Fanning the Fame

Bentham's "panopticon" prison design and Foucault's case study of the transvestite Herculine Barbu.

It's no surprise that the work is so radically disjunctive. Teams of international designers and programmers have worked with Cheang and Drutt to create the "multiauthor upload" of Brandon. Guggenheim curators had held off selecting interactive art for the permanent collection because they felt that the current state of digital art just wasn't strong enough. It figures that the first piece to pass muster would not be the product of an individual but of a network of contributors—a process more akin to theater work than to visual arts.

But because of the quilted design, navigating the site can sometimes be baffling (forget using a Mac to view it—it petrifies the machine). "I am testing the limits of frustration level," says Cheang. But this disorientation can also be a pleasure; just as with the CD-ROM success Myst, exploration, not achievement, is the point.

The site will be exhibited regularly on the museum's video wall, and in the fall the Guggenheim will begin the live elements of the exhibition. A Brandon-inspired symposium on medicine, sexuality, and technology will come first. Then the museum, working with Harvard's Institute on Arts and Civic Dialogue in Cambridge (created by playwright Anna Deaveare Smith) and the American Repertory Theatre, will stage an online public trial of sexual assaults in cyberspace. Drutt admits the work is all over the map. "This falls between the cracks of definitions—is it a work of art or an exhibition or a performance?" he says. "It's all of them."

Signal and Noise

  • Brain Prom: The Rising Tide Summit, a one-day Renaissance Festival organized by Jason Calacanis and the crew at the scrappy Silicon Alley Reporter, takes place July 27, and the ginormously ambitious Calacanis has managed a huge coup in terms of credibility. The list of attendees is top-drawer: religion prof Robert Thurman, agent and author John Brockman, director and screenwriter Darren Aronofsky (Pi), pie chucker Noel Godin, and the ever present Douglas Rushkoff. Calacanis has reserved the entire New-York Historical Society for the event. But at $500 a ticket, he may have trouble moving the last 50 admissions available (


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