Friday, December 28, 2012

Remixology (A Theoretical Fiction)

The new issue of Media-N: Journal of the New Media Caucus is out. The theme for Fall 2012 is Found, Sampled, Stolen: Strategies of Appropriation in New Media and features writings from a diverse group of artists and theorists including Cornelia Sollfrank, Eduardo Navas, Steve Gibson, Sarah Cook, Marialaura Ghidini, Grant Taylor, and myself.

In guest editor Josh Rosenstock's introduction, he writes:
Although the term “appropriation art” came into widespread use during the 1980s to describe the work of a particular group of artists, appropriation-based concepts and practices are at the core of many of the key moments in modern and postmodern art history. Media artists today emulate appropriative movements from across the past century, from Dadaist readymades, to Pop Art’s ironic reuse of mass media detritus, to Hip-hop’s sampling and DJ remixing. Indeed, appropriation strategies and remix thoroughly permeate contemporary artistic practices of creation, archiving, and dissemination. Although appropriation is now a familiar part of contemporary art, recent evolution in the legal, conceptual, and technological landscapes of media art have brought to the fore newer discourses concerning copyright, sharing, memes, data, and the ever-increasing penetration of networked computing into all aspects of daily life. This issue of Media-N brings together a fine assortment of artists, art historians, curators, and theorists to present a lively chorus of viewpoints on the state of appropriation in new media art.
My own contribution, Remixology (A Theoretical Fiction), is what I would refer to as a "remixological fiction" that doubles as a rhetorical drift into new modes of theory-production. Similar to my approach in remixthebook (University of Minnesota, 2011), narrativize my own pedagogical practice as a professor of art and art history, although this time, instead of filtering the writing through a poetic measure influenced by the likes of David Antin, Allen Ginsberg and Robert Creeley, the work is clearly influenced by William Gaddis' J.R. which I was finally finishing at the time I was writing the remix-essay. Here's an excerpt: assemblage of remixologists-in-training, para-professional adjuncts, #NewAesthetic pataphysicians, digital bricoleurs, Net art nomads, DIY zinesters, and psychogeographers are congregating at the local café where the barista on-duty is known for her raucous late night behavior that she is totally entitled to get away with because according to those in the know i.e. the 2012 International Barista Competition judges who presided over the event in Portland, Oregon, what she does with a cup of freshly roasted Montes de Oro Costa Rican bean roasted by the pros over at Coava Coffee Roasters is the total shit

–Are you taking his remix course too?

–Yeah, we all are. We have to.

–Have to? You mean it’s re –

–required, yeah, or not really required.

–She’s right. It’s not required, it’s just that we have to have one theory course as part of our curriculum before they’ll give us the MFA and it’s between his remix course and one of those other ones that focus on –


–Yeah, Heidegger.

–Hail, Heidegger!

–Heidegger, Schmeidegger. What I like about his remix course is how he gets us to a) read all of that art theory written by the artists themselves and then, b) he also makes us read this intense experimental literature written by people like Kathy Acker and Tan Lin and who else?

–Well, there’s that Jonathan Lethem essay, The Ecstasy –

The Ecstasy of Influence.

–Yeah, exactly. I think it’s a play on old school English lit studies, something about the Anxiety of Influence.

–Yeah, well, my only anxiety is how I’m going to pay the rent after I graduate. Besides that, I’m happy to be influenced by just about anyone as long as it’s not myself.

Keywords: Remix, remixology, remixthebook, Mark Amerika, Media-N, New Media Caucus, Found, Sampled, Stolen: Strategies of Appropriation in New Media