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Table of Contents and Introduction Available as PDF for my book, Remix Theory: The Aesthetics of Sampling

Springer has made available the Table of Contents and Introduction of my book, Remix Theory: The Aesthetics of Sampling. You can download it by visiting the book’s official link:
http://www.springer.com/architecture+%26+design/architecture/book/978-3-7091-1262-5

The book should be available in the coming weeks in Europe, and soon after in the United States. For more information, also see the main entry about the book.

Pre-order Remix Theory: The Aesthetics of Sampling

Cover Design: Ludmil Trenkov

Remix Theory: The Aesthetics of Sampling can now be pre-ordered.  You can place your order on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Powell’sl Books, or another major online bookseller in your region, anywhere in the world.  The book is scheduled to be available in Europe in July, 2012 and in the U.S. in September/October of 2012.

The book will also be available electronically through university libraries that have subscriptions with Springer’s online service, Springerlink.  I encourage educators who find the book as a whole, or in part, of use for classes to consider the latter option to make the material available to students at an affordable price.

Anyone should be able to preview book chapters on Springerlink once the book is released everywhere.  If you would like a print copy for review, please send me, Eduardo Navas, an e-mail with your information and motivation for requesting a print version.

For all questions, please feel free to contact me at eduardo_at_navasse_dot_net.

Also, see the main entry on this book for the table of content and more information.

Below are selected excerpts from the book:

From Chapter One, Remix[ing] Sampling, page 11:

Before Remix is defined specifically in the late 1960s and ‘70s, it is necessary to trace its cultural development, which will clarify how Remix is informed by modernism and postmodernism at the beginning of the twenty-first century. For this reason, my aim in this chapter is to contextualize Remix’s theoretical framework. This will be done in two parts. The first consists of the three stages of mechanical reproduction, which set the ground for sampling to rise as a meta-activity in the second half of the twentieth century. The three stages are presented with the aim to understand how people engage with mechanical reproduction as media becomes more accessible for manipulation. […]The three stages are then linked to four stages of Remix, which overlap the second and third stage of mechanical reproduction.

From Chapter two, Remix[ing] Music, page 61:

To remix is to compose, and dub was the first stage where this possibility was seen not as an act that promoted genius, but as an act that questioned authorship, creativity, originality, and the economics that supported the discourse behind these terms as stable cultural forms. […] Repetition becomes the privileged mode of production, in which preexisting material is recycled towards new forms of representation. The potential behind this paradigm shift would not become evident until the second stage of Remix in New York City, where the principles explored in dub were further explored in what today is known as turntablism: the looping of small sections of records to create new beats—instrumental loops, on top of which MCs and rappers would freestyle, improvising rhymes. […]

From Chapter Three, Remix[ing] Theory, page 125:

Once the concept of sampling, as understood in music during the ‘70s and ‘80s, was introduced as an activity directly linked to remixing different elements beyond music (and eventually evolved into an influential discourse), appropriation and recycling as concepts changed at the beginning of the twenty-first century; they cannot be considered on the same terms prior to the development of machines specifically design for remixing. This would be equivalent to trying to understand the world in terms of representation prior to the photo camera. Once a specific technology is introduced it eventually develops a discourse that helps to shape cultural anxieties. Remix has done and is currently doing this to concepts of appropriation. Remix has changed how we look at the production of material in terms of combinations. This is what enables Remix to become an aesthetic, a discourse that, like a virus, can move through any cultural area and be progressive and regressive depending on the intentions of the people implementing its principles.

More excerpts available once the book is available.

Upcoming Book, Remix Theory: The Aesthetics of Sampling

Image: Preliminary cover design and logo for upcoming book by Ludmil Trenkov.

I am very happy to announce that my book Remix Theory: The Aesthetics of Sampling is scheduled to be published later on this year, by Springer Wien New York Press.  If all goes according to schedule, it should be available no later than this Fall.  The book offers an in-depth analysis on Remix as a form of discourse.  To get a sense of what to expect, you can read my previously published text, “Regressive and Reflexive Mashups in Sampling Culture,” also available through Springer: http://www.springerlink.com/content/r7r28443320k6012/. You can read my online version as well, though I encourage you to support the publishing company by downloading the official version.

