Marisa Olson
Since the beginning
Works in Brooklyn, New York United States of America

Marisa Olson is an artist, writer, and media theorist. Her interdisciplinary work has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale, Centre Pompidou, Tate(s) Modern + Liverpool, the Nam June Paik Art Center, British Film Institute, Sundance Film Festival, PERFORMA Biennial; commissioned and collected by the Whitney Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Houston Center for Photography, Experimental Television Center, and PS122; and reviewed in Artforum, Art21, the NY Times, Liberation, Folha de Sao Paolo, the Village Voice, and elsewhere.

Olson has served as Editor & Curator at Rhizome, the inaugural curator at Zero1, and Associate Director at SF Camerawork. She's contributed to many major journals & books and this year Cocom Press published Arte Postinternet, a Spanish translation of her texts on Postinternet Art, a movement she framed in 2006. In 2015 LINK Editions will publish a retrospective anthology of over a decade of her writings on contemporary art which have helped establish a vocabulary for the criticism of new media. Meanwhile, she has also curated programs at the Guggenheim, New Museum, SFMOMA, White Columns, Artists Space, and Bitforms Gallery. She has served on Advisory Boards for Ars Electronica, Transmediale, ISEA, the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences, Creative Capital, the Getty Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Kennedy Center, and the Tribeca Film Festival.

Olson studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths, History of Consciousness at UC Santa Cruz, and Rhetoric & Film Studies at UC Berkeley. She has recently been a visiting artist at Yale, SAIC, Oberlin, and VCU; a Visiting Critic at Brown; and Visiting Faculty at Bard College's Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts and Ox-Bow. She previously taught at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts' new media graduate program (ITP) and was Assistant Professor of New Media at SUNY-Purchase's School of Film & Media Studies. She was recently an Artist-in-Residence at Eyebeam & is currently Visiting Critic at RISD.

booomerrranganggboobooomerranrang: Nancy Holt's networked video

Nancy Holt, Boomerang (1974), still from video.

In her time on this planet, Nancy Holt came to be known as a great American Land Artist, and certainly her brilliant installations, like Utah's Sun Tunnels and collaborations with her partner Robert Smithson and their peers, are profoundly significant, but it was her work in film & video that has had the greatest personal impact on me.

I somehow didn't see Boomerang, her 1974 video performance usually credited to her collaborator Richard Serra, until I was a Ph.D. student in Linda Williams's Phenomenology of Film seminar at UC Berkeley's Rhetoric program, but the time delay was more than made up for by the work's formative resonance. In the video, made during Serra's residency at a Texas television station, a young Holt is seen sitting in an anchor's chair before a staid blue background. Despite brief station ID graphic overlays and one minute of silence in the midst of the ten-minute piece (announced as audio trouble and reminding viewers of the work's live TV origin), the work is in many ways sound-centric.

Sound and Image in Electronic Harmony

Image: Semiconductor: Ruth Jarman and Joseph Gerhardt, 200 Nanowebbers, 2005

On Saturday, April 11th, New York's School of Visual Arts will co-present the 2009 Visual Music Marathon with the New York Digital Salon and Northeastern University. Promising genre-bending work from fifteen countries, the lineup crams 120 works by new media artists and digital composers into 12 hours. If it's true, as is often said, that MTV killed the attention spans of Generations X and Y, this six-minute-per-piece average ought to suit most festivalgoers' minds, and the resultant shuffling on and off stage will surely be a spectacle in its own rite. In all seriousness, this annual event is a highlight of New York's already thriving electronic music scene and promises many a treat for your eyes and ears. The illustrious organizers behind the marathon know their visual music history and want to remind readers that, "The roots of the genre date back more than two hundred years to the ocular harpsichords and color-music scales of the 18th century," and "the current art form came to fruition following the emergence of film and video in the 20th century." The remarkable ten dozen artists participating in this one-day event will bring us work incorporating such diverse materials as hand-processed film, algorithmically-generated video, visual interpretations of music, and some good old fashioned music-music. From luminaries like Oskar Fischinger, Hans Richter, and Steina Vasulka to emerging artists Joe Tekippe and Chiaki Watanabe, the program will be another star on the map that claims NYC as fertile territory for sonic exploration. - Marisa Olson




