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“Regenerative Culture” by Eduardo Navas


«Information is not knowledge». (Albert Einstein). Linkedin maps data visualization. Picture: Luc Legay/Flickr. (see Norient for context)

Regenerative Knowledge was written between June and October 2015. It was published on Norient in five parts between March and June 2016. I want to thank Thomas Burkhalter and Theresa Beyer for editing the essay and making it available on Norient’s academic journal. In this essay I update the definitions of remix with an emphasis on the regenerative remix. I argue that constant updating is becoming ubiquitous, which is much more evident a year after the essay was written. A short version titled “Im/material Regeneration” was published in print as part of Seismographic Sounds in 2015.

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Cultural production has entered a stage in which archived digital material can potentially be used at will;[1] just like people combine words to create sentences (just like this sentence is written with a word-processing application), in contemporary times, people with the use of digital tools are able to create unique works made with splices of other pre-recorded materials, with the ubiquitous action of cut/copy & paste, and output them at an ever-increasing speed.[2] This is possible because what is digitally produced in art and music, for instance, once it becomes part of an archive, particularly a database, begins to function more like building blocks, optimized to be combined infinitely.[3] This state of affairs is actually at play in all areas of culture, and consequently is redefining the way we perceive the world and how we function as part of it. The implications of this in terms of how we think of creativity and its relation to the industry built around authorship are important to consider for a concrete understanding of the type of global culture we are becoming.

In what follows, I evaluate situations and social variables that are important for a critical reflection on how elements flow and are assembled according to diverse needs for expression of ideas and informational exchange. I begin by elaborating on what I previously defined as the regenerative remix,[4] which is specific to the time of networked media, to then relate it to speech in terms of sound and textual communication. I then provide examples that make evident the future trends already manifested in our times. Because digital media consists in large part in optimizing the manipulation of experience-based material that before mechanical reproduction went unrecorded, the aim of this analysis, in effect, is to evaluate how ephemerality is redefined when image, sound, and text are digitally produced and reproduced, and efficiently archived in databases in order to be used for diverse purposes. In other words, what happens when what in the past was only ephemeral is turned into an immaterial exchangeable element, and most often than not some type of commodity? To begin in what follows I analyze how the regenerative remix functions as a type of bridge to a future in which constant updates and pervasive connectivity will become ubiquitous in all aspects of life.

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[1] This is a reasonable proposition as long as the person has access to the material. Some archives are evidently password protected. The person has to be also in a position to exert such an act, and this is linked to economics and class that define the person’s reality. I am not able to go into this issue in this text as its focus is on how sampling is functioning in terms of regeneration.

[2] This is already evident in the fact that the time it takes to produce just about any cultural apparatus has been shortened exponentially since the industrial revolution. Futurist Alvin Toffler makes a case with his term “The 800th Lifetime.” The much criticized Ray Kurzweil, who currently is affiliated with Google, also makes a case for exponential growth, arguing that Moore’s Law will be superseded in 2020, and we will enter a new paradigm of innovation. See, Alvin Toffler, “The 800th Lifetime,” Future Shock (New York: Bantam Books, 1970), 9-10. Ray Kurtzweil, “Ray Kurzweil Announced Singularity University,” Ted Talks, Last updated February 2009: https://www.ted.com/talks/ray_kurzweil_announces_singularity_university#t-188322.

[3] My use of the term “building blocks” is influenced by the work of Manuel De Landa, who discusses language in relation to biology and geology. I refer to his work throughout this essay. See Manuel De Landa“Linguistic History: 1000 – 1700 A.D.,” A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History (New York: Zone Books, 1997), 183 – 190.

[4] Eduardo Navas, “Remix[ing] Theory,” Remix Theory: The Aesthetics of Sampling (New York: Springer, 2012), 101-108.

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Table of Contents for the Routledge Companion to Remix Studies Available

We have now turned in the manuscript of The Routledge Companion to Remix Studies, and can release the Table of Contents. The reader is due for release around December 14, 2014. The TOC is below:

Introduction Eduardo Navas, Owen Gallagher, xtine burrough

Part I: History
1. “Remix and the Dialogic Engine of Culture: A Model for Generative Combinatoriality” Martin Irvine
2. “A Rhetoric of Remix” Scott H. Church
3. “Good Artists Copy; Great Artists Steal: Reflections on Cut-Copy-Paste Culture” Stefan Sonvilla-Weiss
4. “Toward a Remix Culture: An Existential Perspective” Vito Campanelli
5. “An Oral History of Sampling: From Turntables to Mashups” Kembrew McLeod
6. “Can I Borrow Your Proper Name? Remixing Signatures and the Contemporary Author” Cicero da Silva
7. The Extended Remix: Rhetoric and history Margie Borschke
8. “Culture and Remix: A Theory on Cultural Sublation” Eduardo Navas

