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)

SFSU job: Visiting Artist/Teacher,Spring 2004

>Dear Friends and Colleagues,
> We are looking for a visiting artist to teach a course in the Spring,
> 2004 called Art 410: Conceptual Stategies I, one of two foundation
> courses in our area Conceptual/Information Arts (C/IA). I'm
>enclosing a description of the course below.
> Art 410 meets two days a week, T/Th, 9-12 and introduces students to
> some basic applications, such as Photoshop and Illustrator, woven
> within a larger thematic framework of art and culture. The visiting
> artist could use their interests and research areas as thematic
> threads for the course.
> We are asking for a cv and brief description of ideas for teaching
> the class by October 27, 2003. We are not looking for a detailed
>syllabus, but rather a general idea of how the visiting artist would
>approach the class.
> By way of background, C/IA ( is an
> area of emphasis within the Art Department, with both undergraduate
> and graduate MFA students. We encourage students to explore
> crossovers among art, technology and culture and offer students
> oppportunities to learn digital media and emergent technologies
> within the context of larger questions about technology and change
> within art and culture.
> In the Spring, 2004, in addition to the two foundation courses, Art
> 410 and Art 412, we'll be offerring Art and Biology, taught by
>Philip Ross and a course exploring interactive concepts and
>strategies through Flash taught by Steve Hartzog.
> Thanks for passing this along to those who may be interested. If you
> need any more information, please contact me.
> Many thanks and best regards,
> Paula
> -----------------------
> Paula Levine, Assistant Professor
> Conceptual/ Information Arts (C/IA)
> Art Department
> San Francisco State University
> Office: Fine Arts, Room 537
> Telephone: 415-338-6457
> ---------------------
> Art 410: Conceptual Strategies 1
> Course description
> This course is a combination of studio, experimentation and study,
> exploring ideas, strategies and structures by which art can be made,
> through which meaning is conveyed. Through lectures, demonstrations,
> assignments and projects, readings and discussions, we will use
> materials and residue of everyday life as sources for art, explore
> relationships between art and culture and apply a variety of
> approaches to generate ideas and make work. This course is taken
> concurrently with Art 412. Both classes are required for people
> chosing to focus in the C/IA area.
> Resources for the course come from a wide and rich field including
> disciplines within art such as video and film, sculpture, print
> making, photography, painting and digital media; work and ideas from
> the art movements, including Surrealism, Futurism, Fluxus
> Situationalists; and, in particular, work and ideas from Conceptual
> Art, contemporary and popular culture. We will also be looking across
> disciplines, taking ideas and approaches from fields outside of art,
> including cultural theory and semiotics, literature, urban studies.
> Students are encouraged to bring to assignments and discussions what
> they know from their wide range of work/life/art experiences,
> interests and fields of study.
> Semester projects may include activities such as working with lists
> and collections as sources for ideas and art, understanding
> icons/logos as signs, mapping the unmappable, looking at ways to
> represent information such as maps, exploring strategies and
> structures of collections and archives. Final projects are proposals
> for an Improbable Monument, using strategies and computer skills
> gleaned from the semester to convey and present the project ideas to
> the class.

Marisa S. Olson
Associate Director
SF Camerawork
415. 863. 1001


CFE: E-Bay art

>Buy or sell or buy - Call for Submissions
>Do you have something to sell?
>Pace Digital Gallery in New York City is curating an online exhibition of
>work that uses E-Bay (, the online auction house, as a
>conceptual vehicle. We are not interested in artists selling their artwork
>or their belongings online, but rather in artists who are investigating
>notions of consumer culture, the market, ephemerality, exchange,
>intangibility, and things that cannot be for sale. We are interested in
>work that will be contemporary with the January exhibition but also in
>archived projects. We will hold an opening and print a brochure or small
>Deadline for submissions - October 30th, 2003. Send proposal or
>documentation, documentation of previous work (URL, DVD, miniDV, digital
>images), bio, CV, and statement to the attention of:
>Prof. Jillian Mcdonald
>Fine Arts, Pace University
>12th Floor, 41 Park Row
>NY, NY 10038

Marisa S. Olson
Associate Director
SF Camerawork
415. 863. 1001


curatorial fellowship (sf camerawork)

please post/forward:

San Francisco Camerawork is currently looking for one intern to take
on advanced duties related to the administration and programming of
the organization.

For more information, please read the following internship
announcement carefully:

Deadline for receipt of applications is Friday, October 10, 2003.

