Francis Hwang
Since 2003
Works in Brooklyn, New York United States of America

Francis Hwang is an artist, writer, and software engineer. He was Rhizome's Director of Technology from 2003 to 2006.

Jack Pierson vs Barneys

I'm actually not sure who bloggy and Tyler Green are taking sides with in the Jack Pierson vs Barneys dustup. Barneys supposedly "forged," for its window displays, its own set of Pierson's "trademark" sculptures made out of found sign letters. Pierson is mad, and his gallery Cheim & Read wrote a pedantic letter to the clothier that stops short of asserting an actual intellectual property right but nevertheless accuses the retailer of a "fraudulent situation."

But given that those kinds of sculptures are commonplace--you see them in craft fairs, regional art shows, and T.G.I. Friday's-calibre restaurants--that's a bit like Duchamp writing an indignant letter to a urinal manufacturer. As long as the accusations of "fraud" are flying around, why doesn't Pierson have his gallery write an outraged screed to the stock photography company selling this royalty free image:


Or maybe sling a fraud allegation at painter Leslie Brack while he's at it?

Leslie Brack


MTAA at the big dance…

Update on Collaborative March Madness

Concept Trucking / Leisurearts just wrote to say -

“MTAA has made the final four as a number 11 seed! Your success was modeled/is hitched on George Mason University’s in the NCAA tourney. I will be posting an updated bracket soon! Guess you better start rooting for the Patriots to win it all.”

twhid adds:
I have had zero (or, more likely, negative) interest in this so-called March madness… until now! Go George Mason!

(more update)
The chart is updated. Check it out…


Counter-Surveillance Headdress


Become a Target of Heightened Surveillance

The purpose of the Counter-Surveillance Headdress, by Gloria Sed, is to empower the wearer by allowing him/her to claim a moment of privacy in the Big Brother world.

The design of the headdress borrows from Islamic and Hindu fashion to comment on the racial profiling of Arab and Arab-looking citizens that occurred post-9/11. The design of the headdress is thus a contradiction: while its goal is to hide the wearer, it makes the wearer a target of heightened surveillance.

The laser tikka (forehead ornament) is attached to a hooded vest and reflective shawl. The laser is activated by pressing a button on the left shoulder of the vest. When pointed directly into a camera lens, the laser creates a burst of light masking the wearer


Future of Television Conference


Satellite provider EchoStar has launched a mosaic video application (showcase) that will enable viewers to watch six TV thumbnailed video channels and access an interactive menu concurrently, reports CED Magazine.

Powered by OpenTV set-top software, the mosaic and interactive elements, offered on channel 100, follow some earlier work with the technology by EchoStar. In 2004, the DBS service provider offered mosaics to support the Summer Olympics and for coverage of the Presidential elections.

A mosaic thumbnail, once selected by a customer, will be transitioned to full-screen video.

Cable also has some grand plans for mosaic video applications. The Comcast Media Center and GuideWorks, the Comcast/Gemstar-TV Guide joint venture, are developing "video-rich navigation" enhancements for interactive program guides.

Cable has a technological advantage over satellite because signals can be sent two ways. Without a two-way path, satellite operators can offer simultaneous viewing of channels or provide VOD via cable PVR boxes. Programming can be downloaded and stored for later retrieval. That's what DVB-H does, too.

How long until WiFi, WiMax or DVB-H deliver multi-media for Playstation Portables? You decide.

Related DailyWireless stories include; IP-TV Networking, Bricklin Installs FiOS, The Verizon/Yahoo DSL Deal: $14.95, SBC Picks IP-TV Settops, The Free Triple Play, VDSL-2 Ratified, IPTV: Is It Soup Yet?, IP-TV Settops, Legislators: Don't Mess With SBC, DirecTV + WiMax?, Duopoly Laws, Mobile TV Expands, Video Search and Big Media Mobilizes.


