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Mark Tribe

Mark Tribe (born 1966, San Francisco, CA) is an artist and curator interested art, technology, and politics. He is an Assistant Professor of Modern Culture and Media at Brown Universitymarker and the co-author of New Media Art (2006). He received a MFA in Visual Art from the University of California, San Diegomarker La Jolla, CA. in 1994 and a BA in Visual Art from Brown Universitymarker in 1990. He currently resides in New York City and Providence, RI. His father is the constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe.


Mark Tribe has focused on developing a critical understanding of the complex and interdependent relationships between technology and culture. Mark’s engagement with new media art has been motivated less by a fascination with new media technologies themselves than by a recognition that, in the hands of artists, these technologies can open up unexpected forms of political action, cultural participation, and aesthetic experience.

Tribe's art work has been exhibited at the ZKMmarker Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, the Ars Electronicamarker Festival in Linz, and Gigantic Art Space in New York City.

As a curator, Tribe founded the online resource for new media artists in 1996. He held the Art and Technology Lectures at Columbia University. Tribe has also organized shows at the New Museum of Contemporary Artmarker, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Artmarker and inSite_05.

"In 2005, Mark curated Tijuana Calling , an online exhibition of five commissioned projects that make use of the Internet to explore various features of the Tijuana/San Diego border region, including cultural tourism, border dentistry, transborder narco-tunnels, vigilante surveillance drones, and the journalistic hype surrounding border crime. These projects grew out of a year-long process of research and investigation, including multiple site visits and artist residencies. Although all five projects exist online, they adopt a wide range of artistic strategies, from gameplay to tactical literature."

"Mark’s interest in open source culture began in 2000, when he over saw the OpenMouse , a series of monthly events that took place at FUN, a media lounge in Manhattan's Chinatown. New media artists, Musicians, and DJs were invited to sign up for hour-long performance slots in a multi-channel "open mic" format. Large computer-driven projection screens combined with MP3s, streaming audio, and experimental electronic instruments to create a layered audiovisual environment. OpenMouse incorporated three key elements of open source culture: grass-roots participation, collaborative authorship, and the free sharing of intellectual property."

"In 1996, Mark started to sense the need for an online space where artists engaged with new media could develop a critical discourse around their work, Mark started an email list called Rhizome. He had come across this odd botanical word for a horizontal root in the work of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, who, in A Thousand Plateaus (1987), invoke the term as a trope for a kind of distributed network that "ceaselessly establishes connections between semiotic chains, organizations of power, and circumstances relative to the arts, sciences, and social struggles."

"The Rhizome email list grew quickly. With the help of a few collaborators, Mark launched web site on which the contents of the email conversation could be accessed via a searchable archive. Over the next seven years, Rhizome grew into a nonprofit organization with a variety of programs, including events, exhibitions, commissions, and what is now the world's largest archive of new media art projects. Mark attribute Rhizome's success in large part to the Deleuzian concept after which it is named. Rhizome's programs are based on open communication networks that invert the top-down structure of most art publications and venues. This model, now known as open publishing, is another example of open source culture."

"In 1999 Mark Tribe collaborated with Alex Galloway and Martin Wattenberg on StarryNight, an alternative interface to Rhizome's text archive in which each article is represented by a star whose brightness is determined by the number of times the text has been read. Bright stars thus represent popular texts, and vice versa. Clicking on a star reveals a list of keywords relating to the corresponding text. When a user clicks on a keyword, the interface draws a constellation linking all of the stars whose corresponding texts share that keyword, enabling users to navigate the archive by clicking on the stars in various keyword-constellations. Working on StarryNight enabled Mark to think of Rhizome not only as a web site and arts organization, but also as a social sculpture. The German artist Joseph Beuys coined the term social sculpture to describe a kind of participatory art work in which speech and ideas form the raw materials of a transformative social space in which everyone becomes an artist to the extent that the boundaries between art and everyday life are blurred."

