Monday, June 30, 2014

Who Has Time To Read?

Powell's Books rules.


Who has time to read? My world is one of continuous partial attention. Complicating matters is that I can no longer read anything without simultaneously writing something. Let’s call it riff-reading.

The best writing does absolutely nothing for me in the way of story, plot, character, authenticity, voice, setting or conventional meaning-making i.e. the predictable middle-brow or preprogrammed academic literary and theoretical styles that easily meet expectations. Rather, it immediately stimulates my muscle memory in a way my neurons never saw coming. Once the neurons are triggered and I am starting to go out of control, I too find myself writing-while-reading in the margins of my mind, iPhone, notepad, etc. What this means is that the best writing, the writing I come back to, is writing that awakens the writer-in-me, even if that writer is really anybody but me.

Fortunately, I often spend my summers in Portland, living and writing in my loft a mere six blocks away from Powell’s, arguably the best bookstore in America. My nightly visits to Powell’s open me up to books I might never have heard of were I to depend solely on the Internet or, worse, academic culture, to tell me what’s hot and what’s not. Which is why my summer reading is always an eclectic mix of the unexpected. This year is no different. These are the first books I have unearthed from the endless shelves that I immerse myself in:

Anne Waldman Gossamurmur (Penguin, 2013)

Christine Weirtheim mUtter–bAbel (Counterpath Press, 2013)

Melissa Broder When You Say One Thing But Mean Your Mother (Ampersand Books, 2010)

Kate Durbin E! Entertainment (Wonder, 2014)

Dodie Bellamy The TV Sutras (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2014)

Chelsea Martin The Really Funny Thing About Apathy (sunnyoutside, 2010)

and one old guy too (who, page for page, happens to be the most underappreciated living American fiction writer):

Steve Katz The Compleat Memoirrhoids (Starcherone Books, 2013)

For more on my literary (and other) thoughts, I have two Twitter accounts:

@markamerika

@remixthebook

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Locus Solus - Centenary Edition Auto-Translated by Mark Amerika

In this excerpt from my Schwab "Say Yes!" lecture at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I briefly digress into a story about the making of Locus Solus, my auto-translation / remix of Raymond Roussel's novel of the same. Roussel originally published his novel exactly 100 years ago in 1914. My version will come out with Counterpath Press later this year.







"What else am I going to be able to remix?"

For me, that question is not very different from, "What else am I going to make before I definitively unfinish myself?"

That phrase, definitively unfinish, is, of course, taken from Marcel Duchamp's encapsulation of the creative process as it related to his Large Glass, also known in English as The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even, a work that was composed between 1915 and 1923. For the past few years, I have been meticulously remixing this source material from this significant work of 20th century art across different media platforms as part of my next large-scale transmedia narrative project, this one entitled Inside the Green Box, a reference to Duchamp’s textual accompaniment to the Large Glass titled The Green Box. At times, Duchamp referred to his Green Box as a book. He also referred to it as an album, one that he configured in conjunction with this elaborate work of art he meta-tagged a delay-in-glass (he also used the phrase delay-in-painting).

According to Duchamp, "one could not 'see' the painting without consulting the various elements found in the green box […] I wanted that album to go with the ‘Glass’, and to be consulted when seeing the ‘Glass’, because as I see it, it must not be ‘looked at’ in the aesthetic sense of the word. One must consult the book, and see the two together."

It's my sense that the Large Glass and its accompanying Green Box are already conjoined into what, today, we would call a kind of transmedia narrative, and my remix, Inside the Green Box, will hopefully be released some time next year. Aspects of my work have recently been released or will soon come out, including my novel-length auto-translation / remix of Raymond Roussel's Locus Solus which, first published in 1914, will soon be marking its 100 year anniversary. My remix of Roussel’s book will be published later this year and was composed by playfully postproducing the original 1914 version using a variety of mediocre online translation programs. Here’s the story behind this auto-translation / remix which I see not so much as a literal translation by any means, but as a work of performance art:

One night in early February of 2012, after an exhausting day at the County court, serving on a jury for a rather seedy, sibling sex abuse case, I distracted myself from the opening day’s events by conducting more research for this Inside the Green Box transmedia narrative I am developing, I came across an interview with Duchamp where he was asked what most influenced him while making the work and he said, "Roussel showed me the way."

