Thursday, November 26, 2009

ReMixed Reality

Niels Bohr:
Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.
Ron Sukenick:
Without the unreal the real is unreal.


Bad innovation serves up ignorant repetition of the past; good innovation is the thumbprint, the genetic code, of the innovator.

Good innovation will pass the same criteria of taste as other writing, while at the same time changing them.

The question is not taste but who has the power to impose it.

Collage and cutup are ways of interrupting the continuity of the controlling discourse - mosaic is a way of renewing discourse.

Mosaic: new tiles, old fragments, odd scraps - remix. Out of remnants new design. Continuous not discontinuous.
Professor VJ interviewed in last week's edition of Rhizome:
The audiences are changing so it's very tricky to try and anticipate what kind of art experience one can deliver to an imaginary other. For example, some of my live performances are also simultaneously distributed over the net and then archived for future research or remix purposes. One is tempted to say that these changes are almost all technologically induced. But then again, I am the one pulling the trigger. Although once I am performing a live set or enable my online presence to get distributed 24/7 over the matrix, then I start feeling like a network distributed "other" more than I feel like anything I might want to call "me" ("me" who?). This might have something to do with the way we now "play ourselves" as we live out the (re)mixed reality narratives that we call our lives. Perhaps this is what Rimbaud meant when he wrote "I am another."
Given the (re)mixed reality narratives that we call our lives, how essential is it for (con)temporary artists to develop a networked practice?

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Ludic Dialogue

My curatorial collaborator at Ludic Pyjamas (where one can immerse themselves in various forms of dreamplay), has an excerpt from the UNREALTIME catalog interview:
DD: Postproduction and remix have played a central role in your work. When discussing your approach you refer more to ideas such as the détournement of the Situationists rather than Bourriaud's or Manovich's positions on postproduction and remix culture. Could you explain to us how do you understand postproduction and remix with reference to your work's development?

MA: You could say that my approach to remix and/or postproduction culture is more akin to a philosophical investigation of what it means to be creative, that we are all born-remixers, and as such we are continually sampling from the datum that surround us and innovating new forms of aesthetic viability. I call this datum Source Material Everywhere – it's literally and metaphorically in the air, ready for downloading, and how we access it, what we do with it once we sample from it, that is to say, how we manipulate it as postproduction artist-mediums, is what makes us unique artists, what Alfred North Whitehead might call "actual entities" ... There can be no doubt that the seemingly very banal concepts of "remix" and "postproduction" are being applied to all kinds of contemporary art practice perhaps to the point where the methodologies that are triggered by the concepts start to lose their value as an avant-methodology. If everything in art can be reduced to "remix" then do we risk simplistically applying it to a wide array of media forms where it soon loses its power to intervene in the mainstream meaning-making process? It's like what has happened to the word "creativity" i.e. there is always the risk of it becoming completely neutered by the corporate behemoth. But for me, there is a deep connection between the desire to create, to innovate new forms of becoming-artist, and the quite natural way we are all operating in auto-remix mode. The idea of remix has to be more than just a conceptual linchpin that someone reports on as in "hey, look at this, everyone is remixing!" I'm not interested in the commodification of remix theory for a self-referential academic or institutional art audience. For me it's an alternative way of approaching life, a grand philosophical principle that fuels the development of creative – what I call postproduction – mediums. It just so happens that as a self-conscious performance artist playing with intuitive remix technologies, I am lucky enough to be living in a time of great transformation thanks in large part to the beauty of digitally networked culture.
(The entire catalog can be purchased for 10 euros by sending an email to [])

Actually, this is a key point I felt needed to be made in relation to my recent work. Jaded types will immediately roll their eyes when encountering anything that even smells like a reference to remix culture because it seems so, well, passé. But to me that's the same as saying that life itself is passé and that to remain energized about ones creative (i.e. remixological) potential is to be totally naïve, I mean, so what if we are all born-remixers who have to continuously generate or "creatively visualize" emergent bio-imagery in order to compose our lives as part of the socio-cultural mosaic?

Of course, I beg to differ (I don't refer to myself in this blog as a "professorial remixologist" for nothing). The thing is, my approach to remix is not an academic or trendy art-world reading of what certain artists "do" as part of a larger creolization of forms inherent in contemporary art practice. As I mention in the Rhizome interview from last week:
...we find ourselves becoming not so much contemporary artists (i.e. "of" our time) but temporary artists, something much more fluid in the sense that we are continually caught in the postproduction process which for me is the same thing as the creative process. Being creative is what it means to be an aesthetic creature, i.e. one who remixes forms and content as part of their ongoing quest for novelty.
I discussed this a bit at the beginning of my artist presentation in Athens. It feels to me like we are moving away from the need to justify our desire to remain "contemporary" and heading toward a more fluid field of discovery and practice that captures what is "temporary" in art. Sure, capturing the temporary plays against the more speculative aspects of the art market, but looking into my crystal ball I am reading the signs and they all say the same thing, i.e. future forms of curatorial practice must deal with the temporary nature of art if they hope to survive in network culture.

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