FAQ

From Rhizome Artbase


What is the ArtBase?

The ArtBase is an archive of born-digital art, including online works, artists’ software, videogames, poetry, electronic literature, and moving images. There are more than 2,200 works in the ArtBase.

Who is behind this?

Rhizome is an arts organization based in New York founded by artist Mark Tribe in 1996. Rhizome is a 501(c)3 non-profit and became a partner organization of the New Museum in 2003, though it remains independent.

The new implementation of the ArtBase was made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Where did all this artwork come from?

The ArtBase was founded in 1999, accepting submissions from artists on a radically open basis before moving to more filtered and curated submission policies. For more on this history, see the About page.

What is a variant? What is inception? Why do you use these terms?

All of the distinct manifestations of an artwork, as well as forms of documentation, are called variants. An artwork’s inception is simply its creation date.

While these terms are unusual, they help to distinguish different aspects of born-digital artworks that are important to their development and history. For instance, an online performance might only last a day (from inception to conclusion), but the web site created in the process could remain online (remain active). Digital artworks are also frequently, copied, changed to work in different contexts, or completely re-done from scratch while still being considered the same piece. Variant is an umbrella term that considers these possibilities. Read more about LOD in the ArtBase User Guide.

Can I use an image I found on the ArtBase?

Unless the artwork has a published license that states otherwise, all artworks in the ArtBase are presumed to be copyrighted to the artists. You can use them as you would other copyrighted materials, such as for personal use and research purposes, or you can ask the artist’s permission to use them in other ways.

Can I include an artwork from ArtBase in an exhibition?

Artworks from the ArtBase should be included in exhibitions, online or off, only with the artists’ permission, unless they state otherwise. In addition, artworks that are made available on Rhizome’s infrastructure (links identified as “ArtBase Variant”) should be included in online or offline exhibitions only with Rhizome’s prior approval. For exhibition requests, please contact curatorial@rhizome.org.

How do I submit my artwork to the ArtBase?

In order to better serve artists from under-represented communities, Rhizome now grows the archive by invitation and through targeted open calls for submission on a periodic basis. To stay up-to-date as open calls are announced, sign up for Rhizome News.

How can I partner with the ArtBase?

Our resources are limited but we are keen to form partnerships that expand and deepen the ArtBase and/or support other small- and medium-sized born-digital archives. Organizations and individuals with partnership proposals can email research@rhizome.org. We especially encourage partnership proposals from communities underrepresented in the ArtBase.

How do I request an amendment to my work in the ArtBase?

Requests to make changes to ArtBase descriptions, artist names, or other data may be sent to curatorial@rhizome.org.

Requests to remove artworks from the ArtBase may be sent to artbase@rhizome.org. We will remove the works within sixty days at most. Rhizome also reserves the right to remove artworks from the ArtBase. Artists will be notified of a removal.

How do I find things on the ArtBase?

All artworks in the archive can be browsed by date or by artist’s (or collective’s) name. More complex queries can be made—for more information on this, please see the Query page. We are working on providing a keyword search, too.

Why does the new ArtBase interface look so defaulty?

We have been customizing the open source software Wikibase as core infrastructure for ArtBase. To gather feedback, we made the site public while we are still actively working on enabling a range of additional features. A visual makeover will follow suit.