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.
The Whitney Museum artport has been an important institutional presence in net art and new media since its launch in 2002. Created and curated by Christiane Paul, artport features online commissions as well as documentation of new media artworks from the museum's exhibitions and collections. This year, artport as a whole was made an official part of the Whitney Museum collection; to mark this occasion, participating artist Marisa Olson interviewed Paul about the program's history and evolution over thirteen years.
Douglas Davis, image from The World's First Collaborative Sentence (1994).
Collections like artport are a rare and valuable window onto a field of practice that, in some senses, was borne out of not being taken seriously. From mid-80s Eastern European game crackers to late-90s net artists, the first people working online were often isolated, by default or design, and were certainly marginalized by the art world, where few curators knew of their existence and fewer took them seriously, advocated for them, or worked to theorize and articulate the art historical precedents and currents flowing through the work. Help me fast-forward to the beginning of this century at one of the most important international art museums. Many of the US museums that funded new media projects did so with dot-com infusions that dried-up after 2000. Artport officially launched in 2001; the same year, you curated a section devoted to net art in the Whitney Biennial. What was the behind-the-scenes sequence of events that led to artport's founding?
I think artport's inception was emblematic of a wave of interest in net art in the US around the turn of the century and in the early 2000s. This more committed involvement with the art form interestingly coincided with or came shortly after the dot com bubble, which inflated from 1997–2000, had its climax on March 10, 2000 when NASDAQ peaked, and burst pretty much the next day. Net art, however, remained a very active practice and started appearing on the radar of more US art institutions. To some extent, their interest may have been sparked by European exhibitions that had begun to respond to the effects of the web on artistic practice earlier on. In 1997, Documenta X had already included web projects (that year the Documenta website was also famously "stolen"—that is, copied and archived—by Vuk Cosic in the project Documenta: done) and Net Condition, which took place at ZKM in 1999/2000, further acknowledged the importance of art on the web.
US museums increasingly began to take notice. Steve Dietz, who had started the Walker Art Center's New Media Initiatives early on, in 1996, was curating the online art Gallery 9 and digital art study collection. Jon Ippolito, in his role as Associate Curator of Media Arts at the Guggenheim, was commissioning net art in the early 2000s and in 2002, Benjamin Weil, with Joseph Rosa, unveiled a new version of SFMOMA's E-space, which had been created in 2000. This was the institutional netscape in which I created artport in 2001, since I felt that the Whitney, which had for the first time included net art in its 2000 Biennial, also needed a portal to online art. The original artport was much more of a satellite site and less integrated into whitney.org than it is now. Artist Yael Kanarek redesigned the site not too long after its initial launch and created version 1.1. Artport in its early days was sponsored by a backend storage company in New Jersey, which was then bought by HP, so HP appeared as the official sponsor. I think it is notable that sponsorship at that point did not come from a new tech company but a brand name that presumably wanted to appear more cutting edge.
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.
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, Del.icio.us/ 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 ...
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 ...
I love being able to post images now!
This would be FOUR.
Eco-Vis Challenge at Eyebeam
Imagine better ways of living:Picture ecology and be in the draw to
win cash prizes and exhibit at Eyebeam
Not only is there an environmental crisis, but an environmental data
crisis. Viewing statistics on environmental change is usually
overwhelming, unintelligible, hidden and dense. Eyebeam invites
artists to collaborate with technologists to redefine what the future
of tracking and visualizing the environment could be.
Eco-Challenge 1 // Deadline November 12th (DEADLINE EXTENDED)
Eco Icons invites participants to create one or more information
graphics that could be used to make visible environmental or
ecological concerns. Thematically, these are icons that engage the
politics of information and the persuasion of graphics.
Eco-Challenge 2 // Deadline December 8th // Upgrade Nov 8th
Eco Vis focuses on the creation of an eco-visualization based on at
least one set of the ecological impact data. Your job as an
"eco-visualizer" is to reveal the not so obvious or to suggest
alternative frameworks. We are employing an open definition of
eco-visualization. We encourage both traditional data visualization
alongside works that use different means than a graph or chart. We
are interested in inciting artists, scientists, designers, and
engineers to move data from the spreadsheet into the world. The world
is architecture, the world is the Internet, the world is urban
streets, and the world is trees and dirt. Go engage the world.
Winning designs will be awarded cash prizes and, along with finalists,
be included in an upcoming Eyebeam exhibition.
Martin Wattenberg, artist and researcher
Casey Caplowe, co-founder and creative director of GOOD Magazine
Brooke Singer, artist and Associate Professor, Purchase College/SUNY
Michael Mandiberg, Eyebeam R&D Fellow, and Assistant Professor,
College of Staten Island/CUNY
This challenge is an initiative of Eyebeam's Sustainability Research
Group and has been crafted by Research Group members and Eyebeam
Alumni, Michael Mandiberg and Brooke Singer.
