What is -empyre-

In January 2002, -empyre- soft-skinned space was launched as a listserv platform by network artist, critic, and curator, Melinda Rackham (AU). -empyre- was conceived as a research forum for Rackham's PhD research at the College of Fine Arts, UNSW, Australia. Structured as an experimental peer arena, the community grew exponentially with facilitators over the years including, Adrian Miles (AU), Rebecca Cannon (AU), Christina McPhee (US), Michael Arnold Mages (US), Jim Andrews (CA), Felix Sattler (AU/GER), Tracey Meziane Benson (AU), Marcus Bastos (BR) Sérgio Basbaum (BR), Renate Ferro (US),and Tim Murray (US).

Melinda Rackham turned the listserv managing duties over to Christine McPhee (US), then to Renate Ferro (US) and Tim Murray (US) who were joined by moderators Nicholas Ruiz III (US) Simon Biggs (UK,AU), and Patrick Lichty (US, UAR).

From 2010 to 2017 Renate Ferro (US) and Tim Murray (US)continued as managing moderators with help from Patrick Keilty (US, CA), Selmin Kara (TU, CA), Soraya Murray (US), and Derek Murray (US). During that time they transitioned the homepage of the listserv from the original subtle.net to http://empyre.library.cornell.edu on the Cornell University Library’s server.

Renate Ferro continues to serve as curatorial moderator with Tim Murray serving as moderator. In 2018 -empyre- soft-skinned space launched its first international advisory editorial board. This team suggests and advises the list on trends and practices in emerging technology, new media and networked culture. They also nurture the broad and diverse subscribership of the listserv and volunteer to moderate monthly discussions.

The -empyre- global community has moved from the virtual space of the net to real space by supporting several special projects over its history. It was featured as part of documenta 12's Magazine Project conducting three moderated conversations by Christina McPheein 2006 and 2007. In 2008, -empyre- collaborated with the Anderson Art Ranch in Snowmass, Colorado to offer two Presidential Full Merit Scholarships to members of the -empyre- community. -empyre- also has collaborated with institutions and festivals to produce dynamic online forums for physically located events, including the Cornerhouse in Manchester and Marcos Weskamp's Social Circles visualization slice of the list dynamics. In 2008 -empyre- co-hosted a special conference with City Light Books on Paul Virilio in San Francisco. In 2009, a special panel on "viral marketing" was hosted by Exit Art in New York City. In 2010 a discussion held around The Making Sense Colloquium at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, was sponsored by -empyre-. Artist Warren Sack provided a visual map of -empyre- conversations from January 1-14 June, 2010, as part of his "Conversation Map" project.

In the fall of 2011 -empyre- hosted a networking event at the annual ISEA (International Symposium for Electronic Arts) in Istanbul. In 2014, -empyre-touched down in Lima, Peru as part of HASTAC. Renate Ferro delivered a panel paper on "Critical Making in an International Context” in tandem with the April topic that Tim Murray jointly moderated. And finally in Hong Kong at ISEA 2016, Tim Murray and Renate Ferro hosted a panel on “e-discourse in online networked communities: structure, timing, tone, and affect.”

-empyre- curatorial moderators Renate Ferro and Tim Murray participated with STWST in conjunction with STAY UNFINISHED, the 5th edition of Stadtwerkstatt‘s 48 hour showcase extravaganza held in association with Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria. The programmable online radio held on September 8, 2019 focused on the history of -empyre-.