remix

les incoherents

La Mona Lisa fumant une pipeI'm doing research on the early practices of remixing and came across this gem from the late 19th century, by Eugène Bataille a member of an art group called "les incoherènts" which I had never heard of, quite frankly. Yet they did many of the things that later the dadaist and surealists would do, a full generation earlier.

Visualization of remix Culture

Giorgos Cheliotis, assistant professor of Communications and New Media at the National University of Singapore done one of the, if not the, first network analysis and network visualization of a remix community, based on the ccMixter.

He writes:

One of the visualizations, consisting of all uploaded audio tracks that have been remixed and all remixes thereof, is shown below. I was very surprised by the structure, density and connectedness of the resulting network. I was expecting to see a more weakly connected set of “islands of common interest”, as defined by genre, friendships or location. Instead, before we even go into deeper analysis, the figure suggests that the creative reuse of cultural content (such as enabled by licenses like Creative Commons) leads to a very high degree of cross-pollination across authors and across works, forming a dense network of greatly enhanced collaboration and creativity through open sharing and reuse. We have posted a working paper and more cool hi-res visuals on the Participatory Media Lab wiki.

This seems to suggest that cultural -- or at least musical -- styles are becoming ever more fluid as the range of source is becoming ever more wide.

ca 1900, Remix Postcards

At the turn of the last century, photographic post-cards became hugely popular, among them so called "photographic phantasies" which created surreal motives, based on all kinds of visual trickery (montage, close-ups, distortions) that the public had not yet been accustomed to. Some of them were purely for entertainment, others for advertisements, or even for political purposes.

Spiegel Online has a selection of them, based on an exhibition called "stamped fantasies" at the Folkwang Museum in Essen on the subject.

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Note: Kaiser Wilhelm II. as an armed insect. French Postcard, ca. 1900.

product placements (2008)

http://www.kreidler-net.de/productplacements-e.html

music piece / performance ("music theater")

70,200 samples in 33 seconds: nightmare for GERMAN RIAA

If you want to register a song at GEMA (RIAA, ASCAP of Germany) you have to fill in a form for each sample you use, even the tiniest bit. On 12 Sept 08, German Avantgarde musician Johannes Kreidler will —as a live performance event—register a short musical work that contains 70,200 quotations with GEMA using 70,200 forms.

The Piece:

Essay by the artist Johannes Kreidler, Telepolis Article about the performance (both in German)

Jean-Luc Godard on "extract" vs "quotation"

Referring to his unauthorized use of material for his major "Histoire(s) du cinema" Jean Luc Godard said in an interview in 1996:

For me there's a difference between an extract and a quotation. If it's an extract, you have to pay, because you're taking advantage of something you have not done and you are more or less making business out of it. If it's a quotation--and it's more evident in my work that it's a quotation--then you don't have to pay.

Of course, copyright does not make this difference (yet). But this was mid 1990s, and times were different. The first two episodes in Godard's series, each of which lasts 50 minutes, have been shown on five separate state-funded European TV channels without any permission from the copyright holders. It's hard to imagine this happening today.

Source: http://www.chicagoreader.com/movies/archives/0297/02217.html

From Youtube to the Cinema

Before the Euro2008, Detlev Buck, a well-known German director, issued a call on Youtube to send in fan movies, hundreds of people responded, and now he has edited it down to 50 minutes which will be shown in selected cinemas in Germany. The whole thing is entirely non-commercial, the entry fee is €2,30 (which is less than one third of the normal price) and the proceeds will be donated to charitable orgs. It probably will also be posted to Youtube later on.

Which begs the question: is editing the new directing? In the age of information overload and remixing, the likely answer is yes.

Update: The film has been released on youtube.

Another Music Recommendation Engine

Hype Machine is a blog that aggregates music blogs and automatically generates playlists and let's you "spy" on what other people are doing on the blog.

Absorption and Exposure

Jordan Crandall posted a very interesting essay to nettime, focussing on the subjectivity of a culture of "assemblage", or as I would call it, a culture of remixing. The most interesting parts are bolded by me.

Absorption and Exposure
a working assemblage of assemblage theory
Jordan Crandall

I am interested in a certain sense of wanting to be "in" something: to participate in it, to connect with it, to synchronize with it, to be caught up with it, rather than to visually possess it. The desire to be attuned to something that is happening, or that might happen at any moment -- not necessarily as a conscious thought, but as a vaguely felt expectation. The desire to move toward something that is (or might be) happening, in order to absorb its force, touch it, taste it, surrender to it -- rather than simply to observe it.

For Bataille, this would be the erotic pull of death. I am thinking about it as a dynamic of immersion and implication that involves media-technological actors and which reorients questions of subjectivity and spectatorship. Or, in other words: an ecology of absorption and exposure. Since it involves the sensorium and the transmission of resonances, it is not something that can be understood in terms of visual mastery or language. It does not privilege reading but readiness. Rather than being about possessing something from a distance, it is about a surrender to it -- an extreme intimacy, a merging. One does not look from afar, fortifying the self, but rather enters into the fray, exposing the self.

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