Digital Subjects and Literary Texts
"Mathematician Stephan Wolfram has recently proposed that many different kinds of complex systems, including human thought and action, can be modeled using cellular automata. These very simple computational systems have demonstrated that they are capable of generating complex patterns using simple rules. According to physicist Ed Fredkin, cellular automata underlie physical reality on a subatomic level; in his view, nature itself is software running on a Universal Computer. This presentation will look critically at these claims, asking whether we should consider them as physical models or as over-determined metaphors that would inevitably emerge in a historical period when computation is pervasive. This issue, and its proliferating implications, will be explored through Greg Egan's print novel Permutation City, which imagines a world in which it is possible to simulate a person's consciousness inside a computer, creating a Copy that has all the personality and memories of the original." My Mother Was a Computer: Digital Subjects and Literary Texts [RealAudio] by Katherine Hayles, University of California at Los Angeles. Presented at HUMlab, Sweden.
Open Zone at Ocularis
70 North 6th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Open Zone is a quarterly open screen night for new works by NYC-based artists. Including documentary, experimental and narrative film, video and new media, Open Zone provides a unique opportunity to view and discuss emerging work of all kinds. Submissions are received prior to the screening, and the organized program is circulated to filmmakers two weeks before the show, which will be held on Wednesday, December 14.
Work must be under 10 minutes in length and produced in the last 12 months. Acceptable formats include: DVD, VHS, Mini DV, 16mm, S8 film.
To be considered for the next Open Zone, please send a preview copy of your work, along with a $10 submissions fee, to
at Galapagos Art Space
Attn: Open Zone
70 North 6th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Postmark Deadline: Wednesday, November 16.
Inclusion in the program is held on a first-come, first-serve basis. All filmmakers with work in the screening receive free admission for themselves and one guest.
Please contact Thomas Beard (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions.
Ocularis is a weekly cinema run out of Galapagos Art Space dedicated to the exhibition of independent, experimental and documentary film/video and new media, as well as international and repertory cinema. For our current schedule and more information on Ocularis, please visit http://www.ocularis.net --
at Galapagos Art Space
70 North 6th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211 http://www.ocularis.net
Everybody's A Critic, Or Are They?
States of Criticism, Credibility and Celebrity
Thursday, November 3, 2005
540 West 21st Street
New York, NY 10011
Join us for a participatory panel.
With 9 million blogs, umpteen online message boards, thousands of shows on hundreds of cable channels and an increased number of magazines on the newsstand, the number of outlets for expressing criticism has never been higher and the barriers to would-be critics
have never been lower. Is this devaluing evaluation or does the shotgun approach result in better criticism? Certainly everyone has an opinion but is everybody a critic?
Michael Atkinson, Village Voice Film Critic
Emily Gordon, Critic at the New Yorker, author, blogger
Jason Kottke, Blogger of kottke.org
Duncan Watts, Professor of Sociology, Columbia University
Moderator: Steven Heller, Design director NYT Book Review and author
Enjoy refreshments while we hear from various types of critics.
But don't just sit back and listen! Take part! Agree! Disagree!
YOU be the judge!!
A reminder to those who are considering submitting works to Open Call: the deadline is coming up soon - October 31st! Open Call is the exhibition that Rhizome is organizing in collaboration with free103point9 - more information on it can be found here: http://www.free103point9.org/opencall.php
If you have any questions about it - please feel free to contact me directly.
Crisscross a City
[Unrelated photo: a port-a-potty-based public address system at the MACBA, Barcelona, 2005.]
A public art project called FOUND SOUND will be featuring works from artists in sound booths ('reconfigured' Port-a-Potties) on sidewalks in public locations throughout Washington, D.C. from Oct 14-Nov 5. Participating artists include Richard Chartier, Joseph Grigely, Alberto Gaitán, Jennie C. Jones, Helmut Kopetzky, Brandon Morse, Robin Rose, and Alex Van Oss. Actor and part-time New Orleans resident Harry Shearer (The Simpsons, Spinal Tap, HuffPo) is contributing a piece on Hurricane Katrina, and Calvin Trillin has contributed a poem as well. The press release quotes this from an essay by Nora Halpern at Americans for the Arts:
FOUND SOUND entices the listener to crisscross a city to experience fully this collection of work. As one leaves a destination for anotherówhether by foot, car, bus, or Metroóthe heightened audio awareness encouraged by each piece should continue, like a musical riff, through all the spaces in between.
Thatís great and all, but in most of the places where these will be, 'heightened audio awareness' might not be a good thing. Downtown D.C.ís not known for its street life ó but we have plenty of nice, loud traffic and construction. Maybe they should make a podcast available for walking in between. Local galleries including Fusebox, Conner Contemporary Art, the Goethe Institute, and DCAC are collaborating. No map seems to be available yet but weíll link when it turns up online. No word on whether any of the port-a-potties will be performing their originally intended public service as well, but consider it highly unlikely. [blogged by Tim on shey.net]
Sorry if this is a repeat, I didn't see it posted here earlier. I'm in a panel discussion tonight at SVA, details below ...
