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Archive of the category 'Interview'

“Political Remix Video: An Interview with Dr. Colin Gardner” by Diran Lyons

Diran Lyons has been producing political remixes for some time. I recently received a tweet of his latest mashup “Political Remix Video: An Interview with Dr. Colin Gardner” which combines selected clips from Lyons’s own previous mashups with an interview with Dr. Gardner, who is professor and chair in the department of art at UC Santa Barbara. Following his previous approach, Lyons’s video mashup questions the way we perceive the moving image, which in this case is redefined as the time image by Dr. Gardner, according to philosophical writings on film by the late French philosopher Gilles Deleuze. The time image questions our expectations of cause and effect; it is an image that reminds us to look beyond the surface of movement. Based on this premise, Lyons goes on to show clips from several films, mass media, and speeches by politicians on the left and the right of American politics. The result is a mashup that takes no sides but questions all things persons could possibly assume about power and absolute positions on right and wrong.

Pictoplasma: White Noise, Eduardo Navas Interviewed on Remix and Sampling

Figure 1: “Do You Want Fries with that?” by  Ian Stevenson

The following is an interview conducted for the exhibition Pictoplasma: White Noise, curated by Lars Denicke and Peter Thaler, which took place at La Casa Encendida, Madrid Spain from May 23, to September 8, 2013. I was asked questions on how remix functions in art practice,  if there is a difference between remix and sampling, among other issues that the concept of remixing raises with digital and non-digital forms of production. This interview was released as part of a print publication that complemented the exhibit, but it was not made available online. I am now making it public because my answers raise issues that I have not discussed in other texts or interviews.   I thank Lars and Peter for their interest in my views on the subject of remix.



Pictoplasma – Remix is what we all do now: cut/copy and paste. You have defined remix culture as the creative exchange of information made possible by digital technologies. Can one only speak of remix in cultural production if it is digital? Or if digital is not a prerequisite, how are analogue remixes embedded into digital culture? What is the difference between remixing and quoting or referencing?

E. Navas – First it should be noted that the concept of remixing is specific to contemporary times. Not everything is a remix – this is hard for me to say given that I was a DJ for almost 15 years (and would love to make such an overreaching claim), but it is precisely because I DJed for so long that I know that remixing is a very specific act. Having said that, the principles of remixing, or remix as discourse, have become important across culture, and this is why remix culture is so popular today, especially when discussing creativity as endorsed by Creative Commons.

When looking back in history you will notice that as a concept for daily creativity, remix was not that popular until remixing became a driving force in music, particularly in disco and hip hop. This means that the concept of remix is popular today not because anyone in particular decided to talk about it to promote some sort of organized movement, but rather because culture as a whole began to use the term to describe the type of creative production that is possible with contemporary technology. The reality is that remix is synonymous with the digital because it was the digital that made the concrete act of taking actual samples from recordings to then manipulate them into something new, while leaving the sampled source intact. This was not the case with collages, which were created by cutting out from images or photographs to create new compositions. In collages the”‘sampled” material was destroyed because it was cut out, but with digital technology, the sampled source is left intact, this was done before in photography, of course, starting in the 19th century. When you take a photograph you are sampling from real life, but the subject of your photograph remains untouched. People at this time, however, did not think about this as an act of sampling, but of recording. But in fact early photography was sampling from real life.


Panel Discussion for Three Junctures of Remix

Calit2 has made available the panel discussion for the exhibition I curated, Three Junctures of Remix. Artists part of the panel include, in order of appearance, Giselle Beiguelman, Elisa Kreisinger, Mark Amerika, and Arcangel Constanini. The discussion ends with a 10 minute performance by Constanini with his own musical object named Phonotube.


Mobile Art Applications: Sensor-driven apps and the emerging aesthetics of mobility, by Eduardo Navas

Konfetti by Stephan Maximilian Huber.

This text was commissioned by mooove.com.  Excerpt follows below.  For the full text please visit mooove.com:

Mobile applications became quite popular when Apple’s smartphone, the iPhone, was introduced in 2007; reciprocally, apps are one of the reasons (if not the main reason) why the iPhone itself became so popular. Later, the popularity of its follow-up, the iPad tablet, cemented an emerging market’s strong interest in software development for mobile devices. Artists and designers began to experiment with app technology almost as soon as it was introduced, and the result has been the emerging aesthetics of mobility, which at the moment shows great potential for creative exploration in the arts in direct relation to diverse areas of information-based research.

Read the complete article at mooove.com


Eduardo Navas: Track Me Not, Please! Interview by Lucrezia Cippitelli

Data mining visualization

Image source: Richard Lees Website

Note: The following interview was originally published on Digicult in February 2009. The introduction has been translated from the Italian by Lucrezia Cippitelli. It is here published as originally written. I would like to give a humble thanks to Lucrezia for her introduction, which I think gives me more credit than deserved.

