[iDC] Lev Manovich on Remix Culture

Beth Warshafsky bskynyc at earthlink.net
Sun Apr 9 14:41:35 EDT 2006

Hi there Trevor,

I was in the audience and another area of question came to mind,
though I didn't have a chance to pose it.

I thought the audience points were relevant, although I
support the need to narrow the focus when examining
formal issues.

Lev Manovitch's talk focused on the visual hybrids of remix culture.
However, historically there is a rich precedent for examining
sound and image together, and I missed this in his over-view.

In going back to the birth of cinema and modernism,
it is important to  note the early dialogue about color and
sound, or sound and image going back to the 1880's:
Whistler, Baudelaire and at the art Critic  Stanley Pater,
not to mention this influence on later artists like Kandinsky,
Switters, etc., etc... all of early modernism.

Lev's point  regarding the path cinema took
as being mainly mimetic, and his questions regarding
other time-based forms (digital painting for example)
as seen in early  experimental film and animation,
is important.

I have been to 2 major exhibitions that encompass this
history, one at the George Pomideau Center (fall 2004)called
Son's and Lumiere
and another at the Hirshorn this summer  called Visual Music

I bring this up because I think a key area of interface and exploration  
between what we see and what we hear, and how the 2 are interfacing
in ever more intertwined ways....
including interactive object-based manipulation in programs like max an  

As an artist and educator, it is exciting to explore formal issues  
trying to make
links between the two.


Beth Warshafsky


On Apr 9, 2006, at 12:01 PM, Trebor Scholz wrote:

> At the occasion of the exhibition "Media Miniature" at Pratt Manhattan
> Gallery Lev Manovich introduced a new essay from his upcoming book
> "Infoaesthetics."
> <http://www.pratt.edu/news/popup.php?story=03.02.
> 06_Pratt_Manhattan_Gallery_Exhibition_Explores_Diminutive_Scale.html>
> <http://www.manovich.net/IA/index.html>
> Quickly going back and forth between a projected myriad of open browser
> windows he presented his notion of remix culture.
> Manovich anthropomorphized the evolution of new media. He delineated a
> map of the development of new media and linked stages in that  
> trajectory
> to the computerized simulation of physical objects. His core  
> suggestion,
> carefully constructed, was the emergence of hybrid media emerging out  
> of
> remix culture. Multimedia for Manovich is an inadequate concept that
> defines media as standing next to each other. Today, "the computer
> becomes a petri dish in which different media mate, hybridize, mix.
> Media come together and create offspring. Meta media² (roughly quoted
> from memory). Manovich called himself a biologist of new media  
> observing
> and reflecting this process. In his visual presentation he quickly
> switched back and forth between art examples and commercial business
> applications such as corporate promotional MTV-type video clips,
> maps.a9.com or mappr.com.
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multimedia>
> <http://mappr.com/>
> A9 maps shows a video of the location next to the map of the searched
> spot. Examples demonstrated included the joining of video, drawing, and
> 3D objects. Hybrid aesthetics. Manovich indeed treated the computer
> programs and hybrid media forms like lab test animals. "We are not yet
> techno-deterministic enough..." he said.
> In the question and answer session several problems were posed. Instead
> of phrasing his media historical map as one aspect of the current media
> landscape, he argued for these phenomena as the evolution of new media
> in which one technological development informs the next. The
> intentionally provocative formalism at play here leaves several facets
> out of sight. But Manovich's argument undoubtedly sheds light on one
> detail of the current media development.
> Someone in the audience questioned the speaker's decisively formalist
> approach dissecting the surface of the described media mix without
> looking at the algorithmic workings of these processes. A perhaps
> conscious blind spot of Manovich's suggestion, already evident in
> "Language of New Media," was that "old" and emerging media are somewhat
> described in a social vacuum. The idea of the isolated petri dish in
> which one media copulates with the other pushes that notion to its
> logical extreme. At the talk the question was posed if new media are  
> not
> conditioned by both, societal driving forces (e.g. the cold war leading
> to the invention of the Internet) and the cross-pollination of one
> technological development by previous technological findings.  
> Manovich's
> response to this question was "Can you prove that social factors were  
> at
> play?" Manovich¹s historical trajectory was also drawn in a straight
> line as if one occurrence just leads directly to the next.
> A second comment was concerned with another aspect, central to today's
> media panorama. Sociable media. Manovich's talk did not address the way
> in which the users of technologies shape their development through  
> their
> use. Our devices are shaped by us and they in turn shape us. The
> participatory characteristics of the current culture of sociable web
> media as well as physical computing were absent from Manovich's mental
> media history map.
> None of the mentioned concerns would have been all that pertinent if
> Manovich's argument would have been phrased as a micro-history of new
> media, a snapshot of one aspect, instead of a grand representation of
> the history of new media at large.
> People left Manovich's talk vividly debating, inspired, and provoked to
> position themselves.
> -Trebor
> <http://collectivate.net/journalisms/2006/4/9/lev-manovich-on-remix-
> culture.html>
> _______________________________________________
> iDC -- mailing list of the Institute for Distributed Creativity  
> (distributedcreativity.org)
> iDC at bbs.thing.net
> http://mailman.thing.net/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/idc
> List Archive:
> http://mailman.thing.net/pipermail/idc/

More information about the iDC mailing list