Who is Mark Amerika?



[you can stay updated on Mark Amerika's activities
by going to the markamerika.com website]

Mark Amerika, who has been named a "Time Magazine 100 Innovator" as part of their continuing series of features on the most influential artists, scientists, entertainers and philosophers into the 21st century, is the producer, director, and writer of an ongoing series of limited edition, feature-length artworks that are part of his Foreign Film Series. The first film released in the series is Immobilité. Immobilité was featured in the Fall 2008 Intermedia Programme at the Tate museum website and premiered at Amerika's solo exhibition at the Chelsea Art Museum in New York. The work had its European premiere as part of UNREALTIME, Amerika's 2009-2010 comprehensive retrospective exhibition at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens, Greece. On October 20, 2010, the work opened in the Fuse Box at the Denver Art Museum where it was scheduled to run until late Februrary 2011.

Amerika featured his Internet art in what is generally considered the first-ever net art retrospective held in the summer of 2001 at the ACA Media Arts Plaza in Tokyo, Japan. The exhibition was called "Avant-Pop: The Stories of Mark Amerika [an Internet art retrospective]". Amerika's first European net art retrospective enjoyed two exhibition runs at the Institute for Contemporary Arts in London and was entitled "How To Be An Internet Artist". Both shows covered the years 1993-2001. In 2004, he had two retrospectives, one at Ciberart Bilbao in Spain, and one at the Festival International de Linguagem Eletronica at the Gallerie do SESI in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

In the mid-Nineties, Amerika was a Creative Writing Fellow and Lecturer on Network Publishing and Hypertext at Brown University where he developed the GRAMMATRON net art project. The opening section to what was supposed to be a novel called GRAMMATRON was published in the Penguin USA Avant-Pop anthology entitled "After Yesterday's Crash" [edited by Larry McCaffery]. By the time this Penguin USA excerpt was published, Amerika was already well on his way to creating an online storyworld that has since received over one million visitors and has been praised by many media sites including The New York Times, MSNBC, Time magazine, Die Zeit, Wired, The Village Voice, and Salon. GRAMMATRON has been exhibited in over 40 international venues including the Ars Electronica Festival, the International Symposium of Electronic Art, SIGGRAPH 1998, the Museums On The Web "Beyond Interface" show, the Adelaide Arts Festival, the International Biennial of Film and Architecture in Graz, transmediale in Berlin, and the "Conquest of Ubiquity" traveling exhibition that took place throughout Spain.

In Spring 2000, GRAMMATRON was selected as one of the first works of Internet art to ever be exhibited in the prestigious Whitney Biennial of American Art.

After GRAMMATRON, the second project in his new media trilogy is PHON:E:ME, an mp3 concept album with hyper:liner:notes commissioned by the Walker Art Center, the Australia Council for the Arts New Media Fund, the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, and the Jerome Foundation. The PHONE:ME project, which was nominated for an International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences Webby Award in the Art category, has been exhibited internationally at venues such as SIGGRAPH 2000, the 13th Videobrasil festival in Sao Paulo, the Zeppelin Sound Festival at the Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona, and at the Centre Georges Pompidou as part of the traveling "Let's Entertain" exhibition.

To order the PHON:E:ME CD and support the Alt-X site, click here.

The third part of Amerika's net art trilogy is entitled FILMTEXT. FILMTEXT is a hybridized online/offline digital narrative created as a net art site, a museum installation, an mp3 concept album, an artist ebook, and a series of live performances. The first version of this work was commissioned by Playstation 2 for Amerika's "How To Be An Internet Artist" retrospective exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London and the 2.0 version was released in conjunction with his exhibition at SIGGRAPH 2002 in San Antonio. Other exhibitions of FILMTEXT have taken place in many international venues including the Centre for Contemporary Photography (Melbourne), transmediale (Berlin), ISEA (Nagoya), the European Media Art Festival (Osnabruek), SF Camerawork (San Francisco), the American Museum of the Moving Image (New York), the FILMWINTER Festival of Expanded Media (Stuttgart), "prog:me" (Rio de Janeiro), and the "Blur of the Otherworldly" traveling exhibition.

