The Cover for The Routledge Companion to Remix Studies has been released online.The image design was a collaboration among xtine burrough, Owen Gallagher and Eduardo Navas (myself). We really look forward to the eventual publication of the 41 chapter volume, which is scheduled to be available on December 3, 2014.
Figure 1: selected shots from Capote (left) and In Cold Blood (right).
Interdisciplinary Digital Media Studio is a class in the IDS program in The School of Visual Arts (SoVA) at Penn State in which students are introduced to methodologies and conceptual approaches of media design. For the class, I taught them how to research and develop design presentations with the implementation of data analytics for moving images and texts.
One of the assignments consisted in analyzing the films Capote (2005) directed by Bennett Miller and In Cold Blood (1967) directed by Richard Brooks in relation to their corresponding books, Capote by Gerald Clarke and In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. We viewed the films in class, and read, both, the novel and the biography. The class then analyzed the respective books by doing word searches, analysis of specific passages, and creative approaches by the respective authors, to then evaluate those searches in relation to the films. For the films I provided montage visualizations, which are selected screen shots representative of all the scenes (figures 2 and 3).
Read the complete entry at Remix Data
At the end of July, I was interviewed for KulturWelle. Their radio feature titled Fade In/Fade Out, Remixing Culture, which aired on September 3, 2014, presents excerpts of interviews with musicologist Fabian Czolbe, media and communications researcher Steffen Lepa, Ramón Reichert, and, myself, Eduardo Navas.
The feature is literally a remix in German and English of our reflections on the recyclability of culture complemented with music and sound excerpts. Even if one does not understand German, one should listen to the hour long show. It is a true rhetorical soundscape equivalent to a well mixed music recording. Many thanks to Nikita Hock, who first contacted me, and all the producers of the radio show, including Anastasia Andersson, Bernadette Breyer, Lara Deininger and Angelika Piechotta.
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 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.
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:
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:
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.
A review of my book, Remix Theory: The Aesthetics of Sampling, was published on April 11, 2014 in the German edition of Mixmag. Many thanks Florian Schirmacher for his critical review. It’s in German:
Warum finden wir genau diesen Detroit Beat in so vielen aktuellen Produktionen wieder? Liegt es daran, dass alle denselben Remix machen, weil Spuren im Internet aufgetaucht sind? Oder haben sich die “House-Lover” alle auf dasselbe Sample geeinigt? Der Remix erfährt gerade so eine elementare Wiederbelebung, dass der theoretische Unterbau und das nötige Einbeziehen in einen größeren Zusammenhang zum unausweichlichen Basiswissen geworden ist.
We have now turned in the manuscript of The Routledge Companion to Remix Studies, and can release the Table of Contents. The reader is due for release around December 14, 2014. The TOC is below:
Introduction Eduardo Navas, Owen Gallagher, xtine burrough
Part I: History
1. “Remix and the Dialogic Engine of Culture: A Model for Generative Combinatoriality” Martin Irvine
2. “A Rhetoric of Remix” Scott H. Church
3. “Good Artists Copy; Great Artists Steal: Reflections on Cut-Copy-Paste Culture” Stefan Sonvilla-Weiss
4. “Toward a Remix Culture: An Existential Perspective” Vito Campanelli
5. “An Oral History of Sampling: From Turntables to Mashups” Kembrew McLeod
6. “Can I Borrow Your Proper Name? Remixing Signatures and the Contemporary Author” Cicero da Silva
7. The Extended Remix: Rhetoric and history Margie Borschke
8. “Culture and Remix: A Theory on Cultural Sublation” Eduardo Navas