Part II: Aesthetics
9. “Remix Strategies in Social Media” Lev Manovich
10. “Remixing Movies and Trailers Before and After the Digital Age” Nicola Maria Dusi
11. “Remixing the Plague of Images: Video Art from Latin America in a Transnational Context” Erandy Vergara
12. “Race & Remix: The Aesthetics of Race in the Visual & Performing Arts” Tashima Thomas
13. “Digital Poetics and Remix Culture: From the Artisanal Image to the Immaterial Image” Monica Tavares
14. “The End of an Aura: Nostalgia, Memory, and the Haunting of Hip-hop” Roy Christopher
15. “Appropriation is Activism” Byron Russell

Part III: Ethics
16. “The Emerging Ethics of Networked Culture” Aram Sinnreich
17. “The Panopticon of Ethical Video Remix Practice” Mette Birk
18. “Cutting Scholarship Together/Apart: Rethinking the Political-Economy of Scholarly Book Publishing” Janneke Adema
19. “Copyright and Fair Use in Remix: From Alarmism to Action” Patricia Aufderheide
20. “I Thought I Made A Vid, But Then You Told Me That I Didn’t: Aesthetics and Boundary Work in the Fan Vidding Community” Katharina Freund
21. “Peeling The Layers of the Onion: Authorship in Mashup and Remix Cultures” John Logie
22. “remixthecontext (a theoretical fiction)” Mark Amerika

Part IV: Politics
23. “A Capital Remix” Rachel O’Dwyer
24. “Remix Practices and Activism: A Semiotic Analysis of Creative Dissent” Paolo Peverini
25. “Political Remix Video as a Vernacular Discourse” Olivia Conti
26. “Locative Media as Remix” Conor McGarrigle
27. “The Politics of John Lennon’s “Imagine”: Contextualizing the Roles of Mashups and New Media in Political Protest” J. Meryl Krieger
28. “Détournement as a Premise of the Remix from Political, Aesthetic, and Technical Perspectives” Nadine Wanono
29. “The New Polymath (Remixing Knowledge)” Rachel Falconer

Part V: Practice
30. “Crises of Meaning in Communities of Creative Appropriation: A Case Study of the 2010 RE/Mixed Media Festival” Tom Tenney
31. “Of ‘REAPPROPRIATIONS'” Gustavo Romano
32. “Aesthetics of Remix: Networked Interactive Objects and Interface Design” Jonah Brucker-Cohen
33. “Reflections on the Amen Break: A Continued History, an Unsettled Ethics” Nate Harrison
34. “Going Crazy with Remix: A Classroom Study by Practice via Lenz v. Universal” xtine burrough and Dr. Emily Erickson
35. “A Remix Artist and Advocate” Desiree D’Alessandro
36. “Occupy / Band Aid Mashup: ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?'” Owen Gallagher
37. “Remixing the Remix” Elisa Kreisinger
38. “A Fair(y) Use Tale” Eric Faden
39. “An Aesthetics of Deception in Political Remix Video” Diran Lyons
40. “Radical Remix: Manifestoon” Jesse Drew
41. “In Two Minds” Kevin Atherton


Hach & Navasse Improvisation #3, 12-21-99

Hach & Navasse Improvization #3, 12-21-99 by Navasse on Mixcloud

This improvisation by Hach & Navasse was recorded on 12/21/1999. It consists of a series of loops from CDs improvised on two Pioneer CDJ-500IIs, a guitar and synthesizer. It was recorded on a four track analog recorder.

Hach & Navasse (Justin Peloian and Eduardo Navas) was formed during our graduate studies at Cal Arts during the years 1998 – 2000. Justin played guitar and keyboards, and I played loops on the CDJs and Turntables We performed in a series of events and recorded improvisational sessions from 1998 to about 2002 at which time we stopped collaborating and moved our separate ways.

A few months ago I found a digital version of the recording, along with a few other improvisations, which I had in storage. After listening to it a few times I decided that it was worth sharing online, because, with hindsight, I believe there are some decent moments in the thirty plus minutes of this piece. Many thanks to Justin for letting me share our collaboration online.

