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Seminar on Principles of Remix by Eduardo Navas at the Departamento de Artes Plásticas da ECA/USP

Image: from the post Research on Remix and Cultural Analytics, Part 2

I will be presenting my research on Remix and Cultural Analytics at the Departamento de Artes Plásticas da ECA, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil during a one week seminar, March 19 – 21, 2012. Information below.

Principles of Remix Seminar

This seminar examines the act of remixing in contemporary culture. It takes a historical approach with the aim to define remix not only as an act but a process. Remix is often discussed in terms of copyright and intellectual property. In contrast, this seminar engages remix as a cultural binder. The premise for the sessions is that remix affects culture in ways that go beyond the basic understanding of recombining material to create something different. The class will go over key principles of remix, and will also contextualize it in the tradition of critical theory.

The five-day seminar will make use of research published in the texts suggested for reading (see list below). The texts should be read before the actual meetings.

Day 1: Principles of Remix

Day 2: The Aesthetics of Remix

Day 3: The Dialectics of Remix

Day 4: The Social Implications of Remix (Social Media and Cultural Analytics)

Day 5: Remix Globalization and Cultural Analytics

All material to be discussed during the seminar is written by Eduardo Navas:

“Regressive and Reflexive Mashups in Sampling Culture”

“The Mashup of Analog and Digital Code”

“Dub, B Sides and Their [re]versions in the Threshold of Remix”

“The Ethics of Modular Complexity in Sustainability”

“Remix and Cultural Analytics,” Parts 1, 2, and 3
Charleston Style:

Lotus Flower Parodies:

Downfall Parodies:

“After Media (Hot and Cold)”

“The Blogger as Producer”

“After the Blogger as Producer”

“The Author Function in Remix”

“Remixing Re/appropriations”

“The Influence of Non-places in the Concept of Latin America”

More Notes on Everything is a Remix and Ferguson’s Lecture at Creative Mornings

Everything is a Remix Part 4 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

Part 4 of the Series “Everything is a Remix” (above) has been released on line by Kirby Ferguson. In this last segment, Ferguson retells in large part Lessig’s argument on copyright and free culture (later renamed read/write culture). Kirby points to a “System Failure” in the near future. I don’t have much to add in terms of criticism about the series, given that Ferguson very much hops back and forth between cultural citations and material samplings, not acknowledging the complexity of intertextuality as I already discussed in a previous criticism I wrote about his series.

Another video was recently released by Creative Mornings, in which Ferguson goes over his views on remix as a “metaphor” (below). I wonder why he does not make metaphor a key issue in his videos. One would not have to worry about the watering down of “remix” as a term with a specific meaning in networked culture. But perhaps in the end Ferguson may sense that everything is not a remix. As I previously explained, in the end he is discussing intertextuality.

Well produced videos, worth watching. I think people will change their minds about creativity when viewing them, and this is a real contribution by Ferguson.

2011/08 Kirby Ferguson from CreativeMornings on Vimeo.

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.

Remix of Adorno’s Minima Moralia

Click image for large view.  Detail of Minima Moralia 6.

Minima Moralia Redux:

Minima Moralia Redux is a selective remix by Eduardo Navas of Theodor Adorno’s Minima Moralia. Starting on October 16, 2011, an entry a week will be rewritten until the 153 aphorisms of Minima Moralia become part of the blog.

Theodor Adorno’s aphorisms are carefully analyzed and reinterpreted in order to explore the principles of the selective remix, often found in music and video. The selective remix consists of adding to or subtracting material from a pre-existing source.

Minima Moralia Redux is the result of a long term post-doctoral analysis in cultural analytics performed for The Department of Information Science and Media Studies  http://www.uib.no/infomedia/en at the University of Bergen, Norway, in collaboration with Software Studies Lab
http://lab.softwarestudies.com/ at the University of California, San Diego.

Minima Moralia Redux is part of the Blog Remixes:

Eduardo Navas

Introducing ImagePlot Software: explore patterns in large image collections

Image: 883 Manga series from the scanlation site OneManga.com.
Total number of pages: 1,074,790

Lev Manovich and Jeremy Douglass, 2010.


ImagePlot is a free software tool that visualizes collections of images and video of any size. (The largest set we tried so was: 1,074,790 one megabyte images).


ImagePlot works on Mac, Windows, and Lunix.
Max visualization resolution: 2.5 GB (2,684,354,560 grayscale pixels, or 671,088,640 RGB pixels).

ImagePlot was developed by the Software Studies Initiative (softwarestudies.com) with support from the National Endowment for Humanities (NEH), the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), and the Center for Research in Computing and the Arts (CRCA).

Along with the program, we also distribute a number of articles by Lev Manovich, Jeremy Douglass and Tara Zepel that address methodologies for exploring large visual cultural data sets, and discuss our digital humanities projects which use ImagePlot. (The articles can be also downloaded directly from softwarestudies.com.)

Visualizations created with ImagePlot have been shown in science centers, art and design museums, and art galleries, including Graphic Design Museum (Breda, Netherlands), Gwangju Design Biennale (Korea), and The San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art.

