[iDC] Lev Manovich on Remix Culture

Beth Warshafsky bskynyc at earthlink.net
Thu Apr 13 10:51:59 EDT 2006

I think this is an interesting point, but at the same time,
it doesn't diminish my interest in the show "Sons and Lumiere".
That show was obviously taking a second look at
"western" art and expanding our understanding
of what those artists were thinking about.
Of course it threaded its way to the present.. and
perhaps it is in this light you have objections?

However, in responding to Lev's talk  and his focus on
the visual.  I thought it was relevant to refer to his point
of departure, including his writing in " What is Digital Cinema."
Since he went back to the birth of cinema and also made mention
of early experimental works, I wanted to point out that
even before this historical point, many artists were
compelled and interested in the correspondence between
sound and image. colour and sound, and that this in fact "colored"
the birth  of (western) modernism  and issues of form
( which were also  influenced by expanding
awareness of Asian and  African art).
I was not talking about re:mix and all it's implications today.
That is an interesting discussion that can be cultural, political,
formal.   I think it is huge.

Perhaps a formal exploration could create contexts for viewing
works across geographies and cultures and time?

But I also think we have to be aware of how technology
itself not only forges space for new relationships, but
wipes out other cultural practices (not to mention language, etc.)

Now I wander.

But I am always, personally looking at our time, our tools and our  
as part of a double-edged sword.


On Apr 13, 2006, at 6:22 AM, Gere, Charlie wrote:

> Paul and all
> Interesting point, 'sound and light' but no colour, or 'visual music'  
> tuned only to the paler end of the spectrum, but shouldn't you say too  
> 'caucasiocentric' or something, rather than 'Eurocentric'. 'People of  
> colour' are an integral part of the complex histories and cultures of  
> Europe and the United States, even as they are defined as belonging to  
> other parts of the World. The contribution by African-Americans and  
> Afro-Carribeans to 're-mix' culture in Europe and the States is of  
> fundamentally importance, especially, though not only through music.  
> Rather than cast the question of cultural visibility in terms of  
> different parts of the globe should we not use terms that engage with  
> cultural hybridity and diversity within every culture. In this way we  
> might be able to more concretely tackle the hegemonic structures of  
> our major art institutions. At the moment it is far too easy for  
> institutions to put on a season of, say, 'African Art', to appear to  
> be multicultural while leaving the dominant perception of art within  
> Europe and the United States more or less untouched.
> Charlie
> -----Original Message-----
> From: idc-bounces at bbs.thing.net on behalf of Paul D. Miller
> Sent: Wed 4/12/2006 9:18 PM
> To: idc at bbs.thing.net
> Subject: Re: [iDC] Lev Manovich on Remix Culture
> hey folks - as usual, this is waaaayyyy too Eurocentric.
> Arghh! When will people look at other stuff... This gets to be a drag.
> Again: Sons et Lumiere - no people of color.
> Visual Music: No people of color
> Thoughts?
> Paul
>> 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
>> http://www.centrepompidou.fr/Pompidou/Manifs.nsf/AllExpositions/ 
>> E4B6AD56B6DA4B2FC1256DD600561C77?OpenDocument&sessionM=2.10&L=2
>> and another at the Hirshorn this summer  called Visual Music
>> http://hirshhorn.si.edu/visualmusic/
>> I bring this up because I think a key area of interface and  
>> exploration exists
>> 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 jitter,etc.
>> As an artist and educator, it is exciting to explore formal issues
>> trying to make
>> links between the two.
>> Best,
>> 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 media" (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?" Manovich's 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>
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