Artists in the C A S C A D E: Kari Altmann and Rhizome's Insta

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#softcontrolabstracts 2012-ongoing @softmobility @karialtmann

In recent years, a central challenge for Rhizome as an internet-based organization has been adjusting to the C A S C A D E (to expand on a phrase coined by Gawker Deputy Editor Max Read), the torrent of feeds that more or less constitute the contemporary (though rapidly changing) internet. Most of our traffic comes to Rhizome via these feeds—Facebook and Twitter, of course, and the new ones that are angel-invested into reality every day. Still, we don't jump onto every rapidly popularizing forum; we have one of our own to cultivate.

All of this is all to say that we never had a compelling reason to start an Instagram account, or, let's say, a compelling way in which to use the platform. But this changed last fall, when artist Ed Fornieles suggested that he launch and operate an account on our behalf as a way of layering up the "character" of Rhizome for his LARPesque gala, New York New York Happy Happy. In the weeks leading up to the event, his posts staged a descent into moneyed debauchery (champagne, neoclassical painting, Macklemore) and creepy biotechnologies (cloning, intense photos of eyes). It was an oddly charged experience for us at IRL Rhizome, at times agonistic: one image was taken down for infringing Insta’s Terms of Service (it was a guy’s bethonged butt with the text "Believe in the Booty") and we asked Ed to take one or two down for broaching our (flexible to a point!) sense of institutional responsibility.

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