Carlo Zanni
Since the beginning
Works in Mars Sierra Leone

Carlo Zanni was born in La Spezia (Italy) in 1975. Since the early 2000's his practice involves the use of Internet data to create time based social consciousness experiences investigating our life. He lives far from the worldliness of the art world while showing and screening his projects in venues worldwide including: Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; New Museum, New York; Tent, Rotterdam; MAXXI, Rome; P.S.1, New York; Borusan Center, Istanbul; ACAF Space, Alexandria; PERFORMA 09, NY; ICA, London; Wood Street Galleries, Pittsburgh; Science Museum, London.
He founded "People From Mars" to experiment new distribution models for video art and new media projects.
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KeyBorders by Carlo Zanni at Interactiva03, MACAY - Mx

KeyBorders by Carlo Zanni - 2003

Installed at MACAY, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Ateneo De Yucatan, Merida -
Mexico during Intercativa03, Biennial of New Media and Electronic Arts.

KeyBorders is a portrait as "Input Language / Keyboard Layout (IME) ".

KB is an installation with a net component.
KB is based on an application built with Visual Studio .NET.

The application continuosly cycles through the user's input locales and
keyboard layouts, which are normally used to support different
The data submitted by the user is then inserted, via PHP, in a MySql
database, and stored as Unicode characters.
User is invited to type his name, place of birth, place of residence and

Because of the VBScript changes input parameters, the user will have
in typing his data correctly. Probably he'll never be able to write them as
he would. The submitted personal data are stored in a database and
displayed online and in real time as an immigration book**. This immigration
Book can be read also on the web.

**the appearance of the keyborders immigration book's entries depends on which
languages you have installed in your machine. If you have just standard languages
probably the entries will look full of question marks or rectangles
I suggest you to install Cyrillic and Japanese support to obtain a better aesthetic impact.

KeyBorders is a NewNewPortrait. NewNewPortrait (05-13-2001) - that comes
from "the new new thing", the well-known book by Michael Lewis - is a way to
do portraits using temporary mental identities of the user and not only his
physical aspect. NewNewPortraits use "digital footsteps" as email accounts,
web stats, desktop icons, workstation environment settings, cookies, wi-fi
waves and search engines to create personal portraits.

The online entries processed by KeyBorders are personal data inputs
influenced and/or generated by: psychological attitudes, social and
political contexts, economic pressures, language handicaps and social
process of naturalization (forced or intentional).

Please, read this text by Raul Ferrera Blanquet for more info about the
Interactiva03 and KeyBorders main subject.




Thank you,


Epic Tales - CCA: Glasgow Net Art Commission 2003

Epic Tales by Carlo Zanni - CCA: Glasgow Net Art Commission 2003

[Explorer 5+ - Pc or Mac (not osX)]
-you need at least 60-80 seconds to load the new page-

At the same address you can find a description of the work and an interesting text by Francis
Mckee who is curating right now the Scottish pavilion at the Venice

The piece is a kind of "installation".. something immersive... the most important thing is the feeling you receive back.. and of course, being a conceptual work, people need to read a couple of paragraphs to understand it.

Epic Tales is a php based online engine translating and substituting Modern English words with Old English words using a 2500 entries vocabulary taken from the Beowulf manuscript.
Beowulf written in Old English sometime before the tenth century A.D., describes the adventures of a great Scandinavian warrior of the sixth century. Beowulf is the oldest surviving epic in British literature.

All the pages are destylized and reformatted using the BeoWulf font loading it online, so without installing it on your machine. (This font has designed following the original Beowulf manuscript)
All the images are processed, transformed in greyscale mode, losing also quality.
here are visualization samples:

1 ( :\_still\_1b.GIF
2 ( :\_still\_1.GIF

The sound streaming is a really powerful epic war song by yat.kha.

In the end the processed page loses its glamour, its graphic layout, becoming flat.. without emotions.
It looks also as an old manuscript. It's a piece about how the time can change the perspective of our "violence" from "big drama and blood" of our daily news to heroes and epic behaviours of people of the past.
I think there are many ways to look at the piece and the Borges quotation (to read it, select "description" on the work homepage) is a way to underline another point of view: When you don't understand a language you focus your attention to sound and form...

