Friday, February 19, 2010

How I became a remixologist (or one version thereof)

Sometimes I feel less like a college professor and more like a "collage" professor.

My entire practice is composed of an ongoing assemblage of ripped styles, sampled source material, and embodied rhythms that I sync myself with by re-imagining the (literal) body or bodies of work (post)produced by others.

Instead of asking myself the corporatized "Where do I want to go today?" (wherever my daily practice takes me, thank you very much) -- I ask myself "What do I want to be today?" and then just become it. Or perhaps IT becomes ME (personally, I'll take it any way I can get it).

Sometimes these "becomings" are fuzzy in that I really cannot label what it is I am doing-while-becoming. But other times I like to play with the idea of becoming-something-specific even when it's practically impossible to articulate what it is I feel when becoming, like when I label myself a "collage" professor.

But today I feel like more than just a "collage" professor.

"There must be a better tag," I tell myself, as I conjure up more imaginary solutions to problems that don't really exist (perhaps I'm a 21st century pataphysician?).

After an hour of driving through the morning fog, I realize that today I consider myself a sculptor. At least that's how I'm relating to the world at this very second (things can change very fast here in Professor VJ-land).

Here's something funny: when I was young, very young, I used to get the words mixed up and referred to the one who sculpts as a sculpture.

Really -- I used to think that artists were great sculptures.

Now I know better --

and by that I mean that artists are, in fact, great sculptures, i.e. shape-shifting alchemists of embodied remixology who sync their creative flow in auto-affect mode.

Maybe their reputations are sculptures too.

Or their careers.

Obviously I have a very loose definition of what a sculpture is. For example, it's not static, solid, or stoic. For me it's a much more organic, supple, and even invisible process of energy transformation. Perhaps in this way my thinking is not very far removed from Beuys' Expanded Concept of Art where what is "social-in-forming" creates an ever-widening community of aesthetic interest that comes with an accompanying political suggestiveness.

But back in my playing hooky days of yore, I really did think of artists as sculptures plain and simple.

This is like thinking that a plumber is plumbing.

Under this logic, maybe a net artist is a thinking machine attached to a network of tubes, like the Internets.

But a sculpture with tubes is not plumbing.

That's art (something that I don't really produce, at least not when unconsciously expanding its parameters).

And this is why I think of myself as not so much a college professor but as a "collage" professor. It's because I can assemble myself as whatever I damn well please on any given day. There's a certain inner power that enables me to drive through this early morning fog as I move toward a temporary clarity of vision, one that enables me to see my day begin to take shape as my body feels w-r-i-t-e.

So today I feel like a kind of disintermediated sculptor operating in perpetual postproduction.

Although when I was in my twenties living in the New York underground art scene which is really a nice way of saying the underground economy which is a nice way of saying BEYOND STRUGGLING and not even rich enough to live in a roach-infested shit-hole the size of a pantry closet, back in THOSE days, I still could not bring myself to call myself a sculptor, even though I totally knew that that was the proper term and not sculpture.

Actually, truth be told, in my twenties I referred to the work I was making back in New York the 80s as skull-ruptures.

Skull-ruptures were what led to my continual creative output.

By creative output I mean to suggest a kind of procedural outcome similar to what we think of when seeking some form of digital art output (like a C-print or a DVD) except what I put out back then was less art per se and something more like a series of collage works across the media spectrum.

I was all rupture all the time.

The creativity, to remix Jello Biafra, was just pouring out of my ears.

What I am saying is that I taught myself to become an emotional alchemist who could transform my shape-shifting body language into heavily manipulated skull-ruptures and that's how I became a remixologist.

Now the residue of those early methodological experiments in ritual transformation have become part of a larger Life Style Practice that keeps me juiced in a positive feedback loop.

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