The Theresa Duncan CD-ROMs are now playable online


In the 1990s, Theresa Duncan and collaborators made three videogames that exemplified interactive storytelling at its very best.

Two decades later, her works (like most CD-ROMs) have fallen into obscurity, but they remain as luminous and compelling as ever. This online exhibition—copresented by Rhizome and the New Museum as part of First Look: New Art Online—brings them back, making them playable online, in your browser.

Click here to play.

The Games



Chop Suey (Magnet Interactive, 1995, co-created with Monica Gesue). Lily and June Bugg embark on a strange, hallucinatory adventure through the small town of Cortland, Ohio.

Smarty (Nicholson Associates, 1996). Smarty is off to visit her Aunt Olive for the summer, where she'll host a spelling radio show, eat at the Pancake House, and visit a mysterious dime store.

Zero Zero (Nicholson Associates, 1997). It's New Year's Eve, 1899, in Paris. A little girl named Pinkée makes the rounds of the city, asking bakers, gardeners, and can-can dancers about what the future will hold.

For this First Look online exhibition, Rhizome's Digital Conservator Dragan Espenschied and the University of Frieburg have partnered tomake the full CD-ROMs available through the web browser–based “Emulation as Service” system. To play the games and explore further, click here.


Required Reading: Net Art gets bodied


 Ann Hirsch, Playground, 2013 Performance at the New Museum

Johanna Fateman's "Women on the Verge," running in the current issue of Artforum, takes an in-depth and sensitive look at the recent online exhibition "Body Anxiety" and the work of several notable artists currently working online. The article serves as an excellent snapshot of the "current predicament" of contemporary feminism, and the seemingly conflicted positions the artists adopt:

As skeptical inheritors of the third-wave pro-sex torch, they share no unified agenda, only a cultural predicament. If to put an image of one's body on the Internet is to frame it with the apparatus of porn, to lose control of its circulation, and to expose oneself to the cultural anxiety, sexist scrutiny, and confounding hostility that attend the gesture, then what’s the way forward? There’s no single path, of course. But in many of the standout works that have emerged from this scene, young women—in registers of resignation or defiance, didactically or through performing the intertwinements of "sexuality, innocence, darkness, complacency"—seem to pull off the paradoxical feat of taking back their images at the very moment of surrender.

To celebrate this well-deserved consideration, we've collected a few resources from the Rhizome archives for further research into the topics and artists that were covered in this article, and one or two that weren't:

Josephine Bosma's review "'Body Anxiety:' Sabatoging Big Daddy Mainframe, via Online Exhibition," which discusses the show in the context of prehistories of feminism in net art.

This resource list by the Old Boys Network, which includes manifestos and writings from '90s cyberfeminist leaders like VNS Matrix and Shu Lea Cheang. This 1998 interview between Cheang and Alex Galloway is well worth revisiting. A more recent 2012 interview with Cheang and Yin Ho can be found here, in which she discusses at length her 1998 project Brandon. Parts of the project have now been restored on the Guggenheim website.

Ann Hirsch, whose 2013 Rhizome commission Playground was presented last weekend at JOAN in Los Angeles, was quoted extensively in Fateman's essay. For more on Hirsch, see her 2012 Artist Profile, Moira Weigel on Playground, and Morgan Quaintance's review of the London performance.

An Artist Profile of Jennifer Chan highlights the artist-curator's attention to cyberfeminism in relation to her own practice.

Last fall, Hannah Black and Amalia Ulman participated in our series of discussions Art in Circulation, during which Ulman launched the First Look exhibition of Excellences & Perfections. There have also been Artist Profiles of the former and the latter.

Bunny Rogers talked in depth about online identities in her Artist Profile, and participated in an evening called Internet as Poetry last summer. She'll be working on a Rhizome commission later this year.

Finally, check out Rachel Rabbit White's recap of the 2013 women-only event Zoë Salditch curated at Transfer Gallery in Brooklyn, Oh gURL: It’s so good to finally meet u IRL.

Enjoy, and we hope to see more writing about net art and online exhibitions from Artforum in the future.


Cyborg Origins: Lynn Hershman Leeson at Bridget Donahue



"Lynn Hershman Leeson: Origins of the Species," installation view, Bridget Donahue. Copyright Lynn Hershman Leeson. Photos by Marc Brems Tatti. Courtesy Bridget Donahue, New York.

Lynn Hershman Leeson has been probing the idea of what it means to be a cybernetic organism since the 1960s. This line of inquiry is laid bare in "Origins of the Species," a solo exhibition of Hershman Leeson's work that inaugurates Bridget Donahue's new gallery space in New York. Running concurrently with the artist's first museum retrospective, "Civic Radar," at ZKM in Karlsruhe, Germany, the exhibition nevertheless assembles an impressive cross-section of Hershman Leeson's work, including multimedia works on paper, sculpture, photographs, collages, videos, and interactive installations, spanning her five-decade career.

We find the hybrid of organism and machine, very conspicuously, in the sculpture Breathing Machine II (1968/2011), a woman's face cast in wax with a tangle of feathers, butterflies, and other fauna dispersed throughout her hair, actuated to "breathe" when the viewer draws close enough to peer down onto her. Or in Hershman Leeson's Phantom Limb series (1985-1987), in which the female body melds with sockets and wires, so that technology is as much a part of one's appearance as one's skin or physique.


