Friday, November 20, 2009

Through A Quantifiable Presence, Abstractly

"Wait ... I'm getting a signal ..."

"Are you ready for signification?"

"Sorry. Repeat question."'

"Are you ready for signification?"

"Not ready. Repeat: not ready."

"Sorry. Are you transducing?"


"Are you transducing?"

"Resolving, over."

"We're still looking for a concrete network."


"Can you indicate if you are experiencing a loss of information?"


"Can you indicate if you are experiencing a loss of information?"

"We are experiencing a vision of ..."

"Sorry. Lost you."


"Say again? Can you repeat?"

"We are experiencing a vision of pre -- what was that? Sorry. Pre-existence."

"Can you indicate more concretely? Over."

"Hard to characterize. Think emotivity. Proclivity toward motion. Perceptive worlds. Praxis. Moving visual thinking that places the body in a-subjective flux."


"FYI: we are losing power."


"Power. We are losing power."

"Negative on that. Can you read me?"

"Shit. I think we lost the signal."

"Can you read me? Repeat: can you read me?"


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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Rhizome interview

Thanks to Rhizome for publishing an extended interview with me where I discuss the exhibition in Athens, why Immobilité is a "foreign film," and how to navigate the trickier aspects of locating a distributed audience to deliver various remixed forms of multi-media work to. I also give props to Alfred North Whitehead whose philosophical texts have recently resonated with my thinking on remixology and postproduction art. The interview was conducted by Rick Silva.

Here is an excerpt:
RS: This idea of 'remixing the form' goes all the way back to your first new media work GRAMMATRON, where you basically wrote a novel as a multimedia hypertext website. Do you think we are in a post remix era, as in post taking-content-directly-from-other-people's-works, and maybe more about remixing aesthetic or structural forms?

MA: My sense is that it's an "all of the above" situation that has been happening for awhile now and that, out of necessity, 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 post-production 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. This is something that we can trace back to the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead whose books, particularly Process and Reality, highlight how we quite naturally select useful source material, what he calls datum, and reconfigure it for our own creative needs. So yes, on a practical level, remix culture is about sampling content and manipulating it for temporary effect, but on a philosophical level it goes much deeper than that, where we are intersubjectively jamming with the cultural moment we are part of while at the same time sampling from cultural forms we have inherited. With GRAMMATRON, I am noticeably remixing the formal experiments we find in metafiction, hypertext, and conceptual art+language works while unknowingly helping usher in a new genre that we have since come to call Internet art. The buzz from the discoveries made during the making of GRAMMATRON is then integrated into PHON:E:ME, where I remix the form of the concept album with forms I associate with Conceptual Art while at the same time expanding the concept of peer-to-peer networking, and then with FILMTEXT I try to mash-up a lot of different forms including interactive cinema, games, cyberpunk fiction and what had by then become net art.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Mutable Manifesto

My 1996 rant (some would say manifesto), "Leaving the Virtual Ghetto," has been virtually republished at Mutable Sound. It's actually hard to articulate what I must have been thinking while flourishing this 1996 writing style. It is part manifesto to be sure, but as I re-read it almost 14 years later I realize why things took a turn in my so-called career right around this time (a year before before launching GRAMMATRON but having presided over Alt-X for three years already). Basically, very few peeps were willing to vocalize what was to me the most obvious thing in the world:
Alternatives to this End of Intelligent Writing and its potential distribution channels are quickly coming into view. The vast untapped lands of cyberspace, the place where any number of commercial, governmental and alternative computer internetworking environments come together to form webs of virtual (or niche) communities, has opened up the possibility of a truly democratic means of creating and disseminating the creative writing of our near-future. Instead of a multi-layered Author-Agent-Editor-Publisher-Printer-Distributor-Retailer-Consumer formula, we may be entering the age of True Dispatch, that is, Author (Sender) - Interactive Participant (Receiver). Visionary writers of the near-future are desperately trying to transgress the dead weight of book matter so as to secretly enter the realm of the Electric.
At the time, it seemed strange to me that there were still a lot of peeps bemoaning the fact that a lot of our citizenry did not really read much any more and that we were witnessing the rise of an illiterate America. But who out there was reading the books and magazines published by the sophisticated literary and intellectual elites in the first place? The high school drop outs in Small Town, USA? Sure, there were and still are way too many people who do not have the basic literacy skills in place to take their skills-set to the next level, but it seemed pretty clear to me back in '96 that not only would intelligent forms of reading and writing move to the networked screen environment, but that new forms of digital rhetoric, what my colleague Greg Ulmer refers to as electracy, would evolve with the rise of digital culture.

No doubt that the creative writing style in this ghetto-rant had an edge to it and was not quite yet Time magazine material, but since we were blasting this kind of message via Alt-X and Alt-X was one of the premiere online publishing networks with a crossover audience covering the literary, art, academic, theory, and underground culture scenes, the word got out and it was all the more easy to write these rants as part of an early online strategy to make the difference that made a difference.

Alas, it paid off.

Nowadays, I turn on the TV and tune in to PBS where I find Time magazine columnists and D.C. lobbyists arguing about how quickly the print publishing establishment will disappear or whether their new media strategies are too little too late.

Basically, my feeling about all of that these days is, "Who cares?"

If you are someone who has an urge to personally express yourself and have figured out how to experiment with the emerging forms of digital rhetoric one can code and distribute over the network, then just get to making new work and if you feel like "going public" with it, then that's easy enough.

Case in point: this blog post.

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