Back in March, Rhizome relaunched its Microgrant program, inviting proposals for Browser-based projects and pitches for articles about works of born-digital art in the Rhizome ArtBase. Our staff reviewed over 500 proposals—an unprecedented amount in Rhizome Microgrant history—from all over the world, with some truly standout applications.
Proposals were evaluated based on conceptual strength and relevance to the proposal category.
We’re so excited to announce the full list of awardees!
Chia Amisola, When We Love
“When We Love is a series of interconnected experiences about love extending beyond one screen. Made of variable duration vignettes, solo/shared encounters–questioning offline/online boundaries of love (or lack thereof). Inspired by my growing in a repressive Catholic country & placemaking online—it's uncontained, dwelling within extant languages/rituals for radical joy/care on the web & reclaiming transgressive publics. A main dating sim is hub to other pieces (from sites to Chrome extensions, bots); you stargaze, tend gardens, shelve libraries, collect, gather together; to themes of queerness, liberation, surveillance, spirituality, ritual, & worlding.The grant helps fund extensive server costs & stipend for this long chaptered project.”
Jenna deBoisblanc, Public Access Memories Gallery Show
“Public Access Memories Gallery (publicaccessmemories.com) is a net art gallery that offers the HTML gallery as a canvas. PAM’s latest project is a new group show of 8-12 artists titled “Beyond” that will coincide with the 2023-24 Wrong Biennale. The show will include an open call for any digital work that considers, probes, or reimagines the spatial dimensionality of the web.”
Erma Fiend, Eternal Organs
“Eternal Organs" will be an interactive browser based experience made up of layered stop motion animation loops to create a Cronenberg-meets-Rube Goldberg machine system of surreal breathing organs. This grant will allow me to learn new tools and expand my established techniques and aesthetic to create dynamic animation that can engage the viewer with an interactive, nonlinear experience.”
Daniela Medina Poch, Aqualiteracies: A Decentralized and Living Repository of Water Practices
“Recognizing water as a living archive of situated knowledge, we address multispecies everyday communications and performativities as agencies of futurity in relation to the current water crisis.
Aqualiteracies is a research in flux that emerges from sensitive experiences and direct exchange with water. It has taken shape as a workshop in the framework of La Escuela___ with participants from all over Latam. During this workshop we generated valuable content.
We would use the grant to generate A Repository of Aqualiteratures, a platform to offer a playful and accessible navigation to these and an invitation to other users to share their ways of relating to water.”
Tanvi Mishra, Tridal: a collaborative game about land use
“Tridal is not saving the world we lost, but building anew.
As a multiplayer, cooperative environment, Tridal advocates responsible land use. It reprioritizes current resources– forests, farms, urban land, etc. – using mechanics that shift thinking paradigms.
Players develop strategies to ensure continual food security and habitation while keeping rising tides at bay. The resultant carbon emissions challenge players to adapt and evolve. Every in-game action has multitudinous consequences, illustrating the scale of human damage.”
Daniel Murray, Chaos Layout Generator
"I'm interested in creating a play on website layout generators - these tools allow people to create organised and formal website structures. The Chaos Layout Generator will focus on creating deliberately anarchic websites without straight lines, consistent colours or fixed fonts. My generator will encourage people to explore intentionally broken and unstructured design; while still delivering HTML code that is usable and inviting for less experienced web developers and homepage creators. My goal is to contextualise the browser as an artistic medium and express the belief that the web is an extension of humanity and must represent its messy, colourful and inexplicable need for chaos and reinvention."
Dominique Petit-Frere, Archiving Africa's Liminal Futures
“The archive is a web-based, interactive repository that maps the architecture of incomplete and abandoned heritage sites in Africa, dating from the independence period to the present. The archive collects and displays buildings and structures across Africa in an effort to bring to light under-represented typologies in African architectural discourse. However, we are at a critical stage to which we need to find the right web-based platform / portal for the 3D artifacts of the archive to live in one setting and we believe the support of Rhizome will help us in our efforts in doing so!”