I will offer more information about the book in the near future, such as the table of content, and excerpts from the text. For now I wanted to share the promotional abstract:

Remix Theory: The Aesthetics of Sampling is an analysis of Remix in art, music, and new media. Navas argues that Remix, as a form of discourse, affects culture in ways that go beyond the basic recombination of material. His investigation locates the roots of Remix in early forms of mechanical reproduction, in seven stages, beginning in the nineteenth century with the development of the photo camera and the phonograph, leading to contemporary remix culture. This book places particular emphasis on the rise of Remix in music during the 1970s and ‘80s in relation to art and media at the beginning of the twenty-first Century. Navas argues that Remix is a type of binder, a cultural glue—a virus—that informs and supports contemporary culture.

Listen to the Loop: filtering hand-picked tunes

Listentotheloop.com is a blog run by Christine Chatz.  I had the pleasure of meeting Christine over the holiday break, this past December, in San Diego, California.  She treats her blog as a type of curatorial venue where she “hand-picks” music artists much like a DJ would during a radio show.  My favorite posts are the ones called “Throwback Thursdays,” in which she usually features a historical figure that may have been overseen in music history.  Below is her snippet on the role Betty Davis (image above) played in the lives of Miles Davis,  Jimi Hendrix, and Sly Stone:

Raunchy, gritty, and hugely influential, Betty Davis remains unsurpassed as the queen of funk. At the time of her debut in 1973, she was attacked by critics for her “obscene” demeanor. Davis refused to tone it down, reveling in the emotions that fueled the vigor behind her “woman on the prowl” lyrics. During her marriage to Miles Davis, she introduced both Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone to the jazz great, inadvertently laying the groundwork for the production of the legendary record Bitches Brew.

Dead spin: Panasonic discontinues Technics analog turntables

TOKYO (TR) – Fans of analog music were dealt another blow when consumer electronics company Panasonic announced earlier this month that it would be discontinuing the audio products within its Technics brand, most notably the legendary line of analog turntables.

On October 20, the company said that it was winding down production of the Technics SL-1200MK6 analog turntable, the SH-EX1200 analog audio mixer and the RP-DH1200 and RP-DJ1200 stereo headphones due to challenges in the marketplace.

“Panasonic decided to end production mainly due to a decline in demand for these analog products and also the growing difficulty of procuring key analog components necessary to sustain production,” the company said in statement issued to The Tokyo Reporter.

Last year, Japan’s last remaining vinyl pressing plant, owned by the production company Toyo Kasei, produced around 400,000 discs from its multifloor factory in Yokohama’s Tsurumi Ward, a far cry from the industry’s peak of 70 million four decades ago.

Panasonic said that sales of analog decks today represent roughly 5 percent of the figure from ten years ago. At present the company has no plans for putting analog turntables back on the market.

Read complete story at The Tokyo Reporter

Regressive and Reflexive Mashups in Sampling Culture, 2010 Revision, by Eduardo Navas

Download a high resolution version of Diagram in PDF format

This text was originally published on June 25, 2007 in Vague Terrain Journal as a contribution to the issue titled Sample Culture. It was revised in November 2009 and subsequently published as a chapter contribution in Sonvilla-Weiss, Stefan (Ed.) Mashup Cultures, 2010, ISBN: 978-3-7091-0095-0, Springer Wien/New York published in May 2010.

It is here republished with permission from the publisher and is requested that it be cited appropriately.  This online publication is different from the print version in that it is missing images that help illustrate the theory of Remix that I propose.  I do encourage readers to consider looking at the actual publication as it offers an important collection of texts on mashups.

I would like to thank Greg J. Smith for giving me the opportunity to publish my initial ideas in Vague Terrain, and Stefan Sonvilla-Weiss for inviting me to revise them as a contribution to his book publication.

This version brings together much of my previous writing.  Individuals who have read texts such as The Bond of Repetition and Representation, as well as Turbulence: Remixes and Bonus Beats will find that many of my definitions and theories of Remix are repeated in this text.  I found this necessary to make sense of a fourth term which I introduce: the Regenerative Remix.  Those who have read the previous version of this text may like to skip pre-existing parts, and go directly to the section titled “The Regenerative Remix.”  However, all sections have been revised for clarity, so I encourage readers to at least browse through previously written material.

