Tuesday, November 26, 2013

MarkerAmerique in Paris and Honolulu

While in Paris in November 2013 as the Labex International Research Chair at the University of Paris 8, I have been making and finishing a lot of new work. One excellent strand of development is related to the film artist, cinéssayist and web provocateur Chris Marker. Marker has been very influential to a lot of experimental film artists over the years but not too many people I know are aware of his geeky side. For example, did you know that he wrote a program in Basic that he called DIALECTOR?

I had the privilege of attending an event devoted to Marker the Geek where it was revealed that the code to his DIALECTOR would be run through MacEmulator and that we would be able to play with it. I jumped at the chance and began interacting with his clever programming mindset. The experience felt like an aesthetically deeper and hipper version of what it must have been like to play with Joseph Weizenbaum's ELIZA (some day, perhaps in a memoir, I will relate the story of an evening I spent with Weizenbaum in Vienna where we met at what is Austria's version of The White House).

Here is a screenshot of my interaction with DIALECTOR:

My interaction with Marker's work is now also going to appear as a series of manipulated glitch images sent through the Lithopixel Refactory Collective's creative shuttle between 19th and 21st century technological processing (from laser to lithograph and back again) as part of my Glitch_Click_Thunk exhibition in Honolulu (still open until December 6th). One of the works that will soon appear in the gallery is Chris Marker Pre-Historic Animated GIF.

Somehow this all connects with my recent performance at the Théâtre du Conservatoire National Supérieur d’Art Dramatique (CNSAD). The performance was titled Remixing Personae, and as the press release acknowledged:
Mark Amerika will reveal how his background as an avant-pop literary artist informs his current digital arts practice. Amerika’s body of work constructs fluid, metafictional identities that he strategically remixes into an ongoing "pseudoautobiographical" performance. In his presentation, he will remix samples from a variety of sources including French post-structuralist theory, Beatnik poetry, hypertextual consciousness, contemporary art history, and the language of new media. Remixing his digital flux personae across various intermedia platforms, Amerika will read, lecture, perform and play with a curated selection of his new media artworks over the last two decades.
During the performance, I played WeRMediumzGoMetaOn-U and revealed to the audience that this video artwork is a remixological inhabitation of the last twelve minutes of Marker's La Jetée. By working with Google Earth and Street View as tools to forage for useful stills in locations throughout Brazil, my goal was to trigger an alternative story to the one Marker told but also to evolve a similar editing style to his by paying precise attention to what, for lack of better, I would refer to as his image rhythm. For further thoughts on the idea of image rhythm as well as the mobile image vs. the moving image, you can read my freely available artist e-book The Postproduction of Presence: A Director's Notebook, at the Immobilité website.

As I asked myself aloud while performing at the Conservatoire, "What else am I going to remix now?"

As you can imagine, I have quite a few possibilities percolating.

For example, why not a month-long Twitter-Vine performance where I remix a work originally composed by my old teacher, Alain Robbe-Grillet? His Project for a Revolution in New York is just aching to be remixologically inhabited.

Project for a Revolution in Paris?

More on the Parisian trip soon ...

Keywords: Chris Marker, Mark Amerika, MarkerAmerique, University of Paris 8, Remixing Personae