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The Book

Cover Design: Ludmil Trenkov

Released in Fall 2012:

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.

Publisher: Springer Wein New York Press. Official link: http://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-7091-1263-2/page/1

To get a sense of the content of the book, read an earlier text, also published by Springer, which is part of chapter three of the book: Regressive and Reflexive Mashups in Samping Culture. Official link to article: http://www.springerlink.com/content/r7r28443320k6012/

Specific case studies for this book are made possible thanks to my post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Information Science and Media Studies at the University of Bergen, in collaboration with the Software Studies Lab at the University of California, San Diego.

Remix Theory: The Aesthetics of Sampling can ordered on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Powell’sl Books, or another major online bookseller in your region, anywhere in the world.

The book is also available electronically through university libraries that have subscriptions with Springer’s online service, Springerlink.  I encourage educators who find the book as a whole, or in part, of use for classes to consider the latter option to make the material available to students within the lines of fair use.

Anyone is able to preview book chapters on Springerlink also available as an ebook.  If you would like a print copy for review, please send me, Eduardo Navas, an e-mail with your information and motivation for requesting a print version.

For all questions, please feel free to contact me at eduardo_at_navasse_dot_net.

See chapter excerpts below .

Preliminary Table of Contents:

Introduction: Remix and Noise

Chapter One: Remix[ing] Sampling
Sections: Sampling Defined—From Photography to Remix—The Three Chronological Stages of Mechanical Reproduction—The Four Stages of Remix—Analytics: From Photography to Remix Culture—The Regressive Ideology of Remix

Chapter Two: Remix[ing] Music
Sections: A Night at Kadan, San Diego, CA—Dub, B Sides and Their [re]versions in the Threshold of Remix—The Threshold in Dub—Dub: From Acetate to Digital—Subversion and the Threshold—Dub in Hip Hop—Down Tempo and Drum ‘n’ Bass—Analytics: From Reggae to Electronic Dub—Dub ‘n’ Theory—Dub-b-[ing] the Threshold—Dub ‘n’ Remix—Bonus Beats: Remix as Composing

Chapter Three: Remix[ing] Theory
Sections: Remix Defined—Allegory in Remix—Analytics: Variations of the Reflexive Remix—The Regenerative Remix—Remix in Art, The Waning of Affect in Remix—Remix in the Culture Industry—Mashups Defined—From Music to Culture to Web 2.0—Web Application Mashups—The Ideology Behind the Reflexive Mashup—Analytics: Mashups, From Music to Software—Sampling and the Reflexive Mashup—Resistance in Remix—Remix in History—Remix in Blogging—Bonus Beats: Remix in Culture

Chapter Four: Remix[ing] Art
Sections: A Late Night in Berlin—Remix is Meta—The Role of the Author and the Viewer in Remix—The Role of the Author and the Viewer in Performance and Minimalism—New Media’s Dependence on Collaboration—The Curator as Remixer—Online Practice and Conceptualism—The Regressive Ideology of Remix Part 2—Bonus Beats: The transparency of Remix

Conclusion: Noise and Remix
Sections: Periférico, Mexico City—After the Domestication of Noise—Bonus Beats: the Causality of Remix


More information:

Below are selected excerpts from the book:

From Chapter One, Remix[ing] Sampling, page 11:

Before Remix is defined specifically in the late 1960s and ‘70s, it is necessary to trace its cultural development, which will clarify how Remix is informed by modernism and postmodernism at the beginning of the twenty-first century. For this reason, my aim in this chapter is to contextualize Remix’s theoretical framework. This will be done in two parts. The first consists of the three stages of mechanical reproduction, which set the ground for sampling to rise as a meta-activity in the second half of the twentieth century. The three stages are presented with the aim to understand how people engage with mechanical reproduction as media becomes more accessible for manipulation. […]The three stages are then linked to four stages of Remix, which overlap the second and third stage of mechanical reproduction.

From Chapter two, Remix[ing] Music, page 61:

To remix is to compose, and dub was the first stage where this possibility was seen not as an act that promoted genius, but as an act that questioned authorship, creativity, originality, and the economics that supported the discourse behind these terms as stable cultural forms. […] Repetition becomes the privileged mode of production, in which preexisting material is recycled towards new forms of representation. The potential behind this paradigm shift would not become evident until the second stage of Remix in New York City, where the principles explored in dub were further explored in what today is known as turntablism: the looping of small sections of records to create new beats—instrumental loops, on top of which MCs and rappers would freestyle, improvising rhymes. […]

From Chapter Three, Remix[ing] Theory, page 125:

Once the concept of sampling, as understood in music during the ‘70s and ‘80s, was introduced as an activity directly linked to remixing different elements beyond music (and eventually evolved into an influential discourse), appropriation and recycling as concepts changed at the beginning of the twenty-first century; they cannot be considered on the same terms prior to the development of machines specifically design for remixing. This would be equivalent to trying to understand the world in terms of representation prior to the photo camera. Once a specific technology is introduced it eventually develops a discourse that helps to shape cultural anxieties. Remix has done and is currently doing this to concepts of appropriation. Remix has changed how we look at the production of material in terms of combinations. This is what enables Remix to become an aesthetic, a discourse that, like a virus, can move through any cultural area and be progressive and regressive depending on the intentions of the people implementing its principles.

More excerpts available once the book is available.

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