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Archive by August, 2007

Beatboxing: An Oral History, by Marian Liu

(Illustration by Rob Hernandez – Mercury News)

Image and text source: Mercury News

Published on 01/04/2007


On the hip-hop scene, “beatboxing” — the term for the art of creating rhythms and sound effects with the human voice — has taken a back seat to rapping, DJing, emceeing, break dancing and graffiti art since it surfaced in the ’80s.

Until now.

The popularity of beatboxing is growing, and one indication is the 2007 West Coast Open Human Beatbox Battle, which takes place Friday night at the Ashkenaz music and dance club in Berkeley, where artists will create all kinds of beats, sometimes while playing along with other instruments.

Thirty-seven-year-old Anthony Rivera (a.k.a. Click) has been beatboxing for 22 years. His work was heard in the 2002 Eminem movie “8 Mile.” Rivera says, “I’ve seen beatboxing change. People are starting to get more creative, getting closer to the actual sound (of percussion instruments) than we did back in the day.”

Read the entire article at Mercury News

Mashup design Patterns, by Alex Barnett

Image and text source: Alex Barnett Blog

Posted on May 22 2007

In the middle of last year, I invited Dion to meet with me and other members of Microsoft’s Data Programmability team to discuss REST in the context of data access over the web. Dion’s perspective is one of the reasons our team was able to recognise the potential of a RESTful programming model against relational data, manifested today as Project Astoria.

I’ve been waiting to read Dion’s thoughts on Project Astoria (via John Musser). It’s an interesting take, contextualizing Astoria within the overall architectural trends we’re seeing take place.


Some Notes on Nine Inch Nails’ Invitation to Create Mashups

Image source: yearzero.nin.com

Note: Below are a couple of comments on Nine Inch Nails’ current project, which consists of inviting fans and music enthusiasts to mashup one of NIN’s new songs “Survivalism” to their hearts’ content. This project is welcomed and reminiscent of the pioneering project A Bush of Ghosts by Brian Eno and David Bowie. Also see: http://bushofghosts.wmg.com


“Nine Inch Nails Invites Mashups,” by Jonathan at Ampheteme.org

Text source: Amphetameme.org

Published on 3-26-07

Trent Reznor’s inviting you to mash-it-up. He invites you to go absolutely nuts with his latest creation, the tracks that come together to make the song “Survivalism”. Feel free to interpret the tracks any way you wish he says, and add your own. And he’s asking you (because of his partnership with Apple I presume) to use Garageband. I don’t mind. Garageband 3’s one pretty damn cool piece of work. At any rate, I’m a big NIN fan and I’m happy to see him once again inviting remix interpretation. Pick up all the details at yearzero.nin.com.


“A mashup on Garageband takes music experiences to a new level,” by Stephen Abbott

Text source: projectopus.com/

Published on 3-26-07
Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails is pushing the boundaries of a music experience to new levels. According to an article in Digital Music News, Reznor is making a single from the upcoming album, Year Zero, available for “remix interpretation”. The interesting twist to this is that it is being done in a sort of collaboration with the latest release of Garageband 3, part of Apple’s iLife suite.

Garageband users can adjust a number of tracks that make up “Survivalism,” and add their own elements as well. Once created, the tracks can be shared, ripped and distributed at will. According to an Apple representative, other songs from the album are also on the way.

The ability to share and distribute the personal remixes is huge. Perhaps ability is the wrong word – the encouragement to distribute these remixes is incredible. The artist is giving open permission to use his work. There could be literally thousands of interesting and unique interpretations of NIN’s musical talent. Of course, there are going to be many more versions that suck, but those will fade away soon enough.


Ghetto Ambient, by Greg Smith

Image and text source: Serial Consign

I’ve been a longtime fan of musician and artist Sebastian Meissner who releases beautiful and often unsettling ambient music under the moniker Klimek on Kompakt. I began a dialog with Sebastian when I tipped him off that I had used a Klimek track to score my Kamera Obscura project, and as we chatted back and forth I realized he was the creative force behind a number of other projects that have showed up on my radar over the years.

Sebastian is also behind or was involved in: Bizz Circuits, Autopoieses (with Ekkehard Ehlers) and Random Inc. In addition to the Klimek material that I find so mesmerizing, the Random Inc. record Walking In Jerusalem was one of my favourite albums of 2002, and Autopoieses’s locked-groove laden La Vie À Noir Transposed didn’t leave my crate for two years when I was still playing records.


Regressive and Reflexive Mashups in Sampling Culture, by Eduardo Navas

Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel some time in the early days of hip hop.

