The Download

The Download is a series of Rhizome commissions that considers posted files, the act of downloading, and the user’s desktop as a space for exhibition.

!!!Sección A R T E [No. 11+Rhizome] launches simultaneously as a download on Rhizome and as part of El Paquete Semanal, a weekly collection of media distributed via an in-person file sharing network in Cuba. It will be archived permanently on the former, but overwritten within seven days on the latter. laments the death of Reyhaneh Jabbari, who was convicted and hanged in Iran on October 25, 2014 for the alleged murder of her rapist.

To create his image-based narratives, Cooper arranges found GIFs into vertical sequences, two or three at a time, and then stacks them into tall columns, which are scrolled.

Empathy, digital labor, and new ways to serve and care on the network are the subjects explored in Elisa Giardina Papa’s Technologies of Care.

Wakeling calls Incantations for the Birth of a Network “a proto-script for a film,” a story that traces the invention of the computer and the atomic bomb as precursors to the internet. 

The .stl and .obj files contained within Material Speculation: ISIS/Download Series (King Uthal) are the first 3D models of a lost artwork openly published by Morehshin Allahyari.

It’s tempting to call sorry to dump on you like a pornographic work, since an actual porn collection is embedded within it—the artist’s own archive of men accumulated in fifteen years of web browsing. But these JPGs serve only as a substrate: thin scaffolding for an epic textual work that hangs loosely from the files.

To go beyond browsing, downloading must be considered.

Downloading is essential to almost any kind of engagement with the www, whether code is sent into a browser window or files are delivered to a desktop. To download is to take from the network and to navigate the choreography of circulation itself; when we download, we extend the file’s narrative—its time-stamped presence spanning any number of geo-located servers—into the intimate space of the hard drive. The download is a prerequisite to more local activities, like scanning, printing, dispersing, and archiving. Downloading can transform a public post into private property; to download may be political.

The browser typically acts as our portal to “the downloadable,” extending a view out onto distant servers and directories through the hyperlink. We can (almost) always download anything we see through the browser window, regardless of an artist’s intent, but while a browser-based work is meant to remain confined—performed into the user’s browser window for a temporal experience that is measured and dictated in certain ways by its publisher—the download allows the user’s experience to play out within the more private sphere of the desktop. The download involves agency.

To shift art out of the context of the browser and onto our desktop is an act of publishing—“making public” by dispersing copies of files and enjoying them locally (and privately). Artists who distribute downloadable work invite us to activate the computer desktop as an intimate, performative space for engaging with art.

The Download is an ongoing series of works commissioned by Rhizome that presents posted files, the act of downloading, and the user’s desktop as the space of exhibition. Each artist’s contribution is zipped up and posted for download. The Download offers the JPG, the TXT, the PDF, and other file types by artists who view the file format itself as substrate. These works are free to own, print, share, and perform under your own conditions.

Paul Soulellis

Christopher Clary

Christopher Clary is an artist, author, and curator exploring queer communication through poor media. He was a 2017 Eyebeam Resident finalist for his research of safe space as an aesthetic and technology in networked culture. His art has been exhibited across the U.S. and Europe, reviewed extensively in the press, and collected by museums. His commission for Rhizome was named by Hyperallergic as the best individual work of internet art in 2015. The work was acquired by the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art. His practice was featured in the 2017 spring issue of Elephant magazine and in the Walker Art Center’s 2016 year-end review. He was honored at the 2011 international photo festival Rencontres d’Arles in France with a solo pavilion as a Discovery Award nominee. Other exhibitions include Public, Private, Secret at the International Center for Photography in New York, Gay Men Play for the New York Photo Festival, and Adult Material at Andreas Schmidt Gallerie in Berlin.

Morehshin Allahyari

Morehshin Allahyari is an Iranian artist, activist, and educator. Her modeled, 3D-printed sculptural reconstructions of ancient artifacts destroyed by ISIS, titled Material Speculation: ISIS, have received widespread curatorial and press attention and have been exhibited worldwide. She is the recipient of the leading global thinkers of 2016 award by Foreign Policy magazine, and her work has been shown at the Queens Museum, the Tate Modern, Venice Biennale di Archittectura, and Centre Pompidou, among many others.

Elisa Giardina Papa

Elisa Giardina Papa is an Italian artist whose work investigates labor, gender and sexuality in relation to media cultures and economies. Her work has been exhibited and screened at the MoMA (New York), XVI Quadriennale di Roma, [Download commission], Whitney Museum [Sunrise/Sunset commission], Haus für elektronische Künste (Basel), 319 Scholes (New York), among others. She taught at Brown University, and at the Rhode Island School of Design, and is currently pursuing a PhD in media and film studies at University of California Berkeley. Giardina Papa received an MFA from RISD, and a BA from Politecnico of Milan.

Dennis Cooper

Dennis Cooper was born on January 10, 1953 and grew up in the Southern California cities of Covina and Arcadia. In 1976, he founded Little Caesar Magazine and Press, which he ran until 1982. In 1985, he moved to Amsterdam for two and a half years, where he began his ten year long project, The George Miles Cycle, an interconnected sequence of five novels that includes Closer, Frisk, Try, Guide, and Period. His post-George Miles Cycle novels include My Loose Thread, The Sluts and God, Jr. Other works include the short-story collections Wrong and Ugly Man, poetry collections The Dream Police and The Weaklings, as well as the recent Smothered in Hugs: Essays, Interviews, Feedback, and Obituaries. Dennis Cooper currently spends his time between Los Angeles and Paris.

Sheida Soleimani

Sheida Soleimani is an Iranian-American artist, currently residing in Providence, Rhode Island. The daughter of political refugees that were persecuted by the Iranian government in the early 1980’s, Soleimani inserts her own critical perspectives on historical and contemporary socio-political occurrences in Iran. Her works meld sculpture, collage, and photography to create collisions in reference to Iranian politics throughout the past century. By focusing on media trends and the dissemination of societal occurrences through the news, source images from popular press and social media leaks are adapted to exist within alternate scenarios.

Julia Weist

Julia Weist (b.1984, New York, NY) holds a BFA from the Cooper Union School of Art and a MLIS from Pratt Institute. She is the recipient of the 2016 Net Based Audience Prize from Haus Der Elektronischen Künste, Basel, and the 2015 Media Plan Award from the Outdoor Advertising Association of America. Weist is the author of several artist books, including the novel Sexy Librarian (2008) and most recently After, About, With (2015). Her recent exhibitions include Know Yourself, The Luminary, St. Louis (2016), Art in the Age of…Planetary Computation, Witte de With Center for Contemporary ArtRotterdam (2015), and a solo exhibition, Parbunkells, 83 Pitt Street, New York City (2016). Weist currently lives and works in New York.

Nestor Siré

Nestor Siré (b.1988, Camagüey, Cuba) participated in the Havana Biennial (2015), the Festival of New Latin American Cinema in Cuba (2013), the Oberhausen International Festival of Short Film, Germany (2016), and the Asunción International Biennale, Paraguay (2015). Siré was the winner of the 2016 “Visa for Creation” from l’Institut Français. He has also participated in residencies including Dos Mares in Marseille, France, and The Ludwig Foundation and LASA, Havana. His work has been exhibited at other venues including the National Museum of Fine Arts, Havana; Hong-Gah Museum, Taipei; UNAM Museum of Contemporary Art, México City; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Santa Fe, among other venues. Siré currently lives and works in Havana.