University of Georgia's Peabody Archive selects SAMMA for videotape migration project

Media Matters' automated system to preserve and digitize priceless collection

The University of Georgia’s Peabody Archives has signed with Media Matters to use their System for the Automated Migration of Media Archives, or SAMMA, to migrate over 2,000 recordings submitted by local television stations around the United States for consideration in the annual Peabody Awards competition between 1973 and 1990. The project, funded by the National Park Service’s “Save America’s Treasures


Discussions (176) Opportunities (7) Events (2) Jobs (0)

Director of Technology's report, December 2005

Hi all,

Haven't done one of these in a while. The reason now should be, I hope,
fairly obvious: We rolled out our redesign in December, which was most
of what we were working on for the last few months. It's a fairly big
project. By my account, Design & Production intern Jason Huff and I had
to edit more than 150 PHP files by hand to do this.

(On a technical note: ob_start, register_shutdown_function, and
"php_value auto_prepend_file" are three obscure PHP features that
helped ease the pain quite a bit. More notes are available at if you're interested.)

The big rollout is done, and everything major seems to work, but this
should be considered a work in progress. Please feel free to report
bugs to me, or just suggestions.


Francis Hwang
Director of Technology
phone: 212-219-1288x202
AIM: francisrhizome
+ + +


Stepping down as Director of Technology

Hi everyone,

I'm writing you all with some news: Rhizome is looking for a new
Director of Technology. Early next year, I will train in my successor
and then step down. There's no need to say goodbye just yet, since I'll
be around for a few more months. But now is as good a time as any for
me to talk about why I'm going, and what it means for Rhizome.

Mainly, the reason I'm leaving is to pursue other projects. I don't
want to say much more than that: Some of what I've got in mind is so
nascent that to even describe it publically would be to give it too
much credit. Working at Rhizome has been a fantastic experience, and a
tremendous education. Now I want to take what I've learned and apply it
to different kinds of problems, and unfortunately, that means I won't
be able to give Rhizome the attention it deserves from its Director of

I've been at Rhizome for more than three years, and it's been a
tumultuous time: Three Executive Directors, five offices (if you count
the "virtual office" as one), three web servers, two membership
policies. Somewhere in there I managed to write more than 20000 lines
of Ruby code, not to mention the snippets of PHP and Perl required to
stitch my new ideas into the code inherited from my predecessor Alex

It wasn't for nothing. For one thing, we kept ourselves afloat
financially--no small feat given the arts funding climate of the last
few years. And we continued to innovate, with such additions as
improved search, the front page reBlog, our Location feature, and
commissions voting.

But the challenges aren't all behind us. The environment that Rhizome
operates in is currently shaped by a number of broad questions--not the
kind of questions you can ever answer definitively, but the kind that
you ask in order to force yourself to see the landscape anew. We've
been quite active in letting these questions inform our mission, and
we'll continue to do so after I'm gone: What's Rhizome's role in a
critical atmosphere that increasingly accepts new media art as just
another facet of mainstream contemporary art? How will the art world
take to the next wave of emerging technologies--be they blogs,, GreaseMonkey, or VOIP--and what part will Rhizome play in
their adoption? And given our shoestring budget and staffing, how can
we improve the feedback and participation we get from our thousands of
Members and users?

These are difficult questions, and Rhizome will continue to face an
uphill climb to financial stability, but I'm still optimistic about
Rhizome's future. Our two-year-old affiliation with the New Museum of
Contemporary Art provides us with much-needed administrative support
and sound advice. And Rhizome is lucky to have a phenomenal staff. I've
enjoyed working with Marisa Olson remotely, and she has already brought
a lot of great ideas to Rhizome. Furthermore, Rhizome will be in
excellent hands with Lauren Cornell. Since coming on in May, Lauren's
been working tirelessly to absorb everything she can about this
tremendously complex organzation, and already her drive is starting to
pay off--whether in this year's energized fundraising effort, new
collaborations such as our Open Call with free103point9, or the
upcoming redesign. I'll miss working alongside Lauren, but if I'm
lucky, from time to time she'll let me come around and make her nervous
by watching her type. She loves that.

