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New Museum and Rhizome to co-present 'First Look' a series of projects showcasing art on the net
David Kravitz and Frances Stark, Opening the Kimono (2014). iMessage conversation.

NEW YORK, NY.- The New Museum announced that First Look, its ongoing series of digital projects, will now be co-curated and co-presented by longtime affiliate Rhizome. First Look was launched in 2012 by New Museum curator Lauren Cornell with “Image Atlas” by artist Taryn Simon and developer Aaron Swartz and has since showcased twenty-three new digital projects by such artists as Xavier Cha, Jon Rafman, Casey Jane Ellison, and Jacolby Satterwhite. Going forward, First Look will feature eight digital projects yearly that will be presented on both the New Museum and Rhizome websites: and First Look will capitalize on both institutions’ expertise in digital art and broaden the audience for the program, with an additional aim to preserve each work through Rhizome’s singular online archive of digital art, ArtBase. “The New Museum and Rhizome are both uniquely committed to art engaged with digital technology,” says Cornell, Curator, 2015 Triennial, Museum as Hub and Digital Projects. “Bringing our curatorial efforts and communities together around this program will lend even greater support to featured works.”

The first project in the series will be by artist Frances Stark and senior Snapchat developer David Kravitz. Titled Opening the Kimono (2014), this original video documents Stark and Kravitz’s May presentation at the New Museum as part of Rhizome's Seven on Seven Conference, an ongoing series that pairs artists and technologists for a one-day collaboration with the prompt to develop an idea and present it to the public the following day. For their presentation, the duo logged in from offstage and conducted a dialogue via iMessage that was shown onscreen. It was an absurdist startup demo in the form of a sex chat, satirizing tech culture while also acknowledging their own participation in that culture.

The resulting comedic tone and salacious content were unsurprising: Kravitz is not only a developer, but also an amateur comedian, while Stark has employed sex chat in her studio practice in the past. Perhaps most notable among these projects is her 2011 work My Best Thing, a feature-length video of her chats with two online suitors/cam-sex partners, re-performed by generic 3D-animated avatars with text-to-speech voices.

Prepared but unscripted, Kravitz and Stark’s conversation was a keenly observed send-up of the tech industry, caricaturing the hype that often surrounds vague new products and the claims of altruism that sometimes surround very profitable ones. The performance—viewable through First Look as a screen-capture video based on the original, unedited chat log—is rich with insight on sex, technology, labor, and innovation.

Forthcoming projects in First Look will include works by Miranda July (to be launched September 2014) and Amalia Ulman (to be launched October 2014). Click here to view past First Look projects.

First Look will be curated by Lauren Cornell, Curator, 2015 Triennial, Museum as Hub and Digital Projects, and Michael Connor, Editor and Curator, Rhizome.

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