Somewhere in the back of my mind I had recalled having read this quote in some other context but had never followed up on it. However, it was at this very moment of (re)discovery, while I was looking for a long distraction since I could not talk to anyone, not even my wife, about the sleazy court case I was now a jury member on, that I decided to pursue the link. In order to get a quick sense of Roussel’s work, I immediately started searching online for any of his work published in English translation. In the same interview quoted above, Duchamp had mentioned Roussel’s other by-now famous work, Impressions d’Afrique, as his primary influence, and that was the one I was looking for. Since I do not speak French, I was hoping to find a readymade PDF already translated into English that I could easily download. As it happens, there was no version of this work that I could find online. However, Locus Solus, the other one of his two most famous works, was available online in French and since I was impatient and wanted to access any Roussel I could get my hands on, I decided I would read this work instead. But there was still the issue I kept denying to myself throughout this entire process, namely that I do not read or understand French, let alone Roussel's version of it. What was I to do? I decided to get an immediate feel for Locus Solus by turning to a few mediocre online translation programs that would auto-translate the first few pages, line-by-line, and see what came up. But since I do not read or understand French, let alone Roussel's version of it, I decided to get an immediate feel for Locus Solus by auto-translating the first few pages, line-by-line, with a set of mediocre online translation programs. (author's note: just recently, an older translation of Locus Solus into English has just become available online - still, it makes no sense for me to read it now and I'll let others conduct a comparative media studies investigation if they so wish).

Needless to say, given Roussel's strange procedural writing style, the auto-translation was full of glitches and illegible strands of narrative thought. When I refer to Roussel's strange compositional methodology, I am referring to some of his personal theoretical writings that he had kept secret until his death and that were posthumously published in the volume How I Wrote Certain of My Books, where he describes his method as follows:

"I chose two similar words. For example billard (billiard) and pillard (looter). Then I added to it words similar but taken in two different directions, and I obtained two almost identical sentences thus. The two sentences found, it was a question of writing a tale which can start with the first and finish by the second. Amplifying the process then, I sought new words reporting itself to the word billiards, always to take them in a different direction than that which was presented first of all, and that provided me each time a creation moreover. The process evolved/moved and I was led to take an unspecified sentence, of which I drew from the images by dislocating it. . .”

Needless to say, my simple late-night plan to use a translation program to better understand Roussel’s writing and why it might have “shown Duchamp the way,” was immediately introduced to a severe obstacle as I tried to make some narrative sense out of the mangled text and mistranslated puns and double entedres that were given to me by the auto-translation program. My intuitive response was to not get frustrated at all but to creatively remix these mangled translations through my own experiential filters as valuable source material that would enable me to remixologically inhabit the spirit of Roussel’s own procedural aesthetic. This is when Roussel's Locus Solus started becoming a mash-up of auto-translation and autobiography or what in META/DATA I refer to as pseudo-autobiography (an always already fictional rendering of experiential data sampled from the practice of everyday life).

That first night, I started to really get into the auto-translation / remix process and decided that I did not want to buy and read any of the out-of-print books that had already attempted to translate Roussel into English, that, instead, I would approach this experience as a work of performance art and, like so many works of performance art, view it as a kind of durational achievement. And so it was, four months later, that I had translated / remixed the entire, mangled French version into what I started referring to as

Locus Solus (An Inappropriate Translation Composed in a 21st Century Manner)

All throughout the auto-translation/remix performance I was well aware of the fact that things were getting lost in the transmission, that the stability of the narrative trajectory, assuming I wanted to maintain a certain amount of stability and even semantic consistency, was going to depend on my ability to remixologically inhabit or even embody the praxis of another artist-medium who initially communicated these messages to us a long time ago (100 years to be exact). This was a creative parameter that actually liberated me from having to feel better about myself as I assumed the role of so-called "translator." Instead, I could approach the whole system as a literary traitor, one who pirates information signals and trades in a performance art practice that imposes their own literary and artistic traits onto the one who is being auto-translated, remixed, inhabited.

So to loop Duchamp back into the mix here today, particularly in reference to what his primary influences were while composing his major transmedia narrative, The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even, "Roussel showed me the way."

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Note on Being a Net Artist (Live-from-Heaven Remix)

20 years of being a net artist include 20 years of

        explaining the difference between hypertext and net art
        explaining the difference between net art and net.art
        removing the dot from net.artist
        being called the first Web star (first by W magazine)
        being mixed up with European net.artists
        being called a pioneer

        getting email invitations to international festivals
        getting festival invitations addressed to my net art characters
        declining festival invitations addressed to my net art characters
        declining to send CD versions of my net art
        rejecting the art market by resisting objectification

        being told that that I am nothing but a writer
        being interviewed about net art as something new

        believing that the work will live in perpetuity
        remixing the work into compatible versions
        archiving the work for special collections
        storing the ephemera in boxes in the garage
        playfully spreading rumors of net art's demise
        having a sense of humor about it all

        learning to be a professor of net art
        learning from my students what net art is

these are not the only things that happened to me,
but the ones that appear first thing in the Paris morning.