Between 2001-2007, Amerika toured parts of Japan, Europe, Australia, South America, and the USA as a live audio-visual (VJ) performance artist and out of these performances produced a series of large scale digital video with surround sound art installations entitled CODEWORK. Various works in the CODEWORK series have been exhibited internationally and CODEWORK 1 was purchased by the Denver Art Museum where it was on exhibit throughout the summer of 2004. Amerika's continued interest in a practice-based research agenda investigating what he terms "postproduction art" and the "theory of remixology" has led to further experiments in VJ imagery, experimental electronic sound remixing, and a politically-charged hactivist practice. In 2005, he released the CHROMO HACK installation, an elaborate digital video surround sound work made in commemoration of 9-11 and the collapse of mainstream media foundations. CHROMO HACK was featured in the Techno Sublime exhibition at the CU Art Museum.

A collaborative group project, DJRABBI, features Amerika as "Kid Hassid" and includes the DVD "Society of the Spectacle (A Digital Remix)" which has been featured in over 30 international festivals and exhibitions. Society of the Spectacle, which is available at an affordable price here, has been described as a "pulsing, pop-ish and engrossing-the hypertext crowd stoked on Godard [...] [T]he rapid editing and churning information flow reflects the struggle to connect with global politics, the impossibility of slowing down, but at the same time conveys a manic playfulness, a creative resistance against considerable odds" (Realtime).

A familiar presence on the international festival and conference circuit, Amerika gives performances, lectures, and workshops on new media culture, electronic literature, web publishing, Internet art and theory, live audio/visual and VJ performance, hypertext, hactivism, and Web 2.0. A frequent keynoter, some major events he has participated in include the Whitney Museum's "Seminars With Artists" program, the "Visionary Landscapes: Electronic Literature Organization 2008 Conference," the "Disrupting Narratives" symposium at the Tate Modern, the International Network of Performing Arts conference in Zurich, the "Buddhism and New Media" conference at Donguuk University in Seoul, the Lucerne Easter Festival, Transmediale (Berlin), the trAce incubation conference, the "Digital Interconnection" festival in Tokyo, The Adelaide Arts Festival, the Interntional Symposium of Electronic Art "Orai" symposium in Nagoya, the Microwave International Media Festival in Hong Kong, the Digital Arts and Culture conference in Bergen, Norway, the bi-coastal "mal/CONTENT" conferences sponsored by Screamingmedia, the Unified Field Summit at the Aspen Institute in Colorado, the Brown University "Freedom To Write Conference," the Duke University "Assault: Radicalism In Aesthetics and Politics" conference, The German Association of Amerikan Studies Conference on Technology & American Culture, the "Knowing Mass Culture: Mediating Knowledge" conference at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Center for Twentieth Century Studies, Northwestern University's Center for Writing Arts lecture series on "Electronic Publishing," and a 16-city book tour for his novel Sexual Blood.

Amerika is the Publisher of Alt-X, which he founded in 1993 and the electronic book review. Publishers Weekly has called Alt-X "the literary publishing model of the future." He is also the author of three published novels, two edited anthologies, and two artist ebooks. His first novel, The Kafka Chronicles, is now in its third printing. His second novel, Sexual Blood, has been translated into Italian as Sangue Sessuale. The Philadelphia Inquirer has said "the real counterculture is not gone and Mark Amerika is proof of that...his work is not so much a book as it is a Dadaist demonstration, once again honoring the dictum that it's the artist's sacred duty to destroy what commerce has made common." His artist ebooks are available for free download and enjoy a readership in the tens of thousands. The How To Be An Internet Artist ebook was part of the initial launch of the new Alt-X Press and the cinescripture.1 ebook was exhibited in conjunction with his Internet art retrospective at the ICA in London. In 2007, he published two books, one a collection of artist writings covering the years 1993-2005 entitled META/DATA: A Digital Poetics (The MIT Press, 2007), and a new novel 29 Inches: A Long Narrative Poem (Chaismus Press, 2007). His experimental artist essays, poetics, and articles have appeared in many academic, art, and underground journals including Leonardo, New Media and Society, electronic book review, Culture Machine, The European Journal For Higher Arts Education, The Iowa Review, American Book Review, Artbyte, Telepolis, Rhizome, Fibreculture, nettime, and Beehive.

Amerika is a Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Colorado in Boulder where he is developing the TECHNE practice-based research initiative. He can be reached at amerika at colorado edu or via snail-mail at the following address:

P.O. Box 241
Boulder, CO 80306-0241

You can order his books here.