[iDC] Re: notes on media remix

Curt Cloninger curt at lab404.com
Mon Apr 24 14:39:11 EDT 2006

Ryan wrote:
>using sources in a somewhat
>transparent and "meant to be read" manner is a difference political
>position that making references opaque and hiding the history and
>appropriation that happens in commodity fetish practice.

But I don't think the contemporary commercial motion graphics design 
agencies that Manovich mentions are making references, opaque or 
otherwise.  Neither are they hiding appropriative practices.  They 
are using "meta-media" tools to make motion graphics, but they 
photograph and videotape their own "source" footage, and they draw 
their own "source" illustrations.  They then hybridize these media 
(illustrations rotoscoped on top of video), but that's not an 
appropriative practice (consciously or subconsciously). which is why 
I'm arguing against the term "remix" to describe it.  If I'm 
"sampling" my own work, then I'm not really sampling.  "Hybrid" 
seemed like a better term, but if it's too loaded with connotations 
of faux politically correct US cultural practices, then choose a more 
neutral term.  That's less semiotics than semantics.

>i still maintain that you can't
>separate the technical and cultural so easily...

I agree.  But I also maintain that one can't so easily impose her 
particular flavor of cultural criticism onto technology without a 
nuanced, accurate understanding of how the technology is actually 
functioning.  MK12 aren't remixing.  You can say they are and run 
with it, but you'll run to false conclusions.  Observation > 
Interpretation > Application.  I'm less concerned that Manovich's 
Interpretations are formalist.  (As the Situationists say, "Don't 
liberate me.  I'll take care of that.")  I'm more concerned that his 
observations may be less than nuanced.  I won't really know until I 
read the book.

>i think there's still something pressing about the
>convergence of the technical and social that needs to be unpacked (i'm
>just not the person able to do it i guess) here, regarding exclusion
>and homogenization.

You are probably right, and I would love to hear it convincingly 
argued.  You may even be the person able to do it (depending on how 
much free time you have).


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