Three years ago I had a long interview with Eduardo Navas about his editorial project, newmediaFIX, the online platform that republishes and redistributes texts and interviews from the most influential international magazines focused on art and media (between them Digicult) and which I collaborated with as editor for almost one year. Recently, I met Eduardo again by e-mail for another interview about his last online project, “Traceblog,” launched on October 2008. ”

The artist, theorist, curator and scholar from the United States works on software and web-resources for blogging. He reflects upon the dynamics of the Internet, the concept of Remix and distribution of concepts and information in culture, since the beginning of his artistic career. He is now one of the most influential voices on network cultures and use/abuse of its tools. As Eduardo asserts in this long chat, referring to “Traceblog” but it could be related with his art practice at large: “I aim to explore the implications of the growing pervasiveness of information flow and its manipulation. From this point of view, I see it in direct relation to my ongoing investment in blogging culture.”

In line with his early net art projects as Goobalization and Diary of a Star, while simultaneously following Eduardo’s theoretical researches on blogging and remix, “Traceblog” is an online artwork that appropriates the free Firefox plug-in (Track me not), created by NYU developers and researchers Daniel C. Howe and Helen Nissenbaum. The plug-in is designed to obfuscate the transparency of the online activities of Internet users. As result, “Traceblog” publishes the pseudo logs of Eduardo’s daily online searches and activities on a web site http://navasse.net/traceblog/. The same website contains links to the explanation of the project, links to the Firefox plug-in and some tools that make users aware on how to hide search trails.

“Traceblog” makes visible how our daily Internet activity is tracked by the browser we use and produces an archive of all our data and information that could be used for commercial and control purposes. A fact is that data mining is totally out of control if we consider all the web 2.0 platforms, that stimulate Internet users’ obsession to expose themselves and constantly be in touch: just consider common tools as Blogger, propriety of a big commercial corporation as Google, just to make an example. We could name a few others such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and also (although they are not related with browsing), Skype, Msn, the free services for email and so on and so on… We talked with Eduardo about all that and much more.


Scalable City: Interview with Sheldon Brown, by Eduardo Navas

Image and text source: gallery@calit2

The following interview with Sheldon Brown was commissioned by gallery@calit2 for the exhibition “Scalable City”. Exhibition dates: Thursday, Oct. 23, 2008 – Monday, Dec. 15, 2008

Sheldon Brown is an artist who works in new forms of culture that arise out of developments in computing technology. He is Director of the Center for Research in Computing and the Arts (CRCA) at UC San Diego, where he is a Professor of Visual Arts and an academic participant in the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2). During his early career, Brown experimented with emerging technologies to develop works that explore the possible meaning of “virtual reality.” His installations were often designed for immersive audience participation. Many of these works have been developed for the gallery, such as “MetaStasis” (1990), an art installation consisting of a room that visitors enter to experience what appears to be, as Brown himself has called it, a “zoetrope of TV images.” Brown took his interest in mediated reality to the public sphere in installations such as “Video Wind Chimes” (1994), which projects broadcast TV images on the street sidewalk – images selected according to how the wind blows. In both of these projects, as well as many others, Brown emphasizes how metaphysical experience is contingent upon our increasing dependency in immersive media of all forms. Brown’s longstanding interest in mediation is further explored in “Scalable City.” In the following interview, the artist reflects on how Scalable City connects his interests in emerging technologies as well as longstanding traditions of art practice.

[Eduardo Navas] Unlike many artists who claim to be interested primarily in expressing their ideas and not being bound to a specific medium, you have chosen to focus on the development of art that is involved with computing technology. Having said this, the computer makes possible metamedia – meaning it simulates other media, and in this sense it allows artists to focus on idea development. It appears, then, that you share the interest of exploring ideas in the tradition of modern art practice with artists who might play down their preference for a particular medium. With this in mind, could you reflect on the shifts that art practice may be taking based on the increasing role of computers in all aspects of our lives? How do you see your art practice in relation to previous practices which may have downplayed their preference for a particular medium?

[Sheldon Brown] It seems you attribute conflicting claims for my relationship to “medium”, but I don’t see computing as a medium in the 20th century sense. Probably even the idea of it as a meta-medium does not capture its character. It may be more useful to think about computing as creating certain cultural conditions, and I’m doing work which utilizes and responds to those conditions. It might then be more like the interest in speed as a condition for the futurists, but I wouldn’t want to make too much of any analogies to previous art movements and their concerns. The impact of computing on culture comes after the modernist, conceptualist and post-modernist engagements, and just as I have called it a meta-medium, I could also call it a meta-ism – it is able to simulate any and all of these previous attitudes. Not that my interests in this begin and end at simulation of previous forms; this is but one of the gestures possible in this condition, but when it performs any of these simulations, they become rapidly engaged in a new dynamic which doesn’t stop at borders of previous operations.

