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.

Open Congress: Creativity and the Public Domain at the Tate


An artist at the Media and Film Dept at the University of Sussex just sent me a slew of interesting open-source links, among them (thanks David!):

The Libre Society
> "...exploring the intersections between critical thought, technology, art and transformative practice."

LOCA Records > a copyleft record label

and information about the Open Congress symposium coming to the Tate, including a Wiki:

...a group of artists, researchers and academics - some of whom are based at Chelsea College of Art and Design - who are working towards: an OpenCongress that seeks to understand how methodologies derived from Free/Libre and Open Source Software [FLOSS] production can be deployed by those working in the area of art, visual culture and cultural production in general.

Here's the Wiki's RSS feed.

Participants include Cory Doctorow, McKenzie Wark, Saul Albert, Trebor Scholz, Richard Barbrook...

via Tate Britain:
Open Congress: Creativity and the Public Domain
Friday 7 October 2005, 11.00-17.00
and Saturday 8 October 2005, 11.00-17.00

The impact on creative practice of the extraordinary development of Open Source software - free computer programs that anyone can modify and redistribute - has revitalised wider interest in collaborative creativity, the public domain and the openness of public institutions.

This innovative event explores, through its structure and content, how Open Source-inspired methods can transform art and its institutions by challenging conventional practices of authorship, ownership and distribution. International and British artists, theorists, academics and activists come together for lectures and workshops in spaces throughout the gallery.

For more information visit
In collaboration with Chelsea College of Art and Design, NODE.L, Wireless London, and Mute

This event will be webcast
Tate Britain Auditorium
£20 (£15 concessions), booking required



SAFE: Design Takes On Risk

"SAFE: Design Takes On Risk presents more than 300 contemporary products and prototypes designed to protect body and mind from dangerous or stressful circumstances, respond to emergencies, ensure clarity of information, and provide a sense of comfort and security. These objects address the spectrum of human fears and worries, from the most mundane to the most exceptional, from the dread of darkness and loneliness to the threat of earthquakes and terrorist attacks.

The exhibition covers all forms of design, from manufactured products to information architecture. Featured products include refugee shelters, demining equipment, baby strollers, and protective sports gear. Designers are trained to balance risk with protection and to mediate between disruptive change and normalcy; good design goes hand in hand with personal needs, providing protection and security without sacrificing innovation and invention. SAFE redirects the pursuit of beauty toward the appreciation of economy of function and technology." (via)


Playmobil's Police Van and Security Check Point for kids who want to learn about The Man.

Update 21/09/05

MoMA's Safety Check: A conversation with exhibition curator Paola Antonelli

"You've mentioned cultural elements that came into play when researching concepts of safety. Can you tell me more about the differences you found?

It's all about culture, as contemporary design's closest scholarly ally is anthropology. So for example, in Israel safety means rubber-sealed shelters to protect from blasts and chemicals. In Bangladesh it means finding drinkable water. In South Africa it means spreading awareness about AIDS and beating the government's efforts to tell people that HIV drugs have no effect. In other parts of Africa it means providing moveable hospitals that don't look like hospitals, so others don't identify the women that go to them as HIV-positive or ...


David Galbraith sound installation at Diapason (NYC)

Diapason, gallery for sound and intermedia, presents

David Galbraith
Composition 2005 No. 1:
Two Straight Lines Displaced, Nudged and Gently Spun

A Sound Installation

Saturdays, September 3, 10, 17, 24
6 PM - midnight

Diapason, gallery for sound and intermedia
1026 Sixth Avenue, # 2S (btwn 38th & 39th St.)
New York, NY 10018

Notes on the work:

Diapason is pleased to present the first solo exhibition by New York-based composer, performer and multidisciplinary artist David Galbraith.

This exhibition pairs Galbraith’s 2003 mixed media work on paper Two Straight Lines For La Monte Young, originally shown in Berlin and on view at Diapason for the first time in New York, with a new work for multichannel sound titled Composition 2005 No. 1.

The work on paper references American composer La Monte Young’s Composition 1960 No. 10 which reads ‘draw a straight line and follow it.’ Galbraith’s Two Straight Lines For La Monte Young uses twenty pages of tabular random permutations of integer numbers overlaid with systematically placed small blue dots. These pages are pinned to the wall each skewed so the blue dots produce a pair of vertical straight lines each over six feet long. With this work Galbraith breaks from the singular act called for by Young’s score and instead creates through repetition and serial techniques two straight lines that emerge from an infinite numeric field.

For Composition 2005 No. 1 Galbraith transformed Two Straight Lines For La Monte Young into a graphic score for string quartet. Galbraith realized this score by recording the process of hand tuning each note using his self-built analog electronic sound oscillators. The work is animated by the micro-intervallic tension between two sets of pitches: the ‘absolute’ sine tones determined by graphical analysis and the ‘string’ tones which are ...


Signs of the Times:


Mobifilms and Ringtone Vending Machines

"Nokia is offering five online lessons in making movies for mobile phones. [Via Picturephoning]. And Ireland will be the first European market to see a new generation of coke-vending machines, which will also sell mobile phone top-ups, ringtones and music. UK-based Inspired Broadcast Networks has signed a deal with Coca-Cola to distribute digital content from its soft drink vending machines. The vending machines will be linked to Inspired's online content management system using DSL broadband connections. The content will be transferred to the purchaser's phone through their mobile operator's network, or may also be transferred directly to the phone using Bluetooth. In the future, the company plans to allow people to collect their content by plugging their phones' memory cards into a drive on the coke machine. [The Register]" [blogged by John on Ratchet Up!]


NY Art World: Land of Flesh-eating Zombies?


image source

... [Jerry Saltz] plows forth in "The Battle for Babylon":

[...] the art world has never been so flush with money. There are almost 300 galleries in Chelsea, with more than 30 expanding or relocating there this season. A 20-story "gallery condo" is under construction; Matthew Marks is opening a fourth gallery space, Perry Rubinstein a third, Pace a second; Marianne Boesky is building her own building. No one's closing. There are also hundreds of contemporary galleries outside Chelsea. So New York truly is Art City. Or is it?

Even with all the buzz, we're in a predicament. Partly, this is because while this hyper-driven phase allows more artists to show quickly, it reduces art to its exchange value. Popularity and market viability are measures of quality; things are considered successful if they sell; selling means selling big. Consequently, the system is making people offers they can't refuse when it should be making them offers they can't understand; too many have too much invested in the system as it is to change or challenge it; a sameness has set into the operative model of what a gallery is.

Flush or not, people are frustrated. In private many say most of the shows they see are safe or conservative. Yet most reviews are enthusiastic or merely descriptive. Too many critics act like cheerleaders, reporters or hip metaphysicians. Amid art fair frenzy, auction madness, money lust and market hype; between galleries turning into selling machines, gossip passing as criticism and art becoming a good job; the system, while efficient, feels faulty, even false.

Perhaps it was ever thus, but today it seems more thus than ever. Now the system regularly replicates conditions it's familiar with, defaulting to known positions, producing pathogens of itself. It knows art is ...