I’m working on a v 2.0 of my rationale, but thought I’d post this second version for the sake of posterity/transparency.
I’ve opted with the 1.1, as though it dose contain some substantial changes, I don’t feel as though it is necessarily more than a small departure from the first draft. Mostly, I’ve added some explication and connections.
In the upcoming (in a few days) v 2.0, I’ll largely try to do the opposite: discretize these blended areas in order to more clearly define them. I’ll also be following up with a reorganization of my booklist, which is currently on Evernote. I’ve been reluctant to match the list to my areas, as I personally cannot not see many texts applying to more than a single area. Alas, it is time to try!
Rationale after the break… And, as always, comments welcome!
I’ve been wanting to read Lev Manovich since I had the pleasure of publishing (and interviewing) UWM MFA student A. Bill Miller. He does some interesting (provoking, pretty) gridworks and 3D video/sculpture that have a lot to do with digitality, language and – ta da! – transcoding. Check it out (and buy the new cream city review when it comes out in a week…)</endplug>.
Manovich’s Remix, however, turned out to be more of a brief history of the digital remix and its origins in mostly music, with a bit of film/photo thrown in. If anything, this lineage confirmed my eliding of collage with mash-up video.
If I were forced to guess – which I’m not, but I will – I’d assume that this was a keynote that he delivered. There is brief mention of issues of copyright wrt the production of remix from published materials. The most interesting aspect comes from the contrast between contemporary digital remix and its predecessors. One of these elements is what Barthes (this time through LM) refers to as “clash” in modernist aesthetic collage, whereas digital music remix has the opportunity for “blend”. The other is producers of digital remix art now understand that their work is likely to be sampled and remixed itself.
I’m not sure if I believe in the binaristic “clash” v. “blend” debate. I think that remix art can work on multiple levels; in my project, I’m looking for clash in delivery method and content (audio/visual, moving/static, fiction/nonfiction), but I’m also looking to blend these elements together, in the sense that I want the contrast to be nuanced and problematize expectations in a subversive, sneaky manner.
The self-awareness to future remixing seems directed more at music (as much of the article is), but I wonder what the implication might be for writing. I think looking to this format – the blog – might be germane. I know that I can easily link and pull quotes form various source and compile them into a post. (Or write a critical paper. Or review five articles and quote them.) Fiction, though is another story, potentially. Perhaps the closest analogies I can think of involve appropriating characters from other writers or citing other fictions (fictitious fictions or not) in works of fiction. I’m thinking of Borges here.
On Exactitude in Science . . . In that Empire, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the map of a single Province occupied the entirety of a City, and the map of the Empire, the entirety of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps no longer satisfied, and the Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it. The following Generations, who were not so fond of the Study of Cartography as their Forebears had been, saw that that vast Map was Useless, and not without some Pitilessness was it, that they delivered it up to the Inclemencies of Sun and Winters. In the Deserts of the West, still today, there are Tattered Ruins of that Map, inhabited by Animals and Beggars; in all the Land there is no other Relic of the Disciplines of Geography.
Suarez Miranda,Viajes de varones prudentes, Libro IV,Cap. XLV, Lerida, 1658From Jorge Luis Borges, Collected Fictions, Translated by Andrew Hurley Copyright Penguin 1999 .
beware the inclement weather.
One of the easiest ways to win my affection is to quote Borges. Thank you, David Weinberger.
The discussion of the “third order of order” was fascinating in a few ways for me. Most concretely, my 40 hour/week life as a book buyer was interested in the commentary on spatial layouts of retail and the effectiveness of dis/ordering the virtual spaces of Amazon.com to better serve some consumers. (Insert bias here.) I did feel that Weinberger’s (laudatory) analysis did not fully include the social consequences of the shift from atoms to bits/bytes. How are physical spaces/communities changed by the shift from brick-and-mortar, community-based shops to e-commerce? This seems to be a question that Weinberger (and a lot of business books, as this one is labeled) aren’t necessarily interested in fully considering.
My small rant against Amazon shouldn’t be considered a refutation of the principles that Weinberger praises. He does a consistently convincing job of laying out the argument for being excited over the potential of 3-O. Sites like del.icio.us, flickr, and wikipedia, to name a very few, offer many advantages over predecessors: improvements in accessibility and distribution (to some, anyway); a theoretically more-egalitarian, decentralized system of creating knowledge. As we’ve discussed, there are roadblocks to better realizing these great potentials. While tagging and duplicity and growth of metadata (and the interchangeability of data and metadata) offer improvements in opening up the structures of knowledge and power to more people (with access), how do these virtual spaces change the physical spaces that people continue to inhabit? What about the dangers of homogeneity of interface? Algorithms can free users to better find more information, but do superior algorithms lead users to a single site? Do book recommendations based on purchases reinforce patterns of commerce, rather than choices of preference? Does the widespread adoption of specific algorithms encourage less-popular data to get buried? These are some of the questions that Everything is Miscellaneous leads me to ask, which is one sign of a good text, in my criteria.
The discussion of categories and metadata also gets me thinking of issues of genre in literature. A few grad students in Plan C, myself included, had coffee yesterday morning with Peter Grandbois, one of the candidates for the new fiction hire in the creative writing program. One of the many reasons Peter impressed me was his interest in hybrid texts (combinations of poetry/fiction/nonfiction) as well as cross-genre work, such as magical realism. (Which is arguably its own genre, which is one solution to fixing problems of genre – make more genres. But what about “interstitial” fiction?) And visiting writer Pam Houston talked about her progressive disinterest in labels of fiction and nonfiction. This semester, I’m doing an independent reading centered on one iteration of this question/problem: the Author. One of the specific aspects I’m addressing is the Author appearing within the text and what that might say about authority and the line between fiction and nonfiction. Stay tuned, I guess…