So, a little about how the transition will work: We'll be posting the
opening today, at and other places, and
we're hoping to begin the selection process immediately after the
application deadline of January 1st. I'll be pretty involved in the
selection process, the better to weed out candidates who don't possess
the l33t h4xx0r sk1llz. We're expecting to spend a lot of time
training, and I will write lots and lots of documentation. Those 20000
lines of code don't explain themselves, you know. Then I'll step out of
the way, though I'll be around in some form or another.

If you know anybody who'd want to be our next Director of Technology,
please send them our way. Who are we looking for, exactly? Hard to say.
We want somebody who's smart and nice and who knows how to communicate
and has the aforementioned l33t h4xx0r sk11lz. Somebody who'd give this
job the energy and creativity it deserves. Somebody who wants the
chance to make a difference in the lives of artists, curators,
students, and teachers here in New York and around the world.

What else? Oh, yeah: Rhizome changed my life, so that's who we're
looking for. Somebody who's in the mood to get their life changed.


Francis Hwang
Director of Technology
phone: 212-219-1288x202
AIM: francisrhizome
+ + +


Re: e-mail of members


Thanks for the suggestion, it makes sense. I'll add it to my queue. In
the meantime, which work were you looking at?

Francis Hwang
Director of Technology
phone: 212-219-1288x202
AIM: francisrhizome
+ + +
On Oct 4, 2005, at 11:19 PM, Andrei R. Thomaz wrote:

> hello list,
> I tried to see a work that is in the ArtBase, but there are some
> problems with the PHP scripts used by the work. I got this message:
> Fatal error: Call to undefined function mysql_connect() in
> on line 17
> So, I looked for the author's e-mail, to send a messge to him, but I
> haven't found the e-mail in Rhizome site. So, here goes a suggestion:
> in the ArtBase, there could be a link "send a message to the author of
> this work", or something like that.
> bye,
> andrei
> --
> RGB Design Digital
> / (51) 92067436


Director of Technology's report, September 2005

Hi everyone,

It's been a hectic month, but aren't they all? While art students and
art professors all around the world were settling in with syllabi and
class schedules, here are some of the things that your perennially
under-schooled Director of Technology spent his time on:

1. The Community Campaign started.
It's that time of year again. This month, we kicked off this year's
Community Campaign. I won't go into the whole sales pitch here, but I
will say that I hope you all, users and Members, feel that Rhizome is
useful to you, and that we are listening to your input. With our small
staff, and thousands of users to support, we can't necessarily act on
every suggestion we get, of course, but we do keep them very
prominently in mind as we plan for the future.

On a smaller technical note, I'd like to mention that we try hard never
to email somebody with a solicitation if they don't want it. You can
opt-out at .

2. The search is now improved.
The search is cleaner now; I scrubbed out a lot of distracting text and
duplicate pages that were making searches a lot less useful. And don't
forget that if you're a Member, you get to augment those search results
with our Advanced Search features, including filtering by text,
artwork, member, etc.

3. I'm looking for a Design/Production intern.
Make sure to spread the word; I'm looking for a Design/Production
intern. The intern will help us out with some major upcoming projects,
as well as have an opportunity for self-directed projects, too.

Francis Hwang
Director of Technology
phone: 212-219-1288x202
AIM: francisrhizome
+ + +


Rhizome seeks Design and Production Intern

Mon Sep 26, 2005 13:27

Rhizome is looking for a Design and Production Intern for the Fall 2005
session. The intern will assist the Director of Technology with tasks
such as editing HTML pages, graphics production, and implementation of
major design projects. In addition, there will also be opportunities to
do self-directed work in fields such as website design, information
architecture, and usability.

We are looking for a responsible individual with a strong interest in
new media and new media art, and an eagerness to learn about
cutting-edge technologies and ideas by putting them into practice. The
internship will involve a number of specific web-technologies,
including: standards-based HTML, CSS, Javascript and AJAX, FTP, and
Photoshop. The ideal candidate will have experience with some or all of
these technologies.

To apply, email your detailed cover letter and resume to Francis Hwang

Hours: 10 hours per week, scheduling flexible
Dates: October 10 - December 16, 2005 (flexible)
Notes: On-site, unpaid

Francis Hwang
Director of Technology
phone: 212-219-1288x202
AIM: francisrhizome
+ + +