Grappling with complexity, women in tech, and Leonard Nimoy: Perry Chen's Y2K


Screenshot of Leonard Nimoy in Y2K Family Survival Guide (1999). 

In December, Perry Chen organized a panel discussion at the New Museum (copresented with Rhizome and Creative Time Reports) exploring the phenomenon and legacy of the Y2K bug, as part of his ongoing project Computers in Crisis. Along with a presentation of books and video clips from the time, he assembled three Y2K experts to share their own experiences of preparing for 1/1/00, at which point many computer systems were expected to interpret the two-digit date as "1900" rather than "2000," with harrowing results. 


Glass Gaze: An online performance with hacked Glass and Stoya


Portrait of Stoya by Molly Crabapple.

Creative Time Reports and Rhizome present Glass Gaze, a one-time performance in which artist Molly Crabapple, wearing Google Glass, creates life-drawings of Stoya, porn star and advocate for fair labor practices in the pornography industry, as she strikes a variety of poses. The performance was streamed live on the Rhizome website on Dec. 11 from 3pm to 3:30pm. In early 2014, Creative Time Reports and Rhizome sites will co-publish the video along with an essay that Molly will write about the project.  

Looking means taking. The gaze, whether the stereotypical male gaze or the gaze of an artist, is rapacious and objectifying. But technologies like Google Glass add a new layer to looking. Now, the gaze itself can be commodified, quantified, and sold—whether to advertisers or the NSA. Google Glass lets your audience, or the government, see the world from your perspective.

A classic act of looking is that of the artist staring at a model. In Glass Gaze, I will draw porn performer and aerialist Stoya while wearing a Google Glass that has been hacked by journalist Tim Pool, enabling it to live stream. Viewers will see art-making directly through my eyes.

The choice of Stoya as a model is an homage to Degas's drawings of dancers. Degas is an archetypical artist of the male gaze. In the 21st century, the subjects of his drawings have been stripped of context, but in 19th-century Paris, many dancers doubled as sex workers and mistresses. His ballerinas were iron-tough athletes, working-class women hustling to survive and finance their art. As an artist, I love Degas's dancers, but not his misogyny and alienation. Glass Gaze attempts to see what the gaze sees when the artist is not other, although the gaze itself is commodified and captured by an intermediary. 


Paranoid Reading: Notes on the Young-Girl and the Man-Child


This text is re-printed with permission from a publication released in conjunction with the exhibition The Politics of Friendship (Anicka Yi / Carissa Rodriguez / Jordan Lord / Lise Soskolne) at Studiolo in Zurich. 

Jordan Lord, Carissa Rodriguez, Lise Soskolne, Anicka Yi, Man-Child, Young-Girl, Girl-Child, Man-Girl (2013).

Not having read Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young-Girl —or, to be honest, any texts by the French collective Tiqqun—I am hesitant to comment on the figure of the "Man-Child," which was developed in response to that of Tiqqun's "Young-Girl." Instead, pleading lack of time and putting a little faith in contingency, I offer up some thoughts from Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's final book, Touching Feeling, which I just happened to be reading at the time a friend sent me a link to Moira Weigel and Mal Ahern's essay, "Further Materials Toward a Theory of the Man-Child." 


From the Rhizome Archives: Hacking the Art OS--Interview with Cornelia Sollfrank


In this series of posts, we will be reblogging content from Rhizome's Archives, available here. This interview with Cornelia Sollfrank, conducted by Florian Cramer, comes from Rhizome's former publication, the Rhizome Digest. It was published on March 31, 2002. You can peruse old editions of the Rhizome Digest here.

Big thanks to Rhizome's curatorial fellow Natalie Saltiel for help with this post.

Date: 3.15.2002 From: Florian Cramer (cantsin AT Subject: Hacking the Art OS--Interview with Cornelia Sollfrank Keywords: net art, hacking, gender, design

[This is the English translation of the original-length German interview. Copyleft and publication data is given at the end. -FC]

Hacking the art operating system

Cornelia Sollfrank interviewed by Florian Cramer, December 28th, 2001, during the annual congress of the Chaos Computer Club (German Hacker's Club) in Berlin.

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I have questions on various thematic complexes which in your work seem to be continually referring to each other: hacking and art, computer generated, or more specifically, generative art, cyberfeminism, or the questions that your new work entitled 'Improvised Tele-vision' throw up. And of course the thematic complex plagiarism and appropriation - as well as what can be seen as an appendix to that, art and code, code art and code aesthetics.

Surely code art and code aesthetics are more your themes than mine. I think I should be the one asking the questions here. (laughter), this refers very specifically to statements made by you, for example in your Telepolis interview with, which I found excellent because of its rather sceptical undertones. If that really is more my area though, then by all means we can bracket it out of the interview.

No, no. I didn't mean it like that. Quite the opposite in fact. However that is what is so interesting and difficult about the relationship between these complexes - and which I often find myself arguing about. A lot of things appear to run parallel, or better put, one invests more in one area for a particular period of time, then returns back to something else. To keep an eye on how these various activities link together is not easy.



Interview with Zach Blas


Zach Blas is an artist and writer working at the intersections of networked media, queerness, and politics. His work includes video, sculpture, installation, and design, among other things. He is also a PhD Student in the Program in Literature at Duke University, and writes extensively on the question of art, activism, and sexuality. Zach and I discussed the question of a queer technology and just what queer theory might contribute to the fields of art and technology.