2015 Net Art Microgrants: Now accepting proposals

Lena NW & Julia Kunberger, Viral (2015), a 2014 Internet Art Microgrant recipient

Now accepting proposals. Deadline: July 23, 2015.

The browser is still our favorite place to see art, so these five Microgrants of $500 will be awarded to artists to create new browser-based artworks.

This program is run as an open call. Submissions comprise a simple 150-word statement and a single sketch or image. Upon the close of the open call, the proposals will be considered by a special jury, with five Microgrants awarded. 

Awardees will be announced in early August, and the resulting artworks will be integrated into Rhizome's 2015-2016 program. 

Additionally, in the coming weeks, we will be announcing the recipients of our program commissions for the coming year, and issuing a call for nominations for the Prix Net Art.

Important forthcoming changes to rhizome.org user functions and the ArtBase

Dear rhizome.org users:

We’re writing today to update you on the future of user functions on rhizome.org as we prepare to launch a new site this year. Our current site is almost five years old, so we’re happy to be working on something that will reflect the current and future state of the web, and better reflect Rhizome as an organization.

Important: Phasing Out Member Portfolios

On November 1st, 2015, we will freeze the current Member Portfolios and archive them in our ArtBase. When the new site is ready, your existing user account will be transferred over to the new site, including your user icon, "user since" stamp, "supporter" stamp (thank you, members and donors!), password, and a representative URL.

Then, up to the deadline of November 1st, you will be able to create, modify, or delete your portfolio. The next day, we will provide a permanent public download for each public portfolio, including information about the presented works, in the form of zipped HTML files and images, which will allow you to migrate your portfolio to your own website if you wish.

In addition, after November 1st, these portfolios will become part of our permanent archive. The entire Member Portfolios section of the site will be publicly accessible, acting as a snapshot of a time on Rhizome’s site and in its community. The URLs of portfolio pages will be redirected to the archived versions to keep external links intact, and they will look exactly the same as they do now. After entering the archive, the portfolios will stay frozen, but you can have your profile deleted from the archive at any time by writing an email to Rhizome. Any outbound links contained in your archived portfolio will remain unchanged and cannot be updated.

The decision to close the portfolio service has not been easy, but the service has lost much of its utility and relevance: many portfolios are effectively abandoned, don't present current information, and are full dead links. At the same time, there are still treasures to discover, and history has been documented here. That is why the portfolio pages in their entirety will receive proper conservation treatment and become part of Rhizome's archive.

The ArtBase

While separate from Member Portfolios, this is a good opportunity to give you some information about the ArtBase. We've received feedback that our ArtBase accession policy is unclear, and the distinction between actively preserved ArtBase works and user-uploaded, externally linked Member Portfolio pages—which often contain dead links—is hard to discern.

The current state of the ArtBase is that it contains 2000+ works, but accession of new items dramatically slowed in 2008—a decision that was made largely based on an increasing awareness of our inability to preserve, commit to, and care for the volume and complexity of works we were receiving in the open submission model.

Since that time, Rhizome has focused its conservation efforts on research and methodology, from metadata to emulation. Our current digital preservation research focuses on developing new tools to allow communities to create their own archives, and preserve their own works more easily. This will not only ensure more works are preserved, but open up new narratives. As part of this research, we have accessioned specific works and sites, such as Amalia Ulman's Excellences & Perfections, the Theresa Duncan CD-ROMS, and VVORK, which have served as test cases.

With the launch of the new site, we will move into a new phase, shifting focus from research to implementation. We’ll be archiving and offering stable access to a wider range of works on an ongoing basis, with a new accession policy led by curatorial concerns and an expansive approach to digital art and digital culture.

Some of these details may change as we develop the new site—we’ll keep you abreast of anything major.

—The Rhizome Team

Interesting processing courses

submitted by dylesid
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Cannot open socket, cannot assign requested address: cannot bind.

I am trying to write some code that receives data from the racing game Live For Speed on my PC, I then want to process this data and then send it to my Arduino.

I am in the beginning stages just trying to establish a connection with the game. I have configured the game to output data to but I can't seem to access this through my Processing code.