Reggae, Dub and Memory Play: Paul D. Miller – interviewed by Eduardo Navas

[photo: joi ito]

This interview was originally published on Vague Terrain for their August 2008 Digital Dub Issue.

Paul D. Miller, AKA DJ Spooky is a multitasker. He is known for his music productions, as well as his art and film projects. He also has been writing about art and culture for many years. In the last few years, Miller has worked with Trojan Records to develop compilations about Reggae and Dub with a critical yet playful take on the complexities of Jamaica. Most recently, he edited Sound Unbound for MIT Press, a book which comprises a set of texts about the influence of sound in media and culture at large. In the following interview, DJ Spooky, discusses his current projects in a global context, and motivates us to move beyond basic binaries onto a more productive and creative state.

Eduardo Navas: In your most recent Recording Project “Creation Rebel” as well as “DJ Spooky Presents In Fine Style 50,000 Volts of Trojan Records!!!” you write short historical essays about the culture of Reggae, Dub and the Big Sound System. You are also very careful to present your position as a cultural insider, given that you used to visit Jamaica as a kid; and you also state that you were approached by Trojan Records, rather than the other way around, which would otherwise place you, regardless of ethnicity, in a position of “explorer” or Neo-colonial. Based on all this can you explain how you see colonial ideology at play in Jamaica today?

DJ Spooky: The situation Jamaica faces today is part of a global cycle of hyper capitalism – even the Cayman Islands used to be part of Jamaica… anyway, yeah, the whole system is based on production models that privilege the “developed” economies over the “developing” ones. From Mugabe in Zimbabwe to Thabo Mbeki in South Africa, Kim Jong Il in North Korea, or Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, and Ahmadinejad in Iran, people in “developing” economies are faced with rulers just as flawed as anything the U.S. can summon up with people like Bush or Reagan. I tend to think that everything is connected. My Trojan records project is an exploration of the archives of one of my favorite record labels during a time of intense political upheaval. But it’s also about showing how people make music out of their circumstances.


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.


Marie Sester Interview: Access, Transparency and Visibility in “Exposure”, by Eduardo Navas

Still from second video sequence.

Image and text source: gallery.calit2.net

The following is an interview published for the exhibition “Exposure” A Video Installation, Pre-9/11, at gallery@calit2.net, on view from April 10 to June 6, 2008. In this interview Sester’s views on Surveillance expose how elements of appropriation vital to Remix are at play in culture publicly, and which since 2001, have redefined privacy for the average person. This interview was originally published in conjunction with the text “Exposure” Pre-9/11.

Marie Sester is an artist born in France, currently living in Los Angeles. She was trained as an architect, but soon after receiving her degree realized that her real interest was in understanding the role of architecture as discourse in culture and politics. She found art an ideal space to develop her interdisciplinary projects. Sester sees her art practice as an ongoing process partly defined by a person’s desire to visualize certain things, while making others invisible. Throughout the 1990s, Sester explored how surveillance redefined our understanding of reality. In the following interview Marie Sester generously shares the story behind her three-channel installation, “Exposure,” explaining how her role as an artist allowed her access to information which she could not obtain today due to the security measures put in place after 9/11.

[Eduardo Navas]: You explain that you are interested in the concepts of transparency, visibility and access. Can you explain how these came to shape your project “Exposure” and your interest in surveillance?

[Marie Sester]: The situation that became a reality in the U.S. after 9/11 had been developing in Europe for some time. Bombing attacks were part of my reality in France, hijacking planes and taking passengers as hostages was something we lived with day to day. This was often done to ask for money, or demand for political prisoners to be released. Such unfortunate events were not part of U.S. reality.

Terrorism was already present in Europe. There were many individuals from small groups using what today we call terrorist strategies; it was at this time that surveillance devices were introduced. I was intrigued by this shift, which was a bit disturbing. As surveillance technology started to be introduced at the airport, it became normal to have one’s luggage X-ray scanned. It became common to find scanners at the airport, as well as government buildings like City Hall. The unexpected beauty of surveillance technology fascinated me.

Suddenly, there was a new form of presence and reality defined by these new devices. And I wanted to work with the images they produced. I had already been working with pre-made objects and images for some time. At that time I forged and assembled the notions of transparency, visibility and access and they are still the basis of my work.

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