Friday, April 28th 2006, 7pm
School of Visual Arts. 209 East 23rd Street,
(between 2nd & 3rd Ave.)
Artists Talk on Art is pleased to present 'Post Post Modern,
Today is officially my last day at Rhizome, so I wanted to send out a
quick note and officially bid farewell. Actually, this isn't so much
a farewell, since I'll still be around, just as another member. The
only difference, really, will be that you will all have to put up
with my miscellaneous ramblings, without the benefit of me actually
writing code for you. ("Oh, great", I can hear some of you thinking.)
Patrick May has been in the office since February, and the transition
has gone better than I could've hoped. He'll be in touch with y'all
soon, but let me just say that he's hit the ground running and
already has a batch of fresh new ideas to improve the user experience
Patrick, Lauren, and Marisa make a phenomenal team, and it's going to
be a kick to stand back and watch where they take Rhizome in the
future. I'm happy to be moving on, but I have to admit I will miss
working with and for the other folks on staff.
I will also miss working with the Rhizome community, many of whom
I've had the privilege of getting to know well over the last three-
and-a-half years. I've enjoyed having so many people to learn from as
the field has continued to grow. And although some of our discussion
about Rhizome policy has been, mm, how you say, contentious, I always
kept in mind that it is mostly driven by the desire to see Rhizome,
and the entire field of new media arts, succeed. Without its
opinionated users, Rhizome wouldn't be what it is today, so thanks to
all of you.
As for my plans in the near future: Still unfixed, and right this
minute I suppose I like it that way. I'm actually going to be
vacationing a bit next month, with old friends to visit in Barcelona,
a friend's wedding in Minneapolis, and then quality time with my
family in Washington State. After that, who's to say? I'll be sure to
keep y'all posted, in between posting here about hallucinogenics and
XML and everything in between.
Thanks, everyone. And keep in touch,
ex-Director of Technology
Last November, I notified the Rhizome community that I would soon be
stepping down as Rhizome's Director of Technology. Today, I'm very
happy to announce that our next Director of Technology will be Patrick
Patrick comes to Rhizome with an exceptional background in both
technology and in the arts. His previous position at the publishing
company Source Media gives him extensive experience with developing and
maintaining large, content-driven sites with limited resources, and
this experience will come in handy at a highly dynamic,
community-oriented website like Rhizome. He is also active in the free
software and Ruby communities: He is the creator of the Ruby-Web
library, and has presented at the International Ruby Conference.
Patrick is also the cofounder and Director of Programming at the
Williamsburg-based artists' collective Open Ground, helping to guide
the consensus-based curatorial process that furnished Grand Street with
four years' worth of always surprising group shows. He is an artist
himself, and his creative practice incorporates a software library he
created that automatically publishes consecutive iterations of images
to an artists' blog; he discussed this tool at Rhizome's second
"Blogging and the Arts" panel discussion.
Being Rhizome's Director of Technology, of course, requires more than
just a knowledge of programming, and more than a familiarity with new
media arts. Rhizome has always been an undersized organization with
oversized ambitions, and we continue to explore ways to deepen the
nascent connections between art and technology. Patrick's resume hits a
lot of the right topics, but what's most important is that he's able to
think of the big picture--not just in terms of artworks and lines of
code, but also in terms of organizations and communities. I'm confident
that he will make the perfect partner for Lauren and Marisa as the
three of them lead Rhizome in the future. We've accomplished a lot in
the last year, and I'm excited to see what changes will come in the
We are expecting the transition process to work like this: Patrick will
come in on February 2nd, and he and I will work side-by-side throughout
February as I train him in. My last day will be March 3rd, but even
after then I'll still be available to Patrick & the organization in
I'm quite happy to leave this job in Patrick's capable hands. I hope
you all welcome him as kindly as you welcomed me.
Director of Technology
+ + +
> I have long been appalled by the way that theorists supposedly steeped
> psychoanalytic readings could misdefine schizophrenia and then
> consistently glamorize this very serious, very misdefined condition as
> some sexy alternative to 'reality.' There is a long list of scholars
> who've become quite famous in the course of building and upholding this
> Now I'm all for creativity, metaphor, and wordplay, but I feel that
> any of
> us with a ligitimate interest in these discourses or in contributing to
> any kind of meaningful conversation have a personal responsibility not
> entrench this kind of grossly irresponsible scholarship.
Good thing Rhizome doesn't try to have an official stance on psychiatry
I'm not familiar with D&G's writings on psychiatry, but it's quite
possible to be critical of mainline psychiatry without necessarily
glamorizing the condition of schizophrenia. A lot of the good
"anti-psychiatry" theory moves to put such conditions out of the
individual context, and into the social context, which was part of
psychiatry's brief in the beginning but has been slowly leached out of
the practice as it became more closely lashed to modern technocratic
I agree with much of what Eric wrote here:
> In Mircea Eliade's research, the role of the schizophrenic is enabled
> by some tribes and excluded by others. In complex social networks,
> which we are a part of, the schizophrenic is excluded and sent to the
> As well capitalism has no room, or need for the schizophrenic. They
> don't contribute to the nations wealth in an open market system.
