April 9th, 2004

Originally produced in May 2003 for Spatial Intersections at the University of Iowa Museum of Art

seminar version performed for Version>04 Invisible Networks

based on the book ALLOY

Listen to the sountrack

Watch the Quicktime version

Dully Servant (Soviet No-Gang Shriners) reads from the twisted linguistic cosmology of >KIND TRICKS as [tele-psychic puppet] action-script for Skeleton Bride (People’s Republic of Delicious Foods). An advanced study for buried meta-conspiracies and progressive states of bibliomantic techgnosis.

1. secret self-modification by an agent in response to that agent’s changing systemic conditions
2. temporary micro-alterations in belief structure to accomplish a site-specific task
3. cross talk between versions
4. ritual narrative constructed to help explain random phenomena
5. orchestrated prescience
6. a hermetic sales pitch from beyond

A) Receiving predictive information concerning one’s environment has been the greedy desire of humankind since the construction of language as a tool thousands of years ago. If only we could describe what is just over the horizon! What an edge we’d have over our “competition” if we already had the specialized language to discuss the newness of tomorrow today.

B) As we continuously enter the new newness of so-called ‘new media’ and ‘new age’, our natural language is intermingling with programming language in shocking and considerable ways. Meaning is constructed out of clearly defined protocols that either “work” or “do not work” — there is no third position here. For the first time in existence, Poem and Code are the same. Though this ‘new language’ is less susceptible to the confusing ambiguities of old (i.e. we cannot use variables and handlers without clearly declaring their value and defining their procedure) there is still a magic in language which contributes to human evolution.

C) Language in some way creates the very reality in which we live. Words and concepts point to realities beyond the sensory world and assist us in making contact with a dimension that is higher, lower and parallel.

D) The great DADA experiment of cut-up writing carried out by Tzara, Burroughs, Gysin and others has now reached epic proportions. The intent was to jitter thought process with randomness in language. That jitter is now quake-like in magnitude thanks to advances in programmable electronics and automatic algorithms. What took them hours with newspapers and scissors now takes us seconds with computers — I can do 4 million words over brunch. We are no longer creating experimental voices but communicating with beings from other worlds.

E) Intangible Ideas, in Plato’s conception — as supersensible realities beyond human thought — are captured in scripts, as prisoners in their cells, and released by the act of perusal, setting the prisoners free. These Ideas reside in the words and terms independent of the programs and books in which the words are encased. Yet how and where, in the interval between their setting down and their taking up, do they abide? By what secret tract is their existence in the mind of the author/programmer connected with their resuscitation in the mind of the reader/user? Why at the sight of certain lines and figures on the voiceless page/screen do these particular thoughts spring up into renewed activity? What is the indiscoverable nexus between the physical vibrations of light and these immaterial substances of our noetic life?

F) Homo Sapiens unlocked the mystery power of their brains through the invention of language thousands of years ago. Language allowed them to reflect in a self-aware manner, invent finely crafted tools, and create handmade ornaments, shelter, and paintings. This epoch process is culminating in programmable electronics. We are becoming aware, again since before language, that the fracture between “subject” and “object” is unreal. What is more necessary… the operating language of a word processor or the inputted creative language of its user?

Akoll Tapoze Yitsoung!



March 11th, 2004

Intervideo is a 5-disc DVD set we produced for Hans Breder in conjunction with the exhibition, “The Modernist Debate” at Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid, Spain. The University of Iowa Libraries’ Special Collection Department is home to the entire Artists’ Television Network video archive produced by Jaime Davidovich in New York from 1978-1983. We chose ten for the video exhibition. Below is the library catalog record for disc 5 of the set.