ImagePlot software was developed as part of our Cultural Analytics research program.

Learn more about Imageplot at Software Studies.

REBLOG: For half a century computer performance has roughly doubled every two years, but the laws of physics place insurmountable barriers on how long this growth can occur.

Originally published on December 15, 2009 on Seed Magazine

by Lee Billings

In April 1965, a young researcher named Gordon Moore wrote a short article for the now-defunct Electronics Magazine pointing out that each year, the number of transistors that could be economically crammed onto an integrated circuit roughly doubled. Moore predicted that this trend of cost-effective miniaturization would continue for quite some time.

Two years later Moore co-founded Intel Corporation with Robert Noyce. Today, Intel is the largest producer of semiconductor computer chips in the world, and Moore is a multi-billionaire. All this can be traced back to the semiconductor industry’s vigorous effort to realize Moore’s prediction, which is now known as “Moore’s Law.”

There are several variations of Moore’s Law—for instance, some formulations measure hard disk storage, while others concern power consumption or the size and density of components on a computer chip. Yet whatever their metric, nearly all versions still chart exponential growth, which translates into a doubling in computer performance every 18 to 24 months. This runaway profusion of powerful, cheap computation has transformed every sector of modern society—and has sparked utopian speculations about futures where our growing technological prowess creates intelligent machines, conquers death, and bestows near-omniscient awareness. Thus, efforts to understand the limitations of this accelerating phenomenon outline not only the boundaries of computational progress, but also the prospects for some of humanity’s timeless dreams.

Read the entire article at Seed Magazine

Butler on Sherman

Image source: YouTube

An interesting discussion on the work of Cindy Sherman takes place between Judith Butler and a gallery host. Butler discusses the representation and questioning of vulnerability of women in Sherman’s work, and also shares the formal pleasures she finds in the works of art.  The subtitles are in French, and the discussion is in German; most of the documentary is in English with French subtitles. The segment on Sherman begins around 3:10 and carries over to later segments.  I find this documentary excerpt worth noting because it offers a rare moment when a philosopher discusses works of art casually, yet with careful analysis.

I find some of Butler’s premises on performativity to run parallel with the development of Remix, and to be potentially useful to evaluate current concepts on cultural mixing.  I say this without claiming that her work could be directly linked to Remix as discourse, but rather that a paradigmatic reflection on her ideas can be helpful in understanding the cultural variables in which remix culture plays out. Not sure how long the documentary may stay on YouTube, but here are the links for future convenient access:

Judith Butler, Philosopher of Gender:

Part 1 of 6:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q50nQUGiI3s
2 of 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTz-_YeUIUg&NR=1
3 of 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALx1MEW2P3U&NR=1
4 of 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALx1MEW2P3U&NR=1
5 of 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHVugezilG8&NR=1
6 of 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yv2aCF2Okz8&NR=1

Sampling Theory 101

Figure 1: A function f and its Fourier transform F(f). Both the function and its Fourier transform are complex-valued, but in graphs like this only the magnitudes of the functions are shown.

Image source; http://idav.ucdavis.edu/~okreylos/PhDStudies/

Note: An online page I discovered, which was last updated, apparently in Winter of 2000.  It provides a good introduction to the theoretical aspects of sampling.


This document is a short overview of some aspects of sampling theory which are essential for understanding the problems of Volume Rendering, which can be viewed as nothing but resampling a data set obtained from sampling some unknown function.

Prerequisite for this document is a basic understanding of Fourier Analysis on an intuitive level. You have to know that a function f(x) in the spatial (or time) domain has a counterpart F(f) in the frequency domain. Any function satisfying some simple properties can be written as a weighed sum of harmonic functions (shifted and scaled sine curves), and (F(f))(s), called the Fourier transform or spectrum of f, gives the weight of the harmonic function of frequency s in f.

Read the entire text

Particles of Interest: An Interview with *particle group*, by Eduardo Navas

Images and text source: gallery@calit2

Note: The following is an interview published for the exhibition SPECFLIC 2.6 and Particles of Interest: Installations by Adriene Jenik and *particle group* on view from August 6 to October 3, 2008 at gallery@calit2. In this Interview *particle group* shares its critical approach on the ever growing nanoparticles market.

*particle group* is a collective consisting of Principal Investigators Ricardo Dominguez and Diane Ludin, as well as Principal Researchers Nina Waisman (Interactive Sound Installation design)and Amy Sara Carroll, with a number of others flowing in and out.  The collective draws from the hard and social sciences to develop installations that are critically engaged with the politics of science and its market.  Their aim with the installation “Particles of Interest” is to shed light on the lack of regulation of nanoparticles in consumer goods.  In the following interview the *particle group* shares its views on the current state of nanotechnology production, as well as a possible future that we may all be facing, in which nanomachines just might make difficult decisions for us.

[Eduardo Navas]: How does collaboration take place within the *particle group*? You describe members’ roles as Investigators and Researchers. Could you explain how these terms are relevant to each collaborator’s contribution to the project?