(thanks to Lia for the ongoing inspiration)

Mark Amerika is a pioneering internet artist and theorist. He is a kind of cyberpunk feminist and Professor of Intermedia Art, Writing and Performance at the University of Colorado.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Ten Essays I am (not) Writing While in Paris

Ten Essays I am (not) Writing While in Paris:



"Autohallucinating in Asynchronous Realtime: Experiential Research and the Art of Ubiquitous Performance"

"Undermining the Subjective Production of Indebted Man: Hacking Professorial Identity by Reconfiguring the Nomadic Post-Self"

"'The Simultaneous Data of the Actual Sensory Situation': the black art of making things without code"

"'To write during a prophetic illuminative seizure': hacking reality by intuitively faking your way through it"

"Beyond Digital Being: Becoming and Perishing in the Age of Glitch Aesthetics"

"'An Intense Experience is an Aesthetic Fact': Becoming-Whitehead in Philosophy's Trippy Aftermath"

"Unfollowing Oneself as a Measure of Ontological Complexity: Prehending Thingness in the Practice of Everyday Wife"

"Mirroring Neurons as Literary Agency: How Postmodernism Changed Our Character(s) and Spawned the Coming Reign of Conceptual Personae"

"Prosthetic Aesthetics: The Internet as Collaboratively Generated User-Consciousness in the Age of Connection Addiction"

"Do Vegans Swallow? Protein Substitutes for An Artificial Intelligentsia Always Already Craving Processed Organics" (hat tip: http://cltampa.com/bedpost/archives/2014/04/02/do-vegans-swallow-and-other-radical-sex-queries#.UzyqM5K9KSM)



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Keywords: Paris, essay, philosophy, prophesy, academic papers, experience, nature, food, excess, being, becoming, living, life

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Disrupting the Humanities

In early March, I'll be participating in an event whose theme is close to my heart: Disrupting the Humanities. This event is the first of three half-day seminars looking at research and scholarship in a so-called 'posthumanities' context and is organized by the Centre for Disruptive Media at Coventry University.

The event announcement focuses on how the various participants, including Craig Saper, Karen Newman, Sarah Kember, Endre Dányi, and myself "will both critically engage with the humanist legacy of the humanities, and creatively explore alternative and affirmative possible futures for the humanities." My own "hybrid conference" (to borrow a term from my performance in Paris last Fall) is still untitled and in formation, but will highlight the way practice-based research methodologies and the expanding universe of creative outcomes challenge traditional humanities and, for that matter, scientific research outcomes.

Here's another take on what's happening, as composed by the hosts of the event:

Disrupting the Scholarly Establishment: How To Create Alternative and Affirmative Humanities Institutions?

The first seminar in the series, Disrupting the Scholarly Establishment, focuses on alternative ways of creating, performing and circulating research and scholarship in a posthumanities context. It brings together scholars and practitioners who have actively tried to rethink some of the humanities' established forms and methods in an affirmative way by experimenting with the establishment of new academic organisations and institutions.

In the first seminar panel, Scholarly publishing: scholar-led initiatives and experiments in digital publishing, Sarah Kember, EndreDányi and Craig Saper will discuss a number of initiatives  that reimagine the relationship between authors, publishers, distributors, libraries and readers. The aim of these initiatives is to createmore opportunities for the  publication and circulation of the kind of work that the established, 'legacy' publishers increasingly regard as being too difficult, experimental, radical, specialised or avant-garde to be economically viable.

In the second panel, Art education: practice-based research and open art education: new structures and new institutions, Karen Newman and Mark Amerika  will address recent developments in open art education and practice-based research. They will explore how we can establish new structures and new institutions that challenge some of the divisions that still exist between art practice and scholarly research, between the lecturer and the learner, and between the learning space of the classroom and the 'outside world'.

____

Keywords: disrupting the humanities, scholarly establishment, practice-based research, creative outcomes, radical pedagogy

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Malloc (a flash fiction)

  1. Malloc's the name. Short for Memory Allocation. As in: never enough.
  2. What was I saying?
  3. Just kidding. The truth is there's way too much memory available and my config keeps conspicuously leaking data.
  4. These arbitrary memory leaks produce autohallucinatory events that I call streaming glitch aesthetics.
  5. It's great for the first ten or fifteen seconds when it's first coming on but then it gets weird.
  6. It's like my preprogrammed field of avatar-movement is being altered by secret teams of nanobot time-slicers hacking into my nervous system.
  7. What's worse is that I think I'm getting used to it and even start anticipating its next inevitable arrival.
  8. Now when the streaming glitch aesthetics commences I pop a counterintuitive time signature just to see what happens.
  9. The ensuing multilinear layers of atemporal drift and data capture feed further into my architectural collapsing and paranoiac lust.
  10. For some reason, it's only when I'm deep into total collapse that I'm asked to download the next memory upgrade. 