Blake Planty, CATBOY.CHURCH
“This project is a browser-based adaptation of my prose short story "THE CATBOY IS DECEITFUL ABOVE ALL THINGS" about autistic catboys and their new pseudo-religion. The story was published on the now defunct literary magazine SURFACES.CX, therefore not integrated into my personal site proper.
I will create pages in a style consistent with my Neocities-based serial narrative project CATBOY.CHURCH: Collective nostalgia for a past that never existed spreading like toxoplasmosis. Capricious individuals are involuntarily remembering things they’d rather not. Faustian “CATBOYS” will save them."
Beckett Rowan, goodbye.monster
“goodbye.monster is a game about saying goodbye by Eugene An, Rook Liu, Beckett Rowan, and Matt Wang. gameplay includes caring for short-lived creatures; wandering a text-based world; and having limited interactions with other players. our overall goal is to interrogate agency in “creature collector” games. we focus on the creatures being able to die in opposition to player-centric models of gameplay and against the idea that these creatures can be meaningfully “used".
this project requires a server and database, and our costs are about $110 per year currently. A $500 microgrant would ensure that we’re able to cover those costs during our development phase and give us the time to find a sustainable solution for long-term hosting.”
Irene Ruby and Cori Cannavino, Digital Domestic Work Sampler
“Digital Domestic Work Sampler proposes a browser-based, archival, and visual research study of kaoanis as a digital medium. Our research historicizes early pixel art within the tradition of needlework samplers. Funding will aid in the creation of an interactive website centered around a physical piece in progress: Digital Domestic Work Sampler. The site will attempt to translate a large cross-stitch needlework sampler into digital space, using GIFs from the early 2000s to allude to historic cross-stitch spot samplers created by domestic workers at the height of their popularity. Each GIF corresponds with a motif on the physical sampler and links to a subpage exploring a facet of the research involved in the project.”
Nitcha Tothong and Kengchakaj Kengkarnka, Network gong ensemble archive
“A browser-based experiential communal sonic experience and an aural archive of Southeast sound cultures(tuning systems) where the site has collections of various sounds that can be played with others through the network. To explore Southeast Asia's microtonality and sound cultures generatively, aiming to create decolonized possibilities and reconnect and reinterpret ancestors' knowledge within the Internet space and contemporary context where the sound can resound, migrate and transform from the uneven geographies to digital geological sites. To challenge the music technology rooted in the hegemony and dominance of Western sound. We look into the past, honor the non-dominance and suppressed history, and search for an alternative future.”
Helen Shewolfe Tseng, Trickster at the End of a World
“Trickster at the End of a World is a visual poetic narrative involving coyotes, trickster archetypes, PTSD, lost dæmons, colonialism, migratory adaptations, spirit dimensions, quantum uncertainty, ancestral folk magic, and relearning how to be an animal. I first created this piece as a part of a mainstage talk for ICON11.
I propose to adapt this piece for the browser, with sound, video, animation, and interactive/computational forms in addition to visuals and writing. Alternately, I propose adapting some excerpt of the piece, e.g. this fission/fusion animation as a mini-game."
Zichen Yuan, Local Wind
“Inspired by the ever present wind both as a natural phenomena and a cultural analogy, Local Wind introduces the unstableness and flux of the physicality of moving air into a browser. The project engages with wind in two ways: cursor and live stream.
Cursor represents the viewer in the browser space. On a computer without touch screen, it is arguably the only connection between the real and the virtual. Local Wind reverses the permanence and stableness of the cursor by adding weather-like effect to the cursor.
Live Stream is the second fold that I am currently working as the content for this website.”
Asad Ali Zulfiqar, now/here
“now/here is a map of walks in the city of Karachi recorded in a thread of 28 emails. Through an epistolary story about queer relationship blooming and wilting, this project is an experiment in creating a queer autobiographic practice that honors and upholds the transient nature of identity through the transformative potential of compassionate remembering. This browser-based work unfolds in the private space of the user’s inbox and is rich with hypertext."