Image source: greatestcities.com

Update as of 8/13/10.  The revised version of this text is now available online as Remix Theory post 444.

Update as of 4/29/10: This text has been revised for the book publication Mashup Cultures. In the revised print version, I introduce a series of new terms along with a diagram.  The 2007 draft is shared below in the tradition of online sharing.  The final argument while it has not necessarily changed is more precise in the revised print version, which I encourage those interested to read.

This text was published on June 25, 2007 in Vague Terrain Journal as a contribution to the issue titled Sample Culture.

Today, 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 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 were first initiated in music culture 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 always remixes if we think of remixes as allegories. This is important to entertain because, at first, Remix appears to extend repetition of forms in media, in repressive fashion; but the argument in this paper 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.


Spook Country: Some notes on William Gibson’s new novel, Spook Country, by Steven Shaviro

Image source: Amazon.com

Text source: The Pinocchio Theory

Note: A comment on this review was previously posted at Nettime.org by DJ Spooky.

“The door opened like some disturbing hybrid of bank vault and Armani evening purse, perfectly balanced bombproof solidity meeting sheer cosmetic slickness.” William Gibson’s prose is cool and precise: minimal, low-affect, attuned to surfaces rather than depths. It’s overwrought, filled to bursting with similes and allusions; yet somehow it still manages to feel as if it had been executed skeletally, entirely without flourishes. There’s a sense of density built up in layers, but packaged inside a bland and featureless box; this writing is like a nondescript cargo container (one of the book’s main images) filled with everything from expensive brand names, hi-tech geekery, and the detritus of popular culture to micro-perceptions of psychological shifts that take place just beneath the threshold of conscious attention.

At times, the effect of this prose is one of deadpan absurdity, as when townhouses in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. are described as radiating “the sense that Martha Stewart and Ralph Lauren would have been hard at work on interiors, together at last, sheathing inherently superior surfaces under hand-rubbed coats of golden beeswax.” At other times, it’s surreally dislocating, as when one of the protagonists is startled by the actions of her companion, so that “for an instant she imagined him as a character in some graphically simplified animation.” At still other times, it’s slyly mordant, as when one character is described as looking “like someone who’d be invited quail-shooting with the vice president, though too careful to get himself shot.”


Entrevista a Eduardo Navas // artista, historiador y crítico especializado en nuevos medios, por: yto.cl

Online Project:
(Six year old professional model)

February 2001

Note: This interview was originally published by Yto (Isabel Aranda) in the Magazine Escaner Cultural, August 2007, based in Santiago de Chile. It is currently only available in Spanish.

Image source: navasse.net/cloeyStart/

Text source: revista.escaner.cl/node/279

Eduardo Navas es artista, historiador y crítico especializado en nuevos medios; su obra y teorías han sido presentadas en varios lugares en Estados Unidos, Latino América y Europa. Ha sido jurado para ” Turbulence.org” en 2004, también fue jurado para las comisiones de “Rhizome.org” de 2006-07, en Nueva York.

Navas es fundador y editor contribuyente de “Net Art Review” (2003-2005), y co-fundador de “newmediaFIX” (desde 2005). Actualmente, Navas es docente de práctica de multimedia en la Universidad del Estado en San Diego (SDSU), y es candidato al doctorado en letras en el Departamento de Historia de Arte y Medios de Comunicación, Teoría y Crítica, en el programa de Bellas Artes en la Universidad de San Diego California (UCSD).

Cuéntame un poco sobre tu infancia, por favor…

Nací en 1969 en El Salvador, Centro América, y emigré a Los Estados Unidos en 1980, en donde he crecido como ciudadano naturalizado.

¿Cuándo descubriste que tu camino era el arte?

Siempre lo supe. Mis modelos fueron mis hermanos Max y Ricardo, quienes dibujaban mucho. Ellos coleccionaban paquines (historietas cómicas en forma de revista). Maximiliano, mi hermano mayor, había tenido un curso por correo para aprender a dibujar caricaturas. El nunca lo terminó, pero guardó todas las lecciones, las cuales yo terminé usando. Yo practicaba a dibujar los ejemplos en cada lección y después con los años comencé a copiar dibujos cómicos, más que todos de paquines de súper héroes. Mis favoritos eran del Hombre Araña, y los Cuatro Fantásticos. Pero en El Salvador más que todo se encontraban paquines de Superman y otros personajes de la compañía DC Comics. Así que cuando encontraba un paquin del Hombre Araña, publicado por Marvel, era prácticamente de oro para mí. Al llegar a los Estado Unidos me volví loco comprando paquines del Hombre Araña, Los Cuatro Fantásticos, entre otros. Era como un sueño poder ir a una tienda especializada de paquines y ver tantos de ellos ahí. Pero llegó un momento en el cual pude dibujar con facilidad y me pregunté que más se podría hacer con el arte, una vez que uno llega a dibujar más o menos bien. Creo que fue ahí donde mi interés en la práctica crítica comenzó.