An important change has been made to this text.  In the original version I argued that Reflexive Mashups were not remixes.  In 2007 I did not know what Reflexive Mashups could be if they were not remixes in the traditional sense, but after consideration and rewriting, I developed the concept of the Regenerative Remix.  To learn more about this change in my definition of Remix as a form of discourse I invite readers to consider my revised argument.  I also introduce a chart (above) which helps explain how Remix moves across culture. I also include an entirely new conclusion which will clarify my earlier position on software mashups.

A note on formatting: The text below is set up in simple text form.  This means that italics and other conventions found in print publications are missing.  If you would like to read a print ready version, please download a PDF file.

———-

Introduction

During the first decade of the twenty-first century, sampling is practiced in new media culture when any software users including creative industry professionals as well as average consumers apply cut/copy & paste in diverse software applications; for professionals this could mean 3-D modeling software like Maya (used to develop animations in films like Spiderman or Lord of the Rings); [1] and for average persons it could mean Microsoft Word, often used to write texts like this one. Cut/copy & paste which is, in essence, a common form of sampling, is a vital new media feature in the development of Remix. In Web 2.0 applications cut/copy & paste is a necessary element to develop mashups; yet the cultural model of mashups is not limited to software, but spans across media.

Mashups actually have roots in sampling principles that became apparent and popular in music around the seventies with the growing popularity of music remixes in disco and hip hop culture, and even though mashups are founded on principles initially explored in music they are not straight forward remixes if we think of remixes as allegories. This is important to entertain because, at first, Remix appears to extend repetition of content and form in media in terms of mass escapism; the argument in this paper, however, is that when mashups move beyond basic remix principles, a constructive rupture develops that shows possibilities for new forms of cultural production that question standard commercial practice.

(more…)

Shrine to the Funky Drummer

Shrine to the Funky Drummer from Joshua Pablo Rosenstock on Vimeo.

Recently received a link from Joshua Pablo Rosenstock about his video, Shrine to the Funky Drummer.  The video presents Rosenstock as a subject who is greatly influenced by James Brown’s “Funky Drummer.”  We quickly learn that his interest is a jumping point to understand how the song’s basic drum beat has become part of Hip Hop consciousness.

While the video, in my opinion could be edited (the intro is too long, and some footage does not match the sound), it does provide some historical context as to the art of sampling and its place in Hip Hop Culture.  It starts with Rosenstock listening to a scratched 45, and then playing the beat on a drum set.  The next set of scenes are about DJ’s manipulating The Funky Drummer’s break beat, complemented with random interviews with record diggers and turntablists. The video then goes back to Rosenstock who no longer plays a drum set, but a set of samples from a drum machine.

Shrine to the Funky Drummer reminds me a bit about Nate Harrison’s  Amen Brother Break.  Though very different in approach, both videos can be complementary references for understanding the history of Remix.  I understand that Shrine to the Funky Drummer’s current version is a rough cut, so I look forward to the final production.

Mashup Cultures, edited by Stefan Sonvilla-Weiss

Note: I’m very happy to announce the release of a book publication titled Mashup Cultures in which I contribute a text titled “Regressive and Reflexive Mashups in Sampling Culture.”  The text was previously released on Vague Terrain in June 2007, and has been revised and extended by over 15 pages for the book publication. I introduce a series of new terms along with a diagram, which I will be making available online in the near future.

Mashup Cultures, Sonvilla-Weiss. Stefan (Ed.), Springeren: This volume brings together cutting-edge thinkers and scholars together with young researchers and students, proposing a colourful spectrum of media-theoretical, -practical and -educational approaches to current creative practices and techniques of production and consumption on and off the web. Along with the exploration of some of the emerging social media concepts, the book unveils some of the key drivers leading to participatory engagement of the User.

Mashup Cultures presents a broader view of the effects and consequences of current remix practices and the recombination of existing digital cultural content. The complexity of this book, which appears on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the international MA study program ePedagogy Design – Visual Knowledge Building, also by necessity seeks to familiarize the reader with a profound glossary and vocabulary of Web 2.0 cultural techniques.

