curt cloninger


Member Since January 1, 1996


Curt Cloninger is an artist, writer, and Associate Professor of New Media at the University of North Carolina Asheville. His art undermines language as a system of meaning in order to reveal it as an embodied force in the world. His art work has been featured in the New York Times and at festivals and galleries from Korea to Brazil. Exhibition venues include Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), Granoff Center for The Creative Arts (Brown University), Digital Art Museum [DAM] (Berlin), Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art (Chicago), Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, and the internet. He is the recipient of several grants and awards, including commissions for the creation of new artwork from the National Endowment for the Arts (via and Austin Peay State University's Terminal Award.

Cloninger has written on a wide range of topics, including new media and internet art, installation and performance art, experimental graphic design, popular music, network culture, and continental philosophy. His articles have appeared in Intelligent Agent, Mute, Paste, Tekka, Rhizome Digest, A List Apart, and on ABC World News. He is also the author of eight books, most recently One Per Year (Link Editions). He maintains, , and in hopes of facilitating a more lively remote dialogue with the Sundry Contagions of Wonder.
Hi all,

Here are my notes to myself for the drift talk thing tomorrow.




explain DEBORD's derive (drift through city via attraction/repulsion). a metaphorical ...
May 5 2013 18:39 on Breaking the Ice

The funny thing is, Daniel and Rob are both right smart, and a similar kind of smart, and both live on the same island. It makes me think about arguing ...
April 24 2013 13:25 on Breaking the Ice

Here is my art star trajectory, a massively inspiring biographical tale imparting hope and courage to all who dare wander within the circumference of its nurturing glow. I grew up ...
April 22 2013 16:45 on Breaking the Ice

Michael, I don't distain the odd lurker. But when an entire community is comprised of lurkers, they're not lurkers anymore – they're readers (and occasional re-bloggers) of journalistic content. And ...
April 21 2013 14:43 on Breaking the Ice

Hi all,

I am here now posting this simply because I was invited via an email from Michael Szpakowski. Otherwise I wouldn't have known about this thread at all. I ...
dear rhizome friends,

here is a recent essay that i wrote on the New Aesthetic at Mute Magazine:

Perhaps you will find it relevant to your ...
April 28 2012 01:01 on JODI: Street Digital

yes. failing to (properly) fail = winning (at failing).

"4. the only shame is that we don't have any footage of the critic's experience of SK8MONKEYS: this might have been the ...
"(imagine the damage caused by a theft which robbed you only of your frames, or rather of their joints, and of any possibility of reframing your valuables or your ...
Aug. 25 2010 13:06 on Required Reading

Aug. 21 2010 13:54 on Required Reading

Hi Tom,

I agree with you about this particular piece and its subsequent (re)contextualization(s). Institutionalization wasn't likely to formally disrupt abstract expressionism all that much (discrete paintings meant ...
Aug. 20 2010 02:12 on Required Reading

Hi Jesse,

re: cloning, my uncle and I have the same name. He is . It's not like being named mike jones, because we aren't legion, we are ...
Aug. 19 2010 15:20 on Required Reading

Hi Duncan,

I still think it is a legitimate critical activity to relate contemporary art practices to previous art practices. Not in order to construct a hermetic Alfred Barr chart ...
Aug. 19 2010 00:31 on Required Reading



God bless the interwebs.
Aug. 18 2010 15:42 on Required Reading

Hi Tom,

An example:
One could perhaps claim that "digital programming art" began with Netochka Nezvanova (or whomever). But one couldn't say that "programming art" began there. One could at ...
Aug. 18 2010 10:49 on Required Reading

Hi Tom. I consider this a pesonal victory because it is the first time you have ever addressed me directly online. Your mention of stage plays reminds me of happenings ...
Aug. 17 2010 11:45 on Required Reading

Curt's comforting social media art timeline:
late 1950s: Ray Johnson makes mail art
1966: Kluver and Rauschenberg organize "9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering"
1993: The net supports the interwebs with ...
Aug. 16 2010 16:54 on Required Reading