Articles about works of net art in the Rhizome ArtBase
“Presentation software has become an emblem of white-collar industry, where it has transcended its synoptic function and is now a standalone commodity. My work will analyze presentation software as an apparatus for a neoliberal managerial ideology that trains workers to parrot the needs, desires, and beliefs of corporations. I will reference existing critiques of slide software and Artbase works that remix the medium’s intended purposes, such as “ppt.xxx”, “ikebananana2”, and RTMark’s powerpoint. The work will expose readers of Rhizome—presumably cultural workers reliant on such digital collaboration tools themselves—to a critical perspective of their crafts, while also validating the use of low-entry software for creative work.”
“I propose a text that examines the lifeworlds of Flash. This begins with a curiosity about Saraswati Gramich’s Plunge! (2002), an obscure Flash artwork from a feminist Eurasian artist once based in Singapore, and more recently in France. Gramich’s practice is featured within cyberfeminist theorist Irina Aristarkhova’s article, “Happy Endings: Engagements with Women Artists in Singapore" (2003), broaching broader artistic trajectories of cyberfeminism.
I seek to connect Gramich’s practice with Flash works by Yael Kanarek and Young Hae Chang Heavy Industries, emphasizing the ability for Flash to nurture imagined worlds of artificial life and alternative logics, raising critical questions about the afterlives of Flash.”
Rodrigo Arenas Carter
“My interest is in Detrimundo by Ricardo Miranda Zuñiga, approaching it as a practice of resistance, an ironic problematization/disruption of the multidimensionality of both gentrification and the American Dream. The last one is represented in the perfect smile of the liminal figure of Don Francisco, welcoming you to the website. It's relevant not only due to those issues, but also because it dialogues with the current gentrification of CDMX and other Mexican territories. I want to write it for Rhizome because of: the scarcity of articles (I found 2) and digital artworks (I found 9) from Latin America in your database; the current relevance of both issues for Latinxs; and the continuous interest of Rhizome in digital arts.”
“STICKYPHONE is a proto-social network contained on a single audio file, viewable and editable by everyone. Made on Flash in 2005, it predated the craze over social audio and decentralized ledgers by over a decade. Ivan Bachev, the creator of STICKYPHONE, is a little-known Bulgarian musician. In the mid-2000s, he created social audio tools and translated essays on new media via a now-deleted online library. His tools were all about communal ownership, archiving and remixing – a philosophy radically different from Silicon Valley tech companies. I’d love to interview Bachev for a piece on STICKYPHONE and the community around it. What can they teach us about the state of ownership & collaboration today? I hope that writing this piece for Rhizome will not only introduce the Bulgarian net music scene to a Western audience, but also help reintroduce it at home.”
“In Rosa Menkman’s live audio-visual performance The Collapse of PAL (2010), a glitch aesthetic illustrates the relationship between performance failure, distant memory, the specter of remediated media, and the materiality of data loss. The live performance, which is now archived as an 8-minute 30-second documentation, included live-glitching via a NES game console and a broken camera to use the aesthetic of loss characterized by the obsolescence of technology in what reads as a defiant final act of restoration and renewal. Menkman’s corporeal participation with various forms of banished technologies chronicles a familiar pattern. The work feels especially relevant today as the fast-moving, pervasive impact of AI is needlessly forcing out many imaging technologies, despite the continued relevance and hidden traces of existing visual media (drawing, painting, photography, digital art) and human labor (creative, emotional, research, data entry, transcription, verification, and review), which necessitate their ability to function. Like Menkman, this written text will contextualize this work in relation to today’s activities involving remediation and technical obsolescence.”
Rhizome’s commissions program is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Rhizome Microgrants 2023 are made possible by Teiger Foundation.