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)

Linking vs. Plagiarizing (Re:

Here's an interesting case: For a while now, I've run a little filtering site called . It takes any HTML page you give it, uses Perl to turn (almost) every word into a link, and then when you click on that link, it redirects you to a page that Google says is the #1 search result for that word.

I've started receiving, occasionally, emails like this:
Subject: You are STEALING bandwidth of remove links ASAP !

please remove links ASAP to individual images (including time/date
data) on site from your link:

You are STEALING bandwidth of

Please see Illegal User Alert on:

In recent days it has come to the attention of that
numerous unauthorized web sites are stealing bandwidth, re-presenting
the original information being hosted from our
server. This gives the impression that is a part of
their website. These violators enjoy showing our content without having
to pay for its delivery or advertising.

This stealing of bandwidth increases the amount of continuous activity
to the web servers, dramatically increasing the cost of hosting. We
have now taken action to discourage this type of abuse by hosting an
"Illegal User" message which will appear on any web sites which has
employed the method discussed above.

You may link to any html page within the web site for
any personal, organizational, or commercial pages, but please do not
link to individual images (including time/date image data) on our site.

I find this stuff amusing. Other than writing my own blacklist, I don't have that much control over what images are included in what my Perl scripts serve up. (I certainly didn't single out to take credit for their work.) I also like the idea of having a bot that reads your access logs, looks for image requests from other servers, does an automatic WHOIS lookup and then sends an automated cease-and-desist letter.

I don't like the idea enough to actually do anything, though ...



Re: moving to nyc


Francis Hwang
Director of Technology

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----- Original Message -----
From: marc.garrett
To: David Goldschmidt ;
Sent: Tuesday, January 21, 2003 10:13 PM
Subject: Re: RHIZOME_RAW: moving to nyc

Don't move to New York David!

Come over to London...


hi all-

moving to nyc in a couple of months. any advice on where to live would=
be appreciated. i'm thinking of the area near NYU (or some other universi=
ty area) because i think it will be easier to find roommates. also, if you=
know of a good live performance newmedia artists performing in nyc then pl=
ease let me know. thanks.

david goldschmidt


Fans Howl in Protest as Judge Decides X-Men Aren't Human

Mostly, the story below is just plain silly: It's just a legal ruling that
was once necessary because ToyBiz wanted X-Men action figures classified as
toys, not dolls, in China, to pay lower import duties. On the other hand,
it's an interesting angle on the kinds of legal (and ethical) concerns that
society may have to deal with in, say, 50 years, if the wet dreams of all
the post-humanists ever come to light. Mmmmmaybe. Mostly it's just silly.
Silly is good.


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Fans Howl in Protest as Judge Decides X-Men Aren't Human,,SB1043013622300562504,00.html

Marvel Fought to Have Characters Ruled Nonhuman to Win Lower Tariff on Toys


Judge Judith Barzilay huddled late last year with a telepathic professor and
a cast of mutants to ponder an age-old question: What does it mean to be

In her chambers at the U.S. Court of International Trade, in New York, the
judge examined Prof. X and the rest of his band of X-Men, all of them little
plastic figures at the heart of a six-year tariff battle between their
owner, Marvel Enterprises Inc., and the U.S. Customs Service.

Her ruling thundered through the world of Marvel Comics fans. The famed
X-Men, those fighters of prejudice sworn to protect a world that hates and
fears them, are not human, she decreed Jan. 3. Nor are many of the villains
who do battle with Spiderman and the Fantastic Four. They're all "nonhuman
creatures," concluded Judge Barzilay.

Marvel subsidiary Toy Biz Inc. pushed Judge Barzilay to declare its heroes
nonhuman so it could win a lower duty rate on action figures imported from
China in the mid-1990s. At the time, tariffs put higher duties on dolls than
toys. According to the U.S. tariff code, human figures are dolls, while
figures representing animals or "creatures," such as monsters and robots,
are deemed toys.

To Brian Wilkinson, editor of the online site X-Fan (,
Marvel's argument is appalling. The X-Men -- mere creatures? "This is almost
unthinkable," he says. "Marvel's super heroes are supposed to be as human as
you or I. They live in New York. They have families and go to work. And now
they're no longer human?"

Chuck Austen, current author of Marvel's "Uncanny X-Men" comic-book series,
is also incredulous. He has worked hard for a year, he says, to emphasize
the X-Men's humanity, to show "that they're just another strand in the
evolutionary chain."

Marvel issued this statement: "Don't fret, Marvel fans, our heroes are
living, breathing human beings -- but humans who have extraordinary
abilities ... . A decision that the X-Men figures indeed do have 'nonhuman'
characteristics further proves our characters have special, out-of-this
world powers."

The X-Men series broke new ground when it began in 1963 by confronting
racism and intolerance head-on. The good-hearted mutants rallied around
their mentor, the wheelchair-bound Prof. Charles Xavier, to protect mankind,
even as humans shunned and despised them.

In 1996, Toy Biz sued Customs in the Court of International Trade, which
arbitrates foreign-trade disputes between U.S. companies and the government.
Toy Biz said its pantheon of action figures should be classified as toys
instead of dolls. Customs insisted the figures are dolls, and thus subject
to 12% import duties, instead of the 6.8% rate for toys. Duties have since
been eliminated from both categories.

Thus began the great debate over the figures' true being. Barbie is a doll.
Pooh Bear's a toy. That much is easy.