The National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST) in Athens, Greece, has committed itself to curating a number of recent exhibitions of internet art. Their current show, "Tag Ties and Affective Spies," features contributions from both net vets and emerging surfers, including Christophe Bruno, Gregory Chatonsky, Paolo Cirio, JODI, Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar, Les Liens Invisibles, Personal Cinema and The Erasers, Ramsay Stirling, and Wayne Clements. The online exhibition takes an antagonistic approach to Web 2.0, citing a constant balance "between order and chaos, democracy and adhocracy." Curator Daphne Dragona raises the question of whether the social web is a preexisting platform on which people connect, or whether it is indeed constructed in the act of uploading, tagging, and disclosing previously private information about ourselves on sites like Flickr, YouTube, and Facebook. Dragona asks whether we are truly connecting and interacting, or merely broadcasting. While her curatorial statement doesn't address the issue directly, the show's title hints at the level of self-surveillance in play on these sites. Accordingly, many of the selected works take a critical, if not DIY, approach to the internet. The collective Les Liens Invisibles tends to create works that make an ironic mash-up of the often divergent mantras of tactical media, culture jamming, surrealism, and situationism. In their Subvertr, they encourage Flickr users to "subverTag" their posted images, creating an intentional disassociation between an image's content and its interpretion, with the aim of "breaking the strict rules of significance that characterize the mainstream collective imaginary..." JODI's work, winning information (2008) exploits the limited stylistic parameters of the social bookmarking site. Using ASCII and Unicode page titles to form visual marks, a cryptic tag vocabulary, and a recursive taxonomy, their fun-to-follow site critiques the broader content of the web ...


Reappearance of the Undead


In 1997, internet art hall-of-famer Olia Lialina made a "net drama" called Agatha Appears that was written for Netscape 3 and 4 in HTML 3.2. One of the main features of the interactive narrative was the travel of the eponymous avatar across the internet. Let's just say the girl got around. But the magical illusion of the piece was that she appeared to stay still, even when links in the narrative were clicked and the viewer's address bar indicated movement to another server. But in time, both the browser and code in which the story was written became defunct and the piece unraveled as the sites previously hosting the links and files upon which Agatha was dependent disappeared or cleaned house. Such a scenario is common to early internet art (and will no doubt continue to plague the field), as ours is an upgrade culture constantly driving towards new tools, platforms, and codes. Many have debated whether to let older works whither or how it might be possible to update these works, making them compatible with new systems. For those who are interested, some of the best research on the subject has been performed by the folks affiliated with the Variable Media Initiative. Meanwhile, luddites and neophiles alike are now in luck because Agatha Appears has just undergone rejuvenation. Ela Wysocka, a restorer working at Budapest's Center for Culture & Communication Foundation has worked to overcome the sound problems, code incompatibilities, and file corruption and disappearance issues, and she's written a fascinating report about the process, here. And new collaborating hosts have jumped in line to bring the piece back to life, so that like a black and white boyfriend coming home from war, Agatha now offers us a shiny new webring as a token of ...


In the Future-Past Tense

The fantasy of the future and the utopian promises of new technologies have always gone hand-in-hand. If the history of technology's evolution tells the story of our culture, we can also trace our present-day novelties back to the root of our anxieties about the future and the problems these devices hoped to solve. With this correlation in mind, the interactive DVD novel The Imaginary 20th Century (2007) by Norman Klein, Margo Bistis, and Andreas Kratky, jumps back to the fin de siècle era between the 19th and 20th centuries. It was a time of wonder when new technologies and their representation were wedded in documents like panoramic films of public light shows and short actualities about newfangled transportation devices called roller skates. The novel tells the story of "the Chicago World's Fair in 1893, and the story of a woman (Carrie), who in 1901, selects four men to seduce her, each with his own version of the new century" in a recombinatory visual narrative that overlaps 2,200 images culled from primary documents, architectural plans, photos, and other ephemera with an original score. The project speaks to the multiplicity of visions circulating about what the new century would hold, and it's an even more past-tense follow-up to Norman Klein's interactive novel, Bleeding Through: Layers of Los Angeles, 1920-1986 (2003). Klein's work has clearly resonated with at least eleven people, because closing this week at Otis College of Art and Design's Ben Maltz Gallery is "The Future Imaginary," an exhibition that responds to The Imaginary 20th Century with the work of artists Deborah Aschheim, Jeff Cain, Tom Jennings, Jon Kessler, Ed Osborn, Lea Rekow, Douglas Repetto, Phil Ross, Kari Rae Seekins and Aaron Drake, and Susan Simpson. Each contribution embodies the special genre of ...


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Hi, all. If you're anywhere near New York, please come out for this
event on 12/7. As discussed earlier on this list (thread linked
below), Monkeytown is one of the few venues in the region supporting
emerging artists (on a daily basis!), especially those using
technology in their work. Their disappearance would be a major loss to
this community. Plus the performers at this event are awesome!! ~


A Benefit for Monkey Town


in his only New York appearance for 2006,

the "crackpot genius" of


Lightshow by Luke Dubois, Adam Kendall, Ray Sweeten among others
Surprise Performances

emceed by Nicklcat


Monkey Town t-shirts and gift cards will be on sale.

