Plasma Studii
Since the beginning
Works in New York United States of America

judsoN = computer artist for shows internationally on stages, galleries and the web, and the Artistic Director of Plasma Studii, a non-profit arts organization in New York. His goal is to use technology as a tool to fuse arbitrary distinctions in art, such as dance and sculpture, color and sound frequencies, stages and web sites. His live interactive pieces appear in such venues as plays in circus tents across Europe, installations for places like the Arts Council of Mildura, Australia, on web sites at ISCAM (in Istanbul) and cTheory for Cornell University (twice). His artwork published in books (US, Europe, South America) and on CD-Roms worldwide. Studied choreography under Doug Elkins, music composition with a student of Stockhausen.
Discussions (278) Opportunities (1) Events (3) Jobs (0)

self organizing systems

refering to a recent "what is the word for..." discussion, you can once again use the vote feature at Plasma Studii ( ). i took it off because the NYU server handles it strangly (usually PHP is just HTML to them?) school servers are often set up so students can't mess them up too much.

it's the "emergent system" method of self-organization, what folks may have meant, but oddly the vocab never came up. perhaps i'm misunderstanding the question, but seems extremely straightforward. a voting system (can often be implimented on-line) that brings more relavent samples to prominence, while demoted samples sink to obscurity.

Steven Johnson has a great book on it. Applies the concept to Deborah Gordon's observations of ants (among other things). The Pattern on the Stone by Hillis is pretty good too. The idea makes a "top down", hierarchy of command, single decision makers look archaic. but too few folks (both the creators of these systems nor their audiences) really know enough to use it most effectively. usually, the biggest problem is that too few folks vote when they can.

so it's really most effective for things like rating the user reviews at amazon where you get millions of potential voters who are eager to have some effect on the millions they know will come.

i've found, in most cases, voting alone as the thing to rank by, just isn't all that helpful. if you get well over (# of options squared) votes/day is great, but few actually get nearly that many. less is not just less accurate, it doesn't indicate anything at all. factoring in time spent per page, while extremely tricky, is a much better indicator.


ps - if anyone has trouble with the site, let me know. there's really no good way of testing these scripts for ever server configuration. but since i have gotten votes from all over, it works for most.


object vs. experience

weird. what's up, francis?

Reporting-MTA: dns;
Final-Recipient: RFC822;
Action: failed...

(for some reason, the rhizome server is sending, but not receiving from
this addresss? i couldn't post my last reply (agreed with mez), but essentially ...)

one can describe concepts verbally, but ...

in linear pieces, a description of the experience explains nothing
about the object, "i walked up to it. it made me feel warm inside."

in non-linear pieces, a description of the experience can describes it
all, "i walked up to it, and doing so, felt warmer."

in linear pieces, a description of the object can describe it all "it
was mostly red."

in non-linear pieces, a description of the object explains nothing "it
was a silver box".

video explains in terms of objects, not experience. some use it to
infer experience, but objectively, it is NOT possible. therefore,
video can not REALLY explain or represent an interactive piece. in
purely conceptual pieces, there's nothing about the object nor
experience essential to describe.

by "a piece", it really doesn't matter if you mean "art" or even
"idea". there is non-linear thinking, but is hard even for an
interactive programmer to see. (though probably because i was raised
thinking linearly) a non-linear idea is like understanding something
like how negative feedback in a thermostat controls temperature, linear
is thinking "if you're too cold, turn up the heat".

interactivity is one method for creating non-linearity. it is hardly
the only one. though many think interactivity and linearity are exact
opposites, or that interactive and non-linear are synonymous, they
simply aren't. those programs to replicate the growth of cells and
infections, is auto-generative, not interactive (usually) and still


Re: 10 questions/more art

we need a lot more people making computer art. most computer art is
pretty bad. if you think about all the bob rosses and weekend nature
water colorists most paintings are pretty bad too. but that's how the
world is and that's cool. too much emphasis on quality is just
discouraging. being bad is fine. however, there are so many painters
that if even 5% are good, that's still a huge number. if 5% of
net.artists are good that might be someone's little toe. more artists
have more art to take as an example. the quality of the art doesn't
matter. simply more examples will be helpful to us all.


would it be more or less effective of a piece if you did it in a
language of your choice?