Hi Marcin (and all),

The semiotic square is meant to be applied to obvious semiotic opposites like "night/day." "Landscape/architecture" (Krauss) and "art/production" (Foster) are a bit ...
March 30 2010 10:42 on Wikipedia Art

Patrick, why isn't this your new facebook picture?
March 8 2010 19:29 on Introducing:

Hi Mary,

Here's some more theory:

"The death of x" is dead. We can now return to x.
We have never been modern.
Theory & art are frosted mini-wheats – ...
March 8 2010 16:43 on Introducing:

Hi Mary,

That's a nice theory.

March 8 2010 14:31 on Introducing:

Hi Ryder,

>> in most social settings our self consciousness and ego makes discourse an act of performance.

>>Possibly a better use ...
March 7 2010 17:24 on Introducing:

Hi Ryder (and all),

On the whole, I have enjoyed my time at Here are some theoretical and personal thoughts:


I would love a javascript dump widget ...
My five year-old daughter loves this. Several times daily she asks for permission to get on the computer and "play" it. It has become her new favorite "game," better ...
July 24 2009 13:24 on On Networked Equality

Thanks Brian. That clarifies what you are asking. It is useful to boil things down from the vague "political" to the more specific "idea of the internet as an equal ...
July 23 2009 14:45 on On Networked Equality

Hi Brian,

It seems a false or forced dichotomy to talk about political art vs. formal art. If artists describe themselves in these ways, then they kind of skew critics ...
July 8 2009 14:22 on On Tour

Hi Nikola,

My Uncle and I have the same name. It's not a very common name. He is an actor who performs monologues at Christian churches (he is actually very ...
July 7 2009 21:24 on On Tour

Hi Nikola,

I respect Lauren and Ceci. I don't know Brian that well, but thus far his dealings with me personally have been upright. But your experience is obviously different ...
Thanks Nick,

I appreciate the work that you do. We have never been the most thankful community, so your job is pretty thankless.

I understand your decision regarding the spamming ...
July 7 2009 14:09 on On Tour

I'll write some about Nikola.


Here are some Nikola links:



URL buyin' / site stattin':

gettin' ...

Hi Ceci,

It seems to me more a matter of decreased moderation, increased prominence, and increased ease of use. When I post, I need ...
Hi Michael,

I'm mostly dissatisfied with the fact that the forums are currently moderated (even if only to temporarily filter out "spam," which implicitly assumes a moderator's ability to ...
Hi Franz,

I do think the current interest in "formal" work is a reaction (whether intentional or subliminal, probably both) against an overly politicized/pragmatic/moralizing dialogue that has often ...
Hi Max,

I think it's always fair to ask "if this is being included, what is being excluded, and why?" I do think there is a bit of curatorial ...
June 4 2009 15:33 on Wired Misses the Marx

Thanks Brian.

see also Keith White's "The Killer App: Wired Magazine, Voice of the Corporate Revolution" (1995):

And this excerpt below from my ...
April 6 2009 22:37 on Dogs in Space

This semester I added some "pro surfer" net art to my net art curriculum ( ). One of my students asked, "What's the difference between this stuff and ...
April 1 2009 10:34 on Media Studies

Matthew Coolidge and Sarah Simons eds. Overlook: Exploring the Internal Fringes of America with the Center for Land Use Interpretation, Metropolis Books, 2006.
March 21 2009 15:11 on Media Studies

Charles Baudelaire, "Tableaux Perisiens" from Fleurs du mal, 1861. [scroll down to the poems in the "Tableaux Parisiens" section]

Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project, Harvard University Press, 2002.

Drain Magazine ...
… or that when you tell someone about the James Brown song they think of the website.

rick silva wrote:
isn’t it kind ...
Hi Marisa (and all),

I still think your movement needs another moniker, since the artists doing the pro surfing aren't really "professionals." AmSurfer? AmSumer? (You could host an event ...
Feb. 19 2009 10:55 on Wikipedia Art


Point well taken, although de Certeau hardly fits into the category of "Derrida et al" (you're stereotyping your philosophers like I'm stereotyping my Wikipedia editors).

