This is a big year for Rhizome. Building on the success of the "Net Art Anthology" initiative and the exhibition "The Art Happens Here: Net Art's Archival Poetics," which is beginning a national tour, Rhizome introduces a new research-based program structure to begin this fall. In this new model, Rhizome's full range of activities—publishing, microgrants and curatorial commissioning, digital preservation, events, and exhibitions—will be aligned with urgent questions animating digital culture.
Over the next year, Rhizome will introduce a new research-based program structure that will take up topics developed in conversation with artists and researchers in its community, and explore those topics through public events, online publishing, exhibitions, commissions, and preservation. For the 2019–20 program, the guiding research topics will be: Info-Wars, on political radicalization and the internet; Money as Medium, exploring artistic interventions into cryptocurrency, economy, and debt; and Making Kin, on new and alternative communitarian infrastructure in the context of climate crisis.
For Info-Wars, the focus of fall 2019, Rhizome will surface artistic and critical research on weaponized information, while considering alternative models for forming political communities and movements online. This research will be anchored by a commission by artist and writer Joshua Citarella, who will also co-organize a public event with Gen Z activists at the New Museum on October 5, 2019. In 2018, Citarella published the essay "Politigram & the Post-left," a comprehensive study of meme-articulated politics on Instagram and other social media platforms, which was highly influential to the fall research topic.
The National Endowment for the Humanities has made a $45,000 award toRhizome for the project “Early Online Communities in Context,” which will support historical research, publishing, and preservation activities related to the Making Kin topic. With this grant, Rhizome's preservation and artistic teams will work with archives from The Thing, a Bulletin Board System (BBS) focusing on contemporary art and cultural theory, and, in partnership with the Initiative for Indigenous Futures, CyberPowWow, a graphical chat room that hosted works by and conversations among Indigenous artists. A convening addressing both will be held in early 2020 at the New Museum.
Further details, anchor commissions, and activities for subsequent research topics will be announced throughout the year.
In 2015, Rhizome launched its microgrant program, awarding $500–$1,500 to anyone with a compelling vision for net art through an annual open-call. Microgrants will now be awarded on a semi-rolling basis throughout the program season, aligned with the artistic research topics.
Today, Rhizome opens its first call for Microgrants for projects related to the Info-Wars artistic research thread, as well as for net art works. An initial round of microgrants will be considered beginning September 20, 2019, and awarded shortly thereafter. Special attention will be given to Info-Wars-related proposals made by those ages 18-22.
The submission form will remain open throughout the year, and browsed from time to time by Rhizome's artistic program team. The majority of awards will be awarded in October.
"The Art Happens Here" Tour
Alongside activities at rhizome.org and in New York City, the gallery exhibition "The Art Happens Here: Net Art’s Archival Poetics" will begin a three-venue tour this fall, following its successful run at the New Museum in early 2019. Presenting institutions include the Galleries at Peeler at DePauw University, opening September 13, 2019; the Vicki Myhren Gallery at the University of Denver, opening January 2020; and Gund Gallery at Kenyon College, opening fall 2020.
The Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation provided major support for the "Net Art Anthology" project.
Info-Wars is made possible by support from Seth Stolbun and The Stolbun Collection.
Money as Medium is supported by Chris Dannen and Iterative Capital.
Making Kin preservation research is generously supported by The National Endowment for the Humanities.
"The Art Happens Here" and "Net Art Anthology" were made possible by the generous support of the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation.
The Rhizome Commissions Program is supported by Jerome Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.