__

Keywords: memory allocation, flash fiction,  glitch aesthetics, leaking data

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Elation

For the last eight years, I have selected one word on January 1st to trigger creative developments throughout the new year. It's a practice that I have enjoyed and one that I always connect with my being in Hawaii at the turn of the year. My life in the Aloha State has been very influential in my art and writing and this past year was especially gratifying in that I had my first large-scale exhibition in Honolulu after having lived here on a part-time basis for almost 15 years.

It brought me great joy to share a survey of my artwork as well as make new artworks with colleagues in Honolulu and to have my friends from nearby Kailua come out to the exhibition opening. And now I have many new friends and artist colleagues who live on the island of Oahu and whom I will continue to work with developing that part of my practice that bridges Net art, electronic literature, printmaking, and artist bookmaking.

This spontaneously generated series of words that I have been triggering on the first day of each year have had a kind of simple Oulipian strategy attached to them in that for the first four years they started with the later i and then,  for the last four years, they started the letter a always ending in ion.

In 2006, the word was improvisation.

In 2007, the word was intuition.

In 2008, the word was illumination.

For 2009, I was feeling the heat and knew I had to go with intensification.

Looking into my miniscule crystal ball for 2010, I anticipated things remaining as intense as ever but also sensed a noticeable pattern shift occurring in the world all around me, one that I knew was having an effect on all of my new project development at that time. I was feeling a significant shift in perception starting to take hold, one that would ideally enable me to transmute the intensity of daily remix practice into multiple and hybridized forms of actualization. Three years ago, trying to side-step the new age connotations of the term actualization while addressing why it stood out to me as a word indicative of these altered visualizations [further signaled by the fact that my new words of the year would now begin with the letter a instead of i], I wrote down some thoughts which I am remixing below:
By creating more flexible life patterns we may be able to renew our energy (source material) in ways that trigger yet more intense experiences not just for ourselves but for others. Doing this at the level of daily remix practice as part of an intentional strategy to take the creative process deep into ones shape-shifting underground network via a process of mediumistic actualization feels like just the right thing to do.

As Whitehead wrote in Process and Reality, the primordial nature "combines the actuality of what is temporal with the timelessness of what is potential."

How do we network this potential so that it feeds into more intersubjective, remixological practice?

What does it take to access the source of creativity?

In digital terms, is it as simple as maintaining a net connection while proactively engaging with ones distributed social network?

How does one become an artist-medium that positions their daily practice in relation to the greater creative potential of what lies ahead while acting as an accomplice to an ingression performed by timeless entities whose concrescent formation manifests itself as an actual achievement in time?

Is actualization always already just-in-time?

Or is it always on the cusp of "becoming" -- the idealized condition of "being avant-garde"?
Actualization was a term that challenged me three years ago and two years ago "the secret woid" (Groucho Marx) was agglutination. On January 1, 2011, I wrote how my emerging art projects were
... driven by an adherence to my daily remix practice. The bottom line is that I need to maintain my practice as intuitive stick-to-itive-ness. Maybe the word I am looking for is sticktuitive. Setting my mind on autopilot, my aim is to continually remix the patterns into new forms of mosaic. But the mosaic, as fluid as it may be, needs to hold together in order for me to feel the need to proceed. It has to agglutinate.
Therefore, I wrote, "the trigger word for 2011 is agglutination. Even if some elements lose their 'stickiness,' dislodge, and drift away, I will be paying attention to those things that adhere to each other and create greater clusters of potential to actualize."

And disparate yet loosely connected parts of my practice did begin adhering in ways I could have never predicted, especially with the publication of remixthebook, a hybrid print / digital / performance project. remixthebook still generates interest in various fields of study, most recently from university programs looking to expand their Communications and Rhetoric departments, and was the focus of my seminar as the Labex International Research Chair at the University of Paris 8 this past fall.

The word-trigger for 2012 was a stretch, even for me. That word was ascension.

As I wrote last year, "for me, the idea of ascending" had very little to do with its religious connotations and "was more about climbing, flying, soaring. To 'take it all to another level'? Is it possible to rise above it all while staying grounded? What's the relationship between ground and instrument? Instrument and medium?"

I answered in the affirmative and produced a huge and complex work of art titled Museum of Glitch Aesthetics (for more info on MOGA and many other developments up through October 2012, go to my linkfest). By the spring of 2013, I was literally watching my flash videos of glitch art soar above the traveling masses who were patiently trying to find their way through the long security lines at the Denver International Airport where my newly commissioned video glitchwork was on exhibit for eight months straight.

As I began thinking about this year's a word, I re-read last year's entry and saw that I wrote, "2013 is the last of A words." I was surprised I wrote that but have accepted that maybe it's time for me to move on. Should I move into a new string of words beginning with a new letter, for example, the letter e, and just keep doing this for the sake of doing it? Probably not, especially since I have reached a point of elation that comes with having put into practice all of the other trigger words that have started my new year since 2006. Something I have always been aware as part of my creative practice is that you don't really need to keep doing the same things over and over again year after year just because you feel like you have to. Have to what? What's the point?

