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Upcoming Book: Keywords in Remix Studies

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I have not posted for many months, the reason being that I have been working on several writing projects. One of them will be released very soon. The cover for Keywords in Remix Studies, to be published by Routledge later this year, has been released. I am so happy to have been able to collaborate once again with xtine burrough and Owen Gallagher. I hope everyone finds the book of relevance in terms of remix as a creative field. Below is a brief description.

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Routledge

Abstract

Keywords in Remix Studies consists of twenty-four chapters authored by researchers who share interests in remix studies and remix culture throughout the arts and humanities. The essays reflect on the critical, historical and theoretical lineage of remix to the technological production that makes contemporary forms of communication and creativity possible. Remix enjoys international attention as it continues to become a paradigm of reference across many disciplines, due in part to its interdisciplinary nature as an unexpectedly fragmented approach and method useful in various fields to expand specific research interests. The focus on a specific keyword for each essay enables contributors to expose culture and society’s inconclusive relation with the creative process, and questions assumptions about authorship, plagiarism and originality. Keywords in Remix Studies is a resource for scholars, including researchers, practitioners, lecturers and students, interested in some or all aspects of remix studies. It can be a reference manual and introductory resource, as well as a teaching tool across the humanities and social sciences.

“Regenerative Culture Series” at the Palmer Museum, October 18 – December 11, 2016

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Figure 1: View of prints 1 and 2 from the “Regenerative Culture Series” at the Palmer Museum, Penn State

During the Fall of 2016, I participated in the group exhibition “Expanded Practice” at the Palmer Museum, Penn State. The exhibit took place between October 18 and December 11. I showed a series of prints titled “Regenerative Culture Series.” The actual set consists of eight prints. I decided to show six of eight because this made sense for the space. All of the prints can be viewed on their respective webpage available on my site.

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Figure 2: Side view of prints 1 and 2 of “Regenerative Culture Series” at the Palmer Museum, Penn State

Here is the description of the print series (from the project’s website):

The prints consist of images taken from the web using Google. The images were chosen because they include text that corresponds with a word that is part of a sentence, which in turn is part of a theoretical essay. Some images are altruistic compositions, while others are advertisements and logos among other things.

A specific word or group of words are highlighted in the text of each image in order to create a sentence, which can be read when viewing each composite from left to right. Each of the sentences forming the eight composites are taken from my 2015 essay “Regenerative Culture,” which is a critical reflection on network culture.

The composites are designed to present a tension that opens both image and text for a critical reading of the slippage of meaning in the flow of networked production.

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Figure 3: Image 3 through 6 of “Regenerative Culture Series” at the Palmer Museum, Penn State

I was very happy to be part of the exhibit, which, in my view, showed the diverse practice taking place across the different programs in the School of Visual Arts. An article on the collegian published some opinions by the faculty.

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Figure 4: Side view of Image 3 through 6 of “Regenerative Culture Series” at the Palmer Museum, Penn State

Figure 5: “Mobile Communication”
Sentence: We can communicate with anyone and experience content using a mobile device while walking, riding a train, or flying in an airplane.

Read more information about “Regenerative Culture Series”

Figure 6: “Originality and Uniqueness”
Sentence: Nothing is original just unique to the moment in which it is experienced.

Read more information about “Regenerative Culture Series”

 

 

Spate: A Navigational Theory of Networks

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I am very happy to share news about my book Spate: A Navigational Theory of Networks. Published by The Institute of Network Cultures (INC).  The book is free for download; a print copy can also be ordered online.

Spate: a Navigational Theory of Networks is a critical and theoretical reflection on networked communication, developed with repurposed tweets (@poemita) posted between 2010 and 2014. The original tweets, which were written as critical commentary about online communication and information exchange, have been rewritten from different points of view to develop five chapters. The five chapters function as an anti-story about multiple perceptions within a decentralized network.

I want to thank the Geert Lovink, Miriam Rasch, Leonieke van Dipten, and Léna Robin at The Institute of Network Cultures for supporting the realization of Spate.

“Regenerative Culture” by Eduardo Navas

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«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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Excerpt:

Introduction

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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Keywords: A Remix of Culture and Society

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A Project by Eduardo Navas

“Keywords: A Remix of Culture and Society” is an online project which takes all of the terms that Raymond Williams published in his book Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society (Oxford, 1976), and provides the top search results on Google. The principle behind this project is to evaluate how the terms Williams considered important in order to understand culture and society in the middle of the twentieth century currently flow on the Web.

