New Media, New Commissions

Every year Rhizome commissions ambitious new media works, via an open call, and the eleven projects selected in 2005-06 launched this week. Each of these international artists and collectives plays with the myriad ways that digital networks shape contemporary life. Take Dutch artist Adriaan Stellingwerff's 'Eternal Sunset,' which underscores how global networks alter traditional conceptions of time. The project amasses real-time images from preexisting webcams all over the world to create a 24-hour stream of live sunsets. New media artist/composer Jason Freeman's 'iTunes Signature Maker' gets more personal, scanning a user's music library and distilling elements from every song into a single telling composite. Many of the works invoke the participatory possibilities of networked systems, allowing users to form temporary collectives that do everything from charting urban fruit trees to creating styrofoam sculpture via e-mail, and many manifest both online and offline. The project 'Google Will Eat Itself' generates revenue from Google advertising and then uses it to buy Google stock on behalf of an open online community. By their calculations, the GWEI community will own the company in about 3.5 million years. In the meantime, all of the projects can be viewed online, now! - Bill Hanley