Track List:

1. Loop: unknown timbal loop by Unknown
2. Loop: E Preciso Perdoar by Cesária Évora, Caetano Veloso, Ryuichi Sakamoto
3. Loop: This City Never Sleeps by Eurythimics
4. Loop: I Waited for You by Dizzy Gillespie
5. Loop: Mind Trips (remix) by Brand New Heavies
6. Sliced Loop P. 1: Ko-wo Ko-wo (on top of “Mind Trips”) by Cachao
7. Loop: Influx by DJ Shadow
8. Sliced Loop P. 2: Ko-wo Ko-wo (on top of “Influx”) by Cachao

Navasse’s DJ Set for Remixed Media Festival IV

Navasse’s DJ Set for Remixed Media Festival IV by Navasse on Mixcloud

This is a recording of a DJ set practice session for a performance which took place at the Remixed Media Festival IV on April 26, 2014 at Culturehub/La Mama, NYC. The recording was done on April 23, 2014, and features all the songs that were mixed live. The improvisational aspects of transitions and remixing of tracks in the recording differs from the live performance as it is in these areas where a DJ takes artistic license to improvise.

Description from the Festival’s website:
Eduardo Navas’s research and writing on remixing as a creative act across culture is founded on his long term interest in DJing as an art form. His DJ set for RE/Mixed Media Festival IV will consist of a mix of early funk tracks, heavy Hip Hop bass samples, and selected reggae and caribbean-influenced beats.

Many thanks to Tom Tenney and Robert Prichard for making the Remixed Media Festival Possible for 4 consecutive years.

Anachronistic DJ set @ RE/Mixed Media Festival IV, NYC

I will be performing a DJ set at this year’s  RE/Mixed Media Festival IV. It’s happening at CultureHub Studio Space, 47 Great Jones St. on April 26, 8:45 PM.  Description form the website:

Eduardo Navas’s research and writing on remixing as a creative act across culture is founded on his long term interest in DJing as an art form. His DJ set for RE/Mixed Media Festival IV will consist of a mix of early funk tracks,  heavy Hip Hop bass samples, and selected reggae and caribbean-influenced beats.

Navasse Drum ‘n’ Bass Revisit Dec 13

Navasse Drum n Bass Remix Dec 13 by Navasse on Mixcloud

A mix revisiting some early Drum ‘n’Bass Anthems. Improvised and recorded on December 15, 2013.


Sound Improvisation at El Chopo Museum, September 7, 2013

Video streaming by Ustream

I recently participated at the El Chopo Museum‘s (Mexico City) series of events titled Bastard Pop. Above is the video archive of my performance which took place on September 7, 2013. The improvisation consists of three major sections. The first is an instrumental remix of Eric B and Rakim’s “Paid in Full” with James Brown’s “Payback.” This one is followed by a remix of John Cage’s  “Music for 5 Pianos,” “Music for 4 Pianos,” “Music for 3 Pianos,” and “Music for 2 Pianos” which together form a sound piece I call  “John Cage Music for 14 Pianos (Remix).” During the performance I doubled the remix and at one point people heard 28 pianos with different sound effects I set up specifically for the recordings. The last part consists of a remix of Kraftwerk’s “Numbers” with MJ Cole’s “Introduction,” a piece part of  his seminal 2step album “Sincere.” The end consists of bass-lines and synth-sounds that I developed with Audiomulch, the software I used for the performance. Throughout the performance I also manipulated the introduction to Laurie Anderson’s “Superman,” which is the last sample heard at the end of the improvisation.

The sound in the space was simply amazing. It is too bad that the videostream went into the red, with the result of sound distortion. At least people online will have an idea about the development of the sound piece. I plan to post a better recording of the improvisation at a later point.

John Cage Music for 14 Pianos (Remix)

John Cage Music for 14 Pianos (Remix) is a mashup of Cage’s “Music for 5 Pianos,” “Music for 4 Pianos,” “Music for 3 Pianos,” and “Music for 2 Pianos.” All four pieces are 7 minutes plus a few seconds long. After listening to the compositions over the years, I realized that a mashup of the four recordings would follow the principles of chance as promoted by Cage. As a result this piece is part of a series of Cage remixes I will be releasing in the near future.

I will be remixing “Music for 14 Pianos” live at the upcoming event on September 7, 2013 at the El Chopo Museum, UNAM in Mexico City, at which point it will become part of much longer performance.

The recordings were performed by Steffen Schleiermacher, and released in John Cage Complete Piano Music Volume1 & 2, 1998.

Navasse Improvisation Circa 2000-01

An improvisation on two CDDJ players and two Technics 1200s recorded at some point in 2000 or 2001. It consists of a remix of various artists including The Art of Noise, Steve Reich, Roni Size, Kraftwerk, Miles Davis, Kruder and Dorfmeister, Underworld along with some bleeps and glitches.

