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

PORTFOLIO (4)
BIO
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


4127ciathumb

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 http://opencongress.omweb.org
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

READ ON »


Security


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)

Also:

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 ...

READ ON »


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
http://www.diapasongallery.org/


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 ...

READ ON »


Signs of the Times:


mobifilm.gif

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!]

READ ON »


NY Art World: Land of Flesh-eating Zombies?


Saltz919051

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 ...

READ ON »



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

"Post Post Modern" panel discussion tonight at SVA


Dates:
Fri Apr 28, 2006 00:00 - Fri Apr 28, 2006

Friends,

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,


DISCUSSION

Signing off


Hi everyone,

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
at Rhizome.

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,

Francis Hwang
ex-Director of Technology
Rhizome.org

DISCUSSION

Patrick May to be the next Director of Technology


Hi everybody,

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
May.

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
years ahead.

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
general.

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.

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

DISCUSSION

Re: schizoanalizys for beginners


On Jan 19, 2006, at 8:07 PM, Marisa Olson wrote:

> I have long been appalled by the way that theorists supposedly steeped
> in
> 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
> farce.
>
> 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
> to
> 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
society.

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
> shadows.
> 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
is that?

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
whatever ...

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
medical procedure?

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.

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

OPPORTUNITY

Looking for nine fiction writers


Deadline:
Sun Jan 15, 2006 12:19

I’m looking for nine fiction writers who want to collaborate with me on an artwork that has been commissioned by Turbulence.org. I don’t want to give too much away, but I can say that the work will involve writing collaborative, improvisational fiction online. I can’t honestly say how good the final product will be, but I think it’ll make a fascinating experiment—provided, of course, I’m lucky enough to have good writers to work with.

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 sera@fhwang.net. 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!