[iDC] Re: notes on media remix

Curt Cloninger curt at lab404.com
Wed Apr 26 00:25:25 EDT 2006

  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.

I agree.  But I think you've got to make your case on a work by work 
basis.  It's precarious to say that because someone is advertising 
something using after effects that such and such a cultural effect is 
always happening.

these "formal" motion graphics in question
should not just be criticized on formal/technical terms.

I agree.  But it can be a  useful starting point from which to launch.

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?

by looking at what is actually happening and thinking long and hard 
about it before rushing headlong to connect the obligatory dots to 
Baudrillard or Judith Butler or whomever.  I agree that neutral 
observation is impossible, but I don't think it's a myth or a vapor. 
I still think it's something desirable to try and head toward. (In 
this sense, I'm the second umpire: "There's balls and there's 
strikes, and I calls 'em like I sees 'em").  Otherwise it becomes 
nothing more than a kind of culture theory gold rush game.  Who can 
be the first to make a novel argument about such and such a media 
practice from such and such a critical perspective?  Never mind that 
the perspective has been awkwardly imposed on a media practice that 
doesn't really bear it out.  Formalism is no substitute for culture 
theory, but it can still be a valid way to critique the 
misapplication of culture theory to specific media practices.

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.

Agreed, but you've got to start somewhere, and it seems least 
specious to start with a careful formal analysis of how the media are 
functioning (however necessarily un-disinterested that may be).  Such 
a nuanced observational analysis may then suggest whether to best 
proceed to Barthes or McLuhan or Deleuze or a combination of Virilio 
and Borges or whatever.  If every tool is a hammer (your pet critical 
perspective), then every problem looks like a nail.

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