“The Art Happens Here: Net Art’s Archival Poetics” will feature sixteen works from throughout net art history, showcasing a wide range of forms—websites, software, sculpture, graphics, books, and merchandise—while offering a space for considering the internet as social process, material infrastructure, and lived experience. The works on view have been selected from “Net Art Anthology,” Rhizome’s major online exhibition featuring one hundred works that sketch a possible canon for net art. Presented online at anthology.rhizome.org, “Net Art Anthology” represents a major archival effort, leveraging Rhizome’s unique expertise in the history of network culture and the display and preservation of born-digital artworks. Open-ended, performative, and ephemeral, artworks that circulate on and respond to the internet often survive only as fragments and traces, offering glimpses of a larger networked context that can never be fully grasped.
Among the works on view will be Shu Lea Cheang’s Garlic=RichAir (2002), an interactive online trading game and performance in which garlic functions as currency in an imagined postcapitalist future; Alexei Shulgin’s 386DX (c. 1998), the world’s first cyberpunk rock band, which performs MIDI and text-to-speech renditions of musical hits; Sister Unn’s (2012), an installation by Bunny Rogers and Filip Olszewski based on a mysterious storefront in Queens that led passersby to an equally enigmatic website, exemplifying the links between real and virtual space; and a new restoration of Mark Tribe’s Starrynight (1999), a landmark artist-made interface to Rhizome’s listserve archives that Tribe created with Alexander Galloway and Martin Wattenberg.
Shu Lea Cheang
Entropy8Zuper! (Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn)
YoHa (Graham Harwood and Matsuko Yokokoji)
Brian Mackern, et. al.
MTAA (Michael Sarff and Tim Whidden)
Bunny Rogers and Filip Olszewski
Mark Tribe with Alexander Galloway and Martin Wattenberg
Rhizome champions born-digital art and culture through commissions, exhibitions, digital preservation, and software development. Founded by artist Mark Tribe as a listserv that included some of the first artists to work online, Rhizome has played an integral role in the history of contemporary art engaged with digital technologies and the internet. Since 2003, Rhizome has been an affiliate in residence at the New Museum.
This exhibition is curated by Michael Connor, Artistic Director, Rhizome, with Aria Dean, Assistant Curator. The exhibition will be accompanied by a major catalogue featuring critical and historical essays by artists, curators, and theorists alongside hundreds of archival images from the history of net art.