Helen J. Burgess
Washington State University
Commentary by Jason Nelson
Citation: Burgess, Helen J. and Jason Nelson. “Introduction/Commentary.” Hyperrhiz: New Media Cultures, no. 1, 2005. doi:10.20415/hyp/001.i01
Abstract: Introduction to the inaugural issue of Hyperrhiz, with commentary by Jason Nelson.
This, our inaugural issue, has been slow in the making, but finally it's here! Along the way, we've struggled with the (relatively) new worlds of orderly online refereeing, and the (unfortunately, very) new world of content management systems. Some features have begun for good (the HR community weblog), some have been successfully ported from our sister journal Rhizomes (the Blog Report), and some never quite got going (the Wiki, a task for next time).
Our authors, for this inaugural edition, are just as varied in their approaches. New media art/artifacts/projects (is there such a term? a question for the blog) seem to have hit a technological multiplex: which direction to go, and what to use to get there? There seems a very clear division in the projects we've chosen for Issue 01: between the complex interconnected lexia of hypertext, in Joe Milutis' F2F and Martin, Casey-Sawicki, Collins and Maxey-Billings' A Rhizomatic Wisdom Project, and the more visual/performative style that informs 2D animation projects such as babel's Zinhar, Jason Nelson's Hermeticon, and Sonya Nielsen's Antidiluvian Fragments.
Does this amount to a splintering in the world of net art, between the text/lexical and the artformative? Perhaps. But consider the other modes that have also gone into this first issue: the hierarchical structuring of the content management system, ordered in section/category/item form; the long-form chronology/journal/forum of the weblog, and the old-style essays that populate the issue in introductions, biographies, and reportage.
In short, this genre seems to contain rhetorical multitudes right now. Let's hope it continues to surprise us.
— December 2005
3.C.: Digital artists/writers are strange. Most come from outside the traditional art/theory/writing arena, cupping borders in clay hands, arms moist and bending somersaults. They teach themselves, align their own rules/traditions, build grass fires, carbon fields, the most direct line to fertility. Codes/sources are broken and rebuilt, spare part mobile homes, manufactured communities connected by car alarms and elm trees, allergens downloading, uploaded.
15.A.: Hyper, fast roots, depth for what fells trees and drilling for artesian water. This journal is a harbor, cut from horse paths, drowning and tired gallops to deeper ports. A rare commitment to providing/presenting artworks, interactive creatures, a dynamic kennel, free roaming overnight stays. The immediate of immediacy and extension of beautiful and curious works into larger worlds, intercontinental flights along wires, warm clouds, such vaporous screens.
45.F.: Perhaps comparisons are a capitalist weapon, but I cannot outrun my opinion that the works within this first edition of the revived HyperRhiz are better than any of the works we published before. And perhaps is a chance spin, a blinking payoff, but perhaps these alluring critters establish these digital artworks as a permanent genre, potted plants, roots through holes, extending into concrete cracks, diving for nutrients and building atmosphere from exhalation.
— Jason Nelson