Rhizome recently organized a screening series as a part of the 2023 FWB Festival, an event described by the festival's manifesto as "a destination gathering of new-internet communities, and a temporary network city for creating culture and exploring new ideas." The festival featured friends of the Rhizome community, including Mindy Seu and Joshua Citarella, as well as an incredible array of talented musicians (Caroline Polachek, The Dare, and Yves Tumor to name a few). For Rhizome's contribution, we sought to explore artists' varying relationships to an evolving internet.
The name of this screening series, "Cinema of Transmission," references the NYC-based undeground film movement of the 1980s, "Cinema of Transgression". A manifesto regarding the movement, written by Nick Zedd directs us to "pass beyond and go over boundaries of millimeters, screens and projectors" and this collection of works does just that.
"Cinema of Transmission" was initially used for a rhizome event in 2022.
The past and futures of transmission technologies will always reflect our humanity back at us. From playful, gesture-based performances of the computer mouse to the pseudo-anonymous assemblage of collective cognitive labor, each screening is a conversation between our material realities and the internet.
Below, you'll find links to videos we gathered for this screening series!
Part 1 : Performing Internet
Part 1 : Performing Internet
Hello Ana Voog - Ana Voog, 1998
This work was originally extracted from the release of Ana Voog's “anavoog.com”. This was screened alongside a private, feature-length work provided to us by the artist that consisted of various compositions and highlights from a decade+ of her '24/7 art+life cam!'
Melissa Gira Grant mentions Ana Voog, as well as Jennifer Ringley of Jennicam, in her 2011 Rhizome essay "She Was A Camera. In this article, Grant outlines some of the technical and communal aspects associated with early webcam streams online.
Jawpan - Troy Innocent, 1993
This work was originally presented at FISEA'93: Fourth International Symposium on Electronic Art.
Electronic Cafe 84, 1984 12’ (Net Art Anthology) - Kit Galloway & Sherrie Rabinowitz, 1984
"Staged alongside the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Electronic Cafe '84 offered networked computer terminals and other more inclusive high-tech audiovisual tools at the Museum of Contemporary Art as well as eateries with deep roots in four distinct communities: The Gumbo House in the predominantly African-American community of South Central, Ana Maria Restaurant in the Latinx enclave of East LA, The 8th Street Restaurant in Koreatown, and Gunter’s Cafe in Venice Beach.
Drawing on the long history of cafés as institutions that foster community, revolution, and social justice, Electronic Cafe ’84 aimed to give people agency in shaping the networked world to come, rather than having it decided for them.
A key part of the project was an extension of Community Memory, a text-based bulletin board system that had been founded in the Bay Area in 1973. Community Memory had long served as a digital resource where the public could store and retrieve messages, exchanging ideas and information via terminals in public spaces such as coffeehouses."
Samsung - Young Hae Chang Heavy Industries, 1999
"Since 1997, Young-hae Chang and Marc Voge have been working together under the name Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries. Adopting the model of a fictional corporation, they produce online artworks that follow a strict formula: Flash movies consisting of texts set in all-caps Monaco typeface, appearing onscreen in sync with jazz and bossa nova soundtracks. Employing an “extremely pushy visual language,” in the words of Josephine Bosma, the works of YHCHI borrow from cinema, poetry, and propaganda.
In Samsung (1999), one of the duo’s earliest works, a narrator finds salvation from their life of aimless ennui thanks to Samsung—not the South Korean company or its products, but the very idea of Samsung. Their repeated expressions of love and admiration seem absurd, but also point to the ineffable quality of brands and corporations."
This excerpt is from Rhizome's Net Art Anthology.
Smashmouth Recreated From Windows XP Sounds - James Nielssen, 2017
An internet classic. The description for the video reads: "pass me the floppy disk."
≈ - Sebastian Schmieg, 2014
"For all fans of liquids and computers." —The YouTube video description of ≈.
DESCENT (desktop performance) - Peter Burr, Mark Fingerhut and FORMA, 2017
"Looking back at this historical trajectory, Peter Burr, Mark Fingerhut, and Forma have created a spiraling inter-dimensional narrative aptly titled DESCENT—a meditation on one of humanity’s blackest hours. Taking the form of a desktop application, descent.exe gives the user a brief glimpse of a world descending into darkness - an unrelenting plague indifferent to the struggles of the user. There is a silver lining, however, tucked into the software’s final sweep. An equanimous watcher, reduced to a single eye, looks on as the plague of rats that has infested your desktop destroys itself."
