The Annual


The Annual

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Print Edition

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“In this year’s Annual, we’ll engage with the new responsibilities that critics, theorists, programmers, technologists, and artists have to cut through the confusion and obfuscation ever unfolding around computation.” —Editorial Lead Nora N. Khan

What is included?

Print Edition
  • Annual printed 100+ page publication exploring emerging trajectories in art, science, and technology; each issue features deep thematic research and analysis across mediums and formats (essays, surveys, commentary, illustrations, photography, editorial experiments), drawing from a roster of journalists, cultural critics, artists and designers, and specialists from the humanities and sciences
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Online Edition
  • Encounters: longform interviews and profiles of key artists, designers, researchers, curators, and cultural producers
  • Production Notes: research snippets, B-roll material, and exclusive previews of the print edition and upcoming online features in the making
  • Stream: an aggregation of cultural commentary, scientific research, emerging technologies, and multidisciplinary art and design—curated by team HOLO.
  • Dossiers: a window into key exhibitions, festivals, and residencies through research and conversation—produced in collaboration with guest writers and artists
  • Guest Features: essays, features, and historical research by invited contributors (coming soon)
  • Archive: selected articles and features from past print editions reimagined in a new online format
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HOLO magazine is shipped annually via priority mail from our distribution hub in Berlin. Orders are mailed within two weeks of release: shipping within the EU takes 5-10 business days, orders to North America take 2-3 weeks, and shipping to the rest of the world can take 2-5 weeks. Tracking numbers are not available.

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48 U.S. Civil Rights and Advocacy Groups Demand Ban of Corporate Surveillance

“The harms caused by this widespread, unregulated corporate surveillance pose a direct threat to the public at large, especially for Black and brown people most often criminalized using surveillance.”
– A coalition of 48 civil rights and advocacy groups organized by Athena, demanding the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to ban “corporate use of facial surveillance technology, ban continuous surveillance in places of public accommodation, and stop industry-wide data abuse”

Jer Thorp—Data-based


Greg J. Smith

Ken Tisuthiwongse


Production notes:
coming soon

New York City (US)
From computationally arranging the names of the deceased at the National September 11 Memorial to mapping the viral spread of links to New York Times articles on Twitter, Canadian software artist Jer Thorp has changed the way we think about data. Now a co-founder of the interdisciplinary ‘supergroup’ the Office for Creative Research, Thorp is posed to reinvent how we not only represent, but engage quantitative information.

It is the third week of December 2011 and within the brightly lit confines of a cramped studio, Natalie Be’er carefully handles her asymmetrical, custom-knit scarf while outlining the organizational logic driving her neckwear. Natalie’s scarf is no mere accessory: under the tutelage of Jer Thorp, knitting is the medium through which she’s chosen to explore seven years of sales data from the “the world’s handmade marketplace” platform Etsy. Beyond wearable web analytics, other projects demonstrated include a mockup of a monument for fatally injured cyclists, a ‘tearaway’ mood diary, and an ornate series of visualizations tracking the increasing density of satellites orbiting Earth over the last six decades. Welcome to the final reviews of H79.2988 ‘Data Representation,’ an elective course offered within the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at New York City’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Thorp’s broad-minded approach to information design informs his course, and he challenges students to think about data as something that can not only be rendered onscreen but sculpted, crafted, or fabricated. Over the last several years, the scruffy, bespectacled, and irrepressibly curious Canadian software artist has authored and collaborated on a series of innovative visualization projects that have earned him global recognition and allowed him to be both brave and selective with his subsequent undertakings. At the beginning of 2013, Thorp seized on this momentum and formalized an ongoing working relationship with statistician Mark Hansen and media artist Ben Rubin to launch the Office for Creative Research (OCR), “a mix between an R&D group, a think tank and an artist collective.”

The morning after the studio crits, we find ourselves a few blocks east of Thorp’s DUMBO studio, perched on stools at the Brooklyn Roasting Company. Thorp is in good spirits: his teaching obligations for the semester have just concluded and he’s savouring his first tea of the day, opining on the current ‘halcyon days’ of data-based practices. “If you think of it in terms of an innovation curve, there is always going to be a burst of experimentation in the beginning, when people are trying to find footholds in whatever kind of solution terrain is available.”

The challenges of navigating this metaphorical rugged landscape, and lack of established, stifling best practices, propel Thorp forward, as both a programmer and educator. Our conversation drifts through his teaching philosophy, his role as the unofficial ‘lobbyist’ for the Processing community, and some work he recently did for Popular Science. I find it a little unnerving that Thorp knows about every tenth patron that files through this café: as a coffee-in-hand chic designer departs he whispers, “Her work is amazing, she’s won three national design awards.” He then launches into an elaborate summary of his experience at ITP without skipping a beat.

Thorp is more than qualified to speak authoritatively about data-based practice. Several of his recent visualization projects have been received as groundbreaking ‘instant classics’ by information design aficionados. This is a discerning audience, one that is simultaneously ravenous for new approaches to representing quantitativeinformation while also demanding novel interactions. One such initiative, Project Cascade, developed in the spring of 2011, prototyped an elegant 3D interface that mapped the conversational nature of the social web by tracking the way links to articles from the New York Times spread across Twitter. While the visualization is fabulous at representing the dense, ephemeral social constellations that populate the web, it is equally useful as a cipher for un- derstanding the chain of events that saw Thorp—a Vancouverite—dig in and adopt New York City as his new home.

