Wednesday, January 01, 2014


For the last eight years, I have selected one word on January 1st to trigger creative developments throughout the new year. It's a practice that I have enjoyed and one that I always connect with my being in Hawaii at the turn of the year. My life in the Aloha State has been very influential in my art and writing and this past year was especially gratifying in that I had my first large-scale exhibition in Honolulu after having lived here on a part-time basis for almost 15 years.

It brought me great joy to share a survey of my artwork as well as make new artworks with colleagues in Honolulu and to have my friends from nearby Kailua come out to the exhibition opening. And now I have many new friends and artist colleagues who live on the island of Oahu and whom I will continue to work with developing that part of my practice that bridges Net art, electronic literature, printmaking, and artist bookmaking.

This spontaneously generated series of words that I have been triggering on the first day of each year have had a kind of simple Oulipian strategy attached to them in that for the first four years they started with the later i and then,  for the last four years, they started the letter a always ending in ion.

In 2006, the word was improvisation.

In 2007, the word was intuition.

In 2008, the word was illumination.

For 2009, I was feeling the heat and knew I had to go with intensification.

Looking into my miniscule crystal ball for 2010, I anticipated things remaining as intense as ever but also sensed a noticeable pattern shift occurring in the world all around me, one that I knew was having an effect on all of my new project development at that time. I was feeling a significant shift in perception starting to take hold, one that would ideally enable me to transmute the intensity of daily remix practice into multiple and hybridized forms of actualization. Three years ago, trying to side-step the new age connotations of the term actualization while addressing why it stood out to me as a word indicative of these altered visualizations [further signaled by the fact that my new words of the year would now begin with the letter a instead of i], I wrote down some thoughts which I am remixing below:
By creating more flexible life patterns we may be able to renew our energy (source material) in ways that trigger yet more intense experiences not just for ourselves but for others. Doing this at the level of daily remix practice as part of an intentional strategy to take the creative process deep into ones shape-shifting underground network via a process of mediumistic actualization feels like just the right thing to do.

As Whitehead wrote in Process and Reality, the primordial nature "combines the actuality of what is temporal with the timelessness of what is potential."

How do we network this potential so that it feeds into more intersubjective, remixological practice?

What does it take to access the source of creativity?

In digital terms, is it as simple as maintaining a net connection while proactively engaging with ones distributed social network?

How does one become an artist-medium that positions their daily practice in relation to the greater creative potential of what lies ahead while acting as an accomplice to an ingression performed by timeless entities whose concrescent formation manifests itself as an actual achievement in time?

Is actualization always already just-in-time?

Or is it always on the cusp of "becoming" -- the idealized condition of "being avant-garde"?
Actualization was a term that challenged me three years ago and two years ago "the secret woid" (Groucho Marx) was agglutination. On January 1, 2011, I wrote how my emerging art projects were
... driven by an adherence to my daily remix practice. The bottom line is that I need to maintain my practice as intuitive stick-to-itive-ness. Maybe the word I am looking for is sticktuitive. Setting my mind on autopilot, my aim is to continually remix the patterns into new forms of mosaic. But the mosaic, as fluid as it may be, needs to hold together in order for me to feel the need to proceed. It has to agglutinate.
Therefore, I wrote, "the trigger word for 2011 is agglutination. Even if some elements lose their 'stickiness,' dislodge, and drift away, I will be paying attention to those things that adhere to each other and create greater clusters of potential to actualize."

And disparate yet loosely connected parts of my practice did begin adhering in ways I could have never predicted, especially with the publication of remixthebook, a hybrid print / digital / performance project. remixthebook still generates interest in various fields of study, most recently from university programs looking to expand their Communications and Rhetoric departments, and was the focus of my seminar as the Labex International Research Chair at the University of Paris 8 this past fall.

The word-trigger for 2012 was a stretch, even for me. That word was ascension.

As I wrote last year, "for me, the idea of ascending" had very little to do with its religious connotations and "was more about climbing, flying, soaring. To 'take it all to another level'? Is it possible to rise above it all while staying grounded? What's the relationship between ground and instrument? Instrument and medium?"

I answered in the affirmative and produced a huge and complex work of art titled Museum of Glitch Aesthetics (for more info on MOGA and many other developments up through October 2012, go to my linkfest). By the spring of 2013, I was literally watching my flash videos of glitch art soar above the traveling masses who were patiently trying to find their way through the long security lines at the Denver International Airport where my newly commissioned video glitchwork was on exhibit for eight months straight.

As I began thinking about this year's a word, I re-read last year's entry and saw that I wrote, "2013 is the last of A words." I was surprised I wrote that but have accepted that maybe it's time for me to move on. Should I move into a new string of words beginning with a new letter, for example, the letter e, and just keep doing this for the sake of doing it? Probably not, especially since I have reached a point of elation that comes with having put into practice all of the other trigger words that have started my new year since 2006. Something I have always been aware as part of my creative practice is that you don't really need to keep doing the same things over and over again year after year just because you feel like you have to. Have to what? What's the point?

It's time to diverge.

Hau'oli Makahiki Hou to you and yours from the beautiful shoreline of Kailua Beach.

Keywords: intuition, improvisation, illumination, intensification, actualization, agglutination, ascension, affirmation, elation