Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Extended Play Remix

It looks like I'm ending the year the same way I started it, i.e. with another peer-reviewed artist writing published in an international journal devoted to network cultures. Here's the feed from Fibreculture:
The Fibreculture Journal is affiliated with the Open Humanities Press -

The Fibreculture Journal is a peer reviewed international journal that encourages critical and speculative interventions in the debate and discussions concerning information and communication technologies and their policy frameworks, network cultures and their informational logic, new media forms and their deployment, and the possibilities of socio-technical invention and sustainability. The Fibreculture Journal encourages submissions that extend research into critical and investigative networked theories, knowledges and practices.


What Now? : The Imprecise and Disagreeable Aesthetics of Remix

Issue Editors: Darren Tofts (Swinburne University of Technology,Melbourne) and Christian McCrea (Swinburne University of Technology,Melbourne)


The Renewable Tradition (Extended Play Remix)
Mark Amerika

Cultural Modulation and The Zero Originality Clause of Remix Culture in Australian Contemporary Art
Ross Rudesch Harley

How can you be found when no-one knows that you are missing?
Lisa Gye

Sputnik Baby
Ian Haig

James Brown, Sample Culture and the Permanent Distance of Glory
Steve Jones

Materialities of Law: Celebrity Production and the Public Domain
Esther Milne

Materiality of a Simulation: Scratch Reading Machine, 1931
Craig Saper
This publication perfectly book-ends the year which started with the publication of Source Material Everywhere: The Alfred North Whitehead Remix in the special "Pirate Philosophy" issue of Culture Machine, another high-brow international peer-reviewed journal that is part of the Open Humanities Press. I say high-brow because to think these thoughts and to unravel them as part of an ongoing narrative that positions itself at the uncategorizable writing space where fiction meets memoir meets creative nonfiction meets theory is not the easiest thing in the world to either write or read. But it's the only way I know how to live (writing is surviving). For example, the Source Material Everywhere concept evolved out of nowhere while hyperimprovisationally blogging a few new riffs on remixology in relation to the process theory of Whitehead. These initial "discoveries" (unconsciously projected deep interior shots captured in asynchronous realtime) took place exactly two years ago in Hawaii. Those initial blog riffs then fed into the Culture Machine article which was then remixed into a few seminar sessions in my Remix Culture course. These ideas then got transcoded into some of the narrative material i.e. storyline (if you can call it that) that I finally unfinished as part of my feature-length mobile phone art film, Immobilité, which then fed into my thinking through more general issues relating to contemporary media arts practice that I waxed (poetically?) on in the Rhizome interview.

Make no mistake about it: to remix is to become. It's the only way creatures who perform the role of "postproduction medium" can survive in an age of aesthetics.

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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Embassy Interview

While I was in Athens for the UNREALTIME exhibition, one of the sponsors, the U.S. Embassy, arranged for a short interview that I totally forgot about until someone brought it to my attention yesterday. The short interview is here (I like that it's short as it requires me to say what I want to say as a kind of soundbite whereas an interview like the one with Rhizome required quite a bit of extended articulation).

Here is an excerpt from the embassy interview:
Q: Where do you get your inspiration from?

A: Mostly from experimental novels and film. For example, I love the films of Chris Marker, Agnes Varda, and Jean-Luc Godard. And since I started my career as a published novelist, some of my best friends are the most interesting writers of our time. My interactions with them always trigger new ideas for me.

Q: What is the role of today's technology in forming tomorrow's art?

A: Everything is still in development and you must be open to change. For example, my latest project Immobilité, now on exhibit at EMST, is a feature-length film shot entirely on mobile phone. This kind of complex work of art would have been totally impossible even five or six years ago. Of course, just because technology enables us to advance the forms of creative expression does not mean that it will also automatically lead to important works of art. You still must develop a core practice and aesthetic strategy over time.

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Sunday, December 06, 2009

Fabric Samples

Over forty years ago, Barthes anticipates the course of/on remixology:
We know now that a text consists not of a line of words, releasing a single 'theological' meaning (the 'message' of the Author-God), but of a multidimensional space in which are married and contested several writings, none of which is original: the text is a fabric of quotations, resulting from a thousand sources of culture.
But try telling that to the liberal humanist cacademics for whom, according to Planned Obsolescence:
We have long acknowledged the death of the author, in theory, at least – but have been loath to think about what such a proclamation might mean for our own status as authors, and have certainly been unwilling to part with the lines on the CV that are the result of the publishing.
If it is language that speaks and not the author, then letting the language speak itself requires what of the artist-medium? How does an artist-medium prepare for their next (postproduction) set, their next (writing) scene, their next choragraphy?

Ray Federman, in Before Postmodernism and After, taps the surfictional muse and writes:
But one could ask, to continue in the questioning mode: Why did Postmodernism allow itself to be swallowed and digested by the culture, or to be stifled by academic theorizing? And the answer would be: Because Postmodernism, and more specifically Postmodern fiction, moved from continuity, from fluidity, coherence, linearity (in history as well as in literature) to discontinuity, fragmentation, indeterminacy, plurality, metafictionality, intertextuality, decentering, dislocation, ludism, to become series of disconnected states, combinations of impulses, incoherent lists and verbal doodles, it eventually destroyed itself.

But, one could also ask, isn’t literature language? And isn’t language always stable? Yes, of course, literature is made of language, but language limited by the permutations of a restricted number of elements and functions. However, what made Postmodern fiction interesting and important, and vulnerable too, is that it tried to escape these restrictions, it tried to say what is beyond language, that is why Postmodern fiction was doomed from the beginning. Even though the unspeakable can never be spoken, Postmodernism attempted to speak the impossibility of speaking the unspeakable.
How then does the artist-medium facilitate the discovery of writerly performance beyond language, especially if the role of the artist-medium is to become a remixologist who lets the language speak itself? Can language speak beyond itself?

Federman again:
But isn’t literature an invention, and as such can it not invent its own language? [My imaginary questioner is very stubborn]. No, literature is always a re-invention, it never creates anything new, it simply re-invents the nothing new, in other words — just as the sun every day, having no alternative, rises on the nothing new. Postmodern fiction only re-invented what had been banished, hidden, or expelled from individual or collective memory, this is why it was accused of being plagiaristic, and of working Against Itself.
This is the plight of the remixologist as they per force launch themselves into the renewable tradition.

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