View Keywords: A Remix of Culture and Society

 

Preliminary Notes on Theodor Adorno’s Minima Moralia Part 3

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Figure 1: Detail of Minima Moralia Redux Remixes 51 – 55. First set of entries part of the second part of Minima Moralia Redux.

Read the entire entry at Remix Data

Minima Moralia Redux, a selective remix of Theodor Adorno’s Minima Moralia, enters a second phase in 2015. This was not foreseen when I began the project back in 2011, because the work is not only a work of art, but also research on data analytics, as well as a critical reflection on networked culture.

The first part of Minima Moralia Redux (entries  one to fifty), consisted of updating Theodor Adorno’s aphorisms–that is to remix them as contemporary reflections of the way global society and culture is engaging with emerging technology. When I finished the first section, I realized that the project’s aesthetics were changing. This was for a few reasons. In terms of research, the first section provided more than enough data for me to data-mine Adorno’s approach to writing; therefore, I came to see no need in following this methodology. I plan to make my findings about this aspect  public in a formal paper in the future.

Read the entire entry at Remix Data

A Modular Framework: Beyond Tautological History, by Eduardo Navas

A Modular Framework: Beyond Tautological History
Essay written for the exhibition A Modular Framework
CCESV, El Salvador
November 9 –December 17, 2010.
by Eduardo Navas

Note: This essay was written for the exhibition A Modular Framework, which took place at the Cultural Center of Spain in El Salvador, November 9 – December 17, 2010. The catalog was never published due to limitation of funds. I considered publishing this essay in art journals focused on Latin American Art, but the response by some was that it was either too specific and could not fit their specific theme at the moment, or that it read too much like an exhibition catalog essay which would not sit well outside of the context for which it was originally written. It has been nearly five years since I wrote the text, and I have decided to release it online, as part of my general research shared on Remix Theory. I am doing this because I believe that it is fair for the artists who participated in the exhibition to have access to the writing I produced. I also think that what I write in terms of critical theory and postcolonial studies may be of interest to people invested in Latin American Art.

Some of the issues raised in terms of the history of new media and Latin America may have changed since I wrote the essay in 2010. I leave it unchanged because I don’t see the point in updating the cultural context given that the exhibit was curated to reflect on the issues at play in 2010. Below is an excerpt. The full text can be downloaded in PDF format.

___________

A Modular Framework is an exhibition that brings together artists from Latin America, or artists who have ties to Latin America, and have been producing new media work since at least the mid-nineties, when new media and digital art began to take shape. Most of the works included in the exhibition are recent, and were chosen as examples of diverse and rigorous art practices. The artists, themselves, while they crossover into art practice at large, are pioneers in digital and new media art in their own countries and for this reason they were invited to participate in the exhibition.

A Modular Framework is the first of its kind in the Central American Region, and as such its purpose is to better acquaint the local culture with new media and digital art practice. At the same time, the exhibit is designed as a marking point, as a fragmentary modular assessment of the rich production of new media art by a specific set of artists who share similarities in their approach to the medium of digital art as a proper practice. The works included comment in one way or another on interconnectivity and possibilities of communication by exploring diverse interests in politics and aesthetics.  This diverse activity is the result of a long process of art production that is intertwined with global culture.  For this reason, before examining each of the selections, it is necessary to briefly outline the relation of new media and digital art practice in contemporary art history.

The Context of New Media and Digital Art
The type of work produced in new media and digital art is often linked by art and media historians to an interdisciplinary practice defined by the interest to move outside of the gallery as previously explored during the seventies with site-specific art, and especially conceptual and performance art.  Of these three, conceptualism has been more often presented as a predecessor of new media and digital art practice.   During the nineties, the Internet was viewed by emerging artists, who had online access, as a space in which to present work outside of not only the gallery but also their immediate locality.   Such developments have influenced how new media works are currently presented as objects of art in a physical space.  The works included in A Modular Framework reflect on this process, from different starting points.

Download the full text in PDF format.

Routledge Companion to Remix Studies Now Available

I just received in the mail a hardbound copy of The Routledge Companion to Remix Studies. It’s been such a long process. Editing 41 chapters has been quite an endeavor, but a good one. I would like to thank my co-editors, xtine Burrough and Owen Gallagher, who are just amazing collaborators. This book could not have been published on time had it not been for our mutual diligence in meeting deadlines. I also want to thank the contributors who were just amazing during the long editing process (for a full list of authors see the dedicated site for the book: Remix Studies).