Overall I wish to read in this data and then split it up into variables, like in this Python Example

I have sort of hacked together several examples to arrive with this below...

import hypermedia.net.*; int LFSPort = 8888; String LFSIP = ""; UDP udpTX,udpRX; void setup(){ udpRX = new UDP(this, LFSPort, LFSIP); udpRX.log(true); udpRX.listen(true); noLoop(); } void draw(){ } void receive(byte[] data, String LFSIP, int LFSPort){ String value = new String(data); println(value); } 
submitted by _I_AM_BATMAN_
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Out of Play: Technology & Football

Malik Thomas, Football Engineering Images

This Friday, the National Football Museum in Manchester is opening a new season of commissions, artists residencies and artefacts. One of the highlights of the programme is Out of Play: Technology & Football, an exhibition that explores the impact that new technologies have in the development of the game but also on the way it is experienced by fans around the world.

Out of Play: Technology & Football brings together works by designers, artists, scientists and fans who explore and demonstrate how football and new technology overlap in today's society.

The works on show range from a robotic soccer robot to the Soccket energy generating football, from the ever irresistible and painful Leg Shocker to the world premier of Jer Thorp's immersive installation The Time of the Game. The result is an interactive exhibition that brings into a highly popular museum an entertaining but also critical and provocative view of the impact that technology has on 'the beautiful game.'

The show opens tomorrow and i'm looking forward to visiting it in a couple of weeks. But in the meantime i caught up with curator John O'Shea. You might remember John from his work as an artist. When he isn't busy growing Pigs Bladder Football from living animal cells and developing his other artworks, John is the Art Curator and Head of visual art programme at the NFM. He has spent the past two years embedded in the museum with the goal of establishing an art and technology exhibiting and learning programme from scratch.

Uppies and Downies. Image credit ©stuartroyclarke @homesoffootball

Hi John! First of all what can technology do for football? How does it impact the game itself on the football pitch? Excuse my very boring remark but it's always the same game of men running after a ball after all...

Over the past few years, some interesting questions related to technology and football have emerged. For example, during last year's world cup, goal-line technology was introduced following many debates around whether or not football should remain this 'primitive' game or whether technology should intervene on the field.

Connecting with these concerns, last year, the National Football Museum commissioned James Bridle to write a piece about it. In his essay, Spectacular Sports Visualisations, Bridle analyzes football and computer vision technology.

We also collaborated with the festival FutureEverything on a body of works that looks at the intersection of data and football. The commissioned work was the Winning Formula futuristic newspaper by the Near Future Laboratory.

Near Future Laboratory, Winning Formula newspaper. Photo by Fabien Girardin

But even data and computer vision fit a conventional story of technology, it's about control, about making the game more consistent.

The exhibition Out of Play is different, it's not about showcasing the latest advances of technology but about looking at the more unusual points where technology and football are intersecting. And the outcomes are often weird, unfamiliar.

The Time of The Game is the major new commission which will be presented within the museum's immersive, 180 degree wrap-around, cinema space. Developed by Jer Thorp with Teju Cole and Mario Klingemann, the work brings together almost 2000 photos made by football fans at the same time as they were watching last year's World Cup. The images show private spaces, public spaces, pubs, etc. Most were taken inside people's homes. What they show is a communal moment shared by people from Nigeria, Brazil, England.... Smartphones equipped with cameras are now almost ubiquitous, you find them everywhere even in poorer countries and it's that technology that makes it possible to represent this moment shared globally by football fans.

Teju Cole, Jer Thorp & Mario Klingemann, The Time of the Game - a synchronized global view of the World Cup final

There is also a lot of humor in the show. We sometimes forget that football is fun. During our exchange of emails you mentioned the rather unpleasant coverage that FIFA is having at the moment. Do you think this will somehow reflect on the exhibition? (no need to answer this one if you feel the question is irrelevant)

The National Football Museum is an independent museum that tells the story of football in England from the perspective of the fans. The scrutiny FIFA is coming under is not really a surprise for fans as many have been dissatisfied with the federation for years. And this crisis only highlights the poignancy of a work like The Time of the Game.

The reason for this title is that we are looking for a common ground between art and football. (There aren't many!) But one of them is that both football and art have origins in play, they're both about introducing play into something. And in football, just like in art, it is important sometimes to remember not to take things too seriously.

Jason Eppink, We Tripped El Hadji Diouf (Yabanjin, Feb 06, 2011 07:46)

Jason Eppink, We Tripped El Hadji Diouf (Shmorky, Feb 07, 2011 23:17)

Jason Eppink, We Tripped El Hadji Diouf (Kieselguhr Kid, Feb 06, 2011 06:28)

The Humanoid Soccer Robots?! You're going to show them? a whole team? Will they be playing?