Nobody can read old English I think, but you can easily understand the "main subject" of what you are reading, even if translated and with that strange font.
In the end the web page looks like and old epic book, where you can not see anymore the glam of colors and words but just raw b-n photos and a medieval txt.

I think people should not read the translated text but they should browse those pages as when you open an old book with engravings...
I think all our daily behaviours are in some ways "militaristic" oriented. And above all all gov behaviours are. But everything is hidden by adv and pr campaigns.
Also there is a tradition in educating people in believing in their own innocence, fighting back without caring about why things happened.. a kind of Passive - Aggressive National education.



-Society's Portrait
-Epic vs. Drama - a time based distinction
-Fight to impose your own standards
-Natural Behaviour and Behavioural Needs
-Media coverage Exposure/Affection
-Passive - Aggressive National education
-Daily Post -Traumatic Stress Disorders


Re: Does the artbase have an historicizationfunction?

Dear Alena and Rachel,

I say that TS didn't copy me but again, i write you these lines for
the sake of the historical function that rhizome may have - which
again is a point per se that i think should be clarified.

1- I think there is no reason to have both works in the artbase beacuse they
are the same work.

2 - And Alena says : "Because we can't yet say definitively who's
work came first, the historical question continues to elude me."

So I found in my pc the evidence of what I'm saying..
The only thing I'm sure is that I did that piece on September 13th 2001.

(did TS do it before that date? Can he prove what he is saying? )

I work with not loaded images since 1999 and probably that's the reason why
I did that piece a few hours after the 9.11. My mind is always set on that
subject. I'm really proud of that simple and minimalist work.
But as you may be understand I'm bored about words.

And below these lines you can read a little dialogue with a guy called
Turner Mark-Jacobs. Who is him? He is a guy from The Art Institute of
Chicago and he did a small net show on October 24 2001 about 9-11.


The first email I sent him is dated September 28th 2001.
And in that email I say that my work about 9-11 was MY HOMEPAGE made on

--------------this is the email:

----- Original Message -----
From: ZANNIorg
To: Turner Mark-Jacobs email
Sent: Friday, September 28, 2001 11:38 AM
Subject: 9/11 submission

here it is the link at my work, the home page of my site.

this work is on line from the 09/13/2001
when I asked for a 3 minute blank page. (see thething, bulletin board)

thank you very much
please let me know


---------------in his answer he tells me
-------Hi .beta,
Thanks for your submission. However, when I opened your attachment, I
see the WTC's, just the 'broken gif' icon. Is this part of your
idea? --------

----------------and I again as answer:

----Hi TMJ

yes, the 2 broken .gif are the work.
we will always have the "space" in our memory, but nomore the images.
you can see something of similar in my www; i painted them too ...
keep in touch

I forward you those emails, (just one that is the third reply), so you can
read at the bottom of it also MY FIRST EMAIL

Am I paranoid?
I don't know.. I'm just "fighting" to defend my work ;)
Sure you can understand me...
And sure also that this experience it isn't just a personal thing.. perhaps
it's the first time it happened at rhizome..

Thanks a lot for your attention..

Best Regards,
Carlo Zanni


Re: Does the artbase have an historicizationfunction?

Hi Alena

>>I did not come across your project as a past submission

no, exact I didn't submit that work ....but I don't think this is the
Now I copy a work by Napier (just pulse is listed) and you accept it in the
art only because he didn't send you an application?
I'm not famous as Napier and for this reason I sent to rhizome the email.

> to not include "Hole in the Sky" simply because your project exists
somewhere else seems a bit extreme.

Alena are you kidding me? "exists somewhere else" are you kidding me?
for long-time I work with not loaded images , I also made a lot of paintings
with those subjects.
it's a kind of logo. And this doesn't mean nobody else can use them. Of
course they can !!!
But not coping exactly my work. That's what I'm saying. and it doesn't
matter if he doesn't know me or my work because in that work there isn't any
plagiarist internationality. Does the artbase have an historicization
function? If so there is no reason to accept that work that is the same I
did years ago.
And i didn't tell you nothing about you didn't know my work. There are a lot
of things in the air so i understand we can't not know everything. But i
sent you an email with all the details about what is happened.. so ..