It's time to diverge.

Hau'oli Makahiki Hou to you and yours from the beautiful shoreline of Kailua Beach.

Keywords: intuition, improvisation, illumination, intensification, actualization, agglutination, ascension, affirmation, elation

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Remixing Personae: A Hybrid Performance

And so I took the stage -




Not just any stage, but the stage at the Théâtre du Conservatoire National Supérieur d’Art Dramatique in the heart of Paris where Berlioz debuted his Symphonie Fantastique in 1830 -



I opened the performance, titled Remixing Personae, with an eerie ten minute remix of my "Glitch Ontology" manifesto -




"Glitch. Ontology.

Glitch. Ontology.

Glitch. Ontology."



"Engineering the differance via optimized ontological machining, this Fused Deconstruction Modeling Program enables vital Critical Making like never before. You too can experience the pleasure of the text by simply allowing yourself to machine-the-machine."




"Glitch is the soul in the machine."




"Writing is the flesh I just can't keep my hands off of."




"Writing, I just want to touch it -- to lick its outer edge and slowly, 
if it will let me, go in deep."




"To take hold of it the way I would take hold of any apparatus 
and just make it come, make it come back, TO writing."




"A profusion of uncensored glitch markings
that leave a raw data trace."




"The hand-coded smear of a glitchy mark-up language
that always tells the tale."




"The tale of metadata circulating in this intersubjectively 
networked space of flows remediating desire."




"If we give the attributes of a medium to the artist, 
we must then deny him the state of consciousness 
on the esthetic plane about what he is doing 
or why he is doing it."




"Mediums immersed in mediums immersed in mediums ..."




A Guest + A Host = A Ghost?





[all but the second image photographed by Rachel Van de Meerssche]



Keywords: Mark Amerika, Remixing Personae, hybrid conference, performance art, University of Paris 8, Labex H2H, Théâtre du Conservatoire National Supérieur d’Art Dramatique (CNSAD)

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Paristrokia

The title of this post makes no sense to me, but let's go with it anyway. Paris, as in the capital of France where I just spent a month serving as the international research chair at the University of Paris 8, and perestroika which, when taken literally, means restructuring. Now that I've set myself up with this term, what could I possibly mean by mashing up my recent experiences in Paris with the idea of restructuring?

Was I restructuring my practice/theory portfolio so that it met my projected research goals as both artist and writer-theorist?

Perhaps it relates more to how I have been restructuring the various energies I am able to burn while simultaneously role-playing an experimental performance maker, conceptual artist/writer, and innovative practice-based researcher in the messy borderland of higher education.

Or maybe, just maybe, I am referring once again to the way I am constantly restructuring my relationship to America, that long lost dream of what could have been if only ...

My time in Paris was very productive. I finished Locus Solus. For those who don't know (and why would you?), next year is the 100th year anniversary marking the original publication of Raymond Roussel's Locus Solus. In February of this year, while working on another art project remixing Duchamp's Large Glass, I came across an interview with Duchamp where he was asked what most influenced him while making this historically significant work and he said, "Roussel showed me the way."

So I immediately started searching online for a freely downloadable e-book of Roussel's work in English translation and could not find anything. There was one novel, Locus Solus, available in French. I do not read or understand French, let alone Roussel's version of it, but I decided to get a feel for Locus Solus by auto-translating it with a set of mediocre online translation programs.

Needless to say, given Roussel's procedural composition style, which he articulated in the posthumously published How I Wrote Certain of My Books, the auto-translation was full of glitches and illegible strands of narrative thought. The only way to develop some narrative sense out of the mangled text that was given to me by the mediocre online translation programs was to creatively remix it through my own experiential filters. This is when Roussel's Locus Solus started becoming a totally unexpected mash-up of auto-translation and autobiography.

After a few hours, and then days, of auto-translating / remixing the original French version, I found myself becoming addicted to what I now perceived to be a kind of exhilarating, performance art project. As with other performance art works I have created in the past, I was particularly excited by the arbitrary set of parameters the project had set up for me. The idea that I would be forcing myself to endure the writingprocessing as a kind of body-brain-apparatus achievement kept me bound to The Network as a disciplinarian procedural aesthetic (as is often the case nowadays, I would be unable to work on the project unless I had a good Internet connection). I quickly decided that I did not want to buy and read any of the rare print books that had already attempted to translate Roussel into English. The challenge I had set myself up with was now very clear and four months after my initial "cut and paste" of the opening line into one of the online translation programs, and with no knowledge of what the original could possibly mean, I had successfully finished auto-translating / remixing the mangled French version into

Locus Solus (An Inappropriate Translation Composed in a 21st Century Manner)

now composed of two parts: part one, Locus Solus, which is the narrative remix, and part two, How I Rewrote One of His Books, a series of "Afterthoughts as Endnotes" documenting the performance.

