We are thrilled to announce that Rhizome has received a Teiger Foundation grant! Rhizome is one of 39 curators and curatorial teams throughout the United States to receive a grant as part of the Foundation’s inaugural Call for Proposals. Rhizome plans to use these funds to continue growing the Rhizome ArtBase—our archive of over 2000 born-digital artworks, relaunch our Seven on Seven program, which pairs artists with technologists for short-term collaborations, continue to disperse grants to emerging artists through our Microgrants initiative, and present ArtBase Anthologies, a new online exhibition series modeled after Net Art Anthology.
Rhizome’s curatorial program supports the past, present, and future of born-digital art. Founded by artist Mark Tribe in 1996 as a listserv including some of the first artists to work online, Rhizome has played an integral role in the history of art and technology. Since 2003, Rhizome has been a partner of the New Museum in New York City, where it remains an independent organization.
ArtBase is Rhizome’s archive of more than 2000 born-digital works. ArtBase Anthologies will be an ongoing series of curated presentations of archived born-digital works from the1980s to today. Works will be archived, restored and preserved as part of ArtBase, and re-performed and shared online with curatorial context, including social media packages, curatorial texts, artist interviews, and archival materials, all designed to bring the stories of the people and communities behind these works to life. The initiative aims to support an equitable historical accounting in the field of digital art.
One important work that will be presented under this initiative is CyberPowWow, an Indigenous-determined online biennial that was first launched in 1997 by the Nation to Nation collective—Skawennati, Ryan Rice, and Eric Robertson. Last December, Rhizome presented the first U.S. museum presentation of CyberPowWow in an event at the New Museum, which featured computer terminals where participants could engage with CyberPowWow in a legacy computer environment, and a panel discussion with artist and organizer Skawennati, historian Mikhel Proulx, and Rhizome Preservation Director Dragan Espenschied.
The series will also include artworks such as American Artist’s Sandy Speaks, an AI chat platform that "speaks" as Sandra Bland.
On October 28, 2023, Rhizome will also relaunch its Seven on Seven (7x7) initiative, which pairs artists with technologists for short-term collaborations and asks them to "make something new," presenting the results at a public conference at the New Museum in New York. The conference, which has previously featured artists such as Jayson Musson, Mendi + Keith Obadike, and DIS, will be co-curated and produced by Xinran Yuan.
Finally, each year, Rhizome‘s Microgrants will support at least ten artists in the creation of new works for online presentation, prioritizing participation by early career artists and artists from underrepresented communities.
The new grantmaking program addresses gaps in funding for contemporary art curators with awards addressing the full sweep of curatorial activities, including community integration of traveling exhibitions, climate-conscious curatorial practices, multi-year programming, research and the development of major exhibitions, coalition-building, and more.
In addition, Rhizome has been invited to take part in the Foundation’s Climate Action Pilot, which will help us develop and implement a unique climate plan for our web and digital preservation services. Rhizome is among the seven grantees additionally selected to take part in the Climate Action Pilot.
Committed to experimentation, community building, and positive structural change within the field of contemporary art, the Foundation awarded a total of $3.3 million through its inaugural Call for Proposals. The full list of grantees can be found at teigerfoundation.org.
Makayla Bailey is the Co-Executive Director of Rhizome at the New Museum. Bailey has held curatorial positions at MoMA and The Studio Museum in Harlem, where she co-organized the institution's first digital exhibition, titled “Hearts in Isolation.” Bailey’s work has been featured in Artforum, ArtNews, Frieze, Harper’s Bazaar, Hyperallergic, PIN-UP, Essence, and i-D Magazine. Her current research spans environment, ethical stewardship of emerging technologies, and the creation of an equitable historical accounting of born-digital art.
Michael Connor is Co-Executive Director of Rhizome where he oversaw the Net Art Anthology initiative, an effort to retell the history of net art through 100 works, presented as an online exhibition, gallery exhibition, and book. He is also curatorial advisor for Kadist, a non-profit contemporary art organization, and ArtBlocks, an NFT platform. His first online curatorial project took place in 2003 at FACT, Liverpool, where he organized an edition of the traveling exhibition Kingdom of Piracy with Shu Lea Cheang, Yukiko Shikata, and Armin Medosch. Connor is currently editing a book by Gene Youngblood about the work of Kit Galloway & Sherrie Rabinowitz.
Celine Wong Katzman is Curator at Rhizome where she organizes exhibitions, artistic commissions, ArtBase accessions, publishing, and live programs. Her recent projects include Rhizome Presents: CyberPowWow (2022), The Longest Whistlegraph Ever (so far) (2022), Wet Networks (2021-22), and Shirley Sound (2021). Since 2021, Celine has been Mentor-in-Residence for the Art & Code residency track at the New Museum's incubator, NEW INC. She also serves as one of seven Co-Directors at the School for Poetic Computation, a cooperatively organized, experimental school exploring code, design, hardware, and theory through the lenses of artistic intervention and equity.