>>and I apologize for any personal offense you may have taken to our
inclusion of "Hole in the Sky" in the ArtBase.

the offense are all these words and emails because Rhizome is trying to
climb mirrors.
It's ridiculous, in my mail box i've emails and emails of people disgusted
from this behaviour.
And this fact could be happen again and again.

Best Regards,

Carlo Zanni

----- Original Message -----
From: "Alena Williams" <>
To: <>; "" <>
Sent: Thursday, July 03, 2003 8:50 PM
Subject: Re: RHIZOME_RAW: Does the artbase have an historicizationfunction?

> Hi cz:
> When I read your initial post, I thought (as you seem to suggest below)
> you were simply informing us that you did a similar project which may have
> been made before "Hole in the Sky." Although originality is one of the
> factors we consider when deciding whether or not to include an artwork, it
> is virtually impossible to avoid all duplication (on a large and small
> scale) in the archive. In fact, many artists have explored similar issues
> using similar means but, on some level or another, have ultimately
> projects which each exhibit their own unique characteristics. Although the
> Rhizome staff at times does encourage artists to submit their work to the
> archive, we rarely solicit the submission of projects with methods similar
> to those of museum curators, who, for example, exhaustively vet their
> potential purchases for originality and so on.
> Moreover, despite the fact that the ArtBase remains to be one of the most
> comprehensive archives of new media art, it is by no means entirely
> exhaustive. As a result, a number of projects appropriate to the archive
> and its aims (as your project appears to be) have not been included in the
> archive, simply because artists do not venture to submit their work.
> to the list does not automatically initiate this process.
> Nevertheless, this duplication is certainly not intentional, and I
> for any personal offense you may have taken to our inclusion of "Hole in
> Sky" in the ArtBase. But especially since your project is currently not in
> the archive and I did not come across your project as a past submission--I
> just checked my records, but please let me know if I am mistaken--to not
> include "Hole in the Sky" simply because your project exists somewhere
> seems a bit extreme. It is a more serious matter, of course, if you think
> that your intellectual property has been infringed in some way.
> Best regards,
> Alena
> + + +
> Alena Williams
> ArtBase Coordinator
> > Does the artbase have an historicization function?
> >
> > Does the artbase have "quality" as distinguishing mark?
> >
> >
> > what happened with " Hole in the Sky " by Tom Scarpino (Hi Tom)
> >
> > it's not a great thing for the reputation and the reliability of the
> > Above all because it's a "curatorial oriented" process and not an
> > one.
> >
> > 1- Everybody depends from others, but in this case the work it's the
> >
> > 2- There isn't a duty in knowing my 2001 work (even if it passed through
> > list) but once this thing has been emphasized ,
> > why any official voice wrote me back?. ... everybody can make a
> > where is the problem?
> >
> > I'm really disappointed from this behavior
> > i was expecting an answer from the artbase crew.
> >
> > Thank you
> >
> > cz
> >
> >
> > + ti esrever dna ti pilf nwod gniht ym tup
> > -> post:
> > -> questions:
> > -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
> > -> give:
> > +
> > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
> > Membership Agreement available online at
> >


Re: Historically Significant Imitations

there is a misunderstanding
i think you didn't read my emails:

"no I didn't approach him (TS), because I think there is no reason. Perhaps
we had
the same idea.. There is just a difference in the time and as author I
wanted to remark what I did.
I think this fact hides two key issues present in new media art works:
I mean memory and authorship.

Due to the ephemerality of net works, this two factors require a lot of
attention in an historicization - storage process. (even if partial as the
artbase is) "

i said TS didn't copy my work, i think he doesn't know me-my work
there isn't any intentionality - (plagiarism) in that work.
but the artbase that has an historicization function accepted it.
and this is a problem.


