Marisa Olson
Since the beginning
Works in New York, 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, and has been commissioned and collected by the Whitney Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Houston Center for Photography, Experimental Television Center, and PS122. This work's been reviewed in Artforum, Art21, Liberation, Folha de Sao Paolo, the Village Voice, and elsewhere. New York Magazine has called Marisa one of the Top Five video artists working online, Wired has called her both funny and humorous, the New York Times once called her "anything but stupid," and the Wall Street Journal considers her their "Walkman Historian" of choice.

Marisa actively contributes to the field, writing for many major art publications, ranging from magazines & exhibition catalogs to academic journals and chapters in books on the history and theory of media art. She has served as Editor & Curator at Rhizome, the inaugural curator at Zero1, and Associate Director at SF Camerawork, whose Journal she edited. In 2013 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, Marisa has also curated programs at the Guggenheim, New Museum, SFMOMA, White Columns, and Artists Space. She has served on Advisory Boards for Ars Electronica, Transmediale, ISEA, the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences, Creative Capital, EYEBEAM, the Getty Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Kennedy Center, and the Tribeca Film Festival.

Marisa 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, Oberlin, VCU, UC-Boulder's Brakhage Symposium, Penn State, Visiting Faculty at Bard College's Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, and Visiting Faculty at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago's Ox-Bow program. She previously taught at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts' new media graduate program and was Assistant Professor of New Media at SUNY-Purchase's School of Film & Media Studies. She is currently Visiting Critic at Brown University.

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 ...


Discussions (280) Opportunities (10) Events (4) Jobs (0)

Fwd: Documentary on Dangers of Wireless Technology to screen this Sunday, 6/25

From: GORdon <>

Please Forward

"Bad Reception: The Wireless Revolution in San Francisco"
Produced and Directed by Doug Loranger
Co-Produced by Gordon Winiemko

June 25, 2006, 2pm & 7pm

Roxie Film Center
3117 16th Street at Valencia, San Francisco

With Mayor Gavin Newsom's citywide Wi-Fi initiative, San Francisco moves one
step closer to joining other "wireless" cities around the world. But as the
timely documentary "Bad Reception: The Wireless Revolution in San Francisco"
dramatically illustrates, embracing wireless technology may come with a
steep price for the health and well-being of San Francisco residents and
their environment.

Exploring the dangers of microwave radiation used by cellular phones,
cellular antennas, and other new wireless technologies, "Bad Reception"
tells the compelling story of residents from backgrounds as diverse as the
city itself taking to the streets and taking on City Hall to protest the
politically powerful and poorly regulated wireless industry.

"Though there are triumphs recorded here, including an emotional victory
over a proposed antenna in the upper Fillmore, Bad Reception ... ominously
hints that the fight is far from over." -- San Francisco Bay Guardian.


The Roxie Film Center's screening of "Bad Reception" coincides with a number
of recent and ongoing political events in the Bay Area:

1. Over 900 residents of San Francisco's Sunset District signed a petition
against Nextel's plan for a cellular tower at the Sunset Reservoir,
prompting Nextel to withdraw the project from the San Francisco Planning
Commission's June 8 calendar.

2. On May 25, 2006, the City of Berkeley's Zoning Adjustment Board voted for
the first time in the City's history to deny a permit for a cellular antenna
facility in the face of strong and well-organized neighborhood opposition.

3. In late May 2006, the California State Senate voted to pass SB 1627, a
T-Mobile-backed piece of legislation that would further restrict the
authority of California towns, cities and counties to determine where
cellular antennae may or may not be placed.

4. Mayor Gavin Newsom's administration has entered into negotiations with
Google/Earthlink to build a city-wide Wi-Fi network, which could include as
many as 1600 microwave-emitting transmitters operating around the clock in
all areas of the city.

"Bad Reception" makes a compelling case that the unknown and potentially
disastrous effects of long-term exposures to cumulative radiation sources
should become a topic of major public policy discussion and action.

------ End of Forwarded Message

GORdon Winiemko


Fwd: BNMI Announces International Co-production Labs

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ceperkovic, Slavica <>
Date: Jun 19, 2006 3:40 PM
Subject: BNMI Announces International Co-production Labs

BNMI Announces International Co-production Labs

BNMI has just launched its new co-production residency model which
includes three exceptional programs led by three peer advisors per lab.
Apply today for one of these outstanding opportunities!

Co-production Lab: Almost Perfect
Program Dates: November 5 - December 2, 2006
Application Deadline: July 1, 2006
Tuition: $1,850

Peer Advisors: Chantal Dumas (CND), Paula Levine (CND/US), Julian Priest
(DK, UK)

Almost Perfect is a rapid prototyping lab that explores the creation of
pervasive mobile media in the Banff region. With the dedicated support
of peer advisors, technicians, and production facilities, participants
can develop basic to advanced level prototypes in the areas of locative
media, telematics, audio art, and responsive environments. This
residency will also explore the political and social economic contexts
of locative media.