> Witness the homeless today and the Bedlams of the past. Providing a
> social space doesn't cure the chemical imbalances, but it can give
> them a nurturing environment and a sense of belonging.
> It isn't a cure, but it does provide needed dignity.
Though I'd go a little further and say that ultimately it may not be
correct to describe schizophrenia as a condition requiring a "cure" ...
You could also remove the normative aspect from psychiatry altogether
and simply that schizophrenia is a condition, a statistical outlier,
but not necessarily more or less healthy, just different.
I don't want to trivialize or glamorize the problems faced by those
with mental illnesses. In fact, my dad works in the industry, so I grew
up with all sorts of terrible stories about mental illnesses.
But if you're not normal, and that makes it difficult to live in
society, who's to blame for that, exactly? Homosexuality was only
removed from the DSM within the last 50 years. If you grew up gay in a
Christian fundamentalist household in a homophobic small town, and
revealing your desires to anybody might get you condemned or beaten or
killed, and then you grow up with serious intimacy issues, whose fault
Or, to take a much more harrowing example from the cutting edge of
psychiatric pathology: Some psychiatrists are beginning to look into
what is currently called Body Integrity Identity Disorder, which is the
overwhelming desire of a person to voluntarily amputate a very specific
part of their body. These patients (who are almost always men) feel
that a certain part of their body (almost always below the waist)
simply doesn't belong to them, and that they would be more whole
without it. Like pre-op transsexuals, they often dress the part, for
example by tying their leg back and wearing loose fitting pants that
are clipped up where the missing part would be.
And, although research on this is extremely preliminary, at this point
it would appear that the only known treatment is actually amputation.
Some of these patients are able to pursue this in a proper medical
setting, but as you might imagine some are forced to do it themselves,
using whatever tools you might imagine a person might use if they were
forced to self-amputate without the benefit of a medical staff, an
operating theatre, or anesthesia.
The New York Underground had a pretty amazing documentary on the
subject (I think two years ago), and a few of the interviewees were
people who had taken this step. They all looked astoundingly happy.
Their condition was cured. They were just without one leg or foot or
Now, this is pretty horrifying stuff, and it's clearly not normal in
the statistical sense, but why is it unhealthy? We know, for example,
that plenty of people who lose their limbs in accidents are capable of
living rich, fulfilling lives. So why can't the same be true for
somebody who loses his limb on purpose? And what should society's
response be to this? Should we make it easier for people to get, to
twist a Christian fundamentalist phrase, "amputation-on-demand"? Or
should we force them to pursue years of experimental treatments--shock
therapies, medication, aversion therapy, etc., etc.--in lieu of just
getting an amputation, which is on its own a very established, safe
Anyway, back to schizophrenia ... It's quite possible that the world is
going to become increasingly hostile to its schizophrenics, largely as
a result of the spread of global capitalism. Cities are worse for
schizophrenics than the countryside, so a future in which more than
half the world's population is urban doesn't bode well for them. The
complex web of invisible power relations--whether technical, financial,
social, or legal--required to get along in the 21st century probably
don't do any good for the schizophrenic's propensity for paranoia.
Maybe the trade-offs are worth it, maybe they're not. I personally
can't claim to be pure in this respect, anyway: I live in a big city
and I work with the internet and I even find the Economist to be
interesting reading. But maybe it's a shame that we're implicitly
deciding that from now on, society has no place for the schizophrenic.
And maybe it's a copout to say that it's because of biology that they
don't fit in, when it's just as much because of culture.
Or maybe the decision isn't so final. Maybe the fragmentation of
culture that comes with the spread of information technology actually
works against the idea of reality as consensus--and thus in favor of
the schizophrenic. Any world that has a place for furries and centaur
porn and Everquest economies and transgenderism and people who dress up
like Uruk-Hai on the weekends might actually have a place for
schizophrenics, right? Who's to say.
Director of Technology
+ + +
Each writer will receive a $200 stipend for participation. Participating in this artwork will require a light, but ongoing commitment: perhaps an hour a week, from March to June.
No particular experience, or publications, are necessary. However, you should be mildly comfortable with technology, enough to use a website like MySpace or a blog host like Blogspot. It would also be okay if you had a friend who could help you with the technical stuff. Basically, the project involves a little tech setup, and I don’t want to have to do a lot of tech support for other people.
If that doesn’t sound too maddeningly vague, please let me know if you’re interested by emailing me at email@example.com. I’d appreciate a few writing samples, and if you have any experience with improvisational anything (stand-up comedy, music, even live-action role-playing), it’d be useful to know about that, too. Also, please feel free to ask any other questions. Thanks!