His most recent work is the Port Huron Project (2006), a collection of reenacted protest speeches from the 1960's and 70's. Mark Tribe sat down with Christina Ulke, and said, " I came up with the idea as a response to the relative lack of political activity at Brown Universitymarker, where I teach. As it happens, I went to college at Brown, and when I arrived there as a freshman in 1985, students had set up a shanty town in the center of campus to protest the university’s investments in South Africa. Twenty years later, and three years into a bloody and misguided war, the campus is quiet. No protests, no flyers. And my students never mention the war unless I bring it up. It’s not that they are in favor of the war. On the contrary, when asked, they all say they oppose it. But they don’t think they can do anything to stop the war. Many of them were active in the 2004 election, and were deeply disillusioned by the outcome. Others are just too busy with their own lives to give it much thought. I wanted to do something to help them (and me, for that matter) connect with the sense of possibility that characterized the New Left movements of the 60s and 70s." and also

Two years ago Mark Tribe and Reena Jana wrote the book "New Media Art". It has since been re-processed onto the web through the website [614488] and is summarized into the following Wiki article, [614489]. Mark Tribe writes about the different types of art forms that can be found within the internet, computer, video and virtual. New Media concerns are often derived from the telecommunications, mass media and digital modes of delivery the artworks involve, with practices ranging from conceptual to virtual art, performance to installation.


  • Port Huron Project: remakes of historic protest speeches (2006 - ongoing)
  • Bodybuilder Webcam: an online art project for Bodybuilder & Sportsman Gallery (2004)
  • Revelation 2.0: an online art project commissioned by Computer Fine Arts (2003)
  • Revelation 1.0: an online art project commissioned by Amnesty International (2002)
  • StarryNight: an alternative interface to’s text archive (1999)
  • Traces of a Constructed City: an online art project for Computer Aided Curating (1995)
  • Carpark: a site specific public art project for inSITE '94 (1994)
  • Apparitions: a virtual reality environment and installation for inSITE '94 (1994)


  • "Cory Arcangel: An Interview by Mark Tribe." Uovo Magazine, no. 11. 252-265.
  • New Media Art. Cologne: Taschen Verlag. With Reena Jana.
  • "Wiki Directory of Academic Art and Technology Programs." With Michael Naimark.
  • "Tijuana Calling," Atopia Journal, October 2005. 69-75.
  • Curatorial essay. ARCO'05 Catalogue. Madrid: ARCO/Ifema, Feria de Madrid. 697-700.
  • "Symposium: Metamorphosis of Artists' Rights in the Digital Age," Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts. Vol. 28, No. 4. Transcript of panel remarks.
  • Eyebeam reBlog . Guest editor, July 10-23, 2005.
  • 2003 "The Global Media Art Community." Web Fictions: Dispersed Presences in Electronic Networks. Ed. Manfred Fassler, Ursula Hentschlaeger, Selko Wiener, eds. New York: Springer. 134-137.
  • "Rhizome TextBase, Rhizome ArtBase, Rhizome Ephemera." Interarchive: Archival Practices and Sites in the Contemporary Art Field. Cologne: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walter Koenig. 263-265.
  • "Hot List," ArtForum, March 2001.
  • Transcript of lecture. B.Read /6: Curating New Media. Ed. Sarah Cook, Beryl Graham, Sarah Martin. Gateshead: Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art.
  • Foreword. Manovich, Lev. The Language of New Media. Cambridge: MIT Press.
  • "Net Games Now." Game Show Catalogue. North Adams: MASS MOCA. 54-67.
  • "Email Performance." Zing Magazine. Issue 12. 180-194.

External links


  • Mark Tribe and Reena Jana, New Media Art, Taschen, 2006. ISBN 3822830410.
  • Foreword. Manovich, Lev. The Language of New Media, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2001. ISBN 0262632551.
  • Kennedy, Randy. "Giving New Life to Protests of Yore", The New York Times, July 28, 2007.
  • Tribe, Mark, "Research Description" [614490] April 29, 2008


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