With the art programme, we want to broaden the scope of what the museum displays and collects so we've been developing new collaborations and partnerships for the future. Plymouth University is one of those partners. They are the leader in the UK in humanoid soccer robots and participate to the competition organised by the Federation of International Robot-soccer Association (FIRA) since 1997. The robots might look a bit basic but the ultimate goal of the competition is to have them challenge a team of human football champions by 2050. This might sound outlandish but if you think about it, Deep Blue defeated Garry Kasparov in 1997. No one would have imagine it was possible 35 years before the chess match.

For the exhibition, we will have one of the robots on display and the Plymouth robotic team will come and do a demo (no precise date yet.)

Humanoid robot team made by Plymouth University

Humanoid robot footballer made by Plymouth University. Image courtesy the National Football Museum

The robot will actually be shown in the same display as Soccket and Leg Shocker. So that's science, art and design, all in the same display. The energy generating ball might look a bit silly but the premise is interesting. Imagine it used in refugee camps for example. Children would play and generate electricity through kinetic action. The third work in the display is Fur's art piece. By new media standards, Leg Shocker is almost an antique. As a museum, we want to be able to collect new media works related to football. As we go along with the art programme, the team here is learning a lot: how to maintain these media works, what role they play as provocative objects, etc.

Fur, Legshocker. Enhanced PlayStation2 Controller, 2002

Fur, Legshocker. Enhanced PlayStation2 Controller, 2002

Uncharted Play, Soccket

Could you talk to us about World Scratch day, a series of football-based computing activities aimed at introducing children to code. How does it work? How exactly do kids use football to learn code?

Scratch is a programming language developed by MIT. We used the World Scratch Day to enable visitors and communities to get hands-on with technology and make computer games.

Over the course of the day, 80 children in groups of 6 or 7 came to the museum and were able to create simple animation works related to football, make simple games or work with Sonic Pi software to make their own version of the match of the day theme song. It was like a little hackathon for kinds. Ultimately, what we'd like to do is see groups come and use the museum over the weekends to learn some coding.

World Scratch Day at NFM. Photo National Football Museum

World Scratch Day at NFM. Photo National Football Museum

World Scratch Day at NFM. Photo National Football Museum

Next, i saw that artists are in residency at the NFM. Can you already tell us about their work there? What makes the robot lawnmower an artwork rather than just a robot lawnmower, for example?

We commissioned 4 artistic residencies that enable artists to develop works related to football clubs or to the communities around football. So far, artists were (unsurprisingly) more interested in working with more unusual communities than with football clubs.

Matthew Plummer Fernandez was curious about lawn mowers with computerized systems to design patterns on football pitches. Forest Green FC already has a robotic lawnmower which has its own algorithm for cutting the grass, it 'decides' which areas need to be cut more, which ones need to be cut less. It creates its own version of a field. Matthew wants to understand better the algorithm on board o the lawnmower and then create an online identity for this lawnmower and make it 'the 12th man' of the team.

Matthew Plummer Fernandez with robot lawnmower. Image courtesy of the National Football Museum

The other residency has Jen Southern and Chris Speed were interested work with Workington Uppies and Downies. Uppies and Downies is an ancient version of football - a game with no rules. Thousands of men try to move the ball in a scrum up the hill or down to the harbour. The artists placed GPS trackers on some of the men and will be making work based on the data obtained.

Uppies and Downies. Image credit ©stuartroyclarke @homesoffootball

Uppies and Downies. Image credit ©stuartroyclarke @homesoffootball

Uppies and Downies. Image credit ©stuartroyclarke @homesoffootball

Now i'm also curious about your own work at the museum. You head a rather edgy art program in an institution that doesn't usually cater for the traditional art crowd. I think this is a great opportunity you have there! i'm quite jealous. But how do you navigate the desire to show good art and the need to please the 30,000 visitors the museum welcomes each month?

Certain languages, certain conventions are used in established art institutions. At the National Football Museum we have our own etiquette: Interactivity is a given, for example. You can touch things. And the museum is not a white wall space. So the question for me was "How should art fit into this environment?" The challenge here is to exhibit art in a way that is sensitive to both the work and the environment.

The National Football Museum has some challenging displays such as one dedicated to the weapons of hooligans, or football disasters. It also raises critical questions, like the Football Association ban of women playing football on its premises until 1971.

