CCTP 725: Cultural Hybridity
Dialogic and Remix Culture
Professor Martin Irvine
Sculpture: David Ellis
- Lawrence Lessig, Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. Penguin Press, 2008. ISBN: 0143116134
- Philip Smith and Alexander Riley, Cultural Theory: An Introduction. 2nd ed. Blackwell, 2008. ISBN: 1405169087
- Klaus Honnef, Pop Art. Taschen Books, 2004. ISBN: 3822822183
- Paul D. Miller (DJ Spooky), Rhythm Science. MIT Press, 2004. ISBN: 026263287X
- Jan Nederveen Pieterse, Globalization and Culture: Global Melange. 2nd edition. Rowman & Littlefield, 2009. ISBN: 0742556069
- Regis Debray, Media Manifestos. Trans. Eric Rauth. London and NY: Verso, 1996.
- Klaus Honnef, Andy Warhol: Commerce into Art. NY: Taschen Books, 2000.
- Hans Holzwarth, ed. Art Now: Vol 3. Cologne: Taschen Books, 2008.
- Editors of Phaidon Press, The Photography Book, Mini Edition. Phaidon Press, 2000.
- Mark Taylor, The Moment of Complexity: Emerging Network Culture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001.
Course Procedures and Requirements:
This course will be conducted as a seminar, and students will work together to make new discoveries about the seminar themes, which are always ongoing and developing in real time. The course syllabus exists only on the Web. Grading and evaluation will be based on weekly seminar essay in a shared Wiki, in-class seminar participation, and a final rich-media Wiki article/essay (instructions). See weekly essay instructions.
|1 Introduction: The "Always Already (Re)Mixed," Dialogic Culture and Hybridity||[−]|
"I'll play it for you first and tell you what it is later." --Miles
- Jonathan Lethem, "The Ecstasy of Influence," Harpers Magazine, Feb. 2007.
[All writing has always already been a hybrid collage of language, sources, references, unconscious quotations, remix of inherited written culture.]
- Lawrence Lessig, Remix (Intro and Chap. 1). Pdf version, from The Internet Archive.
- Lessig TED Video on copyright and creative culture (2007)
- Miller, Rhythm Science, pp. 1-29 | Paul D. Miller (DJ Spooky) website | Interview about Sound Unbound at Gestalten (Berlin)
- Kwame Anthony Appiah, "Toward a New Cosmopolitanism: The Case for Contamination," New York Times Magazine, Jan. 1, 2006. [This essay is adapted from Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers (New York: W.W. Norton).]
- Irvine, Introductory Essay: Hybridity/Remix/Dialogism--Decoding Recombinant Culture (through Part 1)
- Irvine, Hybridity/Remix/Dialogism: Theory and Examples (Introductory Presentation; we will study the music examples later)
- Irvine, Doing Self-Reflexive Interdisciplinary Theory (Presentation lecture notes. An introduction to the methodology of working with theory in this seminar.)
Examples and Case Studies for Discussion
- Innovation and new technology is always a hybrid: the hybrid designs of Apple's iPhone and iPod.
New York Times, 8/27/2011.
- Hybrid technologies creating new media forms: remixing image sources and genres in film: Avatar [Apple HD trailer | movie site], Cloverfield [Apple HD trailer | ], The Matrix series.
- Apple iPhone: Apple site | Wikipedia | Henry Jenkins and The Convergence Culture Consortium |
- Ars Electronica: Home | Ars Electronica, 2005: Hybrid: Living in Paradox | Statement on Hybridity (see p. 7 of program) | 2012 Festival: the Big Picture
- Tate Museum, Altermodern exhibition: what comes after the "postmodern," when remix and appropriation are taken for granted? See "Manifesto." Curated by Nicholas Bourriaud, author of Postproduction (2002).
- Examples from art, music, popular culture, movies, TV, photography, post-photography:
|2 Core Theory Readings (I): Globalization, Postcolonial Theory, Network Society||[−]|
Key concepts from Media Theory, Postmodernism, Postcolonial Theory, and Globalization Theory
Orientation to the Major Theories, Concepts, and Terms
Our beginning sequence of units will require some "front loading" of key readings across several disciplines to become familiar with the concepts, terms, theory, and major arguments that provide important models for investigating the central issues of cultural hybridity and dialogism.
The topics this week--globalization theory, media/technology convergence, and the network society--are closely interconnected, and are best understood in a macro-level overview first. You can then pursue these fields further as you develop your interests. Each topic now has an overwhelming bibliography of published research in many subdisciplines, which makes a top-level orientation difficult, but very necessary at the beginning.
Major Topics in Post-Colonial and Globalization Theory:
- Jan Nederveen Pieterse, Globalization and Culture: Global Mélange (2nd ed. Rowman & Littlefield,
Read chaps 1-3. (Excerpts from the first edition online: Intro | Chap. 3)
[A very perceptive book on the processes behind globalization and culture. Begin reading now, finish by next week.]
- Marwan Kraidy, Hybridity,
or the Cultural Logic of Globalization. (Philadelphia:
Temple University Press, 2005). Read Preface and Chapter 1.
[Good overview of issues from the point of view of international communications.]
- Stuart Hall, "The Question of Cultural Identity," excerpt from Stuart Hall, David Held, Don Hubert, and Kenneth Thompson, eds. Modernity: An Introduction to Modern Societies. Oxford, UK; Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 1996, pp. 596-601, 611-623.
[An important and clear exposition from a major founder of "cultural studies" on the question of identity formation in late- and postmodern societies. Hall states in this book chapter: "All modern nations are hybrids." A synopsis of arguments explaining why racial and class hybridity is repressed in the formation of dominant national and ethnic identities. Provides useful sociological tools for understanding current identity conflicts in a globalized, networked world.]
- Henry Jenkins, "Introduction to Convergence Culture," excerpt from Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York, NYU Press, 2008.
- "By convergence, I mean the flow of content across multiple media platforms, the cooperation between multiple media industries, the search for new structures of media financing which fell at the interstices between old and new media, and the migratory behavior of media audiences who would go almost anywhere in search of the kinds of entertainment experiences they wanted. Convergence is a word that manages to describe technological, industrial, cultural, and social changes, depending on who's speaking and what they think they are talking about." Jenkins, article in Vodaphone Receiver magazine, 2005.
- Anders Fagerjord, "After Convergence: YouTube and Remix Culture," in J. Hunsinger et al. (eds.), International Handbook of Internet Research, Springer Science+Business Media, 2010.