Money2 - Lorna Mills and Yoshi Sodeoka, 2012
"Money2 by Lorna Mills and Yoshi Sodeoka is a brief, merciless video assembled from Lorna Mills's found and altered animated gif collages. These looping animations play against a soundtrack by Plink Flojd, a super audiovideo collective started by David Quiles Guillo with co-founders Yoshi Sodeoka and Eric Mast.
Money2 is the cacophonous, dysfunctional, absurd, idiotic sequel to Pink Floyd's classic “Money”. The band’s original version from the 70’s exhorted their audience to reject wealth and conspicuous consumption, while at the same time launching them into the stratosphere of commercial success.
Pink Floyd's "Money" remains an enormously popular song, despite the fact that all of the ideas about capitalism embedded in the song are now four decades out of date. Money2 expands the original imagery to include the darkness, desperation, folly and anxiety that surrounds wealth and the lack of it.
By pairing a mashed, mangled musical version with found then re-arranged animated GIFs, Pink Floyd’s “Money” is revived and buried alive at the same time."
Selekthor - Viktor Timofeev, 2013
Deep Down Tidal - Tabita Rezaire, 2017
Somewhere between a video collage and performance series, Tabita Rezaire weaves together visual and auditory landscapes that highlight various aspects of technological colonialism. Commissioned for Citizen X - Human, Nature and Robots Rights by Oregaard Museum, Denmark.
Computers are Fun - Sally Pryor, 1983
Created during a time when using computers was mostly male-dominated, Computers are Fun is "an experimental video artwork that playfully explores the possibilities, relationships and intersections between gender, art and technology. Barbie, as a role model for young girls, confidently manipulates the computer and leads the way. The video ends with a note of caution: 'Use With Care.'"
Video retrieved from a neglected videocassette as a part of the “Creative Micro-computing in Australia, 1976-1992” ARC Future Fellowship.
Rejected or Unused Clips, Arranged in Order of Importance - Seth Price, 2003
"Rejected or Unused Clips, Arranged in Order of Importance purports to be a collection of unused video and audio clips left over from the artist's other works, from an abandoned audio piece on religious themes to an exploration of web video as it emerged in a time before YouTube and video search engines. Interlacing voice-over and sound with the sorts of graphic imagery that could belong equally to advertisements, corporate reels, amateur home pages, and video games, Price takes on religious and scientific discourse, the history of experimental cinema, the interrelation of culture and technology, and the social naturalization of violence. At the same time, however, this index of material at once discarded and made useful, with its claim to a formal structure based on 'importance,' provokes the question of how much its themes and messages are actually intended to cohere and communicate."
—Electronic Arts Intermix
Eulogy for a Black Mass - Aria Dean, 2017
"Memes–infinitely self-referential, seemingly originless, and virally proliferating–have come to be not merely part of our daily life, but a force that shapes how we see the world itself. And memes have something black about them. So says artist, writer, and curator Aria Dean as she explores how black people create, care for, and share memes, or images defined not by what they are in and of themselves, but by their transmission.
These images born of black creative labor circulate independently of the black body, forming networks deeper in time and wider in distribution than any singular individual. Mobile and unmored, they move about the digital world marring clear ontological lines along the way. Memes are propelled into a universe where they might mutate and grow, where they might be reuploaded and compressed, and where they might even be stolen by white users. This narrated compilation of videos that are themselves seemingly sourceless, but yet cared for and re-uploaded, is but another node in this network of infinite circulation. It is an exploration in thinking blackness through memes and memes through blackness."
The film can be viewed on Arkvive's Website.
Breaking Bad: the bitTorrent Edition - Conor Mcgarrigle, 2013
"This video is made from the final episode of Breaking Bad incompletely downloaded from the internet via bittorrent.
The video has been linearly edited, no digital effects were used and all effects are in the corrupted file. The final episode of Breaking Bad broke bitTorrent records when it was released with over 500,000 people sharing the file within 12 hours of its release.