Not that the ...
Feb. 18 2009 19:07 on Wikipedia Art

Hi Tom,

I just re-read your post and noticed that you *don't* doubt my condecension skillz. I feel like such an idiot! The whole time you were actually giving me ...
Feb. 18 2009 18:47 on Wikipedia Art

Hi Tom,

First off, you abuse me with your language when you doubt whether I am capable of being even more condescending. It really hurts my feelings. Not only that ...
Feb. 18 2009 11:55 on Wikipedia Art

"There you go again."

Come on Tom. I've got kid gloves on. If you can accuse Patrick of "ginning up… mock outrage ...
Feb. 17 2009 16:31 on Wikipedia Art

Not that the artist's intention need have anything to do with how a critic interprets the piece, but here is Scott Kildall's stated intention for the piece:


"The results of ...
Feb. 17 2009 16:19 on Wikipedia Art

Hi Tom,

In a sense you're right, but isn't that the way all canonicity works? How is "non-intellectual" Brooklyn underground gallery canonicity qualitatively superior to "intellectual" academic press canonicity? How ...
Hi Tom,

I'm sorry I abused you with my language. I will try to be nicer.

The reason I feel such ownership of the Rhizome discussion forum is that it ...
Hi Tom,

You're not obliged to talk to me. It's just trollish to obliquely dis the things I post while going out of your way to avoid directly addressing me ...

We've read what you've written. Have you read what we've written? Above, we have posted nuanced distinctions and historical delineations to augment your oversimplified dichotomy. Now it's your turn ...
Hi Tom,

Don't give up on Rhizome yet. Its love is like bad medicine, but (if you will forgive me a personal observation) bad medicine may be just what you ...
Jan. 19 2009 18:10 on Inauguration Overload

related (and an interesting study in meme remixology):
Dear Tom,

You abandon the site of this open, unmoderated, many-to-many discussion of an idea you've proposed. You reatreat to your blog to post some cryptic, scatalogical minutiae to yourself ...
I thought it was during on of those threads awhile back, but I searched for it and couldn't find it. My mistake. I know you made the analogy with found ...
I know a colleague with degrees in architecture and philosophy who teaches and practices art. He says the title of artist allows him more investigative freedom across all disciplines. In ...
Hi Vijay,

de Certeau's consumers/tacticians weren't ever calling themselves artists. And the residual trace of their poachings/readings/walkings were always less important than the actual performance of these ...
Hi Tom,

I'm glad you are talking to me (if not directly, than at least a bit less obliquely). My name is Curt. I don't think we've been properly introduced ...
Thanks Brett.

I've been thinking a lot lately about de Certeau's "The Practice of Everyday Life" and its relative (in)applicability to interweb art. Richard Serra made his original "Television ...
This piece works exactly the way the artist wants it to work, within the confines of the .swf file, as determined by the design parameters of Adobe Inc., as handled ...
Hi Ry,

I agree with you. I use "tech savvy" and "tech agnostic" to characterize my understanding of other people's arguments, but those are not my arguments. How close or ...
Hi Brian,

It seems more like this:


Tom Moody's characterization (circa 2008):
a. tech-savvy = unconceptual =
b. tech-agnostic = conceptual =

Michael Samyn's characterization (circa 2000):
a ...
Hi Ceci,

I think Brody Condon's recent dialogue with Nauman's work is a good example of the historically contingent (or at least potentially fruitful) relationship between contemporary "new media" video ...
Hi Ceci,

I largely agree with your analysis. Lots of great conceptual artists have had craft skills (Warhol, Duchamp, arguably even Cage). The most ingenious conceptual artists are able to ...
Thank y'all for posting. I just finished listening.

Some thoughts:

"What we became interested in is not so much the discusion about tools, but about why those tools were ...