The Global Network Society
- Manuel Castells, "Materials for an exploratory theory of the
network society," British Journal of Sociology, 51/1 (January/March 2000), 5–24.
[An overview of Castell's underlying argument in longer books on the Network Society.]
- Bruno Latour, "Networks, Societies, Spheres: Reflections of an Actor-Network Theorist," International Journal of Communication 5 (2011), 796–810.
[A perceptive essay that draws on the author's lifelong study of social-material networks written as a conclusion to a major collection of papers on the network society in the journal cited here.]
Case Study Example
- El Anatsui as Artist in the Global Artworld (Irvine): a look at a global cultural system and some of the rules and codes behind the production of a hybrid art form.
There is a lot to take in for this unit. Don't be discouraged if the ideas and problems seem difficult (they are). Some of these readings will work more for you when you return to them after more background in the course.
For your wiki writing, consider one or two examples of cultural works or genres that are best understood from a global, convergence and/or networked perspective. There are many examples in music, all the arts, movies, and TV and Web content programming in which global conditions have enabled and hindered the production, distribution, and reception of works and expression. Or think through an example by researching the background of its network of conditions (economic, technological, political, social). Some specific questions in the discourse: Is "cultural identity" leveled or flattened by iTunes distribution? What does distribution on Youtube mean? Is "globalized culture" hegemonic (reinforcing dominant cultures) or anarchic/democratic? Or both simultaneously? If cultures and societies are always already hybrid (comprising a mix of classes, ethnicities, language groups, subcultures), then why is there major resistance to accepting mixed identities in the world?
|3 Core Theory Readings (II): Postmodernity to Post-postmodernity||[−]|
Learning Objectives: Working with the Concepts in Debates about the Postmodern and the "Post-postmodern" (or, Whatever We Are in Now)
Postmodernism is associated with attempts to cancel a commitment to modern "master narratives" like progress and goal-directed history, and myths of national and ethnic identities as constructions of "unity." Postmodern strategies in architecture, literature, philosophy, and the arts include uses of irony, parody, sampling, mixing "high" and "low" cultural hierarchies, horizontal vs. vertical analysis, merging popular and high culture, global and international merging of cultures, local identity politics clashes, and the global marketing of cultural goods. Many see this self-reflexive critique of society, culture, politics, and economics as already part of modernism, and thus an extension of "modernism." But the phase modernity now abandons the hope or belief in the necessary movement of history toward a goal, an end, a fulfillment.
The post-postmodern viewpoint (wherever we are today after having absorbed the issues in postmodernism) seems to be taking the "postmodern condition" (postmodernity) as a given and creating new remixed works disassociated from the modern-postmodern arguments and oppositions. The post-postmodern takes the "always already" mixed condition of sources, identities, and new works as a given, not a question or problem. The metaphors of "network" and "convergence" in creative subcultures (e.g., musicians, artists, designers, writers) are seen to be live operations or conditions received and re-performed, not just abstractions. Living in hybridity is thus obligatory, not a choice, since it is the foundation for participating in a living culture.
Introductions, Lecture Notes & Discussion Topics (Irvine)
- Irvine, The Po-Mo Site: Postmodernism to Post-Postmodernism
- Irvine, PoMo to Globalized Complexity Networks
- Irvine, Postmodernism to Post-Postmodernism: Examples to Think With (presentation)
- Ihab Hassan, "Postmodernism to Postmodernity?" and "Toward a Concept of Postmodernism" (excerpt from his book, The Postmodern Turn )
- "Postmodernity." Wikipedia article. (A decent account of major issues with bibliography.)
- Jameson, "Postmodernism and Consumer Society." From E. Ann Kaplan, ed. Postmodernism and its Discontents (London and New York: Verso, 1988): 13-29. His first statement of the argument that appears in his Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism.
- Jameson, Excerpts from Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. (Duke University Press, 1991.) [expanded argument from the earlier article]
Ways of Describing the Post-postmodern, Present and Future
- Remix Culture as Altermodern and Postproduction culture (Nicolas Bourriaud)
- Paul D. Miller (DJ Spooky): Remix philosophy in "The Secret Song" (video)
Reference and Supplementary Readings and Sources
- Postmodernism: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Mark Taylor, Moment of Complexity, excerpt from Chapter 1. (Archived copy.)
Examples: Artists' Practice as Embodying Theory
I find no use in locating myself in a "postmodern" moment because it is already a given. All I know is a chopped up world. I didn't have to ponder the potentials of that world as a generation of theorists and artists did. I am surprised when someone doesn't use a hybrid approach. What this moment will be about, what it is already about, will be pushing hybridity into new territory and laying a ground work for new conceptual thinking.
I am trying to utilize the techniques of DJ culture and electronically produced music because I see in them potential for reinvigorating artists in their conceptual and political concerns as well as on a material and scientific level. --Dario Robleto, hybrid media artist
- Essay: On DJ Culture and Sampling in Art (Yerba Buena Art Center, San Francisco)
- Documentary on Robeleto's materials and remix process (YouTube)
Paul D. Miller (DJ Spooky), Rhythm Science.
Mark Amerika, Professor VJ site: On "Source Material Everywhere" and remix/postproduce
Moby: Interview segment from PressPausePlay documentary. (On mixed composition and software production).
Moby on re-recording "Extreme Ways," the Bourne Legacy theme song, in his studio and with a classical orchestra: Hollywood and the music studio on the same digital platform.
Examples of postmodern and post-postmodern productions (in-class discussion)
- Madmen: What genre is this? Retro-sendup, period drama, soap opera, nostalgia? History as a style.
- Wangechi Mutu: post-postmodern post-globalization artist?
- Avatar [Apple HD trailer | movie site]: hyperrealistic cinema, the cinema/film experience is now a continuum of filmed (photo-lens-based imagery), digitally edited, and seamlessly inserted CGI 3D imagery. What is the code/category of the "real" in imagery today? Do we care?
- Irvine, Postmodernism to Post-Postmodernism: Examples to Think With (presentation)
- Discuss a popular culture example in its genre or category context that works as a nodal point of prior and contemporary relationships, connections and assumptions (movie, music, Website, TV program).
|4 Core Theory Readings (III): Dialogism, Intertextuality, Appropriation||[−]|
The underlying cultural principles of dialogism, intertextuality/intermediality , and appropriation are the underlying conditions for remix and cultural hybridity. Many currents of postmodernism are closely linked to a self-conscious use of these concepts, but the underlying principles function as a generative process like the grammar of a language, and are independent of any explicit awareness.