Hooligan knives at the NFM. Photo by Zachary Kaplan

There is sometimes this assumption that making bold statements in an art museum context is going to have a huge impact but often artists are just making a gestures to people already informed about the issue they're trying to address. Basically, the established art community is often just talking to itself. The National Football Museum, I feel belongs more to the public realm and the works in the show have the potential to influence anyone among our visitors, not just a self-selected audience.

Thanks John!

Out of Play opens on 19 June at the National Football Museum, Manchester, UK. It remains open until 19 July 2015.

JavaScript mode seems to run two instances of my sketch at once? Any help would be awesome.

I've been working on a little game: http://www.openprocessing.org/sketch/203189

Sometimes it seems to work perfectly, other times (most often if I switch tabs for a few seconds or defocus/refocus the sketch) it will seem to start running two instances of the sketch and flicker between them.

I've tried putting in some debug measures, like displaying the variable 'focused' on the 'click here to play' screen. When the sketch flickers between the game and that screen, 'focused' shows as false on that screen even though I'm clicking repeatedly inside the window. I'm at a loss for what's going on here. There seem to be two separate copies of every variable, and one game can even end while the other continues.

Does anyone have any suggestions for how to fix this?

submitted by thegnome54
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Artist Profile: Julia Weist

The latest in a series of interviews with artists who have a significant body of work that makes use of or responds to network culture and digital technologies.

 Julia Weist, Reach (2015) at 107-37 Queens Blvd, Forest Hills, New York

Reach, your first public artwork, a billboard produced 14 x 48, is up on Queens Boulevard. Can you talk about that work and your thinking about the connection between public art and the public space online?

Reach is a billboard featuring an analog word that I made digital. This word was used in print in the 1600s, but rarely since and never online until earlier this year when I created a single search result for it. I worked carefully with Google's Webmaster Search Console to control the crawl and index of a webpage I made, after some missteps with DNS, nav menu, and even permalink indexing that created multiple hits for the word. The Reach webpage includes a short text about the enduring value of emptiness as well as some strong language requesting that no one else use this word anywhere else online.

The project is really an experiment in the viability of singularity on the internet, but also an attempt to render a digital impression physically. When the billboard goes up, I'll plug in a lamp in my home that will turn on each time the webpage is visited (through a series of interconnecting scripts, a circuit board, and an internet-enabled outlet).  

We're all pretty familiar with the idea of sharing a lone experience—think a solo hike in the middle of the wilderness—with scores of non-present entities online. But what we're less familiar with is the case where hundreds of thousands of people experience the same thing in real life, but create no shared digital footprint. I'm interested in the fragility of that proposition, and in measuring the project's progress through a domestic indicator.

Screengrab of the Google search result for the Reach project (2015)

Speaking of Google, what's the status of that Haim Steinbach piece called and to think it all started with a mouse (1995/2004), the Google search results of which you modified as part of your project After, About, With (2013–15)?

I'm no longer actively manipulating the search results for Haim Steinbach as I was in 2013–14, but the content I produced as part of that project still represents a majority of the sites returned on page one for and to think it all started with a mouse. During that year I worked with art writers and curators (and I also created my own online material) to weight the reading of mouse toward a viable, but deliberate, consensus of interpretation: this work is about Walt Disney. The intervention contextualized a typographic coincidence that I discovered in relation to his font choice—Apple Garamond—that I teased out in an homage.

I honestly never thought it would be so easy to control the "meaning" of another artist's work in an online environment, but it only required exploiting a simple algorithmic principle: recent, widely dispersed, corroborative material is likely to be "accurate" and of interest. Distributed homogeny is privileged by engines, privileged content is more likely to proliferate, and personalization/localization frameworks further promote information that's similar to information that's already been viewed. A dangerous echo chamber? Maybe. A powerful medium for artists? Certainly.

The days of the Disney ruse are numbered, though. Since the first of the year I've done a lot to contextualize the repeated readings. I published an artist book and have exhibited After, About, With twice (it's currently on view at Witte de With, Rotterdam). This article too will become part of that page one majority, especially since we've used Steinbach's name and the title of the piece several times already; but unlike the other references, these pieces are expository and big picture. The search results are shifting away from the fabricated "truthscape" and toward a new context that simply links my work with his.

