Rhizome, the digital arts organization affiliated with the New Museum in New York, has announced the list of participants for the ninth edition of its annual Seven on Seven conference, which pairs seven artists with seven tech-world figures for one-on-one collaborations.
This year’s edition of the conference—on April 22 at the New Museum—will also see the relaunch of a Seven on Seven website as an independent platform from the rhizome.org site. Rhizome has partnered with the team behind the new .art top-level domains to create a new hub and archive for this year’s conference. The site will live-stream the conference and host content related to each project’s working process. It will also include, over time, an archive from the past eight editions of Seven on Seven and ephemera related to the conference.
This year’s edition includes pioneering net art figure Olia Lialina, who recently had an exhibition and performance series at The Kitchen in New York, Prix Net Art winner Constant Dullaart, and the collective DIS, which recently curated the 9th Berlin Biennale.
“Every year with Seven on Seven, there’s this tension between having a grouping that stands together as a coherent whole and making sure each pair is right unto itself,” Rhizome artistic director Michael Connor told ARTnews. “It serves as a way to respond to the current moment of technology and culture.”
Connor said the team at Rhizome has been particularly interested in ways that technology, particularly during the past election cycle, has played a role in shaping public opinion. Since the run-up to the presidential election, in which racist, sexist, homophobic, and xenophobic statements were broadcast far and wide, Rhizome shifted much of its programming toward a subtle but pointed political focus. The organization moved up the second edition of its Open Score conference to December, citing a “precarious and violent political moment.”
Later that month, Rhizome launched its two-year online exhibition series, the Net Art Anthology, which looks at narrating the history of pre-net art and early net art, beginning in the 1980s, up through contemporary digital art practices. As of late, the exhibition series has taken on increasingly political undertones, beginning with the first work, A Cyberfeminist Manifesto for the 21st Century (1991) by VNS Matrix, and including Electronic Disturbance Theater’s 1997 conceptual work-cum-activist tool Floodnet and Cornelia Sollfrank’s 1997 feminist intervention Female Extension.
When asked if this year’s Seven on Seven would take on a similar political note, Connor said, “There’s always a strong time signature to Seven on Seven. People are responding to a context. I do expect there to be a lot of opposition to Trump and global fascism, based on initial conversations I’ve had. That’s where people are in their practices. Though that’s not true of all of them.”
Some projects from previous editions of Seven on Seven have proven extremely political, particularly two collaborations—between Hito Steyerl and Grant Olney Passmore, and Claire L. Evans and Tracy Chou—in 2016 and, a year earlier, another with Ai Weiwei and Jacob Appelbaum, which filmmaker Laura Poitras documented.
Connor added, “Rhizome’s focus on emerging practices and supporting the way in which the network allows for new practices take shape—which are often disruptive—allows us to amplify voices that have particularly profound critiques of the political situation.”
The full lineup follows below. Full biographies of each participant are also available on the Seven on Seven website.
- Artist Jayson Musson and Jonah Peretti, Founder and CEO, Buzzfeed
- Artist collective and New Inc resident DIS and Rachel Haot, Managing Director, 1776
- Artist Bunny Rogers and Nozlee Samadzadeh, Engineer, Vox
- Artist Olia Lialina and Mike Tyka, artificial intelligence researcher at Google
- Artist Addie Wagenknecht and Cindy Gallop, Founder, MakeLoveNotPorn and IfWeRanTheWorld
- Artist Constant Dullaart and Chris Paik, Partner, Thrive Capital
- Artist Miao Ying and Mehdi Yahyanejad, Founder, Balatarin and Net Freedom Pioneers