Understanding the core theories of dialogism and intermediality as a key to understanding the ongoing hybrid process of living cultures. Dialogism also helps to reveal that this process is a condition of all cultures, and not a feature that appeared with modern or postmodern culture. In fact, understanding these key theories as a grammar of culture also helps to understand why they are normally misrecognized or suppressed. Intertextuality (the presupposition of a network of other works in any "text") is now redefined as intermediality, or the ongoing dialogue among many kinds of cultural expressions in any medium. A new work emerges within a network of prior and contemporary works, and we interpret expressions in a variety of genres that cut across our popular media forms--TV, Web, books and magazines, art works, music.
Dialogism/Intertextuality Readings: The Core Theory
- Irvine, Introductory Essay: Hybridity/Remix/Dialogism (through Part 2)
- Irvine, Introduction to Meaning-Making, Intertextuality, and the Cultural Encyclopedia
- Mikhail Bakhtin, Major Theory: Dialogism, Polyphony, Heteroglossia.
Bakhtin is the key theorist of dialogism/intertextuality. His model of the dialogic principle of culture is usefully extended to all media and forms of expression. You should work through some of the primary statements by Bakhtin, before using summaries (although the Wikipedia entry on Bakhtin is good).
- Kristeva, excerpt from "Word,
Dialogue, and Novel." From Toril Moi, ed., The Kristeva
Reader [New York: Columbia University Press, 1986]).
The key essay and interpretation of Bakhtin that brought his work to a broader community of theorists in many disciplines.
- See Intertextuality: Key Concepts (Metapedia). The Metapedia archive definition with examples.
- Daniel Chandler, "Intertextuality." A useful overview by the author of a popular guide to semiotics.
- Gunhild Agger, "Intertextuality Revisited: Dialogues and Negotiations in Media Studies." Canadian Journal of Aesthetics, 4, 1999. [Good overview of theories as they apply to media studies.]
Appropriation, Remix, Postproduction
- Jonathan Lethem, "The Ecstasy of Influence," Harpers Magazine, Feb. 2007. [All writing has always already been a hybrid collage of language, sources, references, unconscious quotations, remix of inherited written culture.] (Revisit from Week 1)
- Dossier on Appropriation (Major Theory Statements) (Irvine)
- Clement Greenberg, "Collage" (1959). A classic article on 20th century "collage culture" or the "collage aesthetic," which carries over into music (jazz and rock) and awareness of popular culture post-1960.
- Douglas Crimp, "On the Museum's Ruins." (1993). Google Books preview. A seminal essay on the post-modern assemblage and remix art genres, especially Robert Rauschenberg.
- Nate Harrison, "The Pictures Generation, the Copyright Act of 1976, and the Reassertion of Authorship in Postmodernity," Art and Education Paper, June, 2012.
- Nicholas Bourriaud, Postproduction (2002). Our new production platforms--increasingly using or modeled on digital production--allow an explicit awareness of new works being remixed like the post-production process in music, movies, and television.
- Kirby Ferguson, prod., Everything is a Remix: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Film and Video Examples: Case Studies for Recombining Genres & Styles
- Ridley Scott, Blade Runner (1982)
- Katsuhiro Ôtomo, Akira (1988)
- Mamoru Oshii, Ghost in the Shell (1995)
- Andy and Larry Wachowski, The Matrix (1999), The Matrix: Reloaded (2003), Matrix Revolutions (2003); Warner Bros. Matrix site.
- Appleseed Ex Machina (2007) CG anime film and is the sequel to the 2004 Appleseed film, similarly directed by Shinji Aramaki, and was produced by Hong Kong director and producer John Woo.
Lecture and Discussion Notes
(click on new window for full screen)
Jazz and the Abstract Truth: Dialogism and Network Semiotics (Irvine)
[direct link to presentation]
Further Reading and Resources
- A Matrix for The Matrix (Irvine)
- Senses of Cinema Review: "What is the Matrix? Cinema, Totality, and Topophilia."
- Film Comment Review of Matrix Reloaded
Dialogism and Intertextuality: Further Consequences and Theory
- Umberto Eco and "The Cultural Encyclopedia" (see concluding section of essay): The shared and learned repertoire of genre codes and references that get invoked in all cultural expression.
|5 Remix Culture: Questions of Origins, Copyright Law, Intellectual Property||[−]|
Learning Objectives and Research Questions
Thinking about cultural production as an ongoing dialogic network with multiple connections has consequences when we consider the status of individual works--individual works necessarily generated from an underlying dialogic/intertextual grammar held in common by all "creators" and "audiences." The modern legal regime for copyright and intellectual property is based on individual works and expression in tangible form, and requires a presupposition of atomic units (discrete entities) rather than network nodes. This week, we can only attempt a top-level overview of issues in the post-digital environment, and provide some cases to think through for follow up research.
Essential Reference Texts (Review for Primary Resources)
- US Code, Title 17: US Law on Copyright and Fair Use
- DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) (original bill) | Wikipedia summary of issues | EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) Site on DMCA issues
- Bibliography on Copyright, Fair Use, Artists' Rights in Remix Culture (Irvine)
Legal Philosophy & Interpretation of Copyright Law
- William Fisher (Harvard Law School), "Theories of Intellectual Property."
- Harvard Law School, Artists Law Resources (see Appropriation Art section)
- Elizabeth Stark's course, "Intellectual Property in the Digital Age," Yale Law School (online syllabus) (excellent overview of legal issues with references and links to readings)
Readings on Copyright, Intellectual Property, and the Status of Digital Objects
- Lawrence Lessig, Remix Culture and copyright/fair use issues. Read book or online versions:
- Status of creative works in culture of postproduction: Nicholas Bourriaud, Postproduction (2002)
- Edward Samuels, The Illustrated Story of Copyright (2000) [book online]
- Jeffrey Cunnard, "Making Art, Making Law: On Appropriation Art" (online lecture)
- DJ Food, "Raiding the 20th Century" (Cut Up & Mash Up mp3) (ubuweb)
- Paul Miller, Rhythm Science (finish book, and see pp. 32-53, 68-88, and CD)
- Rip: Remix Manifesto: Film documentary by Brett Gaylor with Girltalk (Greg Gillis) and others
- View film chapters (clips will be screened in class)
The Associated Press v. Shepard Fairey in the "Obama Hope" Image Case
- Shepard Fairey, Obama "Hope" Image (Wikipedia: incomplete but useful summary)
- Lessig and Fairey at NY Public Library on Remix and Appropriation Art (Video)
- Article coverage: "Lessig and Fairey on Art, Commerce & Corruption"
- Henry Jenkins and Evelyn McDonnell (USC) on Fairey and Artists' Rights: Part 1 | Part 2
- AP v. Shepard Fairey: Sources and Stages in the case (Irvine)
Other Significant Recent Cases
- Richard Prince: The Patrick Cariou Rastafarian photos and Prince's "Canal Zone" collage images
Artinfo; NYTimes coverage of Richard Prince; Update on consequences (8/30/12, Artinfo)
- Google Books Library Project: book and document digitization project: Wikipedia overview | Google Books info page | NYTimes (9/10/09) | NYTimes (9/12/11) |
- University Libraries, Google partnership, and digitizing "orphan books" (books out of print, or copyright holders not available): see coverage: Hathi Trust Digital Library, Library Journal, Columbia U. Copyright Office.