I really hope that researchers, academics and remixers find the anthology worth perusing.

More information on the book:

Routledge: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415716253/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Routledge-Companion-Remix-Studies-Companions/dp/041571625X

 

Interview for the Radio Show: Fade In/Fade Out, Remixing Culture

At the end of July, I was interviewed  for KulturWelle. Their radio feature titled Fade In/Fade Out, Remixing Culture, which aired on September 3, 2014, presents excerpts of interviews with musicologist Fabian Czolbe, media and communications researcher Steffen Lepa, Ramón Reichert, and, myself, Eduardo Navas.

The feature is literally a remix in German and English of our reflections on the recyclability of culture complemented with music and sound excerpts. Even if one does not understand German, one should listen to the hour long show. It is a true rhetorical soundscape equivalent to a well mixed music recording. Many thanks to Nikita Hock, who first contacted me, and all the producers of the radio show, including  Anastasia Andersson, Bernadette Breyer, Lara Deininger and Angelika Piechotta.

Chloë Participating in the Exhibit “10” at Marte-C, San Salvador, El Salvador, September 2 – October 12, 2014

Image 1: screen capture of Chloë (2001). An online portrait of a young model. The image is sliced into 36 parts, which change every 10 seconds to create different combinations. The purpose of the online project is to expose the tension between the young model’s growing experience vs. her modeling career. It should be noted that Chloë has grown, moved on to college, and as far as I know is no longer modeling. Nevertheless, the online portrait functions as a metaphor of one’s constant change, while also thinking of oneself as a person with a core-self that may not change.

I am very happy to be participating in the exhibit “10” taking place at the Marte Contemporary (Marte-C) in San Salvador, El Salvador. I want to thank artist Karlos Carcamo for suggesting my name to curator Claire Breukel, who chose Chloë to be exhibited as part of the exhibit, which opens this coming September. Official dates are Septermber 2 to October 12, 2014.

Image 2: screen capture of Chloë (2001). An online portrait of a young model.

After discussing the thematic of the exhibit around issues of identity and diaspora, Breukel and I considered Chloë  to be open enough for people to relate to on various levels that are relevant to the exhibit’s emphasis on Salvadoran artists, while extending it to basic questions on human existence. The work is from a few years back (2001), and had not been featured in any exhibit, so I’m very happy that it will receive attention. I also like the fact that the work can be presented as a relevant work of art in our time while still using old technology of 2001 (not as a work that may be of relevance because it was produced with technology that was once innovative–something that tends to happen with new media work quite often). I also think that the idea of constant-change that it explores remains ever-present no matter the technological changes our culture goes through.

I find the exhibit quite interesting because, as the excerpt of the press release that follows makes clear, 10 artists were initially chosen, and those artists chose 10 more artists. I cannot help to think of this approach as a form of remixing of sorts: of exploring the blurriness of curating and art making.  More information below.

Excerpt from the press release Marte Contemporary:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: San Salvador/New York, May: Simply titled “10,” this exhibition curated by MARTE Contemporary (MARTE-C), features twenty prolific works produced in, and about El Salvador over the past decade. On view from September 2, 2014 until October 12, 2014 at MARTE Museum in San Salvador, this exhibition celebrates MARTE Contemporary’s 10-year anniversary, and opens on September 2 at 6pm.

The exhibition’s curators worked with MARTE-C’s selection team to identify ten impactful artworks made over the past decade by Salvadorans, including its diaspora. Works include “Home Sweet Home”, a new piece based on Ronald Moran’s 2004 signature work owned by the Margulies collection in Miami, as well as work by Simón Vega, Waltero Iraheta, Mayra Barraza, Irvin Morazan, Danny Zavaleta, Luis Paredes, Rafael Diaz, Karlos Cárcamo and Ernesto Bautista. These artists were in turn invited to nominate an artwork they feel is exemplar. These selected 10 works include an upturned Volkswagen Beetle by performance artist Victor “Crack” Rodriguez as well as work by Mauricio Kabistan, Beatriz Cortez, Patricia Dominguez, Mauricio Esquivel, Eduardo Navas, Natalia Domínguez, Alexia Miranda, Abigail Reyes and Melissa Guevara.

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