Part II: Aesthetics
9. “Remix Strategies in Social Media” Lev Manovich
10. “Remixing Movies and Trailers Before and After the Digital Age” Nicola Maria Dusi
11. “Remixing the Plague of Images: Video Art from Latin America in a Transnational Context” Erandy Vergara
12. “Race & Remix: The Aesthetics of Race in the Visual & Performing Arts” Tashima Thomas
13. “Digital Poetics and Remix Culture: From the Artisanal Image to the Immaterial Image” Monica Tavares
14. “The End of an Aura: Nostalgia, Memory, and the Haunting of Hip-hop” Roy Christopher
15. “Appropriation is Activism” Byron Russell
Part III: Ethics
16. “The Emerging Ethics of Networked Culture” Aram Sinnreich
17. “The Panopticon of Ethical Video Remix Practice” Mette Birk
18. “Cutting Scholarship Together/Apart: Rethinking the Political-Economy of Scholarly Book Publishing” Janneke Adema
19. “Copyright and Fair Use in Remix: From Alarmism to Action” Patricia Aufderheide
20. “I Thought I Made A Vid, But Then You Told Me That I Didn’t: Aesthetics and Boundary Work in the Fan Vidding Community” Katharina Freund
21. “Peeling The Layers of the Onion: Authorship in Mashup and Remix Cultures” John Logie
22. “remixthecontext (a theoretical fiction)” Mark Amerika
Part IV: Politics
23. “A Capital Remix” Rachel O’Dwyer
24. “Remix Practices and Activism: A Semiotic Analysis of Creative Dissent” Paolo Peverini
25. “Political Remix Video as a Vernacular Discourse” Olivia Conti
26. “Locative Media as Remix” Conor McGarrigle
27. “The Politics of John Lennon’s “Imagine”: Contextualizing the Roles of Mashups and New Media in Political Protest” J. Meryl Krieger
28. “Détournement as a Premise of the Remix from Political, Aesthetic, and Technical Perspectives” Nadine Wanono
29. “The New Polymath (Remixing Knowledge)” Rachel Falconer
Part V: Practice
30. “Crises of Meaning in Communities of Creative Appropriation: A Case Study of the 2010 RE/Mixed Media Festival” Tom Tenney
31. “Of ‘REAPPROPRIATIONS'” Gustavo Romano
32. “Aesthetics of Remix: Networked Interactive Objects and Interface Design” Jonah Brucker-Cohen
33. “Reflections on the Amen Break: A Continued History, an Unsettled Ethics” Nate Harrison
34. “Going Crazy with Remix: A Classroom Study by Practice via Lenz v. Universal” xtine burrough and Dr. Emily Erickson
35. “A Remix Artist and Advocate” Desiree D’Alessandro
36. “Occupy / Band Aid Mashup: ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?'” Owen Gallagher
37. “Remixing the Remix” Elisa Kreisinger
38. “A Fair(y) Use Tale” Eric Faden
39. “An Aesthetics of Deception in Political Remix Video” Diran Lyons
40. “Radical Remix: Manifestoon” Jesse Drew
41. “In Two Minds” Kevin Atherton
This improvisation by Hach & Navasse was recorded on 12/21/1999. It consists of a series of loops from CDs improvised on two Pioneer CDJ-500IIs, a guitar and synthesizer. It was recorded on a four track analog recorder.
Hach & Navasse (Justin Peloian and Eduardo Navas) was formed during our graduate studies at Cal Arts during the years 1998 – 2000. Justin played guitar and keyboards, and I played loops on the CDJs and Turntables We performed in a series of events and recorded improvisational sessions from 1998 to about 2002 at which time we stopped collaborating and moved our separate ways.
A few months ago I found a digital version of the recording, along with a few other improvisations, which I had in storage. After listening to it a few times I decided that it was worth sharing online, because, with hindsight, I believe there are some decent moments in the thirty plus minutes of this piece. Many thanks to Justin for letting me share our collaboration online.
1. Loop: unknown timbal loop by Unknown
2. Loop: E Preciso Perdoar by Cesária Évora, Caetano Veloso, Ryuichi Sakamoto
3. Loop: This City Never Sleeps by Eurythimics
4. Loop: I Waited for You by Dizzy Gillespie
5. Loop: Mind Trips (remix) by Brand New Heavies
6. Sliced Loop P. 1: Ko-wo Ko-wo (on top of “Mind Trips”) by Cachao
7. Loop: Influx by DJ Shadow
8. Sliced Loop P. 2: Ko-wo Ko-wo (on top of “Influx”) by Cachao