----- Original Message -----
From: <>
To: "cz" <>
Cc: "RHIZOME" <>; <>; <>;
"Eryk Salvaggio" <>; "Yucef Merhi" <>;
Sent: Thursday, July 03, 2003 9:32 PM
Subject: Re: Historically Significant Imitations

> > TS can copy what he prefers, how many times he wants. The only problem
> > that ArtBase that (i was thinking) should have an historicization
> > function,
> > accepted it.
> > So following your idea next year I can take the ascii works by eryk,
> > change
> > 1 color and then this wonderful reinterpretation will be listed as a new
> > work? Everything in this digital age can be copied and restyled and
> > the reason why people's brains in valuating things (artworks, songs,
> > poetries and so on.) are so important today .
> Yes, if you were undertake a project to copy, deliberately, Eryk's work,
> he (Eryk) might not *like it,* but it could constitute a project. In that
> case, since you had made it clear that you were interested in making a
> work about copying and plagiarism, I think the Eryk-copies would be read
> in the historical context of those modes.
> I didn't suggest that TS intended to copy your work -- I think that is how
> you're interpreting it, but that is your call. I have no idea.
> >
> > Perhaps you believe in djing. i don't.
> >
> > so thank you for your time Rachel,
> >
> > all the best,
> > carlo zanni
> >
> > "As a friend, as a friend, as an old enemy
> > Take your time, hurry up
> > The choice is your, don't be late
> > Take a rest as a friend as an old memoria"
> >
> > come as you are, nirvana
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: <>
> > To: "Eryk Salvaggio" <>
> > Cc: "cz" <>; <>;
> > <>; "RHIZOME" <>
> > Sent: Thursday, July 03, 2003 7:27 PM
> > Subject: Re: Historically Significant Imitations
> >
> >
> >> To me there are obvious similarities and differences with the works. In
> >> both, the use of two image fields represents the twin towers. Carlo's
> >> work
> >> uses color however, to suggest the passage of time, and I think, an
> >> emotional range.
> >>
> >> But even if the Scarpino piece uses imitation or derivation, I don't
> >> think
> >> that precludes its inclusion in the artbase, or invalidates it as a
> >> work.
> >> Imitation, derivation and appropriation have been established practices
> >> for centuries. Artists would often compete and dialogue with one
> >> by painting the same landscape, or mythical scene, using the same
> >> conventions -- pushing the limits of painting a particular building or
> >> church -- seeing what happened when the building was painted by
> >> different
> >> hands with unique techniques. In contemporary discourse, appropriation,
> >> re-photography, plagiarism are de rigeur. Examples include Sherry
> >> (After Walker Evans), and Rauschenburg's piece when he erased a de
> >> Kooning
> >> to make his own work (I think it was de Kooning.). As you point out
> >> Eryk,
> >> online, authorship is even more slippery (01's), and net artists have
> >> had
> >> to go so far as to foreground url data to render a web work unique
> >> (Lialina's Agatha Appears).
> >>
> >> Carlo, I think if I were you, I would try to think of Scarpino's piece
> >> in
> >> dialogue with yours -- perhaps a tribute, perhaps a response. Maybe it
> >> comes out of a totally different context that renders it an important
> >> expression (e.g. Scarpino's relationship to 9.11, his work in
> >> architecture, his all white oeuvre -- I am making these up, but you see
> >> my
> >> point). I find your work more interesting in light of the fact that
> >> there
> >> is other, similar work being made -- it makes one want to dig deeper.
> >>
> >> Finally, there isn't anything "new" or "original" about using forms for
> >> web compositions, (and I don't even know if "new" or "original" makes
> >> work
> >> valuable anymore) as I am sure you are aware. If you think you've been
> >> ripped off in the mean-spirited sense of the word, I would encourage
> >> contact Alena about it. But given the trauma of 9-11, and people's need
> >> to
> >> respond and react to it, I personally doubt that is a dominant factor
> >> Scarpino's project.
> >>
> >> I will leave the artbase policy for Alena to address.
> >>
> >>
> >