- See NYTimes Reference Page on Copyright Cases and Issues
Organizations focusing on copyright and fair use issues
Monetizing Digital Media: Copyright and Royalties: Music Examples
- SoundExchange: copyright and royalty clearing house for digital music.
- Pandora and other streaming/cloud-based music licensing models.
- Digital Ontologies / legal ontologies: What is a digital media object? How can there be "copies" of identical digital files?
- How can legal philosophy accommodate the "always already" state of remix culture? How can artists' or any citizens' created works be allowed commercial rights as well as reuse in the common culture?
- Are there other models that provide for both an economic base and creative reuse in cultural production? How can we recognize the foundations of innovation and creativity as well as insure the foundations of an economic system that provides returns for both creators and owners of distribution and publishing industries?
Music, Photography, Film: Examples and Case Studies
|6 Core Readings (IV): The Status of the Image, Image Technologies, Intro to Photography||[−]|
The Image is Always Already a Hybrid
What are the meanings and social functions of images at any moment in cultural history?
Image value = social assumptions about images x technologies/media of encoding / distribution and access
Learning Objectives and Discussion Topics
Hybridity in all forms is also part of the ongoing question of the status of images and cross-mediation of visual content (representation of "the same" images in multiple media forms).
The very medium of photography has been hybrid since the beginnings--combinations of technologies (optics and chemistry), assumptions about "mechanical arts" vs. "fine arts," genres of image-making inherited from painting, drawing, and print-making. And today, digital imagery can be camera/lens-based, or totally CGI, software generated. (Remember that film and video are composed from sequences of still images edited to produce the illusion of continuous "reality" outside the camera.) How do we use and interpret all these hybrid/mixed combinations?
Image-making, especially after photography, has been dominated by the problem of representation, truth (or truth value), the "real," reference (the world or things outside the picture and outside a camera lens). We have a long sliding scale of images accepted as presenting "quotations of reality" to those we recognize as imaginary, digitally created, and combinations of lens-based imagery and digital composition.
Why are photography/video/film-based images given the code of "reality," an assumed direct relation to something outside the image that it represents, refers to, depicts? How do we receive and understand images in all media that have no necessary connection to a referential world outside of the image?
How much of our image-world or visual culture has no connection to non-mediated world? How does the current mixed source and cross-mediation environment encourage hybridity?
Readings and Sources
- Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (html); another version online
(more accurately from the German title, "The Work of Art in the Era of its Technological Reproducibility" (1936; English trans., Harry Zohn, 1968).
(Selections only: Focus on sections: Pref., I-VI, and XII)
- André Malraux, "The Musée Imaginaire" (English translation unfortunately as "The Museum Without Walls). Further implications of art and culture mediated through photography, and the assumption of a global "art encyclopedia" informing the modern concept of art and art history. Overview and excerpts (Irvine).
- Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle (1967) [Another copy.] (Selections: Sections 1-6, 10-11, 17-18, 24-30)
- Jean Baudrillard, "Simulacra and Simulations" (html version) (pdf version). From Simulacra and Simulation, 1981; English trans., 1988.
- Seyda Ozturk, "Simulation Reloaded," Cinetext, August, 2003.
- Angela Ndalianis, "The Frenzy of the Visible: Spectacle and Motion in the Era of the Digital," Senses of Cinema, 3/2000.
- William Merrin, "'Did You Ever Eat Tasty Wheat?': Baudrillard and The Matrix." Scope (University of Nottingham, UK), August, 2003.
An overview of the theories: Benjamin, Debord, Baudrillard (link)
Photography and Video
- Cindy Sherman: Images
on Masters of Photography site | Artcylopedia |
Cindy Sherman is widely regarded as a main example of postmodern photography, or even post-photography. Consider the questions and challenges that her work raises about the photographic image, the genres of figurative representation (the portrait), and codes for gender.
Film and Television: Visualization and the Hyperreal (examples)
- CNN and the televisual: TV images as hyperreal
- "Reality" TV shows; American Idol
- The Matrix series
- Post-photography photography, post-film cinema (virtual cameras, optical flow technology, 3D virtual imagery)
- Optical Flow in film making (pixel continuity from frame to frame), fxguide site.
- The UC Berkeley "Campanile" film that opened up digital photo stitching and 3D modeling, inspiring John Gaeta and new technology for The Matrix films.
- John Gaeta's breakthroughs in CGI.
- John Cameron's Avatar: The seamless flow between camera work and CGI: it's all in the digital editing platform now.
Image making technologies and everything photographic has always been hybrid and combinatorial. Questions: What are the cultural values associated with photography and film, and how do they continue to work in a digital era? Many of Benjamin's earlier questions about the status of photography in culture are being replayed today: we could replace the word "mechanical" with "digital" in his argument, and many of the insights come alive again. How do mediated images become "hyperreal" (in Baudrillard's sense): is visual mediation the mediator/medium of the cultural ideology of representation?
|7 Introduction to Pop and Appropriation Art: Everything is Post-Rauschenberg||[−]|
Appropriation Art and Pop Art as Case Studies for Dialogic Culture, Hybridity, and Remix
Pop art appeared at a moment when high and low ("popular") culture were circulating in new ways through the mainstream media and in galleries, museums, and art discourse. The era from c.1960-c.1972 saw explicit remixing, hybridization, and appropriation from all sources in art, music, design, and graphics.
As counter-arguments for art, where high-art values emphasized "uniqueness, originality," Pop artists used repetition, serial forms, mass media imagery, commercial mediums like screen printing; where high art institutionalized the myth of "genius, unique hand of the artist, the work of art as expression of an artist's soul," Pop artists removed most of the marks of an artist's direct "touch" and subverted expectations by hand-making paintings, sculptures, and prints to look like they could have been machine-made or "anyone could make it" knowing the techniques.
