I've been insanely busy with No Soul For Sale this week, so apologies for not responding sooner.
I've noticed a lot of speculation and assumptions running around this discussion so far regarding Rhizome editorial and our motives, so I thought it would be best to begin by explaining how we do our research and how we decide to post what we do.
I do research all the time, through delicious, numerous art/culture/technology/etc. blogs, art magazines, mailing lists, etc. The same is true for John Michael, Brian, Ed and Marisa, as well as all of our contributors. Everyone is also engaged in numerous projects and activities (making art, curating, etc.), which only enriches the quality and depth of the blog. I'm also doing my PhD at NYU right now, and often my academic research and studies surface on the blog or in other ways. So that's where our information comes from, not from Pepsi or Dr. Evil.
Every morning, I check in with John Michael and we discuss our plan for the day. Usually I will send him a video or art project I found online or saw in a gallery, or he will do the same. For example, with the ebay projects we posted, John Michael sent me the Cary Peppermint piece, which reminded me of the Keith Obadike, John Freyer, and Michael Daines. I thought it was interesting that all of these works dealt with identity or the body through eBay, and also surfaced around the same time (2000/2001). Publishing these projects was not an attempt to fill space, but an effort to highlight 4 projects that used eBay to think about the body and identity. Usually John Michael and I will try to pair things thematically, it's a bit like DJing. I've thought of introducing the topics before we post, but I like keeping it loose. Curt got it right when he said:
>This blogging process seems fun to me, because I like art (and curation) that foregrounds the invisible connections >between things (les liens invisibles, if you will). I'm often less interested in the pieces themselves than in the implicit >connections that are gradually constructed between the pieces.
That's exactly what we're trying to do. In other instances, we'll post new work or old work because we like it, without an overarching thread to tie them all together. I see these posts as a visual conversation in a way, and I like that.
But art isn't the only thing we post. One of my frustrations with the old one paragraph format of Rhizome News was its brevity. In expanding Rhizome News to a forum for 1000-2000 page articles, we've been able to commission timely and insightful articles by some of the most outstanding writers in the field on a weekly basis. We also pay our writers rates comparable to some print publications, something I'm proud of. We've also been able to maintain the informational side of the Rhizome Digest in the Rhizome News mailer, with the latest announcements and discussions from the site. I'm very pleased with the current strength and direction of Rhizome News, and I look forward to seeing it develop further.
In terms of accusations that Rhizome is too focused on American artists, I disagree and I think this claim is totally unfounded. John Michael looked over his art posts from the last four months, and approximately 1/3rd of the artists are foreign born or currently based overseas. I know, personally, I filed two long articles in the past month on the Oberhausen Film Festival and the Venice Biennale, both of which focused on almost exclusively non-American artists and filmmakers. Today alone Brian wrote a really wonderful piece on his visit to Zagreb, spotlighting Mama, Kontejner, and artists such as Goran Skofic. Our website is in English, which in it of itself poses some limitations, but beyond that I think we've done a stellar job in covering and supporting a diverse and international group of artists. I've also worked very hard to open up the scope of our coverage to many practices - sound, sculpture, painting, performance, etc. - that engage technology in order to enrich the conversation and to acknowledge the expansion of the field. In addition, I'm keen to keep readers aware of the larger history of media art. I think we've succeeded in that regard as well, with posts such as Robin Oppenheimer's excellent article on psychedelic light shows on the west coast in the 1960s, Gene McHugh's article on Willoughby Sharp's research and experimentation with art and technology, Carolyn Kane's recent piece on James Turrell, etc. Marc, the fact that you would distill all of this into "one-liners and whiz-bang" art or "flashy websites and noisy visuals" is insulting.
In response to discussion - I've been thinking about that a lot, and I've noticed that the younger artists involved with Rhizome rarely contribute to the board. I would like to change that. I think part of it has to do with the way conversation happens online today. All of us have accounts on facebook, twitter, myspace, etc. Our conversations happen even more informally than they have in the past, and are distributed widely across numerous platforms. When Rhizome first began in the 1990s, this was not the environment it inhabited, and I think that produced a different platform for conversation. I've brought up the idea of starting something like empyre here, by inviting a group of people to discuss a specific subject over a set period of time, in order to focus the attention of participants and to establish a thoughtful, oriented conversation. I'm interested in hosting more discussion on the boards again and I am opening to hearing your suggestions in order to make that happen.