If you have trouble reading this email, click here.

10.9.2014

Advertise with Nectar Ads

 

Featured Article

Unbound: The Politics of Scanning
By Orit Gat on Thursday Oct 9th, 2014

There's a great scene in the first episode of House of Cards where the ambitious young journalist Zoe Barnes is sitting on the floor of her rented apartment's living room scanning the half-shredded documents of an education bill that was forwarded to her by her source/lover Frank Underwood, the Majority Whip. She's drinking wine, taking notes on her laptop, and scanning on her small all-in-one desktop printer/scanner. The next day she shows up at the office of the newspaper where she works with a 3000-word text and the 300-page document scanned, prompting her editors that "We should get this online right away."

Barnes's character is young and ambitious. Later in the season she moves on to work for a site called "Slugline," an early-Politico-like newswire, where "journalists post news directly from their phones." Her obsession with technology is used as a narrative device in the series to set her apart from her older, more conservative editors at the newspaper. And her ambition to upload information to the newspaper's site as soon as possible, to give the public the raw data before it can be filtered or analyzed, stands for her idealism.

The romanticized image of the scanner is based on the assumption that by scanning and uploading we make information available, and that that is somehow an invariably democratic act. Scanning has become synonymous with transparency and access. But does the document dump generate meaningful analysis, or make it seem insignificant? Does the internet enable widespread distribution, or does it more commonly facilitate centralized access? And does the scanner make things transparent, or does it transform them? The contemporary political imaginary links the scanner with democracy, and so we should explore further the political possibilities, values, and limitations associated with the process of scanning documents to be uploaded to the internet.

What are the political possibilities of making information available? A thing that is scanned was already downloaded, in a sense. It circulated on paper, as widely as newspapers or as little as classified documents. And interfering with its further circulation is a time-honored method of keeping a population in check. Documents are kept private; printing presses shut down. Scanning printed material for internet circulation has the potential to circumvent some of these issues. Scanning means turning the document into an image, one that is marked by glitches and bearing the traces of editorial choices on the part of the scanner. Although certain services remain centralized and vulnerable to political manipulation, such as the DNS addressing system, and government monitoring of online behavior is commonplace, there is still political possibility in the aggregate, geographically dispersed nature of the internet. If the same document is scanned, uploaded, and then shared across a number of different hosts, it becomes much more difficult to suppress. And it gains traction by circulation.

MORE »
 
 

News

 

20 October 2014

First Look: Amalia Ulman—Excellences & Perfections
 

9 October 2014

Unbound: The Politics of Scanning
 

8 October 2014

Nail Art: From lipstick traces to digital polish
 

2 October 2014

Announcing Rhizome's Autumn/Winter Program
 

25 September 2014

Artist Profile: Adriana Ramić
 
SEE ALL NEWS
 

FROM THE BLOG

 

9 October 2014

Unbound: The Politics of Scanning
 

8 October 2014

Nail Art: From lipstick traces to digital polish
 

2 October 2014

Announcing Rhizome's Autumn/Winter Program
 

25 September 2014

Artist Profile: Adriana Ramić
 

25 September 2014

Index of Rhizome Today for August
 
SEE THE BLOG
 
 

OPPORTUNITIES

 

#TAGS AND CONVERSATIONS ~ ART RESIDENCY

CALL FOR VIDEO WORK - video art exploring CANNABIS CULTURE

CURRENTS 2015 – Santa Fe’s International New Media Festival

Assistant Professor - Graphic Design - Tenure Track

Assistant Professor of New Media

 
SEE ALL
 

CALENDAR

 

Alona Rodeh: Barking Dogs Don’t Bite

American Identity 1.0

[Dorkbot Chicago] Artist Talk: Nick Briz

Tim Miller @ The Unstitute + exhibition opportunities

OUT NOW: "The skin" by Alison Bennett: at the Widget Art Gallery Oct. 16 - Nov. 16 2014

 
SEE ALL
 
 

DISCUSSION

 

Watch Now: Do You Follow? Art in Circulation 3 (1 posts)

Rush Transcript — "Do You Follow?" Panel One (0 posts)

(Conceptual) Art, Cryptocurrency and Beyond. (1 posts)

Opportunity: Senior Developer (Part-time) at Rhizome (0 posts)

Unbound: The Politics of Scanning (1 posts)

 
SEE ALL
 
 
 
RHIZOME NEWS CONTENTS
Featured Article
News & From the Blog
Opportunities & Calendar
Discussion
 
 

Become a Rhizome Member!

 

RHIZOME NEWS ADS

 

Contact our partner Nectar Ads for details

 
 
 
The Rhizome News is supported, in part, by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and The New York State Council on the Arts. You are receiving this email because, at one point, you signed up for Rhizome News.