Chris Poole (aka moot) is many things. He is the founder of the notorious 4chan (2003—), the bulletin board that gave rise to some of the most memorable memes of past decade, and Canv.as (2010—), a website that encourages sharing and remixing media. His most recent project, DrawQuest, is an iPad app that prompts users with a new drawing challenge every day. Its latest version was launched in the iTunes store last week.
Poole embodies and understands the internet and online community in the way only a millennial who had a computer in his bedroom with no parental supervision can. He started 4chan when he was 15, and for the community that emerged around it, he belongs in the pantheon of internet gods. Their adoration went so far that in 2009, 4chan users flooded the Time 100 poll to award Poole as The World's Most Influential Person. They describe him in the satirical Internet culture wiki Encyclopedia Dramatica as "supreme overlord of the Internet." He still devotes a considerable amount of time and money to 4chan, despite the fact that he can expect nothing in return. But although he stays involved in the community he created as an adolescent, Poole has grown up. Now, he’s an entrepreneur attempting to solve the puzzle of how to cultivate and – hopefully – monetize a creative online community.
I met with Poole for bubble tea in the East Village on a hot Tuesday afternoon. After showing me the new updates in the latest version of DrawQuest, we talked about his views on art, online communities, and growing up internet.
Texas State Senator Wendy Davis's shoes during her 13-hour filibuster on June 25, 2013.
Jennifer Steinkamp, from the seires Sexist Slides (1989). Slideshow projected on a street in Hollywood at EZTV.
Molly Soda, Inbox Full (2012). Ten-hour reading of questions sent to the artist from her Tumblr askbox.
For those of you who were unable to join us for the We See In Every Direction Official Surf Party last week, here is a video from the artist, Jonas Lund, that captures some of the highlights of what happens when dozens of people try to share a single browser window. Cursors circulate like flies, the URL window becomes a turf war and a good time is had by all.
Even if the official event is over, the party doesn't have to stop—you can still collaboratively surf the Web with strangers by installing We See, available on The Download. If you're hungry to learn more about the event you can also check out some tweets with the hashtag #WeSee or peep the Facebook event page where some discussion took place.
This month The Download features We See In Every Direction (2013) a Web browser for collaborative, synchronized surfing by Swedish artist Jonas Lund. Browsing the Internet is typically an intimate and personal experience for just one person, but in We See, users traverse online information streams in a collective surfing environment. Users can type, click and change URLs in real time together; they can jockey for control of the browser--akin to fighting for the TV remote--or choose to sit back and let their friends take care of the surfing. Like many of Lund’s previous online works, the piece opens up the walled-off spaces of the Internet for shared use.
The Download is Rhizome's ongoing digital art exhibition and collecting program that features new works by great artists for free download.
TIME Magazine, May 20, 2013.
TIME Magazine, January 1, 2007.
Jon Rafman, New Age Demanded Microfiche Archive, 2013. Microfiche machine and custom microfiche. 51.5 x 33 x 48.4 cm. Via Future Gallery.
sext me with spelling errors and bad grammar so i know it's real— so sad today (@sosadtoday) May 10, 2013
Those are good questions – and ones I ask myself, as Program Manager, regularly.
It's true, the community evolved over the last 16 years. Rhizome grew to become a much larger organization with many more programs than just a mailing list. But while the organization has grown, we haven't forgotten about where and how we started: as an email with artists like you participating! You've made and continue to make valuable contributions to the community.
Today, I feel that the conversation has moved to the social media sphere, like Twitter and Facebook, and onto dedicated listservs like nettime and Netbehaviour. Nick Hasty put in a great effort to improve the Discussion section of the site when we revamped last year, but we have noticed a thinning out of activity, though once in a while we do get great heated conversations. We're examining these trends as well.
Netbehavior and nettime has a fantastically active community – but they don't also run a website, a blog, and year round programming like Rhizome does. Perhaps the conversation has died down on the website because we have so many other programs? Maybe people feel less inclined to speak up on the website now that there are dedicated arenas for conversation?
You both value conversation on Rhizome, and I as well! I appreciate your candor – It's honesty like this that will help spark conversation here again.
United States of America
Rhizome is a leading arts organization dedicated to the creation, presentation, preservation, and critique of emerging artistic practices that engage technology. Through open platforms for exchange and collaboration, our website serves to encourage and expand the communities around these practices. Our programs include commissioning, editorial initiatives, exhibitions, and preservation. Rhizome is an affiliate of the New Museum of Contemporary Art. For more information about Rhizome, visit:
Rhizome seeks a highly organized, responsible and mature candidate for a part-time internship. Responsibilities include assisting with the daily administrative upkeep of the organization, research and production support of the Rhizome website, coordination of organizational projects, correspondence with artists, members, and press, and management of various social media platforms. Interns must be familiar with contemporary art and savvy with the web and new technologies.
The position is 8 - 16 hours per week at the Rhizome office, which is located at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown Manhattan. The intern will report to the Program Manager and Director. Candidates must be based in New York and must be able to commit to one semester or 4 months beginning January 2012. This position is unpaid, but academic credit may be arranged.
QUALIFICATIONS: Candidates must be well versed with social media and the web. A keen interest in Arts and Non-profit Administration is a plus. The candidate should have strong writing and analytical skills. Knowledge of Microsoft Office software is required and basic experience with Photoshop is preferred.
TO APPLY: Please email a cover letter, resume or CV, to zoe.salditch [at] rhizome [dot] org. Review of applications will begin immediately. Deadline is January 15th, 2012.
United States of America
The position is 8‐16 hours per week at the Rhizome office, which is located at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown Manhattan. The intern will report to the Collections and Membership Manager and Director. Candidates must be based in New York and must be able to commit to one semester or 4 months beginning September 2011. This position is unpaid, but academic credit may be arranged.
Candidates must be well versed with social media and the web. A keen interest in Arts and Non-profit Administration is a plus. The candidate should have strong writing and analytical skills. Knowledge of Microsoft Office software is required and basic experience with Photoshop is preferred.
Please email a cover letter, resume or CV, to zoe.salditch[at]rhizome[dot]org. Review of applications will begin immediately.