nathaniel stern
Since the beginning
Works in Milwaukee, Wisconsin United States of America

Nathaniel Stern is an artist and writer, Fulbright grantee and professor, interventionist and public citizen. He has produced and collaborated on projects ranging from ecological, participatory and online interventions, interactive, immersive and mixed reality environments, to prints, sculptures, videos, performances and hybrid forms. His book, Interactive Art and Embodiment: The Implicit Body as Performance, is due for release in mid-2013, and his ongoing work in industry has helped launch dozens of new businesses, products and ideas. Stern has been featured in the likes of the Wall Street Journal, Guardian UK, Huffington Post, Daily Mail, Washington Post, Daily News, BBC’s Today show, Wired, Time, Forbes, Fast Company, Scientific American, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Leonardo Journal of Art, Science and Technology, Rhizome, Furtherfield, Turbulence, and more. According to Chicago’s widely popular Bad at Sports art podcast, Stern has “the most varied and strange bio of maybe anyone ever on the show,” and South Africa’s Live Out Loud magazine calls him a “prolific scholar” as well as artist, whose work is “quite possibly some of the most relevant around.” Dubbed one of the Milwaukee’s “avant-garde” (Journal Sentinel), Stern has been called ”an interesting and prolific fixture” ( behind many “multimedia experiments” (, “accessible and abstract simultaneously” (Art and Electronic Media web site), someone “with starry, starry eyes” ( who “makes an obscene amount of work in an obscene amount of ways” (Bad at Sports). According to Caleb A. Scharf at Scientific American, Stern’s art is “tremendous fun” but also “fascinating” in how it is “investigating the possibilities of human interaction and art.”

New Media, New Modes: On "Rethinking Curating: Art after New Media"

Humorous and surprising, smart and provocative, Rethinking Curating: Art after New Media (MIT Press, 2010) jumps from opposing viewpoints to opposing personalities, from one arts trajectory to another. The entire book is a dialectic exercise: none of its problems or theories are solved or concluded, but are rather complicated through revelations around their origins, arguments and appropriations. Overall, the book adopts the collaborative style and hyperlinked approach of the media and practice it purports to rethink. In other words, it is not just the content of the book that asks us to rethink curating, but the reading itself; by the end, we are forced to digest and internalize the consistently problematized behaviors of the “media formerly known as new.”

Screening Screens

Kate Mondloch’s first book, Screens: Viewing Media Installation Art (University of Minnesota Press), is a welcome study of the cathode ray tubes, liquid crystal and plasma displays, and film, video and data projections that “pervade contemporary life” (xi). The author reminds us that screens are not just “illusionist windows” into other spaces or worlds, but also “physical, material entities [that] beckon, provoke, separate, and seduce” (xii). Most importantly, however, Mondloch’s approach is that of an art historian. She does not merely use art as a case study for media theory, but rather makes the contributions of artists her central focus in this, the first in-depth study of the space between bodies and screens in contemporary art.

Action, Reaction, and Phenomenon

In his book, Parables for the Virtual, Brian Massumi calls for "movement, sensation, and qualities of experience" to be put back into our understandings of embodiment. He says that contemporary society comprehends bodies, and by extension the world, almost exclusively through linguistic and visual apprehension. They are defined by their images, their symbols, what they look like and how we write and talk about them. Massumi wants to instead "engage with continuity," to encourage a processual and active approach to embodied experience. In essence, Massumi proposes that our theories "feel" again. "Act/React", curator George Fifield's "dream exhibition" that opened at the Milwaukee Art Museum last week, picks up on these phenomenologist principles. He and his selected artists invite viewer-participants to physically explore their embodied and continuous relationships to each other, the screen, space, biology, art history and perhaps more.