Activating Combinatorial and Dialogic Principles for New Forms
The remix of materials, mediums, sources, genres, traditions, histories, and subcultures that are part of the Pop Art story provide an important case study for the generative principles of dialogism and combinatorial rules within artmaking concepts. "Pop" principles of combinatoriality and a hybridity of means, materials and sources have remained a permanent way of working in contemporary art.
Warhol and other Pop artists raided the "cultural encyclopedia" and presented new kinds of imagery and works in a "high art" context that had never been done before. Pop de-aestheticized canonical art history, and aestheticized popular mass media imagery, commercial design, and commercial mediums. The rest is (our) history.
Readings and Resources
- Honnef, Pop Art, 6-26; sections on Rauschenberg, Lichtenstein, Warhol
- Background readings for art and cultural history: first definitions of "Pop Art":
- Lawrence Alloway, "The Arts and the Mass Media," Architectural Design & Construction, February 1958. [the article often credited with starting the notion of "pop art"]
- Alloway, "Popular Culture and Pop Art," Studio International, July-August 1969: 17-21.
- Richard Hamilton, Letter on Pop Art, 1957.
- Pop Art Symposium (1962) with Peter Selz, Henry Geldzahler, Hilton Kramer, Dore Ashton, Leo Steinberg, Stanley Kunitz. Read especially the comments by Geldzahler, the main curatorial advocate for Warhol and the pop movement.
- Hal Foster, "On the First Pop Age," New Left Review 19, January-February 2003.
Interview with Foster on the main ideas in his recent book, The First Pop Age (Princeton Univ. Press, 2011).
- Working with the idea of "the cultural encyclopedia"
and institutionalized "art history":
- Eco, "The Theory of Signs and the Role of the Reader." [see especially section III]
- Irvine, Pop and Appropriation Art and the Encyclopedia (presentation)
- Douglas Crimp, "On the Museum's Ruins." (1980/1993). On Rauschenberg, the "imaginary museum" of art history for appropriation. Important essay in art history.
- Useful reviews of Pop and postmodern artists
- Michael Kimmelman, "Art Out of Anything," Review of Robert Rauschenberg, Combines, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Times, 12.23.2005.
- Luc Sante, Review of 1997 Rauschenberg Retrospective, Slate, 1997.
- Current Critic's view of eclecticism and hybridity in art: Christopher Knight, LA Times, 11.1.2006.
- Image Library (Irvine): Click on slideshow and full screen.
- Image Duplicator: The Roy Lichtenstein Site [amazing!]
Lecture and Discussion Notes:
the Visual Art "Intertextual" System: AbEx/Pop/Minimalism : c. 1950-1980s
Pop art in a dialogic relation positioned among (and against) Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism.
Reference and Further Background
- Primary source articles and essays of the Pop movement (Pop Masters)
- See Roland Barthes, "That Old Thing, Art," on Pop art and the art history encyclopedia
Discuss 2-3 works by a pop artist for the methods of combination and hybridizing used. What categories are combinable? What difference do shifts in medium and inclusion of non-"high art" materials and subject matter make to the meaning of the works?
|8 Andy Warhol: New Combinatorial Rules for Hybrid Art (and Being Post-Warhol)||[−]|
“Pop art is liking things.”
"It’s just taking the outside and putting it on the inside or taking the inside and putting it on the outside."
Warhol and the New Argument about Art: A New Generative Combinatoriality for Making Art
Pop artists mobilized postmodern ideas and strategies: combining high and low culture, appropriation, and new materials reframed for the artworld. Warhol, Rauschenberg, Lichtenstein and many other artists in the 1960s-70s shared several parallel strategies that are now the common language of contemporary art. Here we'll focus on the concepts of hybridization that motivated Warhol's work, especially in his print making, paintings, and sculptures. (His films and photography are equally important but are best approached in a focused way beyond this brief introduction.)
What happened with Pop and Warhol was a new operational theory of art: art was no longer a question of what could be determined by a traditional aesthetics and connoisseurship (class-based insider knowledge). Pop exposes the fallacy of believing that there can be obvious properties of art embodied in individual artworks that define the boundary between "art" and "non-art". For Warhol, "Art," continuing as an artworld production, was being redefined with many more kinds of arguments and positions, including irony, parody, pastiche and campy excess, as codes for making hybrid works based on popular media sources. Warhol used repetition and serial form (repeating images in different ways in a work and across works)--methods associated with industrial and machine processes for mass reproduction--to question core cultural values: orginality, authenticity, uniqueness, the artwork as an expression of an artist's mind, soul, or intentions. Without stating so explicitly, of course, he grasped intuitively the function of combinatoriality and dialogism in making something new, the dialogic hybrid, and the way it can change the cultural conversation.
In the 1960s, popular media based on photography--TV, advertising images, movies, magazines--dominated attention (and they still do today!). Mass cultural imagery came bundled with popular consumer culture beliefs and values, which had been defined as the opposite of "Art" (capital "A" artworld art) in established culture for over a hundred years. But what if popular culture could be used as a source to merge with art history? Warhol de-aestheticized art history (as a body of imagery and history of prototypes to be reinterpreted) and aestheticized the "non-art" of popular culture imagery by selection, appropriation, re-contextualizing. A transmedia collage provoking a new view of the recombinations.
Warhol’s friend Henry Geldzahler, then the curator of modern art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, recognized that the artist’s two great innovations were “to bring commercial art into fine art” and “to take printing techniques into painting. Andy’s prints and paintings are exactly the same thing. No one had ever done that before. It was an amazing thing to do.”
Warhol expanded the combinatorial and generative rules of art so that ideas, concepts, media, and techniques formerly excluded from the category of "art" were brought into a new art argument. He is also considered a "conceptual" artist with close connections to Dada and Duchamp, and can be considered a leader of the move toward conceptual art, positioning art as more about the artist's idea rather than the material artefact assumed to be made by an artist's craftsmanship. An art concept can be embodied in many kinds of material form (or lack thereof), including performance, ephemeral works, and time-based works.
So many art practices and genres today are Post-Warhol--street art, many kinds of hybrid and found imagery works, photography, appropriation art genres--in that they presuppose the ways of making art arguments with new materials that Warhol set into motion. Warhol understood the generative and combinatorial principles of art making, the ongoing dialogism of the art conversation, and mobilized it for his time and place. For those who take the time to get inside what he was up to, Warhol is still a great model for discovering how new hybrid forms are possible in any cultural context.
