The project is based on the concept of the online archive ArtBase Rhizome, which is a digital museum that aims to ensure the longevity of New Media Art. ArtBase Rhizome was set up not only to ensure that years from now an accurate record of this period of creativity and culture exists, but also to enable researchers to interact with and observe these materials in their intended forms. Mitigating obsolescence while respecting artistic intent is a direct extension of Rhizome’s primary mission of supporting and promoting art engaged with emerging technologies.
Rhizome Island is the physical extension to this digital archive, providing a physical home for New Media Art, which is principally housed in the digital realm of cyberspace. The building is sited on North Brother Island, adjacent to the Bronx and Rikers Island. The project looks at how architecture can contribute to as well as ensure the preservation of digital art. The building aims to become the mitigating device, acting as the ‘interface’ through which the art is being perceived. Through this series of interfaces, the building and the art combine and the architecture retreats as the digital artwork is foregrounded.