The gallery website displays an image of the Network Utility application performing a traceroute; the image links to the URL of the work, This automatically plays a short looped animation of merging landscapes. There's a textbox below the video asking for GPS coordinates and when these are submitted the viewer can download a digital image.

I'm interested in thinking about what is tangible in digital representations of space and I suppose the title makes me think about how objects and structures "exist" there. Boundaries come into this as well: how you define exactly where you might be within that digital space.


#Review: The New York Times reviews "Design and Violence" at


Image generated by Online Art Critic (Terry Towery, 1997)

Online exhibitions are nothing new—here's Oliver Laric's incomplete timeline of the form from 2013 (he created this when ARTPLUS called theirs "the first exclusively online biennial exhibition of contemporary art" lol.) And yet reviews of these undertakings remain few and far between, not least at the highest echelons, in the pages of industry publications like Artforum and newspapers like the New York Times

Notice that I'm speaking about (art) reviews particularly: focused critical writing that takes a qualitative position on an exhibition. Features—writing that points at something happening, or critically reports broader topics and trends—are more common. Here's a feature about an online exhibition in the Times from 2002. Here's a feature noting another online exhibition in Artforum from 2015.


Notes on a definition of Net Art based on what I remember from a borrowed copy of Nettitudes




Lately, I've been feeling a sense of inhibition relating to Josephine Bosma's book Nettitudes, which I've had checked out from the library for the past six months. I started getting emails a few weeks ago that the book had to be returned, each one charting a steadily increasing overdue fine. (Update: the book is now being billed as lost.) The idea of returning the book became a source of anxiety, because even though I could make a copy or buy another one, I've become attached to it. Also, I don't quite remember where I put it.

This is relevant to my job because the Prix Net Art announcement, which went up earlier this week, had to of course include a definition of net art. And as with last year, this definition was something Chronus and TASML curator and Prix instigator and co-organizer Zhang Ga and I discussed intently. As Zhang has argued from the beginning, one signficant motivation for this prize was to publicly discuss and debate the definition of net art.


The One Hour Photo Lab as Exhibition Venue


One summer during college, I worked in a one-hour photo lab in a mall near my hometown. A big part of the job involved squinting at 35mm negatives and assessing the necessary color balance and exposure. I've always been bad at colors, and when a shift got slow I would make lots and lots of reprints and compare the results, trying to hone my eye. "You generate a lot of waste prints," my boss said one day. "Yes," my 19-year old self agreed placidly, without a thought for the store's bottom line, "that's true."

This week, I went to a CVS near my house to pick up an envelope of photo prints. The occasion was David Horvitz's project "An Impossible Distance," a "distributed exhibition" of works by 24 artists. To receive the "exhibition," you simply send an email to the organizers with your name and whereabouts, and they order the prints for you online, for delivery to a local photo Walgreens or CVS. When I went to CVS to collect my prints seven hours after the allotted time, they weren't ready; the cashier rang me up and started printing them. "It'll just be a few minutes," she said, and turned to the next customer, while a robot performed my old job.


I made $500 working from home thanks to Rhizome's Microgrants! (and lost it all on the Deep Web)


Rhizome is accepting proposals for its $500 microgrants until July 23. Here, one of last year's awardees shares her experience.

You can tell that my hired hacker is good at computers by his effective use of Photoshop's Neon Glow filter.

To be an artist in New York is to be a brand, or at least it is if you have any hope of achieving whatever your metric for success is. (Unless your metric for success is the pure self-fulfillment that comes from creation and intellectual exploration.) I am a terrible brand; my pursuits are as scattered as my online identities, and my Klout score is currently a meager 44.11 thanks to my lackluster Twitter and Instagram offerings. To solve at least one of these problems, I submitted a proposal to Rhizome's microgrant open call for web-based projects last year in the hope of using the award money to hire a hacker to secure two abandoned accounts on Twitter and Tumblr sharing the username "everyoneisugly," a brand I have been trying to get on lock since I bought in 2011 on a whim because I was surprised that the URL was available. I make a living as a developer and have been goofing around online for over twelve years, but my knowledge of the deep web (here I use the term to describe the hidden-but-public networks that can only be accessed via special configurations or software like TOR, although pedants insist that it has something to do with the early 2000s) was limited to a cursory understanding of encryption and an assumption of criminality. I was bluffing, I was a finalist, and I decided I had better start filling in the gaps in my knowledge. I quickly discovered that the deep web is as much of a parade of clumsily manicured personas as any comment thread on a popular art world Instagram.


Now Accepting Nominations: The Second Prix Net Art


Chronus Art Center, Rhizome, and TASML are pleased to announce the second edition of the Prix Net Art, a $10,000 prize for net art. The prize will recognize the future promise of an artist making outstanding work on the internet, as demonstrated by past achievement. A second distinction prize of $5,000 will also be awarded. Awards are made on a no-strings-attached basis, acknowledging excellent artists who remain committed to working online. Nominations are now open, and guidelines available here. The winners will be selected by a jury of three international judges: Josephine Bosma, Chrissie Iles, and Domenico Quaranta.

Learn more about the prize, the call for nominations, the jury, and past winners JODI and Kari Altmann at