But what about Wolverine, the muscular X-Man with the metal claws that jut
out from his fists? Wolverine has known many forms in his more than 40 years
as a Marvel character. In some comics, he resembles a futuristic robot. In
the movie "X-Men," he's a scruffy Canadian who drives a camper until falling
under the protection of the telepathic Prof. Xavier, dean of an academy for
gifted mutants in suburban New York.

But is he human?

To weigh that question, Judge Barzilay sat down with a sheaf of opposing
legal briefs and more than 60 action figures, including Wolverine, Storm,
Rogue and Bonebreaker.

Toy Biz, in its filings, pulled no punches. The figures "stand as potent
witnesses for their status as nonhuman creatures," the company argued. How
could they be humans, Toy Biz said, if they possessed "tentacles, claws,
wings or robotic limbs?"

Toy Biz had good cause to pursue this line. Having its action figures
declared toys would mean a hefty reimbursement of past duties, though the
company declines to give specifics on how much was at stake.

The U.S. government showed more feeling. Each figure had a "distinctive
individual personality," the federal legal team argued. Some were Russians,
Japanese, black, white, women, even handicapped. Wolverine, the government
insisted, was simply "a man with prosthetic hands." Justice Department
lawyers who handled the case didn't return calls seeking comment.

Judge Barzilay, through a spokesman, said that she would let her 32-page
decision speak for itself. But she described in her ruling how she subjected
many of the figures to "comprehensive examinations." At times, that included
"the need to remove the clothes of the figure."

The X-Men, oddly, gave her the least trouble. They are mutants, she
declared, who "use their extraordinary and unnatural ... powers on the side
of good or evil." The judge observed how the character Storm, with her
flowing white hair and dark skin, "can summon storms at will," while Pyro
has a "mutant ability to control and shape flames."

Thus the X-Men are "something other than human." Case closed.

Tougher for the judge were figures from the Fantastic Four and Spiderman
series. Judge Barzilay wrestled at length with Kraven, a famed hunter who
once vanquished Spiderman, thanks in part to the strength gained from
drinking secret jungle elixirs.

The judge found that Kraven exhibited "highly exaggerated muscle tone in
arms and legs." He wore a "lion's mane-like vest." Both features helped
relegate him, in the judge's mind, to the netherworld of robots, monsters
and devils.

Judge Barzilay conceded that the closest call was the Mole Man, who once
blinded the Fantastic Four with searing beams of light. The judge found him
to be "stout and thick," with "exaggerated troll-like features" and very
pale skin -- fitting for someone who lives underground. Given all that,
Judge Barzilay concluded, the Mole Man was more mole than man.

Veteran comics fan Christian Cooper, who once worked as a Marvel editor,
thinks Judge Barzilay got carried away. If Kraven isn't human, what about
the twisted villains in Dick Tracy? Or worse yet, Superman himself?

"Here's a guy who changes his clothes in a phone booth and flies through the
air," says Mr. Cooper. "Does that mean he's now an animal?


RHIZOME_RAW: Re: One Day Left

m e t a wrote:

> you paid yourself $47,260 in 2000
> alex galloway was paid $36,692 - and he is listed as a part-time employee.
> i could live more than comfortably off of your salary, mark.

Not to get personal, m e t a, but where do you live? $47k isn't a
poverty-level wage, but by NYC standards, it's quite paltry. Especially
considering the hours Mark has to put in and the overall stress of being the
executive director of a non-profit. Even with the depressed dot-com economy,
I know people in this city who are five years younger than Mark and make
twice as much money. (Hell, I used to be one of them.)

Francis Hwang
Director of Technology

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One Day Left

Re: RHIZOME_RAW: Re: One Day LeftThink of it like a bar. When you and some =
friends go to a bar and buy drinks, you're not really going for the drinks.=
You pay much more for the drinks than you would if you just bought a six-p=
ack and stayed home with your friends. And most of the value of your experi=
ence actually comes from the other people, who are also paying for their dr=
inks. You go to a bar to be out in public, to meet up with friends and acqu=
aintances, maybe to meet some cute girl or guy or dance to music or just se=
e funny random things happen. Having a drink makes up a very small part of =
the whole experience. If you went to a bar and it was just you and the bart=
ender and your drink, you probably wouldn't have as much fun.

So why do people go to bars? Why do they pay more for their drinks than the=
y should?

Because when people get together in large groups, there's a certain amount =
of work that needs to be done to keep everything running smoothly. This wor=
k is dependent on a lot of things; one of them is how big those large group=
s are. If you want to get together in a group of 40 people you already know=
, probably somebody can host a party at their apartment. If you're in the m=
ood to be around 150 people, some of who you know and some of whom are stra=
ngers, you probably have to go to a bar. So you pay more for your drinks, b=
ecause you're not just paying for the liquor. You're also paying the rent, =
and the cleaning costs, and the labor. Somebody has to serve drinks, and so=
mebody has to keep the place clean, and once in a while a broken barstool h=
as to be replaced. None of those things are free.

To me, that's why we're asking everybody to pay. It's true that most of the=
value doesn't come from the place; it comes from the members. Nobody comes=
to Rhizome because Mark or I or Rachel are particularly clever people -- t=
hey come because Rhizome offers a space for other people to come and be cle=
ver for one another.

I know that in some ways $5 is a lot to ask. Not that it's a lot of money t=
o most people, but it's still a conceptual hurdle: It makes you wonder how =
much really is worth to you. But our options today aren't what =
they were a few years ago, and we've decided that this is the best bet for =
our survival. I hope that Rhizome, as a public space, has been useful enoug=
h, and engaging enough, that our survival matters to you, too.

Francis Hwang
Director of Technology

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