[*particle group*]: We mimic the structure of a research and development model for a university laboratory. By laboratory we mean a group of individuals who pursue conceptual investigations determined by a chronology of work that the Investigators have determined. Here, though, it should be noted that already we morph the template as Principal Investigators become Principle Investigators, homonymically signalling our investments in science’s narrative “engines of creation,” the aesthetic/ized practices and/or “naturalized” conceptualisms inherent in research, investigation, discovery and data transfer within scientific communities’ “normalized” articulations of self.

Generally the researchers participate from the beginning stages of materializing/performing/manifesting the work that the collective *particle group* eventually presents in counter/public spheres as varied as the art museum, the mall, and/or the scientific meeting. Researchers work in tandem with Investigators to develop their interpretations of the subject matter under investigation, augmentation, and/or erasure. So each time we are invited (or invite ourselves) to stage an iteration of our research, we meet and discuss via Skype or email what our intentions should be for the “performance.” To date we have had a different crew of researchers for each presentation so inherent in particle group’s particularization and particle-ization is a revolving/open door policy toward creative maelstroming. This project was produced in large part by Calit2, and so it made aesthetic sense to us to approach the project as would-be art(is)cientists and to stage a series of p(our)-us epistemologies (on the testbeds of these strange viroids of art and science) and not to see the gesture of art and science as two bunkers at war — but as possible thought-scapes of concern under the sign of “nano-ethics and nano-constructions.” Each one as blind as the other, each one helping the other over the rocking shoals of Particle Capitalism(s).


SPECFLIC 2.6: An Interview with Adriene Jenik, by Eduardo Navas

Adriene Jenik lecturing at Calit2

Images and text source: gallery@calit2

Note: The following is an interview published for the exhibition SPECFLIC 2.6 and Particles of Interest: Installations by Adriene Jenik and *particle group* on view from August 6 to October 3, 2008 at gallery@calit2. In this Interview Jenik shares the creative process behind her ongoing multi-faceted installation SPECFLIC, which points to a future where books have become rare objects.

Adriene Jenik combines literature, cinema and performance to create works under the umbrella of Distributed Social Cinema. For Jenik, this term means that the language of cinema has been moving outside of the conventional movie screens on to different media devices, which today include, the portable computer, GPS locators, as well as cellphones. Earlier in her career, Jenik worked with video and performance, and eventually she produced CD-Roms, such as “Mauve Desert: A CD-ROM Translation” (1992-1997). Jenik’s practice took a particular shift towards network culture when the Internet became a space in which she could bring together her interests in film, literature, and performance. “Desktop Theater: Internet Street Theater” (1997-2002) was a virtual performance which took place in an online space. It was based on Samuel Becket’s play Waiting for Godot. In line with these works, SPECFLIC 2.6 is the result of Jenik’s interest in the relation of networked culture to film, literature and performance. The installation, then, is also another shift in Jenik’s interest in the expanded field of storytelling. In the following interview, Jenik shares the influences and aesthetical concerns that inform SPECFLIC 2.6

[Eduardo Navas]: You describe your ongoing SPECFLIC project, currently in version 2.6, as “Distributed Social Cinema.” Given that your installation takes on so many aspects of contemporary media, could you elaborate on how you arrived at the parameters at play around this concept?

[Adriene Jenik]: SPECFLIC was initially inspired by the recognition that cinema was moving beyond a single fixed image at an expected scale to one of multiple co-existent screens with extreme shifts in scale. I was seeing video on miniature screens, as well as gigantic mega-screens, and seeing these screens move about in space and wondering what types of stories could take advantage of these formal and technological shifts. I’ve long been involved in thinking through layered story structures and at the beginning of SPECFLIC, I could “see” a diagram of the project imprinted on the inside of my eyelids. That original retinal image burn has since been honed and shaped in relation to the needs of the story and the responses of the audience and performers.

The SPECFLIC 2.6 installation takes excerpts from material that was created for SPECFLIC 2.0, and follows on the heels of SPECFLIC 2.5, which was commissioned by Betti-Sue Hertz and presented at the San Diego Museum of Art in Spring of 2008. For SPECFLIC 2.5, I stripped away all of the live, interactive aspects of the piece, and instead, emphasized aspects of the story that might have been more in the background of the live event. This type of “versioning” is something that is in evidence in software creation, but has also become a method for developing an art practice that can expand and embrace new research and technologies. Distributed Social Cinema is a form that takes into account the importance (for me) of the public audience for a film. As cinema-going practice becomes “home entertainment,” I’m interested in what is at stake in cinema as a public meeting space. At the same time, I’m playing with the intimacy of the very small screen, the ways in which having part of a story delivered into someone’s pocket adds a layer of meaning in its form of delivery. The SPECFLIC 2.5 installation was an attempt to consolidate some of these aspects of distributed attention and “voice.”

Granted the opportunity for networked interaction within the gallery@calit2, for SPECFLIC 2.6 I have rethought the installation to develop in concert with audience contributions. So the project is very much evolving in response to what I learn from each previous iteration as well as the opportunities afforded by the space, encounter with the audience, and technological framework.


Current Projects