open to list:

not that these very questions don't occur to many of us along the way
in our development. but the vast majority of folks (a few of whom
considering themselves have never actually gotten
very deep into the process of creating computer art. they can (rightly
so) barely imagine it. whereas we all can pretty well imagine how we
bring in what we see, experiences and translate them into graphics on
paper, canvas, etc. we can easily relate to what makes a michaelangelo
sculpture impressive. many can further appreciate the conceptual leaps
of a given contemporary artist, as beyond the obvious but a culmination
of extensive thought. they just imagine typing code (hitting keys is
hardly impressive), but not the logic puzzles doing it (hitting keys is
merely a vehicle to get to the logic of how to say things literally and
explicitly); but appreciation for these logic puzzles only comes with

how many curators can make an ball on the screen move in a circle using
only text? now, how many get exactly why deciding what a machine's
favorite color is beyond what can be coded? how many see exactly why
animating how birds fly in flocks with no leader, is a challenge to
make code-able? the creativity comes from pushing the border of what
is code-able and what is not. but if a person has no clear notion of
the details of that border, they can only make a wild guess based on
areas they do know.

actually, "who is paying for it?" is a VERY important question. but
really it is for the person on the road to making a career of art.
wondering, after years of steady playing, if they should call it a
hobby or commit effort to another side of the work. but it's important
because someone out there has to be convinced of the value or potential
value of a piece. the proposal is really not the art, it is the
marketing for the art. concepts that are related to art like a dense
smoke and fire. fire is generally accompanied by smoke, but the
reverse is hardly a given. smoke obscures seeing anything,
particularly finding the fire. all language distorts and obscures all
art (but some artists are after just that.)

the folks who write the check, may not (and often don't) have much
exposure to computer art compared to other traditional forms, they
tend to see CA as a variant of visual art that can be summed up in a
still image, slide or even video, audio art that is represent-able with
a linear recording, or conceptual art, that can be summed up in
verbiage. so, in a round about way of applying a different perspective
to your question, often the road to answering "who pays?" is a
different, but tangentally related skill, than creating it. like smoke
and fire.

asking if is programmed, is actually like asking if the winner
of the kentucky derby rode a living horse. i guess there's always the
remote possibility that all the other horses died on the track too.
but silly to consider. not programming seems silly too. programming
is simply the way to talk to one kind of machine. few other machines
react much when you talk to them. you CAN have a computer and choose
to use it as a door stop. but at these prices, i can recommend a far
cheaper alternative. i can't recommend a better machine for reacting
to what you tell it.

it's not that computers should be programmed on at all, but that
programming has to be on a computer, and computers are expensive. so
if you aren't programming, there are better ways to spend your
money/time than a computer. if you want to do something that involves
interactivity, auto-generation, extensive calculating, dynamically
unpredictable graphics, i can recommend these machines.

unfortunately, with, many people have IP accounts, but do not
take much advantage of what they can do with them. the gap is probably
as wide, if not wider. but folks seem even more content with their
lack of use. for most, the extent seems to be choosing whether or not
to "skip intro" on a flash animation or hyperlinks that simply are the
equivalent of page turning. blogs primarily used to simply make our
most trivial diary blather public. seems like an enormous waste. but
technology seems to promote throwing away cash.

On Nov 8, 2005, at 8:54 PM, carlos katastrofsky wrote:

> this was a kind of an emotional statement, partly to the readers,
> partly to myself. sometimes i'm missing questions that people on the
> street would ask, so i asked myself which questions this could be and
> which cliches are around this type of art...
> so, to me it's like this:
> 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 are standard questions about works from the art -
> field
> 3, 9, 10 are more related to net (or even web-) art.
> (two notes:
> 9) i personally don't think a hacker is a criminal - far away from
> that. but normally for most of the people it's like hacker = cracker =
> bad = ...
> 10) deals with the "nerd" - cliche: people sitting in front of their
> computers with no contacts to the "real" world)
> (surely these 10 questions are not enough, but it was just a momentary
> reaction)
> and, yes: judsoN, i think you said much of what i am not able to say
> this way (my english, writing skills...)
> thanks for reacting!
> regards,
> carlos
>> Why should a net artist be awareof these questions?
>> I think I am missing the point
>> :P
>> michael kargl wrote:
>>> 1) what is it?
>>> 2) why is it art?
>>> 3) is programming art?
>>> 4) why are you doing that?
>>> 5) who is paying for such a s**t ?
>>> 6) do you make a lot of money with your art?
>>> 7) are you famous?
>>> 8) what are you talking about?
>>> 9) are you a hacker ? (read: are you a criminal/ terrorist?)
>>> 10) have you ever had sex?
>>> ----------------------------------
>> +
>> -> post:
>> -> questions:
>> -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
>> -> give:
>> +
>> Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
>> Membership Agreement available online at


