Zachary Kaplan
Since 2009
zachary.kaplan@rhizome.org
Works in New York, New York United States of America

BIO
I'm Rhizome's Community Manager. Previously based in Los Angeles and Chicago. My .info has more detail (and live links).

The Accidental Archivist: Criticism on Facebook, and How to Preserve It


In mid-January, a Facebook friend liked a status update, causing it to pop up in my News Feed; I've been avidly following its thread ever since. Now at 675 comments and counting, this rich exchange encapsulates the increasing importance of the art-related discourse that takes place on Facebook, and its precarity.

Los Angeles-based artist, writer, curator, and educator Micol Hebron initiated this conversation with a simple request:

Facebookers, what do you think of this: artist Joe Scanlan, an older white male artist, invented a fictional artist, Donelle Woolford, who is female, black, and seems a bit younger than he is. Scanlan hires actresses to 'play' Donelle for pictures and interviews, and he makes the artwork that she 'makes'. He began this project about 13 years ago. Donelle Woolford is in the 2014 Whitney Biennial. Here is an interview with Scanlan by Jeremy Sigler. Is this racism? Conceptual performance? Critical discourse on artworld hierarchies? Problematic exploitation? Discuss.

Critics, artists, former students, and, often, Scanlan himself responded, generating a thorough critique of the artist's practice, meaningful discussion about race and gender in contemporary art today, and a crowdsourced bibliography. Strikingly, its ebb and flow mimicked the public dialogue around Scanlan/Woolford in the art press—from curiosity (many had no idea of the project at the outset) to confrontation (stoked anew in May by The Yams' public withdrawal from the Biennial in protest), all in a slow burn. The texture and depth of this response evidenced Facebook's specific ability (for better and worse) to produce engaged networks and make visible their interactions.


Artist Profile: Edward Marshall Shenk


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.

  

Edward Shenk on The Jogging, 2014

ZK: Let's start with your Theorist works, widely known for their circulation on The Jogging, and, from there, their secondary, unintended circulation on actual far-right and conspiracy theory-oriented Facebook and Tumblr channels. These image macros take up typical conspiracy theory grist (i.e. Chemtrails, Obama, Osama, etc.) but confound conventional interpretation via intermix of language and image. The circulation has been widely commented on; once picked up by a fringe Facebook group, the photos erode these groups' message-making ability. Their composition not as much. As someone long interested in conspiracy theories, their verisimilitude is what first interested me. So, I wanted to get into your methods—how are these composed and what are your research touchstones?

EMS: I became fascinated by these image macros in the summer of 2013 when I'd see the occasional one pop up in my Facebook news feed. Besides content I was also hooked by just the sheer number of them. The people who would post and share them would do so ad nauseam, and it was never just one conspiracy. I began following the same FB pages as they were and saving the jpegs to a folder on my PC that now contains over a thousand macros.


Art Focused and Distracted: Three new media exhibitions curated by Joshua Decter


Image of äda 'web page produced for the exhibition "Screen," 1996.

In 1996, curator, critic, and educator Joshua Decter colorfully defined "media cultures" as "a euphemism for how we reproduce ourselves, as a society, into a spectacular—i.e., ocular and aural—organism whose viscera has become technology itself."

Throughout his career, Decter has paid special attention to media cultures and their relationship with the public sphere, developing a curatorial practice that has long been distinguished by its openness to adjacent new media and net art practices. Beyond spectacle, his use of websites, apps, and other technological apparatuses sheds fresh light on artists and artworks generally considered to be decidedly analog.

I invited Decter to walk me through three curatorial projects, all ambitious group shows, that exemplify his career in digital and AFK spaces. In each, the artwork is mediated—either by conceit, didactic, or display—so as to variously diffuse and emphasize the image, addressing the nature of art and its publics under the condition of networked technologies. 


Seven on Seven NYC is Sold Out (but you can still watch online and join AFK)


General admission tickets to the 5th Anniversary edition of Rhizome's Seven on Seven program, returning to the New Museum on May 3, are sold out. Missed your chance to buy tickets? Live somewhere other than New York City? Worry not—you can still join this celebration of art and tech. Details after the break. 


$6,587 To Go, and a 24-Hour Telethon To Get Us There


A telethon. All day. All night. We are doing this. Will you donate to support?

11am-11am EST, March 19-20. 24 hours. Wow. That's a lot of hours. But we are going to fill those hours with some of the internet's best, on view via the front page of rhizome.org.

After the break, we've included a schedule to get you pumped. If you're in NYC tomorrow, stop by Lu Magnus, our host at 55 Hester. If you're anywhere else, join the hangout for some screen time. And, for real, D O N A T E.



Discussions (10) Opportunities (0) Events (0) Jobs (0)
DISCUSSION

Rhizome Today


On Twitter, Lena NW directs us to her full paper on the 'Fuck Everything' project: http://www.universehacktress.com/fuckeverything/nwhitm.pdf

DISCUSSION

Rhizome Today


Thanks for the rec, Lucy. I'll check that out.

DISCUSSION

Rhizome Today


Hey, Karen,

Not a real answer (but with truth): the hazard of the 'write this fast in the morning' post. My words were not so specifically chosen there, and were meant as a shout out to something widely circulating.

A better way to have phrased my shout out would have been: "I'M paying attention to this, and trying to figure out why I find it so engaging." Particularly as Rhiz Today is meant to be a working document, as much as a post/link dump/etc. — and as, as announced, October will bring a First Look project with the artist (http://www.newmuseum.org/press/download/79). I'm not working on that, however.

Personally, I've been following the feeds very closely, particularly after seeing Ulman's talk with Fredric Brandt at Swiss Institute, which offered a fair amount of context for her practice more broadly. I do find the project engaging, and have thought about it via performance (of gender, communication, intimacy, and on), a history of physical augmentation in art, attention economies, and my well documented interest in life in the 'CASCADE' overall. Preliminary feelings: I think it's well-studied and well-performed, and fairly complicated w/r/t the characters it apes.

In the end, however, I'd be very interested in hearing other opinions—particularly yours!

DISCUSSION

July 2: NYC poetry event with Kev, Bunny Rogers, and Brigid Mason


Tom,

I referred to your argument as 'tendentious' for two reasons:

1) The 'if he found Jesus' refrain — do you honestly believe that Kev having earnestly found Jesus would not have piqued any interest? I wish! I get that you were questioning the Taoism, but that just seemed like a less than convincing way to do so.

2) The "he 'quit the internet,' a gesture literally anyone can do" line — a classic "anyone [or, in this case, Rick Silva] can do that" response to art. And, per my understanding, he didn't just 'quit' the internet, but purposefully withered his presence. Either way, you dispensed with any specificity, interpreting the gesture in the most 1:1 manner.

Anyway, my criticism was in good faith, and I do appreciate your Kev 'heresy.' Tbh, I share some of your hesitation, particularly with regard to the one-word comment thread reception of MC's original article — criticality is always good. (But it's cool that people are excited! You should come tonight.)

DISCUSSION