Marisa S. Olson
Associate Director
SF Camerawork
415. 863. 1001


see this film!

greetings fellow rhizomians,

below, another message from the fabulous lynn hershman about
technolust. lynn worked long & hard on this, collaborating with a
number of brilliant media artists (have you see the agent ruby
site?!) and it would be rad if you, yours, and theirs went to the
screenings and notified their bay area contacts about the screening...

it's all about community, right?

Dear Friends,

This is a very exciting week for us. Our box office numbers in our
second weekend will be used to determine how we will roll out
nationally. If you have not seen the film already, join us this
weekend! Josh Kornbluth and I will be present at screenings at both
the Opera Plaza Cinema and the Shattuck Cinema this Saturday
afternoon, I'll be there Friday night!

Thank you for your support.



Opera Plaza Cinemas - 601 Van Ness (at Golden Gate), San Francisco
Shows Wed-Thurs 3:00, 5:30, 8:00 Fri-Mon 2:00, 4:45, 7:15, 9:40
Tickets are $9.25 and available at the Opera Plaza box office

Josh Kornbluth & Lynn Hershman Leeson in person Saturday, August 30th
at the 2:00 show!

Shattuck Cinemas - 2230 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley (510)843-FILM
Shows daily at (12:45) (3:00) 5:05 7:20 9:40
Tickets are $9.25 and available at the Shattuck box office beginning 8/19

Josh Kornbluth & Lynn Hershman Leeson in person Saturday, August 30th
at the 3:00 show!

official film site:

also: http://

Selected Teknolust Reviews August 22-25

**** KCBS

****Twisted and sexy, smart witty and funny. Tilda Swinton will knock you
out, Jan Wahl , KRON.

****The film is too clever and innovative to spoil it with over-description.
The viewer needs a first-hand experience. I loved it-the small touches
are great, from the girls' fingernails to Ruby's "dream portal" on the
Web. Technologically fresh..

*** Tilda Swinton, impeccable and witty, plays four characters in this
imaginative fantasy. Sci-fi rarely has been so playful.
-- E. Guthmann, SF Chronicle

***Like "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," "Teknolust" is so smart and so
odd it seems perfect for cult status with its colorful, clinical view
of sex, technology and donuts -- as well as a brilliant performance
by Tilda Swinton as scientist Rosetta Stone and her three clones,
Olive, Marine and Ruby.

If ever there were a homegrown movie perfect for smart folks hiding
out from summer blockbusters and gubernatorial recall shenanigans,
this is it.

There's a dream logic at work here, made dreamier by the music of
Gladiator co-scorer Klaus Badelt... For a lead actress, Teknolust is
perhaps the ultimate showcase, and Swinton takes the ball and runs
with it. When the three duplicates spontaneously break into a surreal
dance number to impress theircreator, it's like Bizarro-World
Charlie's Angels, albeit with more true spontaneity than anything in
the soggy summer sequel it plays
off of.

Marisa S. Olson
Associate Director
SF Camerawork
415. 863. 1001


Phil Ross & Laura Splan 8/26

Hi. Please join us for talks by two of the Bay Area's most
interesting artists incorporating science, life systems, and science
culture into their work. Both work in a variety of media ranging from
low to high tech, even calling us to redefine "tech." (You may
remember Phil's oyster sculpture from the last NewFangle...)

Info is below. I hope to see you here.


Artists Presentation - Philip Ross & Laura Splan
Tuesday, August 26, 7:30 pm
SF Camerawork, 1246 Folsom (btwn 8th & 9th)

Local artists Philip Ross and Laura Splan both make work inspired by
life and life science. Whether it's human or non-human life, growth
or decomposition, ecosystems or HMO's, each artist works in a variety
of media to present provocative work unveiling traits of the world
around us. Artist Philip Ross uses living organisms and life support
technologies as the inspiration and the means by which he makes his
work. This process has yielded a series of highly manipulated living
organisms and a number of sculptural structures specifically designed
to support, confine and protect them. Laura Splan's work explores how
our surroundings and experiences mediate our perceptions of the human
body. Believing that interaction with objects can leave a mark on our
psyche via their form and function, Splan examines the dynamics of
these interactions through visual metaphors, visceral materials, and
images that challenge our perceptions of beauty and horror. The
artist frequently uses medical science and technology as a point of
departure to question categories of what is natural, what is normal,
and what is desirable.

Gallery & Bookstore opens at 7 pm
$6/$4 members, students, and seniors

For more information on Philip Ross and Laura Splan please check out
their websites at:
Philip Ross *
Laura Splan *

Marisa S. Olson
Associate Director
SF Camerawork
415. 863. 1001