501(c)(3) noin-profit
stages * galleries * web
PO Box 1086
Cathedral Station
New York, NY 10025


Re: 10 questions a net.artist has to be aware of

seems like your kidding, but kinda not kidding. seriously, i actually
don't think any of these questions should be answered until AFTER
several years of making "". like kids discouraging themselves
by saying "this finger painting is bad". practice and you get better.
don't discourage practicing. computers and the web are just more
materials to get used to. and so few appear used to them even still.

but the need to put it out there is really dubious.

the litmus test questions are really: why distribute it? what is there
to gain from this particular piece for not only the artist, but the
audience? would my grandmother enjoy this or ask "what is it"? if not
her, are they people who think like me/have the same
perspectives/assumptions or an audience of people outside my supportive

everything has a target audience, whether we intend it or not. so the
first thing we learn is that that audience doesn't have to be
OURSELVES. and then we practice, we gradually learn to identify,
listen. understand that audience. i'm still on that path, but far
further than i was 5 years ago. i've been learning for 10+ years now,
and it never ends.

and it's a good challenge to work within, that non practicing
"net.artists" generally don't sympathize or "get" the web/computers.
people should feel free to experiment and play, without all this
encouragement to show everyone. when everyone is fluent in programming
(just the words you type to tell those grey boxes you sit with ever day
what you want from them), people will "get" more. those people should
play too, without the goal of being "an artist".

instead, all too often "net.artists" go for the easy option and pick an
ideal audience, often pretty much just themselves. finding words for
and about the art is counter-productive. never mind what it is, if
eventually you are going to make things people are interested in.

On Nov 7, 2005, at 4:10 PM, carlos katastrofsky wrote:

> 1) what is it?
> 2) why is it art?
> 3) is programming art?
> 4) why are you doing that?
> 5) who is paying for such a s**t ?
> 6) do you make a lot of money with your art?
> 7) are you famous?
> 8) what are you talking about?
> 9) are you a hacker ? (read: are you a criminal/ terrorist?)
> 10) have you ever had sex?
> ----------------------------------
> +
> -> post:
> -> questions:
> -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
> -> give:
> +
> Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
> Membership Agreement available online at


501(c)(3) noin-profit
stages * galleries * web
PO Box 1086
Cathedral Station
New York, NY 10025


KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid)

while in this instance, geert will surely benefit from an example a PP demo of the work,
rather than a stand-alone version. from a requirement like mentioning powerpoint
specifically, you can pretty well guess they won't be too open-minded to doing much with
computers beyond a slide show or linear animation.

But it goes far deeper.

A CD that auto-starts a program was mentioned, though the osX sollution is actually far
simpler, it really isn't a necessary option. Even though there's little practical difference in
using Mac or Win platforms, on Win there are steps to navigate your way to the D drive
(usually, where you'll find a CD once inserted. however, on mac, specifying it is actually not
even a conscious effort. it appears and you use it lioke any other folder when you see it.
auto-starting would actually be a bit of an annoyance (thinking that way, using either
platform), if you inserted the CD while doing something else.

in many cases, these tiny shifts in perspective mean anything BEYOND power point (the bulk
of what computers are capable of) remains in many viewers' "blind spots". rather than see it
does something unexpected, they often see it does nothing at all.

and in many cases, trying to translate what you do, into power point, makes no real sense.
won't work. for example, you may create a piece that looks up stock indexes, compares it to
local weather, and draws something with that info in ASCII. A page of ASCII code, would tell
you nothing, and the observer could easily assume you simply arranged these letters. Since
the composition (which ordinarily would gain its interesting-ness from it's dynamics, not any
still) may not have that much visual aesthetic value to them.

often, the unpredictable-ness of the results, is far more the focus, than individual results at
isolated, very specific times. if the piece is merely a bouncing ball, that changes the volume
of audio with your movement, there is no real non-interactive way to show this.

it is a tiny shift of perspective that prevents viewers from seeing that linear documentation
falls far far short of what a lot of non-linear pieces are doing. essentially, it's like
demonstrating linguistics, with only a short monologue. one of the strengths of language
being conversation.

good luck to geert. it is often a ton more work, time and file space (significant mostly only
when delivery is a URL) to create these linear (which essentially power point or HTML really is)
facsimiles than simply the piece itself. beware of those who invoke the words "computer
art", but really only want traditional work that reminds them of watching the Matrix.

501(c)(3) non-profit
stage * galleries * web
POI Box 1086
Cathedral Station
New York, NY 10025