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Opening: Tuesday, October 20, 2009, 6:00 PM, 163 William Street


Who of us has not scrawled a comment, diagram, or cartoon in the margin of a textbook; or possibly added a comment to an already existing line of remarks on a public wall? Whether in the multilayered illustrations of cave walls, the poems added to an ink painting of a Chinese landscape, or the annotations to a medieval manuscript, people throughout time have had their say about previously existing words and images. Today, digital technologies make this process nearly transparent. Document annotation is now routine. Social media sites such as Flicker, YouTube, and Twitter, and blogs and wikis all provide means for anyone to be an author or commentator in an instant. Within this global communication scrum, artists, scientists, and designers are mining the texts and images deposited on the Internet to reconstitute them into an infinite number of new stories or revisualizations of old.

Digital Marginalia gathers together five works that bring forth the richness of writing and imagery explored, reinterpreted, highlighted, and annotated by seven artists. Cassidy Curtis's Graffiti Archaeology originated with a sequence of human gestures on brick and mortar walls, each recording an alteration of a previous work. The viewer moves through a digital dig of time-and-space revealing a layered history of combinations and revisions. W. Bradford Paley’s Textarc mines classic literature found in digital places like Project Gutenberg to reconfigure them into graphical renderings. Textarc's luminous concentric spirals of these texts encourage the reader/viewer to move dynamically through the textural layers to make new associations. Michael Takeo Margruder's Last Days… ventures beyond the analog world of wall art and traditional literature into the digital news photos and reports produced for online consumption. Although the violence between Palestinians and Israelis continues, Last Days… recycles and recomposes a select set of text and imagery from the last five days of 2008, continually focusing and refocusing our attention on this terrible conflict. In contrast, Kate Armstrong and Michael Tippett's Grafik Dynamo continuously trawls through both web images and text to render narrative marginalia comic strip style, employing annotation to create meaning from a random combination of imagery and text bubbles. Finally, No Time Machine by Daniel C. Howe and Aya Karpinska utilizes their invisible search paradigm to reach through the verbosity of the digital universe to retrieve expressions of angst that communicate our collective sense of time compression. Our minds are the annotation machines that make meaning from exchanges that float in speech bubbles amid a glowing yellow space.

Francis T. Marchese, curator, is founder and co-director of the Pace Digital Gallery and works in visual computing. (

The Pace Digital Gallery gratefully acknowledges the support of Pace University's President, Stephen J. Friedman and Connie Knapp, Acting Dean, Seidenberg School.


Textarc is an alternative way to view text. It is an online tool that encourages visualization of word patterns by generating a visual index or map of the text. It transforms texts such Alice in Wonderland, Hamlet, or the whole of the Web's Project Gutenberg into luminous visualizations in which the narrative thread courses across the screen as each story unfolds. Textarc represents any given text as two concentric circles within which typographic features are retained and more frequently occurring words are brighter than those occurring less so. Pointing at a word results in a display of spokes revealing the distribution of a word throughout the text. Collocations for any word may be viewed as well. Selecting a specific word generates a concordance. ( )



W. Bradford Paley

W. Bradford Paley uses computers to create visual displays with the goal of making readable and engaging expressions of complex data. He did his first computer graphics in 1973, founded Digital Image Design Incorporated ( in 1982, and started doing information visualization in 1986. He has exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art and ARTPORT at the Whitney Museum of American Art, has received grants and awards for both art and design, and his designs are at work every day on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. He is an adjunct associate professor at Columbia University. ( )




Last Days…. is constructed from one hundred images collected from online news services during the final five days of 2008 when the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resumed with brutal intensity. The photographs have been removed from their journalistic context and stripped of all but their basic captions. The images and texts are then recombined, together with a persistent sound track, into an unending re-mediation of events that provides an alternative, contemplative space. ( )

This work is dedicated to the memory of the 390 Palestinians and 4 Israelis who as a result of this renewed violence did not live to see the New Year.



