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Archive by August, 2014

Timeline of Pulp Fiction: Actual Version and Chronological Edit, by Eduardo Navas


Figure 1: four shots from around a third into the film. Left is original edit, Right is chronological edit

During the Fall of 2013, I analyzed Pulp Fiction with my students in my Video Art Class for the School of Visual Arts at Penn State. One of their assignments was to produce  a video and then re-edit it to tell the same story but in different order, and therefore explore how aesthetics play a role in experiencing a narrative.   We went over a few examples that would give them ideas, some of the links I provided as resources included Pulp Fiction and Memento.

Read the full analysis on remix data.

The Steve Reich Remixes

The Steve Reich Remixes consists of  four mashups of  selected tracks of Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians.

I selected tracks from Reich’s original recordings based on their time: 6, 5, 4, or 3 minutes, and matched them to end at the same time. The tracks part of each mix last more than the number which appears in its proper title (after the @) but less than an extra full minute. These remixes are developed based on my previous experimentation with chance in mashups of John Cage’s Compositions for Piano.

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.

Poemita, an Experimental Online Writing Project

Figure 1: The five most repeated words from 2010-2013. The words and lines above show their recurrence in relation to each other throughout the corpus. See analysis of this and other charts below.

Poemita began in 2010. It means little poem in Spanish. The basic premise was to experiment with tweets as new forms of writing. I eventually decided to use it as a resource (think of it as data mulch) for various projects. Some of the tweets  are being repurposed as short narratives, which I have not released. Poemita was actually preceded by writing I developed for my video [Re]Cuts, a project influenced by William Burroughs’s cut-up method. I am in the process of producing a second video that uses actual tweets from Poemita.

I worked on Poemita on and off, sometimes not posting for months at a time. In fact, I don’t have a single post for the year 2011.  But during the month of August 2014, I realized that Poemita has been a project that is closely related to my ongoing remix of Theodor Adorno’s work in Minima Moralia Redux. It could be thought of as a negative version of that project (I am using the term “negative” here in dialectical terms). To allude to this relation, I inverted the color scheme for the word cloud visualizations of Poemita to be the opposite of Minima Moralia Redux’s. Poemita takes the concept of the aphorism as Adorno practiced it and tries to make the most of each tweet. Most of the postings are well under 140 characters, and they all try to reflect critically on different aspects of life and culture.  I try to do this creatively, and write content that may appear difficult to understand, but ultimately may not even make sense; the aim is to create the possibility for the reader  to see things that would not be possible otherwise. In short it is an experiment in creative writing, and this is why the project was titled Poemita.

I may not be able to post consistently, but I will certainly be posting tweets more regularly then before.  And I will eventually be repurposing the tweets in different ways to explore how context and presentation along with selectivity are ultimately  major elements  in the creative act. This will become clear as I release the tweets in different formats in the future. This, in essence, is a way of remixing data.

To reflect on where this project is going, I decided to analyze it as I would other texts to understand how it is constructed, and to evaluate the type of patterns that may be at play in my online writing. What follows, then, is a set of studies of  the tweets for the years 2010, 2012 and 2013. I will be releasing analysis of 2014 later, after the year is over.

First, it is worth looking at word clouds for the three years:

Poemita_2010Figure 2: Word cloud of tweets for 2010



Figure 3: Word cloud for tweets of 2012



Figure 4: Word cloud for tweets of 2013


Figure 5: Word cloud of tweets from 2010-2013.

We can note the top four or five words for each cloud for the respective years of 2010, 2012, and 2013 and consider how they eventually become part of the larger cloud for all of the years of 2010-2013. The number of occurrences could be accounted for yearly, but for the current purpose of this analysis, it should be sufficient to evaluate the number of words in the largest cloud for all three years (figure 5).

In the cloud above (figure 5), then,  there are a total of a 1,712 words and 863 unique words. The most used words besides articles and prepositions appear much larger. These words appear the following number of times in the actual body of the text:

Time: 12
Thought: 11
Sound: 7
Space: 5
Thoughts: 5

The word trend chart at the top of this page (figure 1) shows how these words relate to each other in terms of writing sequence. If you were to choose a particular node, you would be taken to the actual text and shown how the word appears in its context. The tool I used to this word analysis is Voyant. Seeing the words in a diagram provides a visual idea of how they relate to each other within the actual writing.

This gives a sense of repetition, and may even allude to certain interests in terms of content and ideas within the corpus of the text, but it does not provide a clear sense of how the words actually function, or under what context they recur. For this, the way the words are used in actual sentences can be mapped. In the following word trees, the top five words (in order of times repeated), Time, Thought, Sound, Space, and Thoughts are linked to all the phrases that follow them:


Figure 6: The word “time” linked to the phrases that come after it. Click on the image to view a larger file.


Figure 7: The word “thought” linked to the phrases that come after it. Click on the image to view a larger file.


Figure 8: The word “sound” linked to the phrases that come after it. Click on the image to view a larger file.


Figure 8: The word “space” linked to the phrases that come after it. Click on the image to view a larger file.



Figure 9: The word “thoughts” linked to the phrases that come after it. Click on the image to view a larger file.

The word trees above show how each of the words are implemented to create particular statements. At this point, it is possible to make certain assessments.  Let’s take the word “thoughts” (figure 9).  We can see that three out of five times it comes at the end of the sentences. We can also note that the exception to this is a reflective statement: “thoughts of grandeur.” Let’s take a look at the word “thought” (figure 7) and we can notice that it is part of a much more complex set of phrases. Two times, the word is part of the branching recurrences “Improvisation fills one with…” and “the very thought of…” But notice that in the last one thought is also followed by a period.

Finally, we can consider the words that come before these words. Let’s take the word “thought” for a brief example. For this we can use voyant:

At this point we can get a full sense of how the word recurs and how it functions each time it appears. This approach puts me in the position to evaluate what similarities and differences their implementation may share in order to evaluate particular tendencies I may have in my writing.

We could go on and examine the other top words in the same way, but this is enough to make my point.  It becomes evident that how the word “thought” and its plural “thoughts” are used has much variation in the creative approach in terms of twitting. At least, I, as the actual writer, become aware of the way that I tend to relate to the singular and plural instantiation. This in the end is a reflective exercise that enables me to be critically engaged in understanding my own tendencies as a writer. I plan to use this analytic approach to further the possibilities of writing tweets that can offer a lot more content just under 140 characters.

One of the issues that I assess in all this is the role of repetition.  One may think that repetitive occurrences are bad for creativity, but in practice, it is through repetition that we come to improve our craft and technique in any medium. In terms of how words are used or repeated, with analytical exercises like this one, a writer can come to understand how certain words recur and under what context, to then decide if to implement them differently or omit them altogether in future writing.

I certainly was not thinking that I would use these words the most when I began writing in 2010. They appear to recur and I’m not sure why, but the point is that now I can use this awareness to improve my own creative process.

This analysis can get very detailed, obviously, but this should be enough at this point. This is just a brief sample of how I am data-mining my own writing to also develop other projects  by remixing the content. I will also be mining twitter postings to evaluate how what I learn in this focused project may or may not appear to be at play in the way online communities communicate.

Current Projects