Part of me was hoping that once Steinbach became aware of the project (through an exhibition we did together) he would fight back to reclaim his page one results. I imagined him hosting a series of his own carefully worded interviews where he discussed many different intentions for the work. So far that hasn't happened, but we'll see.

Julia Weist, After, About, With (2013-15)

Are you interested in longevity? So much of your work engages the internet as a constantly shifting site of meaning, and I wonder about your approach to this constant push-pull of changing readings.

I'm interested in creating an accurate portrait of longevity, as it pertains to both physical and digital meaning. Over the past nine years I've developed a collection of books discarded from American public libraries through routine processes to replace out-of-date information. This exercise proves that both online and offline meaning is so much a question of access. The word used in the Reach project was defined in context as two connected ropes, each with a noose on both ends. I take that as truth, partly because I know I will probably never find the word used anywhere else ever again. But you will take it as truth as well, because I've authored this meaning in several places and without challenge.

After, About, With culminated in an artist's book. You also wrote a (sexy!) novel and produce a lot of text around your works, which oftentimes has a very particular, almost romantic voice. How do you see the role of writing in your work? How does that relate to your background in library science?

I really enjoy writing and I find that it's often the only way to share the beginning, middle, and end of the very long-term and complicated projects I undertake. It's a part of my process that I look forward to, but I did find writing a romance novel very, very challenging. I like to write swift punches to the gut, a form of verse that is very much at home online, but more complex as a long-form style.

The library where I used to work was New York City's oldest lending library and it had incredible circulation records for some of New York's first avid readers. I remember noticing that John Jay's account had three consecutive checkouts of a three-volume novel called The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle and that he had read Arabian Nights and Don Quixote. It's hard to see that and not want to write in a way that moves people, where you can, within a visual practice. One of the things that I love most about sharing artwork online is how easy and natural it is to pair imagery with text, and I try to take advantage of that.

Julia Weist, With (detail, 2013)

You use Google extensively in your work, both as a medium—After, About, With includes "search result set" as part of the caption, and the impetus for Reach was, in a way, to depart from Google sphere—and as primary resources for Industry vs. Machine (2015, which was commissioned for an issue of Red Hook Journal that I edited), which looks at the way the Google In-depth results may or may not construct a canon. What are some of the questions, complications, and possibilities that Google poses to you?

In another interview a few years ago I called the collection of the New York Public Library an "alternative exhibition space," and to a certain extent I now feel that way about Google, too. The beauty of the Reach project is that it's a piece anyone can explore, if they have the right password. And of course it's thrilling to try to work the system, to beat the engine at its own game for your own particular ends. 

It's been said that there's a hierarchy from data to information to knowledge and wisdom.  Increasingly we're interfacing with the bottom tiers of that hierarchy through tools that have only limited, if any, embedded ethics. Exploiting, visualizing, and departing from that sphere are the ways I know for how to test those limits.


Julia Weist, Industry vs. Machine: Canonization, Localization, and the Algorithm (information visualization commissioned by CCS Bard for the Red Hook Journal, 2014)


Age: 31

Location: Brooklyn, NY and Durham, NY

How/when did you begin working creatively with technology?

My dad was an early Mac user who was excited about the creative potential of technology. He shared that passion with me from a young age. When I was in fifth grade we made a video together to accompany a report I was writing on the Loch Ness Monster. It showed Nessie swimming lazily in a lake in southwestern Connecticut, through the magic of early CGI!

Where did you go to school? What did you study?

I have a Bachelors of Fine Art from the Cooper Union and a Masters of Library & Information Science from Pratt Institution. I believe that the Cooper Union should return to a free education model or close. Nothing in between.

What do you do for a living, or what occupations have you held previously?

I'm an artist and an Information Scientist (at Whirl-i-gig, New York). Previously I was a librarian, a photo editor for biographical encyclopedias, and an artist's assistant for Janine Antoni and Spencer Finch. One of the best jobs I ever had was when I was 17 and I started my own business selling local baked goods at a farmer's market. I faced a few pie-related ethical dilemmas, which lead me to write to the old New York Times ethicist, Randy Cohen. We exchanged a few emails back and forth (btw, ladyjul@aol.com) but I concealed the fact that I was a teenager. 

What does your desktop or workspace look like? (Pics or screenshots please!):

I'm currently renovating a new shared studio space with my husband, artist Andrés Laracuente, but I often work in front of a computer with my dog Fischer by my side.