Andrew Thompson on Mon, 10 Mar 2003 02:30:14 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> After Rhizome

AFTER RHIZOME  [the website]

Is a website that was started after Mark Tribe from Rhizome unfolded
his plans of world domination of all resources at deaf03.
It offers several good reasons why not to invest sweat, time and money
in the portal Rhizome.
Also it will give critical reviews of websites that offer the same or
even better content that Rhizome nowadays offers for money.

AFTER RHIZOME [questions & answers]

Why pay $5.00 and become part of a "community" where some are less equal
than others?
Examples: As member of the the non- profit organization Rhizome Mark 
Tribe paid himself $47,260 in 2000, Alex Galloway was paid $36,692 (and 
he is listed as a part time employee) source: In the "some are less 
equal than others strategy" of Rhizome, some people are paid money for 
writing some lines (the German critic Tilman Baumgärtel for instance was 
paid several times for small parts of text), while die- hard Rhizome 
contributors till so far never saw a penny. In fact it's even worse, 
because this people nowadays even have to pay $5.00 to continue 

Why pay $5.00 and become part of a "community" that takes all the rights 
of what you post or submit and doesn't even have to inform you what they 
do with your material? An example: You posted several mails in which you 
explained your ideas to the Rhizome mailinglist as part of a discussion. 
Six years later Rhizome is asked to publish a book and they decide to 
include your material. According to the Rhizome Membership Agreement, 
they don't have to ask you for permission to put your old ideas in the 
book, also they don't have to pay you anything for your text although 
they might get a lot of money for it, even worse they even don't have to 
inform you that you are in the book. One look at the Member 
Agreement and you see it's even worse than Microsoft's. Here is a quote 
of the most terrifying part: "You grant a non-exclusive, 
worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual license to: (i) store Your Content on's servers; (ii) distribute Your Content on the 
web site and through email lists; and (iii) reproduce, publish, perform, 
display, adapt, distribute or otherwise make available Your Content in 
web sites, books, CD-ROMs or any other form or medium whatsoever, 
whether now known or as may hereafter be developed." ¹
Read the Member Agreement in full:

Why pay $5.00 and become part of a "community" which is used as a 
shameless career vehicle by it's crew members (Mark Tribe/ Alex 
Galloway)? Example: For years the projects of Mark Tribe and Alex 
Galloway were the only fixed items on Rhizome's frontpage. Also Rhizome 
correspondence was used for self promotion and all net.projects in which 
one of them was involved were always covered in Rhizome's digest, a 
weekly newsletter about and related subject with over 6000 

Why pay $5.00 when you can get the same or more information elsewhere on 
the net for free?
Find all alternatives at:

After Rhizome [Rhizome's only fair argument]

Rhizome's only fair argument for asking money is expansion. You can 
ofcourse argue why community members have to pay for expansion while 
there's also a lot of funding money and there were also always a lot of 
gifts. You can also doubt what benefits the community has from a lot of 
these new services, as for example who needs webspace? But 
shouldn't we in the first place know if and why this expansion is 
needed. The expansion argument looks to me like an argument that is used 
by multinationals that only are focused on the growth rates to satisfy 
their shareholders, but Rhizome has no shareholders... And there we have 
possible the weak spot. It looks like the Rhizome crew lost contact not 
with it's shareholders but with it's roots, and growth became a goal in 
itself, and now the crew is pushing forward without any self criticism 
or open to any criticism by others. An example of this is the $ 5.00 
contribution. Though it was announced and it looked like there would be 
an open debate, the community never had a real vote in the $5.00 issue. 
Very reasonable suggestions as for example free access for people who 
had submitted projects to the artbase never were seriously considered if 
you ask my opinion. The Rhizome crew just pushed all things through 
without really listening. Alternatives like concentrating on one or 2 
activities were never even considered seriously, instead Rhizome began 
more and more to act like a monopolist that wants to incorporate 
everything from artbase to the courses and from mailinglist to 
internet provider because others could maybe get this marketshare.
Rhizome is only acceptable to me when there's a reasonable Member 
Agreement and not some kind of license, when contributors are somehow 
equally rewarded, when there's a clear structure and no entangled 
interests between the people that manage Rhizome that are at the same 
time artists that use the organization for self- promotion. I believe 
that Rhizome could have gone other ways and serve the community 
better without the Member Agreement, services nobody is waiting for and 
5 bucks rule for everybody. Though the points I just touched could be 
easily changed I have my doubts they ever will, just because the plans 
Rhizome made in the past never changed. Just to prove this point I want 
to point to the standard strategy Rhizome's voice Mark Tribe always 
adopts, he is always playing the card the he listens, always expresses 
concern and last but not least his standard answer is "we will look into 
it". What means ofcourse he doesn't. This strategy of fake involvement 
is not only my personal experience but can also be checked in archives 
of several mailinglists like nettime. Just one example is of the 
net.artist META that forwarded his email "correspondence"² with Mark 
Tribe to several mailinglists to open a discussion. The last emails from 
this correspondence confirms the fake involvement and the always well 
known answer that Mark Tribe has ready: "it sounds like it might be a 
good idea, we will look at it", what in fact means end of discussion. 
But enough of this, let's look at all the alternatives, that are free, 
plenty and sometimes offer an even a better quality.

Vladimir Kovacevic, march 6 2003

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