Stills from Elevator (Finding a Way out of Here, I Hope) and So I Asked…
Mojave Superchase, 2014. Digital View-Master reel. 3 1/2″ diameter.
“Connecting images to images, playing with series of them, repeating them, reproducing them, distorting them slightly, has been common practice in art even before the infamous ‘age of mechanical reproduction.’ ‘Intertextuality’ is one of the ways in which the cascading of images is discernible in the artistic domain – the thick entangled connection that each image has with all the others that have been produced…”
–Bruno Latour, What is Iconoclash?
My third semester is now folding into my fourth, or thesis, semester at LUCAD/AIB and I’m in the process of wrapping up for the January residency. I will be shipping Roy and the Mojave Subsequence in late December and the video pieces, View-Masters and reels will accompany me in person.
My semester bibliography, thesis outline, and artist list are available under Papers.
“As we encounter the data cascade, each of us constructs our own personal mythology from bits and fragments of information extracted from the media flow… transformed into resources through which we make sense of our everyday lives.”
—Henry Jenkins, Convergence Culture
This semester, The Cascade – Moments in the Televisual Desert (my interdisciplinary thesis) made tremendous headway and I have a clear direction for resolving the final moments of …Moments. 🙂 The residency will give me the opportunity to gauge ideas about installation and continued relevancy of its interrelated parts.
“…the crucial distinction we wish to draw … is not between a world of image and a world of no-image– as the image warriors would have us believe – but between the interrupted flow of pictures and a cascade of them.”
–Bruno Latour, What is Iconoclash?
I also met with Les Ann Holland, my second semester mentor, during November and brought her up to speed on the project’s progress since we last met. I’d like to work with her during my final semester and I’ll be proposing that to my final adviser in January.
Between the (technical) end of the semester and the beginning of the residency, I’ll be continuing work on the next video piece, Ambush, producing more digital stills, and practicing stereoscopic imaging. I’m also doing a lot of reading for the upcoming critical theory course and fleshing out side sections of research that were identified while writing my thesis outline.
In delicious, meta-telescope fashion, I’ve been taking screen caps of my video art.
The videos themselves are already either composed of sequenced screen caps, or of sampled and heavily modified clips that in turn generated other sets of screen caps (and subsequent digital images). I’m excited about the results:
Remix and the Celestial Jukebox – The Contemporary Artist as Cultural DJ
EXCERPT – These are only the first two paragraphs, plus related footnotes!
To read the entire paper, please download or open the complete PDF File: RP 1 2.0_Web
We live in the age of remix. Not just an appropriative phase, but an era of remix as cultural mediation—where recombination is a fundamental approach to cultural exchange (Manovich 1). Remix is the language of the Information Age, the coinage of Post-Postmodernism, rooted in long-developing systems of commercialism and communication. The very fiber of our social connectivity rests in an endless rewrite of materials, mashups, pastiche and database sensibilities, intrinsically tied to everything from Google searches to language, television, art and text.
Remix is a manipulation and integration of cultural space, wherein the author-reader generates (and regenerates) moments in a self-curated, postproduction world. The resulting experiential theater is populated by fragments drawn from diverse sources, spinning elements with a cross-cultural, archival impulse that is both eclipsing and fragmentary. Remix in contemporary art is the ‘appropriation’ of the 21st century, no longer the re-photography of Richard Prince, but a mutable landscape that uses a vast media-archive of memory and material: referred to here as the Celestial Jukebox. It is a manifestation of the filter bubble’s “parallel but separate universes” and the ghost-in-the-machine of convergence culture (Pariser 5). Remix is bigger than the art world, bigger than commerciality—an invisible, increasingly normalized framework that provides strategies for communication and interaction. Conscious use of remix allows contemporary artists like Jennifer & Kevin McCoy and Anthony Discenza to build an interrogative, self-reflective investigation of the Information Age itself. The artist becomes a cultural DJ, a manipulator of archival compulsions that leads to “a kind of hunter-gatherer milieu…” (Miller). Such artists draw from the Celestial Jukebox, remixing, mashing and re-contextualizing material—providing a “systematic reworking of a source,” grounding individual perspective in a de-centering of authorship (Manovich 3). Investigating contemporary recombination also critically anchors my own body of video work, where remix and manipulation open dialogue about the nature of televisual space-time, recollection and iconographic culture.
To read the entire paper, please download or open the complete article as a PDF File: RP 1 2.0_Web
 Recognized as the period in human technological history following the Space Age and associated with the Digital Revolution.
 The period immediately following Postmodernism. Theorist Alan Kirby considers Post-Postmodernism, or Digimodernism, a paradigm shift that ruptures existing cultural relationships: “Digimodernism identifies as the critical event in contemporary culture the profound and shattering encounter between computerization and the text. Its most recognizable form is a new kind of digitized textuality—onward, haphazard and evanescent—that disrupts traditional ideas about authorship and reading…” (“Successor States…” Kirby). I would argue that it erodes the broader concept of ‘text’ itself, re-orienting the idea of the original.
 Common in music, a ‘mashup’ is a combination of elements, often overlaid, which results in a new composition that may retain recognizable elements of the sampled material. To cite a form of remix culture at its most ubiquitous, today’s ‘mashup’ page on Wikipedia defines the process as: “a song or composition created by blending two or more pre-recorded songs, usually by overlaying the vocal track of one song seamlessly over the instrumental track of another. To the extent that such works are “transformative” of original content, they may find protection from copyright claims under the “fair use” doctrine of copyright law.” The term ‘remix’ and ‘mashup’ are sometimes used interchangeably, though ‘remix’ offers are more complex description of the variability of appropriation, recombination and transmutation of elements than ‘mashup.’ ‘Mashups’ can also refer to hybrid, overlaid apps and programs (Manovich 1).