Photographs of Thorp’s partner Nora, his dog Trapper John, M.D., and some natural skylines form an carefully composed mosaic on the rusty filing cabinet beside his desk.
Just steps from the East River, Thorp’s Brooklyn studio provides a postcard view of the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges (on a clear day).
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HOLO is an editorial and curatorial platform, exploring disciplinary interstices and entangled knowledge as epicentres of critical creative practice, radical imagination, research, and activism.

Join us today by becoming a Reader. You will receive:

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  • Dossiers: insight into key events and residencies through our ongoing research projects
  • Perspective: guest features and articles (past and new)
  • Special Offers: exclusive discounts for HOLO products and through our collaborators & partners


Greg J. Smith

Ken Tisuthiwongse


Production notes:
coming soon

New York City (US)


This feature was originally published in the inaugural issue of HOLO (2014, p.28-41). For details, see the HOLO Shop.


Greg J. Smith: A Canadian writer and cultural worker based in Hamilton, Greg is an editor for HOLO, and his writing has appeared in publications including Creative Applications Network, Musicworks, and Back Office. He is a PhD candidate within the Department of Communication Studies and Multimedia at McMaster University, and serves as co-chair of Board of Directors at InterAccess. For HOLO, he has profiled Jer Thorp and Rafael Lozano-Hemmer.

Ken Tisuthiwongse: Ken is a commercial and editorial portrait photographer based in Los Angeles with a deep love for analog film (“I prefer it for portraits and small editorials; the images feel more organic to me.”) He’s worked for editorial clients such as Mr. Porter, Monocle, and GQ as well as notable fashion and beauty brands. For HOLO, he photographed CGI provocateur David OReilly and data artist Jer Thorp. These days, it’s his kid that keeps him busy: “I’m currently trying to figure out how to drop him off at school and then run to the photo lab in 45 minutes.”

© 2014-21 HOLO

Latest Chapter of Ali Eslami’s “False Mirror” VR Research Opens for (Online) Visitors

Underscoring Tetem’s [NL] commitment to hybrid experiences, an online component for “Eclipse” launches. Ali Eslami and Mathilde Renault’s exhibbition has been open for weeks, but, as of today, remote participants can book access to “discover the extent of their physicality … [and] their interactions with one another.” An offshoot of Eslami’s ongoing VR experiments, this browser-based iteration allows users to inhabit an avian avatar, and interact with more corporeal forms that are only accessible to visitors of the IRL exhibition.

A Hack (Briefly) Damaged Confidence in the Alternative, Artist-Driven NFT Marketplace Hic et Nunc

“My idealistic read of Hic et Nunc peaked during the platform’s first hackathon in May, when 150 artists and developers came together to work towards improving the platform. On June 28, the momentum came to a halt.”
Clara Peh, on how a hack of the open source alt NFT marketplace revealed the vulnerability of its model. “Hic et Nunc is essentially developer Rafael Lima’s passion project,” writes Peh, “and he is assisted by hardworking and generous enthusiasts who share a similar vision.”

“From Creatures to Creators” Imagines Life *Not* as We Know It

Confronting the posthuman head-on, “From Creatures to Creators” opens at Kunsthaus Hamburg. Collecting works “going beyond the finite, conceiving the superhuman” artists including Ed Fornieles, Mary Maggic, and Tabita Rezaire contribute provocative, unsettling visions of life not as we know it, through installation, video, and VR. Pakui Hardware’s Thrivers (image, 2019), for example, presents glass forms as “porous hosts of life,” that fuse elements of flora and fauna lifeforms into chimeric experiments.

The Trouble of Determining a Reliable Metric of Human Values

“Arguably, one of the most consistent, historically reliable, widely accepted system of ethics in existence belongs to the Catholic Church. You want to base a responsible AI on that?”
– Novelist Stephen Marche, on the impossible task of determining a reliable metric of human values, when “caste and gender are baked into every word.” Where can AI engineers working with natural language models turn to, Marche asks. “Humanities departments? Critical theory? Academic institutions change their values systems all the time.”

Ryoichi Kurokawa Turns Petals Into Point Clouds in Buffalo Daughter’s New Music Video

Directed by digital artist Ryoichi Kurokawa for Buffalo Daughter, the “ET (Densha)” music video premieres on the band’s YouTube channel. Known for his clincial deconstruction of natural forms, here Kurokawa ‘explodes’ flowers into point clouds, which waft and dissipate in sync with the central bass hook and guitar feedback. Founded in 1993, Buffalo Daughter is a key player in Japan’s “cut-and-paste” rock Shibuya-kei movement. “ET (Densha)” is the lead single from their upcoming album We Are The Times.

Jason Fagone Contemplates Love and Loss in the Age of AI

“At first, he was impressed by the software’s ability to mimic the real Jessica Pereira. Within 15 minutes, he found himself confiding in the chatbot. After a few hours, he broke down in tears.”
Chronicle staff writer Jason Fagone, contemplating “love and loss in the age of AI” in a (moving) recount of how one GPT-3 chatbot, created with Project December, helped writer Joshua Barbeau find closure eight years after the death of his fiancé