This was a session done in one sitting and it’s not as smooth as I would like; yet, there are enough good moments that I think it is worth sharing, especially given that I am unlikely to recreate it. I am unable to provide credit for some of the tracks due to the fact that I don’t have all the records I used with me at the moment. The list of the songs is below:

1) Intro: excerpts of Kraftwerk: Trans Europe Express (1990 reissue) 0:00
2) Herbaliser: A Mother (Kruder & Dorfmeister Remix, 1996) 1:30
3) Art of Noise: Dragnet (1987) 5:28
4) Kraftwerk: Expo 2000 (2000) 8:26
5) Roni Size and Reprazent: Trust Me (1997) 10:15
6 & 7: Drum n Bass tracks currently unable to check name.
8) Bleeps, 22:00
9) Miles Davis: Chocolate Chip (1992) 24:00
10) Underworld: Bruce Lee (1999) 27:35
11) Malcom McClaren: Hobo Scratch (1982) 30:30
12) Steve Reich: Pulses (1997) 33:20
13) Techno/trance house track, currently unable to check name,
14) Kraftwerk: Numbers (1981) 39:42
15) Art of Noise: Beatbox (1984) 42:37

Hip-Hop to Dubstep: International Music Styles and the Remix, Part 6 of 7

Above: “The Rise Of Dubstep | Documentary”, included in the resource selections below.

List of online resources and music selection for week 6 of Hip-Hop to Dubstep, taught during the summer of 2013 at The New School’s  Media Studies, Department of Communication. I will be releasing brief notes based on my class lectures in the near future. If interested in looking at the actual class webpage with all the weekly selections at once, feel free to peruse this link: http://navasse.net/NS/NCOM3039A/. My notes will not be available on the class webpage, only on each corresponding entry here on Remix Theory. Please note that links may become broken. If and when this happens, the best thing to do is to search for the source by name. And do let me know if anything is broken and I will look into it.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Week 6
UK Garage/Dubstep
July 8 – 12, 2013

Music Selecion and Relevant Links:

UK Garage Documentary

A History of Dubstep in 4 Minutes – BBC Radio 1’s Stories
A History of Dubstep – The BBC Radio 1 Chronicles

The Rise of Dubstep Documentary

Dubfiles – Dubstep Documentary (2008)

Dubstep vs Drum n Bass: Icicle

Rise of the Bedroom Producer – A Dance Music Documentary 2011

The Year In Music: Dubstep’s Identity Crisis:


UK Garage:

24 Hours Experience – “Together” (1994)
Note that this is basically a house record. This a transitional song towards UK Garage as it came to eventually evolved in the well-known MJ Cole “Sincere” (see below).
24 Hour Experience – Together (Robbie Styles Remix)

Roy Davis Jr. – Gabrielle (1996)

Tina Moore – “Never Gonna Let You Go” (1997)

Double 99 Ripgroove (1997)

Antonio – “Hyperfunk” (1998)
Antonio – Hyperfunk (Bootleg Brotherz bassic 2012 remix)

Sound of One – As I Am (Todd Edwards Mix, 1998)

MJ Cole – “Sincere” (2001)
MJ Cole – “Sincere” (Mig’s Petalpusher Vocal Remix, 2001)
Jill Scott – Gettin’ In The Way (MJ Cole Remix)

De la Soul – All good (Mj Cole Remix)



Dubstep Selection:

Moldy – “Code and Chips” (2008)

Skream – “Exothermic Reaction” (2011)
Skream – Give You Everything (feat. Freckles, 2010)
(Crosses over to 2step)
YouTube Music Selection for Skream:

Headhunter – “Quanta” (2007)
Headhunter – “Locus Lotus” (2009)
YouTube Music Selection for Headhunter

Skrillex, Bare Noize, Foreign Beggars – Scatta (2010)
Skrillex, Song Selection 2013
Documentary, Skrillex in Mexico

Rusko – Woo Boost (2010)
Rusko – Hold On (feat. Amber Coffman, Sub Focus Remix, 2010)

Hatcha – “Chillz” (2008)
Hatcha – “Conga Therapy” (2003)

Benga – “I will Never Change” (2012)
Skream & Benga Mix – Heavy Bass – Real Deep, Dark Dubstep


Notice that Massive Attack puts an emphasis on the third beat. This makes their compositions quite accessible for dubstep remixes:
Massive Attack – “Angel” (1998)
Massive Attack – “Angel” (Hereldeduke Re-Step) VIDLEG

Massive Attack – “Teardrop” (1998)
Massive Attack – “Teardrop” (Chemical Brothers Remix)

Massive Attack – Paradise Circus (2010)
Massive Attack – Paradise Circus (Zeds Dead Remix)
Massive Attack – Paradise Circus (Gui Boratto Remix)


100 Dubstep Drops 2013
100 Dubstep Drops 2013 Part #2

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