 DJ Spooky suggests that “our semantic web is a remix of all available information… the result is an immense repository—an archive of almost anything that has ever been recorded” (Miller).
 ‘Appropriation’ is the preferred art world descriptor, in place of ‘remix,’ ‘mashup’ and ‘rewrite’—bound in part to cultural notions of ‘remix’ as copyright violation. ‘Appropriation’ grants a sense of acceptability. Theorist Lev Manovich believes “…‘remixing’ is a better term [than appropriation] because it suggests a systematic re-working of a source, the meaning which ‘appropriation’ does not have” (“What Comes After…” Manovich 4). When we remix, we rework previously existing cultural works (“What Comes After…” Manovich 2).
 “Celestial Jukebox” stems from a 1995 US Government white paper concerning media flow and consumer access. The paper “invoked the image of a technology-packed satellite orbiting thousands of miles above earth, awaiting a subscriber’s order—like a nickel in the old jukebox, and the punch of a button to connect him to a vast storehouse of entertainment and information through a home or office receiver combining the powers of a television, radio, CD and DVD player, telephone, fax, and personal computer” (Goldstein 187). Since then, theorists like Paul Goldstein and Lawrence Lessig have broadened this idea, adapting it to suit its obvious relationship to data pooling (Wasow). It describes not only services like Netflix or Hulu, but also the Internet, and the ‘Cloud.’ It encompasses an entire database—a universe—of information, images, sounds, video, experiences… it describes the Information Age itself, not an idealistic subscription-based service. It is Manovich’s cultural database (“What Comes After…” 5).
 Social theorist Eli Pariser refers to the “unique universe of information for each of us” (9), which are “parallel but separate” (5) as we navigate and extrapolate information and experience from the filtered digital experience. Search engines and websites use algorithms that constantly filter and adjust what we see, denying the idea of a free, democratic web, while simultaneously allowing us to completely privatize and customize our knowledge base.
 ‘Convergence Culture’ is a concept developed by Henry Jenkins which describes a fundamental, information-age paradigm shift (243): “Convergence represents a cultural shift as consumers are encouraged to seek out new information and make connections among dispersed media content… spectators perform in the new media system” (Jenkins 3). It also recognizes a new kind of participatory culture, the fractured nature of parallel but separate realities and data streams (not unlike theorist Fredric Jameson’s recognition of language privatization) and the ability of culture recipients to “construct [their] own personal mythologies” from a stream of information (Jenkins 3). Convergence culture relates to an integration of media, data formats, art and styles—“convergence thinking is like interdisciplinary thinking” (Jenkins 12).
Videos include sound (lots of subtle layers, too, so turn up the volume if you can!)
So I asked…
Elevator (Finding a Way Out of Here, I Hope)
– Combines “stop animation” style stills with moving action.
Please note–Elevator is not functioning inline, so please visit my website to view the video.
Peter Rostovsky suggested I consider new ways of dimensionalizing the television experience (which I applied to consideration of the dimensional nature of real and constructed space; in this case, the California landscape as mediated by now-historical television).
I collapsed, condensed, mutated, fabricated and re-contextualized images that were formerly stills. Suddenly things were moving, deepening and expanding my dimensional palette. Elements were disintegrating, breathing, dancing–full of renewed agency. My landscapes were alive–and they weren’t just looping!
I treat the video work the way I handle the creation of digital images (and painting). I develop and respond, investigate and rebound.
During this process of bound and re-bound, certain characters entered the elastic-space as freshly refined icons. I was intrigued by their presence and obsessively pursued their emerging “selfhood.” It made me think of how, in the beginning, I only wanted the bare landscape in my digital desert. I had originally dumped precision details, but vehicles, individuals and even interior spaces crept into the mix. As Tony Apesos pointed out, I’m repopulating the gradually-emptied landscape phenomena, which has been losing specific objects and people since the 16th century. It’s curious, potentially frightening (and exhilarating).
The inclusion of people as part of the video cadence also flirted with narrative, which, as many of you know, has always been intentionally elusive or denied. Here I emphasized the almost-narrative by allowing moments to rhythmically rebound, but keeping with my larger concepts, the resolution of story is always denied.
I’ve been reading a ton of television theory and I’ve discovered fascinating ways of digging into the idea of mosaic and montage, implied space and the passage of time. Each video is intentionally meta-referential. Certain clips, moments and colors are allowed to cycle, forming choruses that seem familiar, yet always shift. Just past the bridge (thinking in musical terms here), a set of layered clips are allowed to temporarily emerge, only to fall away without returning.
The sound is a carefully composed layered blend of recordings I did on a Zoom Microtrack, combined with television audio and ambient noise.
I feel like an alchemical-archaeologist.
Earlier in the semester I wanted to output some of the Horizons at about 100″ in length–but I’ve since reconsidered this for the upcoming residency. Instead, I’m outputting them at about 30″ in length, to gauge response (and conceptual delivery).
Seeing several versions of the Horizons set cast as video projection (over 100″) was actually more intriguing than the static versions on paper. I hope this will be a fruitful talking point at the residency, actually, as the larger Horizons may function better as proper, light-based, environmental moments.
In the meantime, though, I finally sourced a decent local printer for the 30″ experiments. Just in time, too. It’s been a pain to balance quality, color-correctness and price. I need a supplies grant! LOL.
Here’s one of the new projections / digital animations, designed to endlessly loop at about 100″ on a wall. You can visit the Vimeo page directly to see a larger, better quality version.
Much smoother than my earlier versions! New software, new possibilities.