Almost Perfect is a joint venture between BNMI and HP Bristol. Prototype
development will be realized through the use of GPS enabled HP iPAQs and
software developed by HP Research Labs Bristol.

Co-production Lab: Liminal Screen
Program Dates: March 5 - March 30, 2007
Application Deadline: October 2, 2006
Tuition: $1,722
Peer Advisors: Willy Le Maitre, (CND) Kate Rich (UK), Amra Baksic Camo
Liminal Screen examines the ambiguity, openness, and indeterminacy of
cinema in current new media practice. Working with peer advisors and
technicians, participants are invited to work independently or
collaboratively to focus on questions of screen-based work that is in

Co-production Lab: Reference Check
Program Dates: June 24 - July 21, 2007
Application Deadline: December 1, 2006
Tuition: $1,850
Peer Advisors: Andreas Broeckmann (De), Anne Galloway (CND), Sarat
Maharaj (Sa/UK)

Reference Check invites post-graduate students and researchers whose
work connects to new media, to come to Banff to develop concepts, create
prototypes, have group discussions and realize projects. Reference Check
welcomes applications for both theoretical and applied research at all

BNMI's Co-production program is devoted to the production and
presentation of the work of new media practitioners. The connections
between art, technology, media, and cultures are continuously explored,
by bringing together interdisciplinary participants in intensive
co-production media lab residencies. The residencies support individuals
and teams in the creation of new works, knowledge, and technology. The
program is international in scope, accepting applications on a
tri-annual basis. The BNMI is committed to equal opportunity and
access to all programs for artists of diverse cultural and regional
communities. Applications are peer adjudicated.

For more information and to apply visit:

Banff New Media Institute

The Banff Centre
Box 1020, Station 40
Banff, Alberta T1L 1H5



Re: notes for a hypothetical essay on relocating the aura

Hey, guys. This thread is interesting. My two cents...

I don't really think that the loss of the aura is such a bad thing--or
something that Benjamin necessarily laments. I read the aura as 'stuff
that gets in the way' (ie perceived phenom of a distance), or
moreover, as the immaterial (but weighty) presence of history,
hegemony, and aesthetics.

I think that, in Benjamin's discussion of property systems, and
particularly in his citation of Marinetti's futurist proclamation that
"war is beautiful," that he's call for us to relieve ourselves of
aesthetic models that impose certain negative relationships between
works and individuals. I believe he's saying that these same models
inscribe our subjectivity--as traced by our models of consumption--as
victims of the property/fascist system(s) that have beget our
aesthetic systems. In this vain, "war is beautiful" is not such a
confusing statement. A fascist system begets an aesthetic system that
says X, Y, and Z equal beauty; ergo war equals beauty. It's a way of
seeing how violent the aesthetic "regime" (to perhaps overdo it a bit)
has become...

Anyway, I'm travelling and don't have the book with me so I can't
offer any relevant quotes, but it's something I've also been thinking
about lately, so I wanted to chime in.