Image Library: Warhol and Pop Art [click on slideshow icon for fullscreen view]
Readings: Art Historical and Art Theory Contexts for Warhol
- Metropolitan Museum, NY, "The Warhol Effect: A Timeline."
A good overview of major events in Warhol's life, accompanying the Regarding Warhol: Sixty Years, Fifty Artists Exhibition at the Metropolitan. Read for contexts.
- Arthur Danto, "Modern, Postmodern, and Contemporary," From After the End of Art (Princeton: Princeton Univ.
Press, 1997): Chap. 1, pp. 3-19 (New York Times excerpt). (Pdf version here).
Danto had an influential argument. It's a good launchpad for considering the "end of art" debate, and what came after the grand narrative of art history ended (in one ideological form) and got reinvented (in another).
- Arthur Danto, "Transfiguration of the Commonplace (1974) (pdf)," and recent follow-on debates:
- Arthur Danto on the conceptual basis of Pop:
- "what they [post-Duchamp and NY pop works in the 1950s-1960s] are about is aboutness, and their content is the concept of art. The artists might as appropriately have written a paper like this, called it The Transfiguration of the Commonplace--and counted their effort a contribution to the philosophy of art, the line separating the two having all but vanished."
- Series of papers re-evaluating Danto's original argument: Contemporary Aesthetics, 6 (2008).
- Susan Sontag, Notes
on Camp (1964; reprinted in essay collection, Against
- Camp always creates hybrids: deflations of high (straight) culture, drag, sexual cross-overs in new forms. Warhol was never far from camp and gay performativity.
Major Art Historical Studies of Warhol
- Thierry de Duve, "Andy Warhol, or The Machine Perfected," October 48 (1989).
- Hal Foster, "Death in America," October 75 (1996). [On Warhol's Death and Disaster series and contexts of interpretation.]
- Douglas Crimp, "Getting the Warhol We Deserve: Cultural Studies and Queer Culture." Invisible Culture, 1, 1999. [Useful review of debates on approaches to Warhol: art history, cultural studies, visual culture.]
Resources and Documentation on the Web
- The Warhol Museum | Warhol Foundation | Warhol at MoMA (Museum of Modern Art)
- Warhol in Artcyclopedia | Warhol on Artnet | PBS Bio |
- Gerard Malanga interview: Warhol's first studio assistant discusses working with Warhol (video) (Christies).
- Warhol, List of Major Exhibitions, 1952-1987.
- Warhol ranking in Artfacts.Net's artist ranking list.
- Warhol Articles and Interviews (Warhol Stars).
- Review of 2002 Retrospective (Artnet)
Recommended Further Reading
- Klaus Honnef, Andy Warhol: Commerce into Art. NY: Taschen Books, 2000.
- Richard Dormant, "What is an Andy Warhol." Review essay, The New York Review of Books. Oct. 2009.
Videos about Warhol on YouTube (Andy would have loved YouTube!)
Andy Warhol making at digital painting of Debbie Harry
at the Commodore Amiga computer press conference (1985)
- From the PBS Modern Masters Series:
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 (Billy Name and Solanis shooting) | 10 (after shooting) | 11 | 12 |
Screening: Chuck Workman, The Life and Times of Andy Warhol - Superstar (1990). (Info: IMDB)
- Choose a work (or group of related works) by Andy Warhol as a case study for thinking through the productive concepts of dialogism, hybridity, and intermediality that we have studied so far. Read the Art Historical Readings contexts for background, and refer to ideas in at least one of the arguments in the Major Art Historical studies readings. Do a bit more background research on the work(s) you have selected for the dialogic relationships involved in making and understanding the work(s).
|9 Reversing the Art Walls: Street Art and Post-Pop Art||[−]|
"Pop art took the inside and put it outside, took the outside
and put it inside."
- How did "street art" and "graffiti art" become recognized cultural categories? What are the current hierarchies and categories of all this work inside and outside the established art world?
- How does the "outside" become a privileged category
"inside" the established art and media institutions?
- Media coverage, rebel artist persona's, identity politics, art world institutions.
- "Street cred," "authenticity," outsider status.
- How do the people and genres continually cross-over institutional boundaries? Multidimensional cultural categories and differentiations, cross-category sourcing for hybrid art forms.
- How is street art a form of Post-Pop: beyond, after, "pop," but possible only through the cultural preconditions and new market categories assumed since Pop.
- Is "street art" also following the path of Pop art from a break-through, disruptive, or avant-garde movement to institutionalization, stylization, and commodity form?
Background theory and context:
- Martin Irvine, "The Work on the Street: Street Art and Visual Culture" (pdf). Chapter in The Handbook of Visual Culture, ed. Barry Sandywell and Ian Heywood. London/New York: Berg, 2012: 235-278. This is a preprint pdf of the book chapter; for personal use only. See also the thumbnail list images cited (pdf). This book chapter represents a work in progress toward my own book on street art and city.
- Image libraries (Picasa albums):
"Work on the Street" Images
Street Art: 2010-2012 (Includes JR in DC, Oct. 2012)
- Martin Irvine, "On Keith Haring's Visual Language," Presentation in panel discussion at the Brooklyn Museum for a public program during the Keith Haring Retrospective, Brooklyn Museum, June, 2012.
- Martin Irvine, "Street Art and the Digital City: Communities of Practice in the Web 2.0 Environment" (Presentation for the Theorizing the Web conference, University Of Maryland, April 9, 2011)
- Bibliography for the Study of Street Art: sources, history, theory, background (Irvine)
Sources and Readings
1980s: First Wave of post-Pop "street art": Jean-Michel Basquiat & Keith Haring
- Basquiat: 2005 Retrospective museum exhibition: began
at the Brooklyn
Museum of Art
Website for the show "Street to Studio: Street to Studio, The Art of Jean Michel Basquiat" [for kids]
- Review of Basquiat at Brooklyn Museum ("To Hell and Back") (Jerry Saltz)
- New Yorker Review of "That Eighties Show," at the New Museum, NY (New Yorker, Jan., 2005) [includes Basquiat, Haring]
- Basquiat in the Art Market, 2000 (Artnet)
- Art works in galleries on Artnet
- Images of works in Image Library
- Basquiat Retrospective at Fondation Beyeler: Interview with Sam Keller (video)
- Basquiat Retrospective, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2010).
- Film: The Radiant Child (directed by Tamra Davis, 2010). Preview clip.
