Since the days Albrecht Durer was using the printing press to Nam June Paik's experiments with video, artists have been adopting new technologies for their artistic expression. And in 1994, things were no different when artists began experimenting with the Internet as part of their palette. A global art movement began exploring cultural, social and aesthetic possibilities using the Web, video surveillance cameras, wireless phones, hand-held computers and GPS devices. And these were all on view--flattened and bound--in a paperback book, published by Rhizome.org on June 2nd at the New Museum of Contemporary Art on West 22nd Street.
Rhizome.org founder (and co-author) Mark Tribe was greeting guests at the door and critic and editor (and co-author) Reena Jana was surrounded by admiring fans as I arrived on yet another rainy June evening. One of the many reasons why this book is so exciting is that it helps continue to spotlight new media art as a specific movement. The book and the artists contained therein focus on emerging technologies as well as thematic content and conceptual strategies. As Rhizome's website states, "New Media art often involves appropriation, collaboration, and the free sharing of ideas and expressions, and frequently addresses the political ramifications of technology around issues of identity, commercialization, privacy, and the public domain. Many New Media artists are profoundly aware of their art historical antecedents, making reference to Dada, Pop Art, Conceptual art, Performance art, and Fluxus."
The influx of guests was steady, like the rain, and after exchanging hellos and pleasantries with Mark and his daughter and wife, they continued back to where the intoxicatingly sweet (and just plain intoxicating) drinks were being served. Centered around the book-median in the main area of the museum's bookstore were Frette, Inc.'s web & e-commerce director Cecilia Pagkalinawan, Court TV's ad sales/marketing director Courtney Brown and Jumpcut's Marc Scarpa (http://www.marcscarpa.org). Nerve.com’s CEO Rufus Griscom was chatting it up with another small group of East Village-grunge-art-types. (Oh, excuse me, new media folk.)
As I flipped flipped through the book—my eye caught three of my favorite new media artists: RTMark, Ken Goldberg and Hi-D. After this flash of inspiration I went outside to chat with a seasoned and grizzly artist and waited for my friend Kristie Bogle, an artist in her own right, to arrive before we headed out for a vivacious and lively dinner in the old Le Gamin 9th Avenue space.