[iDC] Re: notes on media remix

Ryan Griffis ryan.griffis at gmail.com
Tue Apr 25 12:55:20 EDT 2006

> Curt:
> 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.

This is, i guess, one of the sticking points of our disagreement. i 
don't suggest that the kind of "remix" practices that Manovich assigns 
to motion graphics is the same as the appropriation that you're talking 
about (which you're fixing as content-based).  but the way that you're 
wanting to situate motion graphics as hybrid vs remix i think still 
maintains a form-content split that i'm arguing as problematic. i don't 
really care if design-based motion graphics fits into a neatly 
articulated concept of "remix" or not, so i'm not too worried about 
running to "false conclusions." but i also don't think that one can 
accurately say that all this motion graphics stuff can be looked at as 
insular, formal hybridizing only referencing some concept of 
"meta-media". their is some value, i think, to considering the 
genealogy of cultural forms that isn't based on some opposition between 
form and content.
and the fact that they're drafting their own source material is somehow 
proof that they're not appropriating?? Both Cindy Sherman and 
commercial stock photography are examples of appropriating imagery, 
ideas, forms through elaborate reconstructions. Yes, i know that 
appropriation and remixing aren't the same thing in terms of this 
discussion. And again i'm not really concerned about the difference 
except to restate that these "formal" motion graphics in question 
should not just be criticized on formal/technical terms. if remixing, 
for the purposes of this discussion, is meant to define practices where 
the source material is taken in some "raw" form and reassembled, that's 
fine by me (and would make taxonomic sense to me as well). but it can 
still be discussed in a broader framework that includes all kinds of 
appropriative practices.
i'm certainly agreeing with the need for a more nuanced critique of 
this stuff than what I saw Lev present, but i don't see how you expect 
any kind of critique to not be some kind of imposition upon 
observations (again, the Heisenberg principle). how does one make a 
nuanced, yet neutral, observation of something? this isn't relativism, 
but rather an insistence on the political nature of the discussion. and 
i don't expect such impositions to be so easy, or so easily accepted...
same holds for a formalist reading - which is still an interested 
imposition and shouldn't be so easily accepted either.
sadly i'm running out of free time... :)
take care,

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