Michael Takeo Magruder

Michael Takeo Magruder is an artist and researcher based in King’s Visualization Lab, King's College London. His work uses emerging technologies, including high-performance computing, mobile devices, and virtual environments, blending Information Age technologies with modernist aesthetics to explore the networked, digital world. His work has been showcased in over 200 exhibitions in 30 countries, including the Courtauld Institute of Art, EAST International 2005, and Georges Pompidou Center. ( )




No Time Machine deals with time. Quiet time, dead time, free time—call it what you will, there seems to be less and less of it. What do people give up in the race to maximize every second of their waking life? What kinds of activities are replaced by the panicked drive for efficiency? No Time Machine explores these questions by mining the Internet for mentions of the phrase “I don’t have time for” and variations such as “You can’t find the time for” and “We don’t make time for.” Based on a set of computational procedures, a program analyzes the search results and reconstructs them into a poetic conversation. Interwoven with the found poetry generated by this program are sentences that have been re-contextualized by the artists - a human-computer collaboration that expands the field of creative writing to include networked and programmable media. ( )



Daniel C. Howe is a digital artist and researcher whose work explores the intersections of literature, computation, and procedural art practice. In 2009 he received his PhD on generative literary systems from the Media Research Lab at NYU and was awarded a 'Computing Innovations' fellowship by the National Science Foundation. He currently resides in Providence, RI where he teaches at Brown and RISD, and is a resident artist at AS220. ( )

Aya Karpinska is an interaction designer and artist who has worked in digital media since the late 1990s, producing installations, performance, literature, and Web, mobile, and game design. She is particularly interested in how reading, writing, and listening are transformed by technology. Aya has Masters degrees in Interactive Telecommunications (New York University) and Literary Arts (Brown University). She lives in New York, and is currently working on a series of texts mixed with modified computer icons. ( )




Grafik Dynamo is a net art work that loads images from the Internet into a live action comic strip. The images are accompanied by fragments from an original non-linear narrative that are dynamically embedded within speech and thought bubbles and randomly displayed. Animating the comic strip using dynamic web content opens up the genre in a new way: Together, the images and narrative serve to create a strange, dislocated notion of sense and expectation in the reader, as they are sometimes at odds with each other, sometimes perfectly in sync, and always moving and changing. The narrative is informed by comic books and spy novels, in which people walk around with suitcases filled with gems and scientists become deranged by their magnificent powers. When launched in 2005 this work used a live feed from LiveJournal; today, the media feed is Flicker. ( )


Kate Armstrong is an artist, writer, and independent curator. Her interdisciplinary practice merges networked media, written forms, and urban experiences to create work that examines process and accumulation. She has lectured and exhibited internationally, producing events and participating in exhibitions at venues including ISEA 2006 (San Jose, California), Eyebeam Atelier (New York City) and Tate Britain. Armstrong is the Director of Upgrade Vancouver and in 2002 published a book of critical theory (Crisis & Repetition: Essays on Art and Culture) with Michigan State University Press. (

Michael Tippett is an Emmy Nominee and international expert on emerging news models. In 2005, Tippett co-founded, a site for public and participatory journalism, which was named one of the most useful sites on the web by The Guardian and Time Magazine. Tippett is on the University of British Columbia's School of Journalism Advisory Board, the Capilano University Bachelor of Professional Communication Advisory Committee, and is a board member of CABINET, a Vancouver-based arts organization. He graduated from Queen's University with a degree in Philosophy. ( )



Graffiti Archaeology is a project devoted to the study of graffiti-covered walls as they change over time. It captures the process of constant change, making it visible through an interactive time lapse collage of photographs of certain walls taken over a span of months or years. The photos that make up Graffiti Archeology are of San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and other cities. Gathered from diverse sources, including Cassidy Curtis's own collection, other photographers, and various graffiti sites on the web, these images reflect a time span from the late 1990's to the present. This project is an example of a new phenomenon unique to the era of digital photography and the Internet: structured, networked, grass-roots assemblage, where the assembly and juxtaposition of scattered fragments can create new kinds of insight. ( )


Cassidy Curtis received his B.A. in Mathematics from Brown University. While working with David Salesin at the University of Washington, Cassidy produced seminal research in the area of non-photorealistic computer graphic rendering on the simulation of the artistic effects of watercolor painting. He is currently a supervising animator at PDI/Dreamworks where he has worked on feature length animations that include Madagascar, Bee Movie, Shrek the Third, Madagascar, Shrek 2, and Sinbad. ( )