My goal is to get this book out some time next year in conjunction with the 100-year anniversary of its initial publication. A limited edition artist book seems best, although I am open to suggestions, and I can help fund the production and design process. I am especially interested in working with an experimental yet reputable art book publisher who can move fast when the conditions require it.

In my next post, I hope to include some reflections on and photos from my performance at the Théâtre du Conservatoire National Supérieur d’Art Dramatique.

--

Keywords: Raymond Roussel, Locus Solus, Mark Amerika, remix, Paris, University of Paris 8, glitch, translation

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

MarkerAmerique in Paris and Honolulu

While in Paris in November 2013 as the Labex International Research Chair at the University of Paris 8, I have been making and finishing a lot of new work. One excellent strand of development is related to the film artist, cinéssayist and web provocateur Chris Marker. Marker has been very influential to a lot of experimental film artists over the years but not too many people I know are aware of his geeky side. For example, did you know that he wrote a program in Basic that he called DIALECTOR?

I had the privilege of attending an event devoted to Marker the Geek where it was revealed that the code to his DIALECTOR would be run through MacEmulator and that we would be able to play with it. I jumped at the chance and began interacting with his clever programming mindset. The experience felt like an aesthetically deeper and hipper version of what it must have been like to play with Joseph Weizenbaum's ELIZA (some day, perhaps in a memoir, I will relate the story of an evening I spent with Weizenbaum in Vienna where we met at what is Austria's version of The White House).

Here is a screenshot of my interaction with DIALECTOR:


My interaction with Marker's work is now also going to appear as a series of manipulated glitch images sent through the Lithopixel Refactory Collective's creative shuttle between 19th and 21st century technological processing (from laser to lithograph and back again) as part of my Glitch_Click_Thunk exhibition in Honolulu (still open until December 6th). One of the works that will soon appear in the gallery is Chris Marker Pre-Historic Animated GIF.

Somehow this all connects with my recent performance at the Théâtre du Conservatoire National Supérieur d’Art Dramatique (CNSAD). The performance was titled Remixing Personae, and as the press release acknowledged:
Mark Amerika will reveal how his background as an avant-pop literary artist informs his current digital arts practice. Amerika’s body of work constructs fluid, metafictional identities that he strategically remixes into an ongoing "pseudoautobiographical" performance. In his presentation, he will remix samples from a variety of sources including French post-structuralist theory, Beatnik poetry, hypertextual consciousness, contemporary art history, and the language of new media. Remixing his digital flux personae across various intermedia platforms, Amerika will read, lecture, perform and play with a curated selection of his new media artworks over the last two decades.
During the performance, I played WeRMediumzGoMetaOn-U and revealed to the audience that this video artwork is a remixological inhabitation of the last twelve minutes of Marker's La Jetée. By working with Google Earth and Street View as tools to forage for useful stills in locations throughout Brazil, my goal was to trigger an alternative story to the one Marker told but also to evolve a similar editing style to his by paying precise attention to what, for lack of better, I would refer to as his image rhythm. For further thoughts on the idea of image rhythm as well as the mobile image vs. the moving image, you can read my freely available artist e-book The Postproduction of Presence: A Director's Notebook, at the Immobilité website.

As I asked myself aloud while performing at the Conservatoire, "What else am I going to remix now?"

As you can imagine, I have quite a few possibilities percolating.

For example, why not a month-long Twitter-Vine performance where I remix a work originally composed by my old teacher, Alain Robbe-Grillet? His Project for a Revolution in New York is just aching to be remixologically inhabited.

Project for a Revolution in Paris?

More on the Parisian trip soon ...

Keywords: Chris Marker, Mark Amerika, MarkerAmerique, University of Paris 8, Remixing Personae

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Glitch_Click_Thunk featuring Mark Amerika: my first exhibition in Hawaii

As some of you may know, I have been a part time resident of Kailua, Hawai‘i, for the past 14 years. remixthbook was essentially written there and some of my major works like FILMTEXT were developed during extended periods of time spent on the islands.

Most of my time on the islands over the years has been focused on making contemporary works of art as well as parallel processing experimental forms of practice-based theory. Hawaii makes its presence felt in my first published collection of artist writings, META/DATA: A Digital Poetics, particularly in a critifiction titled Hawaiian Net Art that was previously published on Rhizome.

Now I am happy to remind my readers that I am in the process of having my first major show on the island of Oahu at the University of Hawai‘i Art Gallery. The show is titled CONVERGENCE: GLITCH_CLICK_THUNK featuring Mark Amerika, and opened on October 6th, 2013. The show runs through December 6th.

Here are some capture-as-capture-can iPhone shots from the opening.