Book Link: http://www.springer.com/springerwiennewyork/
art/book/978-3-7091-0095-0

TABLE OF CONTENTS
•    Stefan Sonvilla-Weiss: Introduction: Mashups, Remix Practices and the Recombination of Existing Digital Content
•    Axel Bruns: Distributed Creativity: Filesharing and Produsage
•    Brenda Castro: The Virtual Art Garden: A Case Study of User-centered Design for Improving Interaction in Distant Learning Communities of Art Students
•    Doris Gassert: “You met me at a very strange time in my life.” Fight Club and the Moving Image on the Verge of ‘Going Digital’
•    David Gauntlett: Creativity, Participation and Connectedness: An Interview with David Gauntlett
•    Mizuko Ito: Mobilizing the Imagination in Everyday Play: The Case of Japanese Media Mixes
•    Henry Jenkins: Multiculturalism, Appropriation, and the New Media Literacies: Remixing Moby Dick
•    Owen Kelly: Sexton Blake & the Virtual Culture of Rosario: A Biji
•    Torsten Meyer: On the Database Principle: Knowledge and Delusion
•    Eduardo Navas: Regressive and Reflexive Mashups in Sampling Culture
•    Christina Schwalbe: Change of Media, Change of Scholarship, Change of University: Transition from the Graphosphere to a Digital Mediosphere
•    Noora Sopula & Joni Leimu: A Classroom 2.0 Experiment
•    Stefan Sonvilla-Weiss: Communication Techniques, Practices and Strategies of Generation “Web n+1?
•    Wey-Han Tan: Playing (with) Educational Games – Integrated Game Design and Second Order Gaming
•    Tere Vadén interviewed by Juha Varto: Tepidity of the Majority and Participatory Creativity

Mixr for the iPad

From the Mixr site: “DJ App for iPad. Feels & functions like authentic turntables. Mixr gives you a DJ experience unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Beautiful interface, professional mixing.”

Parts One and Two of Re*- Lecture: “Remix[ing]. The Three Chronological Stages of Sampling” by Eduardo Navas

The following is a presentation separated into two parts; it was produced for the conference Re*-Recycling_Sampling_Jamming, which took place in Berlin during February 2009.

Part One: Remix[ing]. The Three Chronological Stages of Sampling

Part One (above) introduces the three chronological stages of Remix, while part two (below) defines how the three chronological stages are linked to the concept of Authorship, as defined by Roland Barthes and Michel Foucault.  Also see my previous entry “The Author Function in Remix” which is a written excerpt of the theory proposed in part two.

Part Two: Remix[ing]. The Three Chronological Stages of Sampling

Below is the abstract that summarizes the content of the two videos.  Total running time is around fifteen minutes.

———–

Text originally published on Re*- on February 2009:

SAMSTAG_28.02.2009_SEKTION IV_15-20 UHR

12_15:00 Remix[ing]. The Three Chronological Stages of Sampling
Eduardo Navas, Künstler und Medienwissenschaftler, University of California in San Diego (USA)

Sampling is the key element that makes the act of remixing possible. In order for Remix to take effect, an originating source must be sampled in part or as a whole. Sampling is often associated with music; however, this text will show that sampling has roots in mechanical reproduction, initially explored in visual culture with photography. A theory of sampling will be presented which consists of three stages: The first took place in the nineteenth century with the development of photography and film, along with sound recording. In this first stage, the world sampled itself. The second stage took place at the beginning of the twentieth century, once mechanical recording became conventionalized, and early forms of cutting and pasting were explored. This is the time of collage and photo-montage. And the third stage is found in new media in which the two previous stages are combined at a meta-level, giving users the option to cut or copy (the current most popular form of sampling) based on aesthetics, rather than limitations of media. This is not to say that new media does not have limitations, but exactly what these limitations may be is what will be entertained at greater length.The analysis of the three stages of sampling that inform Remix as discourse is framed by critical theory. A particular focus is placed on how the role of the author in contemporary media practice is being redefined in content production due to the tendency to share and collaborate. The theories on authorship by Roland Barthes and Michel Foucault are entertained in direct relation to the complexities that sampling has brought forth since it became ubiquitous in popular activities of global media, such as social networking and blogging.

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