Artist Profile: Hannah Black


The latest in a series of interviews with artists who have developed a significant body of work engaged (in its process, or in the issues it raises) with technology. See the full list of Artist Profiles here.


Hannah Black, My Bodies (2014). Digital video.

Your work concerns bodies, or the condition of being bodied. Your last video Fall of Communism (2014) feels like a sculpture in the sense that as a viewer, one's own body is pulled into relief, as with an object in space. I felt pulled into the space of the video, vertiginous. At your show at the Legion TV gallery in London, one half of what was on display was a hand-cut latex the color of skin. Is the work an analog for the body, or otherwise, where does the body (of the maker or the viewer) intersect or interact with the body of the work for you?

It's true that if you look at a lot of my work there is an interest in viscera, in the interior of the body—but it's not a Paul McCarthy guts and blood thing, it's a stand-in for interiority in general, for the inside being outside and vice versa. The phrase "being bodied" could mean "getting killed" as well as "being embodied" and I think that tension is one of the ways that I'm interested in what it means to have, or not have, something called "a body." I tried to write about how our concept of the body might one day, in a utopian way, be replaced by the framework of lifetime or different concentrations of experience. My wildest idea was that this reinterpretation of sensory experience would "render death merely chronological," a phrase I still love, though it's hard for me to recall exactly what I meant by it. Something about placing yourself in the long flow of time, allowing your self-conception to accommodate more than just your own conscious physical experience, I think. In the end it was too sci-fi an idea and didn't work out as an essay, so instead became the video My Bodies. I wanted to say something about how there is no generic body, no such thing as "the body"; bodies are raced, gendered, and assisted differently in the world. I collected images of white business executives, and you hear the voices of African-American female singers—Aaliyah, Beyonce, Whitney Houston, Jennifer Hudson, and many others—all singing the phrase "my body." I also use Ciara's song "Body Party." There is a whole tradition in black philosophy of trying to think about to what extent white thought is able to conceptualize black people as having bodily integrity. Hortense Spillers says that the enslaved body, for example, becomes just flesh; Frank Wilderson picks up this train of thought. This is part of the black critique of white feminism: the latter assumes, absurdly, that all women have bodies in the same way. The first part of the video presses on this tension. The second part of the video imagines a realm in between lives where someone is considering whether or not to be born again into a new body, knowing all of the implications of that, knowing how many people in this world have bodies that are racialized or impoverished or perhaps don't, in some senses, fully have bodies at all. It's like the famous romantic scene in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind where they realize they have had their relationship before: would I do it again? Would I choose to be embodied again?


Index of Rhizome Today for August


Rhizome Today is an experiment in ephemeral blogging: posts written and published each morning, and unpublished within a day. The latest post can always be found at

After some discussion about the best way to wrap up each month's posts, we've decided to publish a list of topics and people covered on Today during the preceding month. Here is the index for Rhizome Today in August, 2014. 


  • Amazon (8-Aug, 11-Aug, 26-Aug)
  • ARE.NA (20-Aug)


Artist Profile: Heather Phillipson


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.

Heather Phillipson, immediately and for a short time balloons weapons too-tight clothing worries of all kinds (2014). Image courtesy the artist and Bunker259.

When I saw your recent solo exhibition, immediately and for a short time balloons weapons too-tight clothing worries of all kinds, at Bunker259, I curled up in an inflatable birthing pool to watch a video suspended from an engine hoist. The video depicted a series of domestic, public, and online spaces, with a voiceover from you. At one point, you leaned over the camera and appeared to give me a facial. I broke down in laughter because it suddenly became clear that I had become a participant. When you show Zero-Point Garbage Matte, you use a similar strategy: the viewer climbs up a ladder and looks down on the monitor to view the video, a position that is reflected in its content. Which idea comes first, the video or the physical participation of the viewer?

The video usually precedes its final sculptural form, but not always. With the video suite I'm working on at the moment, for example, I have a really clear idea of what will be going on around it. Regardless, I produce multiple "versions" of each installation, so the video ends up inhabiting quite different physical structures at different times. It's like a built-in contrariness mechanism—the capacity to change the context, and therefore the work, and my mind. But, in general, the one constant is how the viewer is con/figured in relation to the video. So, with immediately and for a short time balloons weapons too-tight clothing worries of all kinds, as you mention, the viewer is recumbent with the video overhead. The video deploys regular POV shots alongside dispassionate observations, and mixes interior monologue with direct address, so there are these shifting perspectives. You're the eye/I of the camera, or its eye is turned on you…positions get conflated. For me, the physical relationship between body and screen is crucial to this formulation, although the rationale might only be revealed sporadically. It's a bastardised literary device, that semblance of inhabitation and activation—one minute you're in first person then second person or third person, then slapped back into first.


Watch a Panel Discussion of 'The Emergence of Video Processing Tools'


On July 13, 2014, to mark the occassion of the release of The Emergence of Video Processing Tools: Television Becoming Unglued, Rhizome, the New Museum Education Department, and Experimental Television Center hosted a conversation between inventor Dave Jones, whose video instruments span forty years, artists-designers Kyle Lapidus and Tali Hinkis of LoVid, Rhizome conservator Dragan Espenschied, and Hank Rudolph of the artist space Signal Culture and the Experimental Television Center. Documentation of the entire conversation can be found above. 