- Basquiat: 2005 Retrospective museum exhibition: began at the Brooklyn Museum of Art
Street Art, 1990s-2000s: Documents and Sources
- Time Magazine photo essay: Art of the Street
- Interview with Street Artists in The Morning News (March 2005)
- New York Times: Street Art 2004: "Lawbreakers, Armed With Paint and Paste"
Collective, NY: Street Art Collective [many
sources and examples]
- Banksy (London)
- WKInteract | Videos of hybrid street art in action
- Swoon: NY Street artist | NY Times Video Interview | Examples of work | Video interview (Gestalten)
- Shepard Fairey: ObeyGiant site | Studio Number One
- David Ellis: David Ellis/BLU video
- JR: | JR site | TED Prize talk | JR: Women are Heros
- Beautiful Losers: curated traveling exhibition validating street culture, first major curated museum show of street art.
- Tate Modern, London: Street Art, 2008.
- Regime Change Starts at Home, Street/Studio, and Street/Studio 2.0: Exhibitions at Irvine Contemporary.
Note: The Regime Change exhibition (Nov., 2008) brought Fairey's famous Obama Hope portrait to Washington, and the acquisition of the work by the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, the first street art acquisition by a Smithsonian museum and the first portrait of President Obama added to the nation's collection.
- Shepard Fairey Retrospective, Supply and Demand, opened at the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art, and now at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.
- Viva La Revolucion, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego
- Art in the Streets: MOCA Los Angeles (2011). Blog for the exhibition.
- Barry McGee: retrospective at the Institute for Contemporary Art, Boston (NYTimes); Museum site.
Magazines and Websites Devoted to Hybrid Art, Street Art, Pop Surrealism
- Juxtapoz Magazine | Swindle Magazine | Beautiful Decay Magazine | High Fructose Magazine
- Wooster Collective and associated site Streetsy | Brooklyn Street Art
- Urbascope (Interactive map, good for Paris and European cities).
- Brooklyn Street Art (Brooklyn and beyond)
Interviews and Video Examples
- Beyond the Streets: Interview with Patrick Nguyen, editor.
- Trespass. A History of Uncommissioned Urban Art. Carlo McCormick, Marc and Sara Schiller, Ethel Seno (Taschen Books). Overview of art and artists covered.
- David Ellis/BLU | JR: TED Prize talk | JR: Women are Heros | JR site |
- Bibliography for the Study of Street Art: sources, history, theory, background (Irvine)
|10 Photography to Post-Photography, Film, and Digital Imaging||[−]|
Photography is How We See, and Always Encoded in Specific Genre Frames
Photographic Genres as Ways of Seeing:
We never experience "photography" (in the abstract): we experience photographs, specific kinds of photographs (genres) framed by their uses and reception contexts (social and material).
Optical (Lens) Experience: The Social-Technical Assumption of Representation:
After around 150 years of being socialized into ways of seeing with photographs (and all lens based media, including film and video), and before that, becoming "optical" since the 15th century through paintings and drawings made with optical aids (lenses, camera obscura, mirrors), we arrive at an important social-technical intersection with digital photography. We have to learn how to look at photographs as social and cultural forms of representation to see how they work, and how we see and think "photographically".
Photographs and ritual use:
The genres and functions of the photograph have continued through many technical shifts: the iPhone and inexpensive digital cameras have confirmed Bourdieu's view of "the middle brow art form" in the millions of family and personal snapshots taken everyday, records of highly ritualized events, poses, contexts, views that conform to learned beliefs about what's pictorial, a portrait, the camera-moment.
From optics to pixel grid:
Photography has always been formed from hybridizing/new combinations of technologies and methods: the invention of photography involved optics (lenses) + chemistry + material support = photographic image.
Since the introduction of digital photography and the digital darkroom (Photoshop), we have seen a shift in thinking about/with photographic images:
from what the lens "sees" (principles of optics, focus, perspective, light sources), and metaphors of capturing, registering, mechanical means
to what a screen can display (digital pixels, imitation of camera lens point-of-view, focus, and perspective).
Now many images are made to look photographic, and are still called "photographs," whether a lens, or many lenses, were used in the making of the image.
Intersections of technologies and institutions:
Photography has always been linked to developments in technology for the film medium and cameras as optical light capturing devices. But the interesting history is found in the many conceptual uses of photography, the institutions and social organization of the medium, and the mass adoption of cameras in the middle class for "taking pictures" of family and domestic life.
What important ideas can we extrapolate from the social and technical history of photography, from early cameras to digital cameras and camera phones (iPhone)?
Post-Photographic Era: The Era of Ubiquitous Photography
Some observers and theorists of photography and film are talking about our current era being "post-photographic": we live in a culture trained to read photo-produced images (and images as judged or assumed to live up to photographic expectations), yet many of the images we experience every day imitate photographic features without being produced by (or solely by) a device with a lens and recording medium. What are the implications of living "post-photographic"? Is this an extension of the notion of the hyper-real? With photographic "realism" still providing the codes for "the real"?
Background and Sources
- Irvine, Introduction to Photography (presentation)
to Post-Photography [Resource Page] (Irvine)
Review "Exemplary Photographers" (and photographers' examples in The Photo Book)
- Key Issues in Studying Photography: "Making a Photograph" vs. "Taking a Picture" (Irvine)
- Review Modern and Contemporary Photographers in The Photo Book: Araki,
Arbus, Baldessari, DiCorcia, Dijkstra, Fuss, Goldin, Gursky, LaChapelle,
Leibovitz, Mann, Mapplethorpe, Prince, Sherman, Sugimoto, Tillmans, Wall,
- Taylor, Moment of Complexity, 125-143
- Image Libraries: Post-Modern Photography | Contemporary Photography (Irvine)
Introductory Readings, Theory, and Statements on Photography
- Henri Cartier-Bresson, "Statement on Photography" ("The Decisive Moment" theory), 1933.
- André Bazin, "The Ontology of the Photographic Image," Film Quarterly, 1960. (Focus on pp. 6-9.)
- Roland Barthes, "The
Rhetoric of the Image," from Image,
Music, Text, 1964.
- Göran Sonesson (Lund University), Discussion and critique of Barthes' "Rhetoric of the Image."
- Rosalind Krauss, "A Note on Photography and the Simulacral," October 31 (1984), especially pp. 55-62.
- Christian Metz, "Photography and Fetish," October 34, 1985.
Bourdieu, Photography: A Middle-Brow Art
- Extracts from Bourdieu, Photography. See especially Part 1, sec. 2. pp. 73-75 on "The Social Definition of Photography.
