The Beginning of the ENDD

Full disclosure: you don’t need to vape to evaporate. The cultural cloud of incipient imagery and smoky soul-searching surrounding e-cigarettes is fully open to dialogue and debate, as Rhizome’s forum this past weekend — This is the ENDD, the E-Cigarette in Context — clearly demonstrated. But the event went far beyond vaporous vanity. Formally and juridically referred to as Electronic Nicotine Delivery Devices (ENDDs), these steamy avatar-like gadgets were the object of relentless analyses throughout an event that spanned multiple disciplinary perspectives and expressive formats. Ranging from historical investigation (the Chinese genesis of e-cigarette designs) to phenomenological conceptualizations of vaping (as embodiment of Confucian situational awareness, or “Sino-pragmatism”), and finally to art and advertising thematics developing around vape culture, the event was multifaceted to say the least. As the e-cig and vaping underwent abstract and discursive mutations, a singular pop motif echoed coincidentally through the different presenters’ agendas like an accidental yet cohesive mantra: “Addiction without the consequences.”

Still from House of Cards

Still from House of Cards

Haunted by the vaporous specter of House of Cards, the afternoon sublimated from the subtleties of legislative hermeneutics to the ephemeral realm of media representations. Pinar and Viola’s interactive intervention on Rhizome’s front page, transformed into “The Smoking Room,” contributed the artistic flair that revitalized the evening.


Image from Pinar and Viola’s “The Smoking Room” — featured on Rhizome’s homepage until Feb. 24th.

To top it all off, Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal conducted a performative genealogy of the crude patriarchy endemic to the history of cigarette advertising and nakedly exposed how it persists today.

And then you have Steven Dorff sadly, sadly appealing to “Freedom” as the cornerstone of vaping…

But wait… what would an art/tech conference on vaping be without an afterparty?! Aaron David Ross (1/2 of Gatekeeper) lit the night up in smoke 2.0 with the debut of his highly anticipated mixtape, VapeCru: Cloud Chasing, Vol 1. Listen below and get vapy with a steamy selection of music!

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