Ground Zero – Five Years Later

Image: SPI, dbox

Image and text source: Architectural Record

Note: This is a great resource offering several articles about design proposals for Ground Zero in NYC. Click on the above link to access all articles. It was published sometime in 2006.

Today, New Yorkers awoke to déjà vu. This crisp September morning, with fiercely white sunshine piercing a cloudless sky, was almost exactly like the day that greeted New Yorkers on September 11, 2001. While the similarity is uncanny, the platitudes are correct that the world is forever changed.

Words fail to fully communicate the experience of the terrorist attacks, and their transformative effect on society, politics, and the economy. Can the architecture that will replace and memorialize the Twin Towers fill the gaps?

We are getting closer to an answer. Despite the many conflicts about which commentators had forewarned us early on, Ground Zero’s rebirth inches toward reality. In the few weeks leading up to this fifth anniversary, news of progress has appeared with increasing frequency. Power switched hands, designs were revealed, steel was shipped. Ground Zero promises to be home to works by the generation’s most famous architects. That fact alone guarantees neither universal praise nor timelessness. But its completion will open a new chapter in which the public demands innovation and excellence throughout the built landscape, not just in rebuilding what’s lost.
ward reality. In the few weeks leading up to this fifth anniversary, news of progress has appeared with increasing frequency. Power switched hands, designs were revealed, steel was shipped. Ground Zero promises to be home to works by the generation’s most famous architects. That fact alone guarantees neither universal praise nor timelessness. But its completion will open a new chapter in which the public demands innovation and excellence throughout the built landscape, not just in rebuilding what’s lost.

North Quad Remix: It’s Over Your Head | Architecture Column, By Austin Dingwall

A view of the front side of the Frieze Building. (ALI OLSEN/Daily)
Image and text source: The Michigan Daily

Published: 9/13/06

niversity President Mary Sue Coleman and the other administrators were right to delay the North Quad project, choosing to perfect its architecture rather than accepting a mediocre design. The project’s completion may be pushed back a year, but the permanence and importance of this building will affect generations of students, faculty and Ann Arborites for decades to come. This structure is to be the gateway to Central Campus from the north, yet the recent March proposal from architecture firm Einhorn, Yaffee, Prescott showed a lackluster building, both piecemeal and uninviting. Most importantly, the proposed renderings did not express an externally unified charisma to harbor the building’s innovative interior.

In July, the University hired Robert A.M. Stern Architects to redesign North Quad while keeping Einhorn, Yaffee, Prescott on to retain the integrity of the interior programming. With this decision, the University is poised to get more of, if not exactly, what they want for North Quad. Time and time again, Robert A.M. Stern Architects have proven that they are masters at adapting to context while providing traditional, distinguished architecture.

Read the entire article at  The Michigan Daily

Learning By Remixing, by Mark Glaser

Image source: rconversation.blogs.com

Text source: PBS Media Shift

According to a 2005 study conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 57 percent of American teens who use the internet could be considered media creators. For the purpose of the study, a media creator was defined as someone who “created a blog or webpage, posted original artwork, photography, stories or videos online or remixed online content into their own new creations.” Most American teens online have done two or more of these activities. 33 percent of teens share what they create online with others. 19 percent create new works by remixing content they appropriated from another source.

America’s children are become media-makers: they are blogging, designing their own websites, podcasting, modding games, making digital movies, creating soundfiles, constructing digital images, and writing fan fiction, to cite just a few examples. As they do so, they are discovering what previous generations of artists knew: art doesn’t emerge whole cloth from individual imaginations. Rather, art emerges through the artist’s engagement with previous cultural materials. Artists build on, take inspiration from, appropriate and transform other artist’s work: they do so by tapping into a cultural tradition or deploying the conventions of a particular genre. Beginning artists undergo an apprenticeship phase during which they try on for size the styles and techniques of other more established artists. And even well established artists work with images and themes that already have some currency within the culture. Of course, this isn’t generally the way we talk about creativity in schools, where the tendency is still to focus on individual artists who rise upon or stand outside any aesthetic tradition.

Read the entire feature at  PBS Media Shift

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