On 5/28/06, marc <> wrote:
> Hi Michael & Curt,
> I suspect the 'aura', has changed into something else now, and perhaps,
> if we are open to it - we can find it not only in art but also in the
> everyday, rather than through objects alone, posing as unique. For
> 'unique' is not necessarily a signifier of what is beautiful, or the
> 'aura'. If one was genuinely interested in 'feeling' what could be
> 'authentic', then one is at least closer to the essence of something
> special or of value, but to contain it as art or as anything else for
> that matter, more reflects a desire to contain the sublime and control
> what is untouchable...
> marc
> >HI Curt
> >I *love* Benjamin, but I do think he is best read as a
> >species of poet rather than as a exponent of logical
> >argument, which stuff is frankly fairly thin on the
> >ground in his oeuvre.
> >A lot of the time he was just plain *wrong* factually,
> > but *right* poetically & I think this was the case re
> >the question of "aura".
> >The sense of rightness, of the sublime &c, put it how
> >you will, actually seems to me to be independent of
> >epoch or medium. So, for me,
> >Kentridge, Tarkovsky, Nauman <multiples>, just scream
> >"AURA, AURA, AURA!" whereas Vettriano, Hirst <
> >physical, one of a kind> kind of whisper "DUD,
> >best
> >michael
> >
> >--- Curt Cloninger <> wrote:
> >
> >
> >
> >>Walter Benjamin says that people used to attach an
> >>"aura" (roughly,
> >>sense of awe) to the scarce, original unique,
> >>physical art object.
> >>Benjamin observes that since everything is now
> >>infinitely
> >>reproducible, we've lost this aura.
> >>
> >>As an artist not making one-of-a-kind objects, where
> >>can I relocate
> >>the aura? To answer ,"In the network" is like
> >>answering "in the
> >>air," or "in time," or "in existence." I need a
> >>more specific,
> >>behavioral/tactical description of this new locus of
> >>awe and aura.
> >>
> >>Designer Clement Mok says designers should describe
> >>their practice
> >>not in terms of media deliverables ("I make
> >>websites"), but as
> >>doctors and lawyers do, in terms of services
> >>performed and results
> >>achieved. A doctor doesn't say, "I make incisions."
> >> A lawyer
> >>doesn't say, "I generate paperwork." This seems
> >>like a better way
> >>for a "new media artist" to describe her art.
> >>(Note: Even the term
> >>"new media artist" describes her in terms of media
> >>deliverables.)
> >>She shouldn't say, "I make net art." Better to say,
> >>"I cause x to
> >>happen. I orchestrate x. I'm investigating x."
> >>Thus in describing
> >>"where" I relocate the aura, I should avoid saying,
> >>"It's in the
> >>podcast, weblog, RSS feed, wearable mobile computing
> >>device, etc."
> >>
> >>As an artist, my self-imposed mandate is to increase
> >>a more lively
> >>dialogue with the Sundry Essences of Wonder. If
> >>wonder is akin to
> >>awe is akin to aura, I'd better figure out where to
> >>relocate the aura.
> >>
> >>++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> >>
> >>There are four places I can house the aura that seem
> >>interesting:
> >>
> >>1.
> >>In the destabilized/variable event/object.
> >>Generative software makes
> >>this possible. My bubblegum cards are a personal
> >>example (
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >
> >
> >
> >>) Cage
> >>and Kaprow are precedences. The aura is embedded in
> >>the chance and
> >>variability that the artist invites into the
> >>destabilized/variable
> >>performance.
> >>
> >>2.
> >>In the perpetually enacted and iterated
> >>act/stance/position. My
> >>ongoing [remix] series of posts to rhizome RAW are a
> >>personal
> >>example. Ray Johnson's life/death and mail art,
> >>Joseph Beuys
> >>pedagogy, and D.J. Spooky's perpetual remix as
> >>talisman are
> >>precedences. Even Howard Finster, Daniel Johnston,
> >>and Henry Darger
> >>qualify, albeit in a less consciously tactical
> >>capacity --
> >>prodigiously outputting without thought of object
> >>uniqueness/scarcity/worth/market value. The act of
> >>perpetual
> >>creation is the art, and the output is (to greater
> >>or lesser degrees)
> >>incidental ephemera. William Blake almost
> >>qualifies. The stream is
> >>perpetual; it becomes the new "event object;" and in
> >>this stream the
> >>aura is embedded. Note: This approach takes lots of
> >>energy.
> >>
> >>3.
> >>In the boundaries of context. Our Deep/Young
> >>Ethereal Archive (
> >> ) is a personal example.
> >>Precedences and
> >>co-examples are:
> >> ,
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >
> >
> >
> >>,
> >> .
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >
> >
> >
> >>, .
> >>This approach necessarily involves disorientation
> >>and re-orientation.
> >>The contextual frame is soft, and the aura is
> >>embedded into this soft
> >>frame. Keeping this frame soft is a delicate
> >>matter. It requires a
> >>heightened, sometimes schizophrenic sense of
> >>performative awareness
> >>(cf: Ray Johnson, David Wilson). It may require the
> >>artist to
> >>alienate "real" art institutions wishing to fit the
> >>art into their
> >>frame. As the artist of such work, I can't overtly
> >>foreground the
> >>soft contextual frame as my intended locus of aura.
> >>If I do, the
> >>soft frame I'm working so hard to construct and keep
> >>soft immediately
> >>solidifies and is in turn meta-framed by a much more
> >>solid, didactic,
> >>"artist statement" frame; and the aura flies away.
> >>Note: Warhol well
> >>understood that an object's scarcity was a silly
> >>contemporary place
> >>for the aura to go. Instead, he ingeniously
> >>embedded the aura in the
> >>foregrounded concept of the object's scarcity. His
> >>deep awareness of
> >>this ironic relationship may explain why his art
> >>objects now sell for
> >>so much. (cf: ).
> >>
> >>4.
> >>In human relationships. Personal examples might be
> >> and
> >> .
> >>Co-examples might be
> >> ,
> >> , and some of Jillian
> >>McDonald's
> >>performance pieces (
> >>
> >>). You could describe this as "network" art, but
> >>compare it to Alex
> >>Galloway's Carnivore, which is also network art, and
> >>you realize
> >>"network" is too broad a term. This human
> >>relationship art is not
> >>about the network as an abstract monolithic cultural
> >>entity. It is
> >>about humans who happen to be interacting with each
> >>other via
> >>networks. The aura is embedded not in the network,
> >>but in the human
> >>relationships that the art invites. As with locus
> >>#1 (In the
> >>destabilized/variable event/object), this locus
> >>necessarily involves
> >>chance, because human relationships necessarily
> >>involve chance.
> >>
> >>These four places for housing the aura are not
> >>mutually exclusive.
> >>Conceivably, a single artwork could house the aura
> >>in all four
> >>places. This warrants further artistic
> >>investigation.
> >>
> >>curt
> >>+
> >>-> post:
> >>-> questions:
> >>-> subscribe/unsubscribe:
> >>
> >>-> give:
> >>+
> >>Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set
> >>out in the
> >>Membership Agreement available online at
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >
> >+
> >-> post:
> >-> questions:
> >-> subscribe/unsubscribe:
> >-> give:
> >+
> >Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
> >Membership Agreement available online at
> >
> >
> >
> >
> +
> -> post:
> -> questions:
> -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
> -> give:
> +
> Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
> Membership Agreement available online at