Full info and online entry form at
From: Carolyn Tennant <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Oct 29, 2007 11:37 AM
Subject: KURTZ'S LAWYERS ASK FOR DISMISSAL: SUNY Professors Criticize Case
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 29, 2007
Edmund Cardoni: 716-854-1694
Lucia Sommer: 716-359-3061
Professor Paul Vanouse: 716-982-2087
Dr. Richard Gronostajski: 716-829-3471
Dr. Dianne Raeke Ferrell: 412-352-2704
Jacob Kassay: 716-622-6738
LAWYERS FOR DR. STEVEN KURTZ ASK CASE TO BE DISMISSED
SUNY Professors, Co-Defendant's Wife and Daughter Criticize Case
Buffalo, Toronto Support Dr. Kurtz with Multiple Fundraisers
The College of Staten Island
Title: Assistant Professor
Location/Department: Department of Media Culture
Compensation: $52,144 - $67,092
Notice Text: http://portal.cuny.edu/cms/id/cuny/documents/jobposting/021915.htm#P-11_0
Notice Number: FY14095
Closing Date: Open until filled with review of applications to begin
December 1, 2007
POSITION DESCRIPTION AND DUTIES
Responsibilities include teaching undergraduate courses, development
and coordination of curriculum, departmental and college service, and
engagement in an active and productive research agenda.
PhD in Communications or Media Studies required. The successful
candidate will show a demonstrated commitment to research,
publication, and teaching; teaching experience and the demonstrated
ability to teach courses including introduction to communication,
communication theories, and research methods; expertise is required in
general history and theories of mass communication studies. Candidates
will also have scholarly expertise in one of the following areas: new
media; advertising/public relations; broadcast/electronic journalism;
media literacy; or issues of race, ethnicity, nationality or
Send letter of application, curriculum vitae, writing sample, sample
syllabus, and three letters of reference to:
Dr. Cindy Wong, Chair
Communications Search Committee
Department of Media Culture - 1P-226
College of Staten Island
2800 Victory Boulevard
Staten Island, New York 10314
A networking / speaker event focusing on professional development
advice for new media and film practitioners, and artists who work with
the moving image.
Wednesday 14 November, Four Corners, Bethnal Green, London
6.30pm to 8pm,
Doors open and refreshments from 6pm
Arti Dillon, Four Corners
Phil Hallet, Sonic Arts Network
Philippa Barr, New Work Network
Gary Thomas, Animate Projects
CreativeCapital is hosting a series of speaker/network events this
November, focusing on professional development and career advice for
artists. They are artform specific, free, and feature important guest
speakers from the worlds of writing, visual arts and crafts, new media
and film, and theatre facilitation.
Time to Find Out About: New Media, Artists' Moving Image and Film will
be an opportunity for artists who incorporate technology into their
work from sonic arts, animation, mixed media performance, film and
video, as well as those who would like to explore this field in more
depth, to hear from four experts in the field of professional
Come and find out about the training, advice and career development on
offer for new media practitioners, artists who work with the moving
image and filmmakers; engage in debate with and ask questions of our
speakers; network and discuss your work with other practitioners in a
relaxed, friendly environment.
More information on the speakers:
Arti Dillon, Four Corners
Arti is Professional Development Manager at Four Corners.
Four Corners is a unique centre for film and photography based in East
London. It facilitates production, training and exhibition
opportunities providing a forum for creative practice and debate,
provides technical advice and professional development support for
filmmakers and photographers, and hosts seminars for moving image
makers and visual artists, with artists presenting or discussing
Phil Hallet, Sonic Arts Network
Phil Hallett is Chief Executive of Sonic Arts Network and has been
with the organisation since 1998.
Sonic Arts Network is the lead national body for experimental
electronic music and sound art. We produce events and festivals that
showcase the best of the world's sonic art, put legends next to
today's pioneers, noise next to silence and audience next to artist.
From our award winning Sonic Postcards project through to workshops in
software and circuit bending, we enable people to discover and create
Philippa Barr, New Work Network (NWN)
Philippa is Co-ordinator of the New Work Network.
NWN promotes and supports the development of new performance, live and
interdisciplinary arts practice by providing networking support for
artists and facilitating engagement and collaboration between
practitioners nationally and internationally. NWN works in partnership
with development organisations and artist-led initiatives to provide
schemes, events and activities that focus on advocacy, information
exchange, critical debate professional development and networking.
Gary Thomas, Animate Projects
Gary is Co-Director of Animate Projects
Animate Projects supports artists working with moving image through
commissioning and developing curatorial, distribution and other
initiatives. Animate has commissioned 90 films since 1990 and is the
longest running collaboration with a broadcaster scheme ever supported
by Arts Council England, and the most consistent commitment ever made
by Channel 4 to the independent production of innovative and
This a free event but booking is essential as places are limited; to
book please email Claire Cooke, Information Officer at
- your name,
- contact email,
- job title/ company (if relevant)
Please let us know, as soon as possible, if you have any requirements
to enable you to attend or participate fully in this event