Remixthebook by Mark Amerika involves 25 international artists who manipulates the source materials that Mark Amerika have provided them. The end results are varying media arts that is each an unique interpretation by each different artist.
Mark Amerika stated 2 aims for his projects:
1. To create a collaborative and cross-disciplinary approach to the way contemporary theory is performed.
2. To anticipate future forms of art and writing that challenge traditional modes of scholarly production, while taking on philosophical issues of our time
Mark Amerika provided excerpts of his writings and research on his website, which has now become a open content platform. (The content are great by the way, even though I have not have the time to finish it) I suppose people can now use the source materials for their own practice based research into remix art and culture. It is compelling that he tries to encourage new ways of writing which challenges the current writing, and I think this has yielded very interesting results. Relating to remix art, I think the works produced for this project will, just like traditional academic papers, become invaluable references for the contemporary art students in the future. To me, it’s an exciting thought to see the potential of new media writing as a form that is comparable to academic paper writing.
I have briefly seen through most of the remixes, including the 3 highlights stated on the hyperlecture. It was a tough choice deciding which is my favourite out of the 3 highlights, or out of the 25 works. Yoshi Sodeoka’s “An Artist Yapping About Some Art Stuff X4” presents a video with hypnotic and repetitive movements from Mark Amerika that is aesthetically pleasing. Yoshi Sodeoka deconstructs the sounds and focus on remixing the image into an attention grabbing video. The end result is a video where we barely can hear anything clearly, a new state of writing that is a critique of Mark Amerika’s video: that it is simply too much to take for an artist with a short attention span like him.
Next, I am quite delighted to see Will Leurs’s “A Pixel and Glitch Hotel Room”. This is because I have tried to experiment with a video using a similar theme before, even though I did not succeed as I find it really hard to make it aesthetically pleasing or interesting. It was thus interesting for me to notice how other artists have executed it successfully. In this video, Will Leurs uses the nature of pixel and glitch aesthetics placed in randomly generated grids to create a moving image. The product is a video with a randomly generated grid that generates footages as random until a concept, pattern or design finds its form. There are so many possibilities within an moving image with randomly generated grid where an interesting visual can be produced. Combined with sound, particularly the voice from the lecture by Mark Amerika regarding artists developing a sense of visual, the work itself seems to have developed a meaning for the viewer. I find pixels and glitch in this case, have become a texture or some sort, lending its aesthetics to the work and connects it together. By zooming in to details and turning them into texture, as well as implementing or superimposing sounds, I see the room for improvement I could have made for my video way back in my first year.
Lastly, Craig Saper’s “Remix Machine, Paik in Amerika” was a work that I thought was not as interesting compared to the other two. However, it turns out to be a work that I felt was the most insightful. In Saper’s work, he uses scratching, a sound made by movement of a vinyl record back and forth on a turntable while adjusting the DJ’s mixer, to modify the voice of Mark Amerika’s lecture. With this, he wish to examine or compare the process of DJ scratching to how people actually can read a text. While he mentioned that some people feel that scratching is something that distorts music, he sees another potential and feels that it is crucial to ‘scratch’ in order to read or uncover more meaning. During scratching, it is possible to emphasize certain musical parts, or transform something differently by playing it backwards. It will be interesting to translate this from music to writing. He wonders what will happen if people learn by ‘scratching’ instead of learning how to read the ‘natural way’. I agree to some extent because I think the process of scratching makes a person deconstructs a music by rendering it, sometimes, beyond recognition. However, the person, in the meanwhile, can construct a new piece of his own. This is an interesting notion that provides new possibilities in writing. Even if scratching is not a viable option for writing, I believe there is a certain message or symbolism that Caper wants to bring out in his work that have made use of the medium.
To read wat else Craig Saper has done, please read his Saper’s write up where he explained more about his work, as well as a visual form of his work (also available as an audio link).
In this project, instead of getting artists to conform and contribute to research using research writing, Mark Amerika made use of collaborations with artists to see how different artists applied and integrated their theories to their works. Therefore, instead of numerous reports that looks the same as they follows an academic paper format, the results are different projects where artists have applied different methodologies and achieved different results. This, I think is the most interesting element out of Mark Amerika’s project.