The entire University of Hawai‘i Art Gallery press release for the exhibition is located here.

The digital version of the postcard announcement is here.

Here’s a quick summary of the announcement:
CONVERGENCE: GLITCH_CLICK_THUNK, Featuring Mark Amerika
October 6 – December 6, 2013
(opening reception on Sunday, October 6 from 3 to 5 pm)

The inaugural presentation of a series of new media exhibitions/installations at the University of Hawai‘i Art Gallery.

The CONVERGENCE series encompasses and explores the impact of Internet art, digital, electronic, sound and a wide range of new, traditional, and hybrid technologies on communication and art. Developed by the gallery system at the Department of Art and Art History, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM), this extended, interactive installation engages visitors and students in hands-on exchanges between letter-press, litho-process, current computer-imaging, and audio-articulating workshop areas within the gallery.

The CONVERGENCE series’ first installation features noted author, professor, and multimedia artist Mark Amerika and his pioneering combination of animation, video, net art, hypertext, exprimental audio, and graphic layouts. Amerika’s GRAMMATRON (1997) is a landmark icon of hypertext and textual aesthetics in the history of internet art. The installation also showcases a selection of Amerika’s video work as well as multiple screenings of Immobilité, his feature-length “foreign film” shot entirely with a mobile phone.

Contributing in dynamic interaction with visiting artist Mark Amerika is the Lithopixel Refactory Collective (LRC), founded by Charles Cohan, Scott Groeniger, and Peter Chamberlain, professors at the Department of Art and Art History, UHM. LRC will set up a temporary production studio in the UH Art Gallery that is equal parts lithography, digital printing, live audio, print gallery, and shredding facility.

The elements of converging media are reflected in the exhibition’s title. Glitch refers to Mark Amerika’s glitch aesthetics that inform and react to LRC’s contemporary tools for imaging, denoted by Click of point and click computer technology. The traditional, transformative technology of printmaking presses is represented as Thunk — a playful reference to the sound of the heavy machine parts of working printing presses.
My week long visit to Honolulu was packed with events including the installation, the opening, the live performances inside the gallery, my visiting artist talk, my introduction to Immobilité followed by a screening of the entire work, and meeting with excellent colleagues and students from Art and Art History, English, and Library and Information Sciences.

My next intervention into the gallery space will take place later this month as a series of telematic interactions from my post in Paris where I am the International Research Chair at the University of Paris 8.

More on the Paris gig in my next post.

Keywords: Mark Amerika, Glitch Click Thunk, University of Hawaii, University of Paris 8, Lithopixel Refactory Collective

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Two New Exhibitions: Cloud Banks and Precipitations

Now that the "Shu Lea Chaeng and Mark Amerika" two-person exhibition at Furtherfield has been successfully launched, I must devote a good portion of my attention and energy to three new shows opening over the next two weeks. The first two shows are curated by Lanfranco Aceti and Ozden Sahin:

My solo show Cloud Banks, at Kasa Gallery in Istanbul, explores the way artists, political and economic theorists, metaphysical philosophers, and businessmen use language as a tool to construct their vision of the world as they see it. As with much of my conceptual net art, the title is a pun, one that refers to both a weather phenomenon – a layer of clouds seen from a distance – and the recent rise of both cloud computing and too-big-to-fail banking systems.

The remix methodology I employed for these large print works involves taking numerous texts from authors such as Immanuel Kant, John Ruskin, P. T. Barnum, Andy Warhol, Raoul Vaneigem, Karl Marx, John Stuart Mill, as well as various documents produced by Conceptual artists of the 1960s, to produce experimental tag clouds that reveal both the writer’s use of language and the thematic subjects they obsessed over. I then manipulate the tag clouds by mashing up some of the texts for aesthetic and political effect. For example, in the show at Kasa Gallery, two of the works on exhibit mash up Conceptual art documents with John Stuart Mill’s Principles of Political Economy out of which emerge a subset of tag clouds titled Conceptual Art Mill.

My second solo show, Precipitations, was developed in conjunction with the physical gallery show in Istanbul and will be more of a network distributed exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Cuts and featured daily throughout the exhibition run as updated online images. The images for each show are generated by employing similar algorithmic and typographical processes but the visualizations that I have chosen for each exhibition vary from horizontal cloud banks to vertical word rain.

Soon I will post an entry about my fourth solo or two-person exhibition this fall, Glitch_Click_Thunk, opening on October 6, 2013 at the University of Hawaii Art Gallery in conjunction with inaugural CONVERGENCE event taking place in Honolulu.

Keywords: Mark Amerika, exhibitions, Istanbul, Honolulu, London, Cloud Banks, Precipitations, Glitch

Friday, August 30, 2013

Mark Amerika's Limited Edition Art at Sedition

This week I launched two new limited edition video artworks at the UK-based site Sedition.