9 pm to 2 am
at EUROPA, Polish-American Discotheque in Greenpoint, Brooklyn
98-104 Meserole Ave. (corner of Manhattan Ave.)
G train to Nassau
Tickets, sliding scale $12-20



13 Most Beautiful Avatars

Rhizome is pleased to announce the opening of "13 Most Beautiful
Avatars," a Second Life avatar portrait series by Eva and Franco
Mattes (a.k.a. 0100101110101101.ORG), exhibited at Second Life's Ars
Virtua Gallery. This is our third online exhibition in the Time Shares

More info can be found below and online. There will be an in-world
opening reception, tonight, from 6-8pm SLT/9-11pm EST. Perhaps we'll
see you there. Many thanks to James Morgan, founder and director of
Ars Virtua.


This exhibition, in Second Life's Ars Virtua gallery (Nov. 15 - Dec.
29) captures the most visually dynamic and celebrated "stars" of
Second Life. The Matteses have been living in the virtual world,
Second Life, for over a year, exploring its terrain and interacting
with its peculiar inhabitants. The result of their "video-game
flanerie" is this series of portraits. The 13 Most Beautiful Avatars
images will be exhibited, in the real-world, at the Italian Academy
(v) at New York's Columbia University. For the Ars Virtua show, in
Second Life, a 3D replica of this physical exhibition space has been
recreated for presentation of an exhibition identical to the "real"

Organized by Rhizome and co-presented by the New Museum of
Contemporary Art, Time Shares is a series of online exhibitions
dedicated to exploring the diversity of contemporary art based on the
Internet. Every six weeks, Rhizome and invited curators will launch a
new exhibition featuring an international group of artists. The series
is a component of Rhizome's Tenth Anniversary Festival of Art &

+ + +
Marisa Olson
Editor & Curator at the
New Museum of Contemporary Art


Digest Date Change

Hi. More Updates!

As of today, we're switching the date of the Digest delivery from
Friday to Wednesday. This is the result of feedback from many of you
who felt that the Digest got lost in your inboxes at the end of the
week or that you didn't have weekend time to contribute to discussions
before they were threaded...

Also, we hesitate to pre-announce things, around here (given how
technology works), but on the level of user feedback regarding the
Digest, I also wanted to let you know that an html version of the
digest and issue-specific url's are on the horizon.

Stay tuned and thanks for your feedback...


+ + +
Marisa Olson
Editor & Curator at the
New Museum of Contemporary Art


New Site Editors & Curatorial Fellow

Hello. I'm writing with a few updates about our volunteer roster.

We had an overwhelming number of responses from people who wanted to
be Site Editors. (I've tried to get back to everyone, though my email
was briefly knocked out, last week.) Because there were so many
responses and we're more interested in diversity than "gatekeeping,"
we decided to sign people up on a first-come basis. The newest
additions to our list are Luis Silva, Seth Thompson, Lee Wells, and
Tyler Jacobsen. They join recently-added Site Editors John Michael
Boling, Hanne Mugaas, and Michael Parenti, and ongoing Site Editors
Greg Smith, Ryan Griffis, Pau Waelder, Nicholas Economos, Mark Cooley,
Lauren Cornell, and myself. Interns Ana Otero and Miguel Amado (see
below) will also begin reblogging, soon. FYI, T.Whid and the former
staff members who were previously Site Editors (Mark Tribe, Alex
Galloway, Rachel Greene, Kevin McGarry, and Francis Hwang) have now
become "Emeritus." Big thanks to everyone for their commitment. I'll
be calling for more Site Editors in the future, for those who may be

Meanwhile, I also wanted to announce that Miguel Amado will be joining
the Rhizome crew as our 06-07 Curatorial Fellow, beginning this week.
His bio is below.

Miguel Amado is a young Portuguese curator and writer. He has an MA in
Curating Contemporary Art from the Royal College of Art, in London. He
was curator at the Visual Arts Centre, in Coimbra, from 2003 to
mid-2005. Currently, he is curator at large of the Collection of
Portuguese Contemporary Art of the PLMJ Foundation, in Lisbon.
Selected curated shows include the annual exhibition "Options &
Futures: Works form the Collection of the PLMJ Foundation" (2005-),
"E=mc2" (National Museum for Science and Technology, Coimbra, 2005),
"7/10" (Modern Art Centre of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation,
Lisbon, 2003), and the Project Room programme at the Visual Arts
Centre (2004-2005). Since 2005 he has been a regular contributor to
books, catalogues and magazines such as Artforum,, Flash
Art, Contemporary and Exit Express. Between mid-2005 and mid-2006 he
was the editor of the Portuguese quarterly magazine W-Art. He has also
edited books such as "25 Frames per Second: Videos from the Collection
of the PLMJ Foundation" (2006).

Best regards,

+ + +
Marisa Olson
Editor & Curator at the
New Museum of Contemporary Art


Recent Member-Curated Exhibitions

Hi. A number of interesting member-curated exhibits have recently been
organized and can be accessed here:

Sadly, most of these went up while our server was down and only one of
them was announced to the list, but I wanted to encourage you to check
them out.

We're always excited when new member-curated shows open. Please
consider organizing one of your own!