Re: Metadata

Hi, Rick. Thanks or your response.

> As a digital or net.artist, I often feel I want to
> defend/promote/identify what is unique about digital practice in
> contrast to the larger art or cultural worlds.

Yep, this is exactly what I was getting at with the suggestion that we
build a shared vocabulary together, but then allow individuals to..
individualize it.

> As to Type/Genre/Keywords specifically; I still feel that type and
> genre are distinct ideas: one is more general and conceptual
> (Genre=Impressionism), whereas the other is more about the format of
> the work (Type=painting).

Yes, I agree that this is true in the world at large, but I think that
there is redundancy in our case. Some words appear on both the Type &
Genre list (at least for the TextBase), while others are obviously
missing. There also continues to be debate, in our field, about how to
classify & categorize works of new media art. (This is, perhaps, most
often manifest in the distinction between whether one uses a
technology as a tool or as an object, in their work. To say nothing of
using it as a subject!)

One issue (or at least this is how I interpret it) is that these lists
are a holdover from the listserv nature of Rhizome's origin. I always
look at the 'Type' terms as terms that describe the type of listserv
posting being archived... But then these terms, on these lists, cross
over between specific works (ie ArtBase index pages) and list posts
(ie TextBase 'pages').

> If we wanted to simplify things (not a bad
> idea) it would be important to define what we mean by Category if
> it's to be a useful metadata element.

Category may or may not be a great word. Perhaps we could even use
something like 'search terms.' In the end, that does seem to be the
whole point--or a major point.

Actually, I just peeked at the area in which MySpace users can upload
videos and they distinguish between 'categories' and 'tags' this way:

<< >>
Select 1-3.

Comedy and Humor
Extreme Videos
News and Politics
Schools and Education
Science and Technology
Video Blogging
Travel and Vacations
Video Games
Weird Stuff


Tags are keywords associated with your video. Separate tags with spaces.
For example: Tom snowboard face plant

<< >>

The point is that people who come to search can now compare what two
different people called 'Weird Stuff;' they could see what personal
words the artist used to describe the work; they could get a
suggestion of what to look for if they don't know what they are
looking for; or they could search for random tags; etc....

But what we'd need, in order to do something like this, is an agreed
upon list of [search terms]. I think the old ones should stay there,
even if no one uses them now, to acknowledge that people once used
'collider' and there are works indexed under that heading. In fact,
none of these terms are so bad, it's just that they desperately need
to be augmented. So many things are missing. And who decides (and how
much does it matter) whether we use the word(s) audio, sound,
phonography, radio, music, podcast, mp3, wav, etc...?

I would say, though, going back to people's tag cloud suggestions,
that it would be nice to offer these, too. does this, if
you're bookmarking something that's been bookmarked before. It
suggests tags that others have used. You can take them, leave them,
edit them, etc. And I think that a cloud in which more popular tags
are bigger (common among tag clouds--see the one at the bottom of the
blog We Make Money Not Art: could give a nice
sense of the popularity or folksonomic effects of a tag.

We could even look into visualizing not only the frequency but also
the duration of a tag. (ie Many people starting using the term 'meme'
around this time, but then it lost popularity in early 2008.) And
there are many ways to track the connectedness of terms--so one could
easily see that, say, 17 people who selected the "shared vocabulary"
term "broadcast" also used the tag "reality_tv," and then navigate to
those 17 database objects.

I think that these are the kinds of things that many people appreciate
about taxonomies/ taxonomic interfaces that happen to be 100%
folksonomic, but I think that they can still be done (if not done
better--building a stronger archive, delivering better search results,
providing deeper documentation & contextualization) by combining the
shared vocabulary and the opportunity for folksonomy.

> we're talking about creating the historic record here and this
> can't be the purview of just a few people (well, shouldn't anyway!)

Yes! Absolutely! So please send [search term/category] suggestions, everyone!

Thanks so much,