The video captures this episode of the popular TV show in the act of being shared by these users on bitTorrent. The video simultaneously acts as a visualisation of bitTorrent traffic and the practice of filesharing as well as being an aesthetically beautiful and unique by-product of the bitTorrent process, the file codec and the size of the bitTorrent swarm as the pieces of the original file are rearranged and reconfigured into a new transitory in-between state."
User Unfriendly Interface - Josephine Starrs and Leon Cmielewski, 1994
The 2023 FWB festival marked the first time this video has been screened since 1997. The piece is described by Josephine Starrs and Leon Cmielewski as “a CD ROM/Installation” exploring “themes of conspiracy theories, male vs. female concept of space, dating services, men's issues & personality testing.” It was originally produced with the assistance of the Australian Film Commission.
Core Dump - Francois Knoetze, 2018
"The four films of Core Dump are rhizomatic assemblages of found footage, performance documentation and recorded interviews that form narrative portraits of the uncertainty in the nervous system of the digital earth. The films are fragmented arrangements of images and sounds, with each chapter forming links across geographic and temporal discontinuities.
The series compares critical contexts and histories to suggest that the crucial technologies involved in moving towards a more just and equitable world are less physical than they are social. While the cynical billionaires of Silicon Valley invest in transhumanist technologies in an attempt to become immortal, build luxury underground apocalypse bunkers to fight off future climate refugees, and design rockets to colonise mars, Core Dump emerges from the dystopian landfills of consumer culture as an imaginary of a new inclusive humanism that underscores relationality and interhuman narratives."
Anti Social Media - Kurosai, 2023
Self-proclaimed "afro surrealist anime anthologist" and genius video editor, Kurosai describes this video for his typical youtube audience: "After Elon's Twitter takeover, the world of social media is shifting. Place your bets on where the future of social media leads us."
Coincellpro7 is yet another mysterious pseudo-anonymous meme account but every once in awhile, the complexity of a post's video editing is nothing short of an internet masterpiece. Another favorite video on their account connects the tiktok / k-pop danc-ification with a few classic, predecessors of internet dance.
Bed PC 24 Hour Stream (6 Minute Cut) - Filip Kostic, 2021
"Bed PC 24 Hour Stream (2021) was an endurance performance in Bed PC in which I live streamed on twitch for 24 hours straight. During the stream I gamed, tried to work on some art, spoke with friends who called in to talk about things ranging from making art, to gaming, to being in motion vs. being sedentary, to the future of art and institutions, to Yugoslavian monuments, watched documentaries, drank a lot of energy drinks, and tried to sleep on the Uberman schedule."
—Statement from artist's website.
The image below is from a gallery-presented variation of the original sculpture from the stream.
A 24 minute cut of the stream is currently hosted on youtube by the artist.
Adversalife - Ville Kallio, 2018
This animated work is a precursor to the much beloved game, Cruelty Squad. Ville's work consists of vivid colors, a love of the nostalgic limitations of early 3D video game aesthetics, and a healthy amount of techno dystopia.
Ville's company slogan is "The authority on Life."
How To Give Your Best Self Some Rest - Sebastian Schmieg, 2014
A video tutorial introducing the “aesthetic of detachment,” published as a standalone website.
Strategically underperform as a vacuum cleaner robot, smart lock, delivery robot, or AI assistant.
Commissioned by Goethe-Instituts of East Asia and Haus der Elektronischen Künste Basel for the online exhibition “Hybrid by Nature: Human.Machine.Interaction“.
Party on the CAPS - Meriem Bennani, 2018
"Party on the Caps is set mainly in a Moroccan neighborhood of an island in the Atlantic called the Caps that has been set up as a prison for unwanted immigrants in a future where teleportation has become the travel norm. People deposited in the island’s shantytown are immigrants who have been intercepted mid-teleport by American “troopers,” who appear in the film as circling drones—bright, ominous, watchful spots hovering in the distant sky. Some residents of the Caps suffer strange disorders (“plastic face syndrome”) as a consequence of being molecularly intercepted and reassembled."
This program was organized by Briana Griffin, Rhizome Community Designer, and Michael Connor, Rhizome Co-Executive Director.