[Excerpts from It’s evening in America] [videorecording] / Carole Ann Klonarides. Conversations / Vito Acconci.
[Iowa City, IA : University of Iowa Libraries, 2004]
1 videodisc (30, 28 min.) : sd., col. with b&w sequences ; 4 3/4 in. + insert.
Acconci, Vito, 1940- — Interviews.
Experimental videos.
Conceptual art.
Police brutality — New York (State) — New York
Artists — United States — Interviews.
( Intervideo : intermedia and its relationship to video ; program 5)
Intervideo ; program 5.
Authors, etc.
Klonarides, Carole Ann.
Owen, Michael.
Cheang, Shu Lea.
Garrin, Paul.
Davidovich, Jaime, 1936-
Poser, Steven.
Acconci, Vito, 1940-
Butler, Matthew Taylor.
Other titles
Syst.details Note
DVD video.
General Note
Title from container.
Originally produced in 1988 and 1987 respectively by Jaime Davidovich for the Artists’ Television Network series on Soho (New York) public access TV. DVD produced by Matthew Butler in conjunction with the exhibition “The Modernist Debate” at Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid, Spain.
Cascade (vertical landscapes) / MICA-TV in association with Channel 4 ; produced and directed by Carole Ann Klonarides, Michael Owen in collaboration with Dike Blair, Dan Graham ; music, Christian Marclay ; editor, Peter Eggers (ca. 7 min.) — Color schemes : America’s washload in 4 cycles / produced & directed by Shu Lea Cheang ; directors of photography, Klaus Hoch-Guinn, David Shulman, 1989 (ca. 11 min.) — Free society / video, Paul Garrin ; music, Elliott Sharp, 1988 (ca. 10 min.) — Mike / Michael Smith (ca. 3 min.).
“MICA-TV’s Cascade (vertical landscapes) is an example of a very different kind of video work, with constantly panning and shifting camera work creating a dialogue between architecture and landscape. Michael Smith’s humorous piece uses the camera work and production values of commercial television to very different ends. Paul Garrin’s video both documents an incident of police brutality in New York and further explores political activism and protest through the use of video”–Insert.
In Conversations Vito Acconci, with Steven Poser, delivers an interesting talk, almost a performance, about his work.
System Number
visual material
INFORMATION ARCADE Collection Video record 16405 DVD

Evil Genius Super System

January 9th, 2004

Evil Geniusthe disc

You can download the EGSS .pdf manual for free here.

access the secret tech area for free!

first, a testimonial:

“A little over two years ago I was a pathetic slob. I had no money, friends or a future. Every night I’d set my alarm for 9:00 AM desperately hoping that tomorrow was finally going to be the day I’d drag my lazy ass out of bed in a timely fashion and actually do something with myself. Then, without fail, I’d snooze 12 times and then give up, sleeping until the middle of the afternoon. Eventually I’d manage to shuffle into the bathroom to empty my bladder. Maybe I’d brush my teeth and shower, but most likely I wouldn’t. Buying groceries was too much of a chore so I’d usually scrape together whatever money I could find for fast food. And no matter how broke I was I always found money for cigarettes.
I had a million things I wanted to do with my life but not a drop of ambition or drive to get them done. Bills were always piling up, I was always hiding from people, and I was always avoiding any kind of engagement with the world. I kept telling myself, “maybe tomorrow, maybe tomorrow.” But tomorrow never came. Every day was the same bleak, depressing, uneventful day after the next. I couldn’t break myself out of the cycle of not achieving. Until one day…

I discovered a secret formula for controlling the minds of other people. It’s an ancient technique passed from generation to generation among the world’s most influencial and powerful people. And once you learn it, you’ll know why it’s been so closely guarded.

The secret is what I needed to get my life out of a rut and onto the road to TOTAL and ABSOLUTE SUCCESS. Totally bankrupt on every level, I realized I was the only one responsible for the power I did or did not have. For the first time, I saw everything so clearly. How everything works and how to get everything you want. From that day on my income has increased a thousand-fold, I’ve met hundreds of friends and whatever I choose to create I am able to do so effortlessly.”

— matt, iowa city, ia

Are you sick and tired of sitting around watching everyone else run the world? It’s time for you to be your own mastermind and get in on the action.

Evil Genius Super System is the most significant set of tools ever developed for taking reality by the reigns and steering it down whatever path you choose. Your friends, family, co-workers, teachers and religious leaders are telling you how to handle your affairs. Stop it NOW! You have a plan for global domination – don’t let anyone get in your way!

You’ll quickly and easily learn the secrets of getting other people to do what you want. The goal of every Evil Genius is to meet a lot of different people and have them all working for you – towards your objective of taking over the world. Using the Evil Genius Super System, you’ll soon have everyone wanting to give you their respect, money and attention. This is the fastest way to the Eye in the Pyramid you’ll ever find.

This isn’t some touchy-feely Tony Robbins program for positive thinking. This is a master plan for world conquest. Not only will you be given the skills to manipulate and control people, you’ll find out the secrets of actually transforming yourself into a superhuman being. After using this system your mind will become so expanded and aware that your psychic powers will become a necessary part of your existence. This is the key to unlocking the true Evil Genius in you.

What does Evil Genius Super System mean?

EVIL – Getting what you want when you want it
GENIUS – A superhuman mind capable of achieving all things
SUPER – Unparalleled in effectiveness
SYSTEM – a complete method

In the Evil Genius Super System, you’ll be given the tools necessary for acquiring power in all its forms. Let’s take a peek inside the system to see what you’ll get.

DISC 1: Complete Electronic Training

A step-by-step guide to developing the skills necessarily to take over the world. In an easy-to-use interactive format.

You’ll discover:



Disc 2: The Cash Appendix
Hundreds of documents to instantly begin generating wealth so you can fund your global projects.

Disc 3: Secret Tech
Plans and blueprints for secret psionic technology that can be used to control the minds of your enemies.

Intermedia Loungescapes

December 17th, 2003

Phase 1: dATAPLOT was an exhibit at the St. Xavier University Gallery that dealt with utilizing ‘information’ as a creative medium for self-expression. The show consisted of a video screening room, a conference room, and a traditional gallery space with 2-D work hung on the wall. The central focus of the exhibition was the computer generated textbook ALLOY and the collectible card game based on the book. dATAPLOT opened with a multimedia lecture/performance outlining the history of ‘intermedia’ art and ‘information’ art. One of the peculiar aspects of the lecture was the mind-bending stunt of transferring images from the mind of Matthew Butler directly to a sealed videotape without the use of equipment or technology. This was done live in front of an audience of 50+ people. In addition, visitors were able to take home as souvenirs the limited edition Diamond Junk Reports. DJR were a collection of informative articles with full reprinting rights included in their distribution specifically for dATAPLOT. This means that each visitor could go home and create a unique, custom product utilizing information from the exhibit. The show explored themes of ownership, copyright, and originality through the use of algorithmically created work and creative licensing. called dATAPLOT, “…ideas and data that transcend media and makes the viewer reconsider the digital age.”
colorBASIC card
Phase 2: colorBASIC. By converting the gallery space at Mount Mercy College into a lounge we (myself, Kelli Spengler, Elaine Beck) hoped to complement the other lounges in the building by creating an aesthetic experience rather than purely functional one. Visitors could try on clothes, watch videos, look at paintings, take off their shoes and sit on fur rugs, relax and take a break without pressure to be entirely involved.

launch the flash documentation

Cedar Graphics, Inc. website

November 13th, 2003

Cedar Graphics, Inc. website
We contributed Actionscript programming to True Identity Design’s flash website for Cedar Graphics, Inc.

Novo Spoor

October 11th, 2003

Novo Spoor was a new media art installation which set out to investigate the socioinformatics of transitory space. It explored the intersection of traditional animal tracking skills and online usage tracking by examining the footprints left at physical and virtual sites. Using a large format touch screen, Novo Spoor created an “information cast” of passersby hand movements which indicated the directionality of their intentions as they foraged for information, food, entertainment, and other resources. All measurements created from each person’s crossing pattern (photos, votes, preferences) were made available to all others who chose to interact with the installation. The interface consisted of a 61 inch infrared grid which interpreted the hand positions of the user as a mouse event within the software. IR hardware by Impulse Window.

Impulse Window installed at the Sheraton

ALLOY: the collectible card game

September 22nd, 2003

The CCG based on the popular book!

world card
download the cards

Elfprize: even more poor taste!

July 12th, 2003

Holy Crap!  It's Elfprize!
(Elfprize is now offline. It is being archived here.)

This project was the final culmination of a 13 year exloration of the world of get-rich-quick schemes. In high school I sent away for John Wright’s “The Royal Road To Riches,” a home-publishing business that suggested the easiest way to become a millionare was to reprint books about reprinting books and sell them in the classified ads. This was 1989. In college, I bought into John Stefanchik’s “Profits Through Paper,” a method for generating wealth by purchasing liens on property and reselling them for a huge profit. This was 1995. In graduate school I became fascinated with the actual idea of get-rich-quick schemes instead of one in particular. I learned to love them because they create a fictional world that is more entertaining, in my opinon, than any book, movie, or game. You should try one. Instead of feeling smug because you’ve avoided a con like the rest of responsible, frugal America, think of the hours of enjoyment you get out of your $19.95. Or $99.95. It’s a blast to pretend for a few weeks that you’re the CEO of your very own corporation. You should be embracing your junk email, not avoiding it. Someday you just might be able to actually fire your boss.

Elfprize is my stab at online retail utilizing the SMC “engine”. So far I’ve generated exactly zero dollars in profit, but it’s been a hoot. It started out as a Flash game that would simulate elves mailing prizes to its winners. Higher scores would receive better prizes. After quite a bit of legal research, I discovered that my funding model violated several state racing and gaming laws. Instead, as sort of a consolation prize, I created the site as it is archived now. Unfortunately I was never able to send out actual merchandise.

Elfprize identity by Avatar Design.

For a short time, months after the initial launch, offered the snow removal services of its mascot elf character. With each sidewalk and driveway cleared, customers could also elect to hear the sad story of one Christmas elf named Marty. The story went that Marty was a helper of Santa who fell asleep in someone’s house on Christmas Eve. Left behind with no flying reindeer, the poor elf had to work his way back to the North Pole by doing odd jobs. By the end of the story Marty’s eyes are opened to a world of post-holiday depression and consumer guilt. He spends time aimlessly walking the department store aisles of 75% off X-mas merchandise in utter disbelief over humanity’s capacity to forget about Christmas for several months out of the year. For the first time Marty’s world is not one of perpetual Christmas cheer. Instead, he learns to deal with his existential funk by gleefully performing the drudgery involved in after-holiday cleanup.

The Markov Chain Gang

June 19th, 2003

Andrei Andreyevich Markov

Download the script for the pilot episode

chain gang theory:
The Markov Chain Gang are t.v. characters trapped behind the show’s wall of fiction, fighting to escape through ruptures in the script’s disjointed writing. Language is being eaten by the myriad stochastic computer processes constantly at work in our culture-system. Television viewers have matured or evolved into cybernetic image consumers capable of digesting smaller and smaller bits of video until content becomes irrelevant. Television sets are no longer windows to another world, but feedback mechanisms integrated into our identity and physiology. The Markov Chain Gang craves the luxury of the observer/viewer context. They ask: “How is it that you know this is a soap opera? Are you a detective, looking for trace structures outside my motivation? Are you a prisoner like me?”

Flipping through different channels and different shows is an artistic act. It’s actually all one channel, all one show. The Gang is subverting composition by applying painterly collage techniques to pre-existing script language. Older notions such as act structure, continuity and temporality fall to stranger development. Horizontal, non-hierarchical themes emerge. There are no tidy conclusions that let you know how everything turns out. The show is a constant state of becoming a new show. Each Markov Chain Gang episode is just a bracketed data set inside a theoretically infinite order. It references and resembles, but the conceptual process’ transformative nature amounts to legal plagiarism; borrowing and reconstituting without stealing. The Markov Chain Gang is a television show not about its content, story or characters, but rather the antithetical story of the decisions of repression and change in the script as it meets the demands of the genre.

how to write it:
The episodes are written by choosing television scripts from different TV shows. This source material should be chosen according to what flavor or mood the writer wants the resulting Markov Chain Gang script to have. Once a few thousand words have been copied from the source material, they are analyzed by one of many computer programs that run Markov Chain algorithms. There are many different algorithms that cut-up text, but Markov’s seems to be the favorite with poets and artists.

The output text will be sentences that have been broken apart and put back together with other sentences and words. It’s difficult to read at this point, so a writer needs to work the cut-up material into a useable script. One can think of a genre as a template. The writer needs locations, characters, situations. Something to differentiate, say, a television script from a novel. When the writer has in mind what that is, they dip into the Markoved source text for answers. There are locations, characters, situations there… they just need to be extracted. The writer should not attempt to control the script, but rather let the script happen on its own. Expect clash, chaos and surprise. With practice, the writer is able to act merely as a catalyst for the scripts creation rather than its author. There is something out there giving us life.

I invented a game. It’s called Quantum Twenty Questions. It’s just like 20 Questions, except no-one has an object in mind when the game starts.

First, you ask a question like, “Is it an animal?” Then you flip a coin and if it’s heads the answer is yes. If it’s tails, no.

You proceed this way until you find out exactly what the object is. Where did this object come from? Obviously from your own mind, right? Is it a television? Heads. Yes.

Psychic Cheese

May 9th, 2003

Psychic Cheese
( is currently offline. You may access the archive here.)

You can download the Psychic Cheese .pdf manual for free here.

Psychic Cheese is a quirky piece of online fiction that expresses the desire for personal transformation. Blending self-help rhetoric with tongue-in-cheek metaphysics, the pseudo-corporate interface allows the user to “level up” their psychic abilities by interacting with a special device available for download. The Psychic Cheese users manual mirrors popular directives for empowerment a la hypnosis and neuro-linguistic programming products. Though Psychic Cheese is based on actual principles and might actually function as promised, its overarching purpose is as a critique of the inane world of online quackery.

But if you don’t believe it, read this article.

William H. Lightner

January 11th, 2003

William H. Lightner

Preachcricket (2001-present)

November 11th, 2002

Preachcricket produces beatcentric electronic music for radios and parties.

We took over the Monday night 10pm slot on Iowa City Free Radio from DJ Trainwreck and Rook Brut (both now in Chicago). That was spring 2001. In 2003 we came up with the name Preachcricket by rolling it randomly with the band name generator appendix in the paper-and-pencil RPG “So You Want to Be a Rock and Roll Star.” ‘Sparklebook’ was a close second. Mix tapes being uploaded now.

House Partay

Ana’s Table

October 11th, 2002

Ana Mendieta was a famous artist from our town who used to stage photos of herself covered in creek mud. In 2002 we discovered a table of hers buried in the back of a closet. It seemed only fitting to restage the table. Thank you Ana Mendieta!

Ana Mendieta's table


July 9th, 2002

Produced by Community Architexts Chicago/ Los Angeles
Visit the Work-Shift website for more information.
Read the script. based on audio and written interviews in the collection of the State Historical Society of Iowa library.

The soundscape is a digital collage which is constructed of layers of archival machine sounds and workers’ voices, submerging and emerging from the noise. The performers have developed a palette of choreographed movements that are either synchronized (based upon actual workers’ repetitive task motions) or improvisational (the opposite of regimented work). Machines are omnipresent in this performance as desired objects, as sounds, as systems both repressive and expressive.

Words are deployed in three ways: 1) A voice-over narrative is a composite of many women’s stories of the workplace; 2) Projected inscriptions reclaim the site with taxonomies of job names, car names. etc; 3 ) Archival voices are subsumed into the digital soundscape—they are ghosts in the machine.

The videos projected on the site are either archival film footage of workers (like X-rays into the past of the buildings) or re-creations of actions remembered by former workers. Although we focused upon the work experiences of women, we also included men in outreach.

mButler Client

June 9th, 2002

mButler client
This is a working control panel developed for an experimental Alternate Reality Game (ARG). The purpose is to help the player make their way through the difficulties of life and eventually reach self-actualization. It is also a convenient method for ordering service from that person. Though the players are real humans, they might be assumed to be androids or virtual assistants. When a player logs in, they are able to input directives or suggestions for other players on how they should respond to their environment based on current conditions. The directives are sent to a mobile device that can be used to either accept or deny. The player is able to see what suggestions are currently being used. Also, at any time, players can use their mobile device to update various status bars that monitor their life. The status categories are borrowed from the video game Tropico.

use the online version

PRDF vs. Mercaba

May 11th, 2002

PRDF vs. Mercaba
This is a performance I did with The People’s Republic of Delicious Foods at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. It took the form of a religious revival, complete with giant totem owl and various special art effects.

View the Quicktime version. Warning: 8 mb

Floating Video

April 11th, 2002

It’s been a long standing desire of ours to tie a video camera to helium balloons then fly it around town. This experiment set out to do just that. What we found out is that you must have one giant helium balloon. No amount of regular sized balloons will float a small electronic device because the latex of the balloons is too heavy. It did make the camera very light, so we were able to throw it up into the air and watch it float to the ground. We used three cameras. One on the balloons and two more to document the process of trying to make it fly. Eventually we cut the camera free and watched as our balloons floated away. The end result was a 3-channel video installation at the International Center, Iowa City. The three DV decks were synced to play footage from the two cameras just as the balloon-camera footage abrubtly ended.

floating video
View the Quicktime version
warning: 18 mb file


March 11th, 2002

ALLOY is an artist’s book that weaves together human and computer generated writing to create a quasi-fictional textbook for use in the studio or classroom. It was created out of dozens of passages, quotes, memories, ramblings, and scraps of information pieced together using a custom computer program for mixing text.

The first 100 words:Electricity and death, intimacy, of an imaginative resource guessing something in the center. We have a means for inanimate objects to enter the polarity and the need for connection of thought and the dreamy Savannas, through its power, it moves; a tea-party for emergence; wherever there still insisting on the power and other forms the certainty of the spiritual wave sends out similar thoughts which we engage in a quest myth are a vibration of an intimacy, the materialization of his linear vectors or stable expression of vision ray freedom of conciousness. By the right technique of the dense pattern of mind.”

Download the entire text as a Word document

Category: Book
Pages: 496 p.
Dimensions: 23 x 15 cm.
Cover: Paperback
Binding: glue bound
Process: laserprint
Color: black-and-white
Edition 150
Signed: no
ISBN: 0971985502

Future Perfect

January 19th, 2002

A musical album dedicated to my favorite verb tense. mp3s coming soon.

The Trace-Structures Dial

December 30th, 2001

Trace-Structures Dial
To this day I still don’t know what this is supposed to do. Let me know if you find out.

Launch the dial