Occupy #normcore, Sawbaum, Monegraph & More: Video from Seven on Seven 2014 is Online


Kevin McCoy and Anil Dash collaborate during their Seven on Seven work day. Photo: Ed Singleton

Miss Seven on Seven NYC 2014? Now, videos of all the presentations are online on Rhizome's Vimeo page. (Alongside, of course, documentation of all previous editions.) Held on May 3 at the New Museum, participants included: artists Kari Altmann, Ian Cheng, Simon Denny, Holly Herndon, Kevin McCoy, Hannah Sawtell, and Frances Stark, and technologists Nick Bilton, Anil Dash, Jen Fong-Adwent, David Kravitz, Aza Raskin, Kate Ray, and Avi Flombaum. 

Take a moment to watch Ray and Herndon debut their spycam app Spyke, Bilton and Denny draw the news, Stark and Kravitz share a steamy, philosophical chat, and more. Kate Crawford, Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, sets the tone for all of the artists and technologists' work with her keynote on cultural manifestations of the anxiety of living under surveillance conditions. And when you've finished it all, don't miss Rhizome editor Michael Connor's take on the seven big ideas from this fifth anniversary edition.


AT&T Archive on YouTube


AT&T's official YouTube page includes an incredible number of educational videos from their archive including work by Jim Henson and Saul Bass.

via Prosthetic Knowledge

The Viewtron System and Sceptre Videotex Terminal (1983)

The Hello Machine

Microelectronics Video Disc Exhibit

Music in Motion

Crystal Clear


Bottle of Magic

The UNIX Operating System


Now You Can Dial

Principles of the Optical Maser

Genesis of the Transistor


A Puppet's Show


Still from Animation, masks (Jordan Wolfson, 2011)

The central figure in Jordan Wolfson’s Animation, masks (his video which showed at Alex Zachary Peter Currie until recently) is only visible to his torso, like a Jack-in-the box. He’s a caricature who lip-syncs borrowed text while making gestures and expressions that seem cinematically familiar. He's not comprised of anything; rather, he's composed through appropriation. 

The character repeats and repeats Richard Brautigan’s Love Poem, heralding a morning without falsehood. In the piece's most powerful segment, he's the face for two emotional and articulate individuals whose frank sexual conversation showcases the distance between lovers who, even with their privileged understanding of one another, can't bridge the difference between empathizing with someone and embodying oneself.  

Still from Animation, masks (Jordan Wolfson, 2011)

That sliver of difference between subject and object and the impossibility of fusing within and without defines the piece. Wolfson has created a compelling synthesis of consumption where the distance between an observer to their object of attention or affection is small but vast. An adept receiver of popular culture exists under his character's mask of mimicry and enactment; one who inhabits references by parroting them. Animation, masks is that absorptive sponge's clearly rendered dream.


Extreme Animals Pictureplane Remix and Video


Pictureplane "Body Mods" remix by Extreme Animals from Jacob Ciocci.

Support a community of forward-thinking artists, writers, curators and technologist and receive Extreme Animals's limited edition ringtone by making a $25 donation during Rhizome's Community Campaign.


Hello World, Christopher Baker's collection of 5000 video diaries, at The Saatchi Gallery


The Saatchi Gallery's screening room opens January 3rd with Christopher Baker’s video installation, Hello World! Or: How I Learned to Stop Listening and Love the Noise(via FAD)

Hello World! or: How I Learned to Stop Listening and Love the Noise from Christopher Baker 

Hello World! is a large-scale audio visual installation comprised of thousands of unique video diaries gathered from the internet. The project is a meditation on the contemporary plight of democratic, participative media and the fundamental human desire to be heard.

On one hand, new media technologies like YouTube have enabled new speakers at an alarming rate. On the other hand, no new technologies have emerged that allow us to listen to all of these new public speakers. Each video consists of a single lone individual speaking candidly to a (potentially massive) imagined audience from a private space such as a bedroom, kitchen, or dorm room. The multi-channel sound composition glides between individuals and the group, allowing viewers to listen in on unique speakers or become immersed in the cacophony. Viewers are encouraged to dwell in the space.


She Was A Camera


echocam,, 2000 

Maybe half of being a camgirl was talking about being a camgirl – not just turning a webcam on yourself and by extension your life, but documenting how your life changed from having turned a webcam on it. We were only doing this for a little while, from sometime in the late 1990's until about whenever mobile phone cameras became commonplace (let's say until the early 2000's.) Apple may also have had a hand in killing the camgirl, packaging webcams into the shells of our laptops. By extension our webcams were made less unusual, less intimate, and much less urgent. Though the golden years of camgirls were brief, they coincided with the rise of the web itself.

Screenshot,, 2000

In 1997, a Minneapolis-based electronic pop musician named Ana Voog launched what she called “the internet's first 24/7 art/life cam,” which proved to also be its longest running...