Friday 03/08/13 7PM
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Conversations · Exhibition-Related

The Internet Before the Web: Preserving Early Networked Cultures

Cover Image:

Courtesy Wolfgang Staehle

’93 is marked as a significant year in the web with the launch of the image-based Mosaic browser. Yet in 1993, pre-www technologies still reigned supreme. Bulletin Board System (BBS), email, and usenet groups offered a largely text-based communication system and, although rudimentary, they hinted at global connectivity to come. Presented in conjunction with the exhibition “NYC 1993,” this event positions that year as the last era before the popular web and explores the cultures and artists working in this early networked context. A particular focus lies on the Thing—an electronic BBS based out of a cyber-utopian social hub in downtown Manhattan and used by some of the earliest contemporary artists working online.

The evening will present Rhizome at the New Museum’s Digital Conservator Ben Fino-Radin in conversation with renowned archivist, historian, and documentary filmmaker Jason Scott and Wolfgang Staehle, artist and founder of The Thing BBS.

This event marks the launch of Rhizome’s major new preservation project to make the Thing BBS archive accessible to the public for the first time in over a decade.


Organized by Rhizome, the New Silent Series receives major support from The Rockefeller Foundation, and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Additional support is provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and the New York State Council on the Arts.

Education and public programs are made possible by a generous grant from Goldman Sachs Gives at the recommendation of David and Hermine Heller.

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