Fifield is quick to point out that all the works on show are unhindered by traditional interface objects such as the mouse and keyboard. Most of them instead employ computer vision technologies, more commonly known as interactive video. Here, the combined use of digital video cameras and custom computer software allows each artwork to "see," and respond to, bodies, colors and/or motion in the space of the museum. The few works not using cameras in this fashion employ similar technologies towards the same end. While this homogeneity means that the works might at first seem too similar in their interactions, their one-to-one responsiveness, and their lack of other new media-specific explorations -- such as networked art or dynamic appropriation and re-mixing systems -- it also accomplishes something most museum-based "state of the digital art" shows don't. It uses just one avenue of interest by contemporary media artists in order to dig much deeper into what their practice means, and why it's important. "Act/React" encourages an extremely varied and nuanced investigation of our embodied experiences in our own surroundings. As the curator himself notes in the Museum's press release, "If in the last century the crisis of representation was resolved by new ways of seeing, then in the twenty-first century the challenge is for artists to suggest new ways of experiencing...This is contemporary art about contemporary existence." This exhibition, in other words, implores us to look at action and reaction, at our embodied relationships, as critical experience. It is a contemporary investigation of phenomenology.

Discussions (77) Opportunities (2) Events (10) Jobs (3)

Re-launch of

lauren - should we mail bugs to patrick, to the list, to you? (for example, i can't seem to replace my icon/photo).
considering it's just been launched, the bugs seem minimal; less than minimal. have been procrastinating my 'real' work and uploading various content for the last hour... ;) when you said big changes were coming, i had no idea!


Re-launch of

The new site looks great - congratulations.

On 10/26/07, Pall Thayer <> wrote:
> I think it's great. Good job, people.
> Pall
> On 10/25/07, 50 EURO <> wrote:
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > +
> > -> post:
> > -> questions:
> > -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
> > -> give:
> > +
> > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
> > Membership Agreement available online at
> >
> --
> *****************************
> Pall Thayer
> artist
> *****************************




Image database

Hey all:

Have a friend looking for an image database for paintings, prints,
etc, categorized by keyword or subject. Does not need to be free, but
does need to be historical - eg not flickr or google, but something
like a collection or library. Any ideas? Thanks in advance...


Begin forwarded message:
> From: Patrick Young <>
> Date: October 2, 2007 11:27:33 AM GMT+02:00
> To:
> Subject: re: Image search
> Nathaniel,
> Thanks again for speaking to me on the phone last week, and I'm
> sorry this follow up email is so late in coming. You may remember
> that I'm looking for an image database for some research I'm doing.
> I'm working on an adaptation of Nietzsche's Thus Spoke
> Zarathustra, and I'm looking for images associated with the text,
> particularly in visual art -- for instance, I'm looking for
> paintings of tightrope walkers and midgets. I'd obviously love to
> have access to images, but even a text archive would help, because
> then I could hunt down the images myself. Any suggestions + leads
> you might have of places to look would be greatly appreciated.
> Thanks so much for your help, and I look forward to speaking to you
> again soon.
> Yours,
> Parick


The Art Happens Here

The Art Happens Here

Opens 15 June @ 21h30, Croatian time
Lazareti Art Workshop, Dubrovnik Croatia

Simulcast to Annenberg Island in SL, 12h30 PDT
Second Life

The Art Happens Here is a contemporary art exhibition and
presentation at the iCommons Summit 2007, resulting from an ongoing
artist in residence programme. Six international artists and a critic
were invited to produce physical and virtual work that engages with
fair use, copyright, re-mixing, piracy and/or collaboration on some
level - whether directly or indirectly.

Works on show will include, but not be limited to, art books, murals,, sculpture, public performance, video and installation -- all
conceptually linked by their engagement with the Commons, by the
artists' time spent in Dubrovnik.

Participants include: Joy Garnett (USA), Ana Husman (Croatia),
Kathryn Smith (South Africa), Nathaniel Stern (USA / South Africa),
Tim Whidden (representing MTAA, USA), Jaka Zeleznikar (Slovenia) and
blog-critic Paddy Johnson (of artfagcity, USA). There will also be a
special appearance in the SL exhibition by Patrick Lichty, aka Man
Michinaga (USA).

Artist Discussion Panel on Creative Commons and its potential uses
and effects in professional arts practice will be a part of the
iCommons main programme in Dubrovnik, 15h00 Croatian time.

More information: