From: Mark Tribe <>
Date: Monday, 28 October 2013 04:05
To: Charlotte Frost <[log in to unmask]>
Cc: CRUMB List <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: The origins of Rhizome
On Oct 1, 2013, at 6:54 AM, Charlotte Frost wrote:
> Hi Mark
> To kick things off, I'd like to ask you a bit about how Rhizome got started.
Sorry it's taken me so long to reply.
> I'm aware you were living in Berlin and had been involved in Nettime, but what
> drove you to set up another list?
I met Pit Schultz, who started nettime with Gert Lovink, at Eva Grubinger's
house in Berlin a few days after I moved there in April 2005. Eva had a
project called Computer Aided Curating, or C@C, which I believe was the
first online platform for net-based art. Pit and I both did projects for
[log in to unmask] Pit was a resident at Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, and I visited him at his
studio there that summer. He was talking about starting an email list on the
"theory and politics of the nets," as I think he put it. I was interested in
starting an email list focused on new media art, which I saw as the
intersection of emerging media technologies and contemporary art--a platform
for the exchange of information and ideas. It seemed to me that our
interests were different enough that we should start separate lists.
Nettime launched a few months before Rhizome.
> Did you have any involvement with any earlier art-focused BBSs?
No BBSs, but I was active on alt.art.com <http://alt.art.com> , a usenet
news group, in 1994.
> How soon did Rachel Greene and Alex Galloway join you and what were you each
> responsible for?
I believe Alex started as an intern in the summer of 1996. He continued to
work on Rhizome while he was getting his PdD at Duke, working from North
Carolina when school was in session and in New York over summer and winter
breaks. His main responsibilities were developing and maintaining the
website and database: MySQL, PERL, PHP and HTML. He was also involved in
editorial. After he finished his coursework at Duke, he continued at Rhizome
full-time until he joined the faculty at NYU. Rachel started as our editor
in late 1996 or early 1997. She continued for a few years, left to work at a
creative firm called Funny Garbage, then came back to replace me as director
from 2003 to 2005, when Lauren Cornell became the director.
> How did Rhizome change and evolve over the years you were involved with it?
It went from outside to inside.
> Did the list take on a distinct role in the media arts community and if so,
> how would you describe that role?
I think what made Rhizome distinct from the other online platforms in the
mid-late 1990s was that it was focused exclusively on new media art. Other
platforms were broader: The Thing was about contemporary art and new media
art, and nettime was about network theory, politics, and culture. Like
nettime and The Thing, Rhizome was very open and inclusive. Anybody could