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)

Archiving the digital (was: Steve Dietz Out at Walker Art Center)

Eryk wrote:

> While they added more
> than one
> piece a day to the archive last year, the principal strategy seems to
> be
> "emulation" which is, they will re-write the code to work for new
> browsers.
> At this rate by 2010 they will have something like 5000 archived
> pieces of
> art in the artbase. Why they would prefer to hire a coder to "restore"
> these
> pieces to work with new browsers [destroying the integrity of the
> original
> work] as opposed to simply running a simultaneous "browser museum" is
> anyone's guess.

Eryk, you seem to be using a definition of "emulation" I'm unfamiliar with. In this context I'd guess that emulation would mean writing virtual browsers -- maybe in Java, though that'd be slow as molasses -- that could switch between rendering engines for Netscape 3.01 or MSIE 3.5 Mac. (A specious proposition at best; emulation projects seem to succeed when there's a lot of fun involved, cf the quite successful MAME project.)

I suppose I should admit that this particular problem is barely on my radar, not least because the problem is both quite daunting and quite distant. I can say that in my short tenure here the option of hiring people to go through old net-art and rewrite it to be XHTML-CSS-XML-ActionScript-compliant has never come up. I would never suggest it, myself. Beyond the cost, the idea sounds a bit onerous from a historical viewpoint. You don't go rewriting Shakespeare just 'cause nobody knows what a nunnery is anymore.

What we can do is the absolute minimum: We preserve the code. There are other projects that are preserving browsers, God bless 'em. Maybe 10 years in the future, some online arts organization will figure out the best way to make the browser archives and the net-art archive work together. If I don't have to worry today about archiving different browsers (ugh) I get to focus more on archiving net-art. Seems to make sense to me.

Unless, Eryk, you think that the changing nature of the ArtBase demands a different operational focus. I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on that.



Ignorance (was:

T. Whid wrote:

> I'd rather err on the side of calling a bigot a bigot when I see one.
> Of course not everyone in the south is an ignorant, racist redneck,
> but
> there are many and the culture in the south lets them carry on
> without
> feeling their ignorance ('we treat our black folks good'). In the
> north
> there are many ignorant, racist rednecks too (as I know very well)
> but
> generally one knows if they feel this way it's best to keep it hidden
> as the over-riding culture doesn't support it. But in the north it
> seems to be more an issue of economics, not race. In the south it's
> still all about race.

This idea -- that prejudice only lives in slackjawed, inbred, back-country folk -- is a misconception that's as easy as it is dangerous. Cosmopolitan sophistication makes a hedge against ignorance, but not necessarily a strong one.

When I first moved to New York, I was enthralled by the racial fluidity that you could see at times: In the first week, a cute black girl tried to pick me up on Astor Place by speaking to me in Korean. (I was too stunned to do much about it, unfortunately.)

But as I became more familiar with the territory, I encountered a number of surprising instances of subtle ignorance from the educated, cosmopolitan New Yorkers who were supposed to be better than that. Sure, if you had to rank racism on a scale of 1 to 10, I'd rank New York City a few points better than Georgia. But still, there enough NYC incidences that make me hesitant to describe this as a great land of racial equanimity.

I remember the way a middle-class housewife in an online discussion made some comment about asking her Chinese friend about some Asian-themed sex toy, as if Asian women were automatically experts on sex toys. Or Katha Pollitt's otherwise excellent New Yorker about her breakup, but it contained a line about how her driving instructor was "the only Asian I know" -- and of all the discussion I heard about it, I was the only person who wondered how a woman in Pollitt's position could be that insulated. (It turns out that Pollitt meant "Asian" as distinct from "Asian-American" -- a semantic definition that no Asian-American I know would consider meaningful.)

These aren't necessarily major cases of harmful racism. And seeing as how I'm not black I'm probably shielded from the worst of it. But it's taught me quite a bit about how people work: If their concerns aren't the same as yours, they're only going to be aware of your concerns if you bring them up a lot. (You can't bring them up too often, of course, or else they'll just get annoyed and ignore you.)

Ignorance is shaped in large part by social isolation from different peoples. The social isolation of whites in Georgia is shaped in part by issues of class and geographic mobility. New Yorkers don't have that excuse, but instead we've got other factors: A civil society that is at some level so market-driven and careerist that it atomizes us into tiny interest groups, composed of thirtysomething dot-com millionaires or Williamsburg net-artists or Nuyorican slam poets. New York City has probably the broadest variety of human life in the world. But in between the grant proposals and gallery openings, who has the time to take advantage of it?


Looking for a programmer/collaborator

Thu Apr 24, 2003 22:06

Please forward this to anybody who you think might be interested:

I'm working on a commission proposal, and I'd like to work with a programmer who has experience with computer vision. At this point in the process I just need somebody to talk about different algorithms with me, and guide my research a bit; I can probably handle the prototype programming on my own.

If we are awarded this commission, this collaboration might involve helping me with the graphics programming in the piece: I can handle a lot of overall technical issues but I could use some help with the heavy duty C++.

This is a great opportunity for a computer science student who's working in the field of AI/computer vision/graphics.



Looking for tech-support volunteers


We're looking for volunteers from the Rhizome community to help us form a elite tech-support team. Your job will be to help make the website friendlier and more accessible for everybody. This is a great way to help us and the rest of the community. It's also a sure-fire first step in your path to Net Art SUPERSTARDOM! Er, scratch that.

Techies will be subjected to a 30-day trial period, and after that I'd appreciate it if people made a commitment to stick around for at least three months. I don't expect the time commitment to be very big at all. Probably something like a few hours a month.

You do not have to be a hardcore programming genius to do this. You do, however, have to be patient and considerate.

Please contact me if you are interested.



Sorry, but your membership has expired


I'm sorry that you've been having problems with the site. Are things working okay for you now?

Although things pile up here at Rhiz HQ, I do try to answer each email. One thing to note is that sometimes I get quite busy, and I end up ignoring list discussion entirely, so if you need to get my attention directly mailing the list won't always do it.

In those cases, you should mail me directly. Of course, if you want to talk publically about general issues about how the site is running for yourself and others, maybe the easiest way is to email the list and then CC or vice versa.