According to their PR, Sedition "is the world’s leading online platform for artists to display and sell their art in digital format for connected screens and devices" and they have taken on a rather grand mission to "to change the art world by making art affordable and universally accessible."

Over the past few weeks I have been working closely with their team on releasing this specially curated and featured duo of works. The prices are very affordable, even after the currency conversion, and I think are a terrific way of getting work out to new and potential collectors who want to own art works being created by net artists. The press release, which you can read in full here, starts off:
We’re delighted to share with you the launch of Mark Amerika, a pioneer internet artist on Sedition.

Mark Amerika has created two new digital limited editions for the opening of his exhibition with artist Shu Lea Cheang at Furtherfield Gallery in London opening 31 August until 20 October. #NewAesthetic TV (Extended Play Remix) and Honolulu Hermes are each available starting at £15 in editions of 300.

Any purchased editions can be viewed in high definition directly from the Sedition website or through one of the free Sedition apps for iPhone, iPad, Samsung Smart TVs and Samsung Allshare-enabled devices.
The Sedition release coincides with the opening of my two person show with fave artist Shu Lea Cheang at Furtherfield.

You can read Sedition's blog post on this confluence of events here.

Still from #NewAesthetic TV



Keywords: Mark Amerika, limited edition video art, Sedition, Honolulu Hermes, #NewAestheticVideo

Mark Amerika and Shu Lea Cheang Exhibition at Furtherfield in London

A new two-person exhibition featuring both new and recent work from artists Mark Amerika and Shu Lea Cheang will open at Furtherfield Gallery in London on August 31, 2013.

From the Furtherfield website:

This exhibition by Mark Amerika (US) and Shu Lea Cheang (US/FR) at Furtherfield Gallery marks a significant moment for contemporary art. Amerika and Cheang are both 'net native' artists. They share many of the obsessions of the growing multitude of artists who have grown up with the net since the early 1990s.

They are also big "names" - internationally established artists who regularly show their work, to critical acclaim, at contemporary art galleries around the world. They have crossed over into the mainstream art world whilst maintaining a critical edge.

Amerika is a media artist, novelist, and theorist of Internet and remix culture, named a "Time Magazine 100 Innovator" in their continuing series of features on the most influential artists, scientists, entertainers and philosophers into the 21st Century.

Cheang is a multi-media artist who works with net-based installation, social interface and film production. She has been a member of the Paper Tiger Television collective since 1981 and BRANDON, a project exploring issues of gender fusion and techno-body, was an early web-based artwork commissioned by the Guggenheim Museum (NY) in 1998.

Both artists continue to shape and be shaped by contemporary networked media art cultures of remix, glitch, social and environmental encounters.

For more information, including the works on exhibit, VIP preview and opening details, read the announcement at Furtherfield.


Furtherfield Gallery has established an international reputation as London's first dedicated gallery for networked and media art, hosting regular exhibitions and public events since 2004. Focusing on art, technology and social change, the gallery is located at McKenzie Pavilion in the heart of Finsbury Park.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Mark Amerika's Video Art at Denver International Airport

A series of four of my short video artworks are now on exhibit at the Denver International Airport. Where exactly in the airport are the videos playing? Well, you can't miss them. They are located on the two large cylindrical towers in the center of the airport's main building. The moving images are playing on the two huge wrap-around screens provided by Clear Channel Airports in collaboration with the airport and the artist.


The artworks featured in this series are made especially for the airport's art and culture program. Titles include "Glitch TV," "Data Falls," "New Aesthetic TV" and "Second Nature." In discussing these new artworks featured in the airport, I was quoted as saying that "[t]hese works grow out of my recent exploration into the relationship between data flow and the flow of life. Sometimes life can be perceived as a rather normative experience but one that is boring and predictable, while at other times our daily perceptions can be glitched or altered by the digital devices we depend on for our communication and information gathering. For example, what if the delivery of high definition data streams start breaking up and creating colorful artifacts you have no control over? One response would be to become impatient with the technology as it dysfunctions right before our eyes. In fact, these disturbances can be visualized as little or even big glitches that at first may seem a nuisance but, on second look, from an artistic perspective, are actually more interesting than the clear signals we're used to seeing in commercial culture. This is what I explore in my ongoing investigation into glitch aesthetics."

A short video of the exhibition can be found here.

These shorter videos grow out of my recent investigation into glitch aesthetics as featured in my last major work of net art, Museum of Glitch Aesthetics (2012), a major art commission sponsored by Abandon Normal Devices and the Harris Museum in conjunction with the London 2012 Olympics. The artist wishes to thank Matt Chasansky, the Denver International Airport Art and Culture Program and Clear Channel Airports for sponsoring this exhibition.


Keywords: Mark Amerika, glitch, aesthetics, public art, video art, Denver International Airport