Rhizome Commissions Program 2009


In 2009, Rhizome will award seven commissions with fees ranging from $3000-$5000. This year, Rhizome has expanded our scope, formerly focused strictly on Internet-based art to encompass the broad range of practices that fall under new media art. This includes projects that engage creatively engage new and networked technologies to works that reflect on the impact of these tools and media in a variety of forms. With this expanded format, commissioned works can take the final form of online works, performance, video, installation or sound art. Projects can be made for the context of the gallery, the public, the web or networked devices.

This year, all applicants will be reviewed by a selected jury and several awards will be granted through Rhizome’s membership in an open, community vote.

Proposal submission takes place online. The deadline is midnight on Monday, March 31, 2008 on 13 April 2008.


To submit a proposal, applicants must sign up for a free Rhizome account. To sign up, please visit: http://rhizome.org/preferences/register.rhiz

There are two parts to proposal submission:

1. You must create a proposal in the form of a web page that includes the following key elements:

  • Project description (500 words max) that discusses your project’s core concept, how you will realize your project, and your project’s feasibility. If you plan to work with assistants, consultants, or collaborators, their roles and (if possible) names should be included.
  • You are encouraged, but not required, to include a production timeline and a project budget, which should include your own fee. If you have other funding sources for your project, please indicate this in your budget.
  • Your resume or Curriculum Vitae. For collaborative groups, provide either a collective CV or the CV’s of all participants.
  • Up to 5 work samples. Note: More is not necessarily better. You should include only work samples relevant to your proposal. If your proposal has nothing to do with photography, don&8217;t include images from your photography portfolio. Please provide contextualizing information (title, date, medium, perhaps a brief description) to help the jury understand what they are looking at. The work sample can take any form, as long as it is accessible via the web.

When your web-based proposal is complete, you are ready for Part Two of the proposal process:

2. Submit your proposal for a Rhizome commission via an online form at: http://rhizome.org/commissions/

We do not accept proposals via email, snail mail, or other means. Proposals will be accepted until 12:00AM EST (that’s New York time) on Monday, March 31, 2008. The online submissions form requires the following information:

  • Name of artist or collaborative group
  • Email address
  • Place of residence (city, state/province, country)
  • Title of the project (this can be tentative)
  • Brief description of project (500 characters max)
  • URL of web-based proposal
  • A one-paragraph narrative biography

Voting will take place at the web-based proposals. When you upload your proposal, you will receive HTML code for the Rhizome Commissions Voting Tool. You must embed this code at the bottom of your web-based proposal.

Commission Timeline

  • March 31, 2008 13 April 2008: Deadline for Proposals
  • April 1, 2008: Initial phase of voting begins
  • May 1, 2008: Final phase of voting begins
  • May 15, 2008: Final phase of voting ends
  • June 2008: Winners announced

2009 Jury

To be announced!


This year, Rhizome has a new voting process. See below. Please note that we reserve the right to change the process below at any point, if we feel changes are necessary to ensure the privacy, fairness, and feasibility of the process.

  • Jury vote
    • The Jury vote consists of two rounds. In the first, each juror reviews all the proposals and is assigned a particular group to read in-depth. The juror is asked to to present this group to the rest of the jury, arguing for or against particular proposals. Rhizome staff members on the jury will review all proposals. At the end of the initial cycle, the jurors will cast a vote on all the proposals; the top 25 will progress to the second and final round, in which the jurors will discuss the group and finally cast a vote that will determine five of the winning projects.
      See below for details on the Voting Process. It applies to both categories of proposal. Please note that we reserve the right to change the process below at any point, if we feel changes are necessary to ensure the privacy, fairness, and feasibility of the process.
  • Member vote
    • To be eligible to vote in the Commissions process, you need to be a Rhizome member. Members who have submitted proposals projects are welcome to vote.
      Each Rhizome member should only vote once, regardless of how many valid memberships that person may have. We reserve the right to eliminate any votes if we believe that they come from a member who is voting with more than one membership.
  • Initial stage
    • Rhizome members choose finalists from the initial pool of applicants. They will be asked to vote Yes or No for any and all proposals, and will be able to change their votes at any time in the initial stage. Although members will be able to vote on any proposal at any time, they will also be given an interface that encourages them to review proposals with the least number of votes, so that all proposals will receive roughly the same number of votes.
      Under this system, no member will be required to review all the proposals. However, the more proposals you vote for, the more influence you will have over which proposals proceed to the final stage.
      At the end of the first stage, each proposal will be ranked according to the percentage of Yes votes it receives. For example, a proposal which receives 10 Yes votes will be ranked at 100%, and a proposal that receives 15 Yes votes and 5 No votes will be ranked at 75%. The highest ranking 25 proposals will move on to the final stage; this may be more than 25 in the case of ties.
  • Final stage
    • In the final stage, Rhizome members will choose awardees based on the pool of 25 or more finalists. Rhizome members will choose two of the awards.
      The member voting system used for the final stage will be Single Transferable Vote, also known as Instant Runoff Voting. Each voter will rank the proposals from most favorite to least favorite. When the votes are tallied, the first-place votes are counted to see if any proposal has received more than 50% of the votes. If so, then that proposal is the winner. Otherwise, the proposal with the least first-place votes is removed from the list of proposals, and the process is repeated.
      For example: Five voters have to choose one winning proposal among four candidates: a, b, c, and d. They vote as follows:
      Maximilian abc
      Lukas acb
      Niklas bca
      Jurgen bac
      Hans cab
      In the first round, a gets 2 votes, b gets 2, and c gets 1. Nobody has the majority (3), so we remove the least popular candidate, c, making Hans’ vote effectively “ab”. Now a gets 3 votes and b gets 2 votes, and a is the winner.
      Voters are not required to rank all final proposals, but they are encouraged to rank as many as possible. If you rank only a few candidates, it’s possible that your vote will end up being eliminated entirely in the final tally.

For more information on this voting method, refer to the Wikipedia entry on Instant-runoff voting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant-runoff_voting


At all phases of the process, we encourage and expect open discussion of the proposals, both on Rhizome and elsewhere online. We hope that this discussion will be respectful and considerate of all the artists involved.

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