- Douglas Crimp, "The Photographic Activity of Post-Modernism," October 15, 1980.
Further Reading and References
- Further context and interpretation for Pierre Bourdieu's Photography: A Middle-Brow Art:
Bourdieu's book is one of the most important statements on photography from a socio-historical viewpoint. These articles are a good review of Bourdieu's theory, which is also cited in the Krauss article.
- J. A. Gonzalez, "A Contemporary Look at Pierre Bourdieu's Photography: A Middle-Brow Art," Visual Anthropology Review, 8/1, 1992.
- Review of Pierre Bourdieu, Photography: A Middle-Brow Art in Contemporary Sociology, 21, 1992.
- Göran Sonesson (Lund University): a specialist in pictorial and visual semiotics (excellent essays)
Discussion of leading photographers and hybrid genres
Fashion Photography, Advertising, Art: Cross-Over Art
- In class screening: Video documentaries of prominent photographers and their processes and medium:
Sally Mann, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Jeff Wall, Nan Goldin, Chuck Close
- Artworld and Fashionworld: image making, branding, hierarchy management, cross-over image-making
- The Cross-Over Hybrid Network of High-Fashion, Photography, Advertising, and Fine Art
- Examples: Kate Moss, W, Fine Art and Fashion Image Making [Powerpoint Presentation]
Student Wiki Discussions
- Discuss 2-3 photographs by photographers from two different historical contexts. Think about the role of the medium and the genre(s) that the photographer was working with. What are some of the main genres we experience everyday (snapshots, advertising, in magazines, Websites, in galleries/museums, etc.); how does the publication and material context of the photograph frame its meaning?
|11 Music as Always Already Hybrid: Post-Digital, Post-Global Genre Mixing||[−]|
Remix and Hybridity as the Foundation of Modern and Contemporary Music
Remix and hybridity in music involves many aspects at multiple levels simultaneously:
1. At the macro-cultural level: "remix culture" and hybridity as the normal, living context of cultural production, which is now rendered more visibly as such through the digital media platform. We are now more aware that "new" stages in music are always hybrid, and that "traditional" or received music genres, though seeming to be a unified whole, were mixed to begin with.
2. At the level of technology platforms: recording and performance equipment, technologies and instruments, software & hardware, networks of distribution (human-social and computer networks). The implications of the digital media platform for music, and the ongoing hybridization of forms, genres, sounds. Sampling, remix of sources in both studio recordings and live performance. If it exists, it will be combined and hybridized.
3. At the level of the cultures and sub-cultures of music production, styles, and genres: the remix and collage aesthetics of blues and jazz, electronic and digital music composition from the classical and "high" music culture traditions, hip-hop and the global hip-hop diaspora, reggae and dub music, disco and club music, global hybrid forms--all have their generative rules or shared logic of creation, collaboration, remaking, production and performance.
4. At the level of globalization, information flows, and the DNA of a networked world: Multi-sourcing of music post-globalization, hybrids of sources and digital sounds, horizontal recombinant DNA of contemporary music, real-time awareness of musical forms from cultures and sources all over the world. A networked urban phenomenon: music produced in global information cities, dense nodes of cultural information and remixing, distributed via the Web and Internet file sharing.
5. At the level of political economy, cultural goods, intellectual property, and the economic models for the production, ownership, distribution, and use of digital music: the ongoing debate about copyright, consolidation of "copyright portfolio" media corporations, Creative Commons and alternative legal and rights models, alternative distribution and licensing models. Music now considered a "service" on demand or token of social relations and exchange, rather than simply a product with discrete objects to be bought, sold, or licensed.
We can only hope to introduce some of the interesting topics in points 2, 3 and 4 in this unit. Perhaps you may be able to investigate other issues later.
Background Sources for Electronic, Digital, and Remix Music
- Reggae Dub: Origins of remix, sampling, studio production before Hip-Hop
- John Bush, "Dub Revolution: The Story of Dub Reggae and its Legacy." Remix Theory.
- Video from 1970s on the reggae "sound system": live mixing with dub plates.
- Film and Documentaries
- Background and Sources
- History of Electronic Music | 120 Years of Electronic Music
- Wikipedia: Electronic Music | Techno Music | Electronic Music Genres
- Ishkur's Guide to Electronic Music (hosted by techno.org and Digitally Imported)
- Hip Hop Music History (Wikipedia)
- Sampling (Wikipedia) (history of music sampling)
- Looper's Delight (musician's sources for looping tracks)
- Electronic Music Foundation (EMF)
- Visualizing Network Connections and Hybridity: History of Sampling (Java)
- Music Map: visualization of networks of affiliation
- Remix Theory: site for everything in digital culture
- Remix Fusion Map: Thievery Corporation & ESL studios music sourcing/mixing [Powerpoint: see last slide] [single image] (Irvine)
- Miller (DJ Spooky), Rhythm Science and other statements by DJ Spooky (finish book, listen
- DJ Spooky (Paul Miller) website
- "Ghost World: A Story in Sound for the Venice Biennale"
- Interview with Paul D. Miller: Remixing the Matrix and the Creative Commons
- Rhythm Science site
- Remix Theory interview
- "An Interview with Paul D. Miller a. k. a. DJ Spooky--That Subliminal Kid," Carol Becker; Romi Crawford; Paul D. Miller. Art Journal, Vol. 61, No. 1. (Spring, 2002), pp. 82-91.
- Paul Miller, ed. Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Music and Culture
Some Exemplary Musicians and Music Labels for Hybrid Music
Kraftwerk: Kraftwerk site | Wikipedia info | Youtube videos
ESL Artists: Thievery Corporation | NPR interview | Youtube videos
|DJ Spooky (Paul D. Miller)||Yoko K|
|Amon Tobin | Click on Media/Videos |||Blue Brain|
Contemporary Music Theory
- Interview with Jacques Attali, author of Noise: The Political Economy of Music | Interview with Agnus Carlyle in Vibro
- Vibro: Sound Art and New Music
|12 Music and Video: Genre Mixing and the Generative Logic of New Music||[−]|
Case studies, examples and discussion from prior week's reading and performance
This week we will study some key examples of innovations in music history from blues, jazz, rock, electronic, hip hop, and contemporary mixed-genre music forms to reveal the ongoing hybridization--the generative logic--underlying the making of new music.
It's always a bad idea to over-simplify and generalize when dealing with long spans of cultural history and music traditions, but it's safe to say that modern (post-1900) popular music is a story of ongoing hybridization from deep roots in both the African diaspora and Western/European/American genres, instruments, and music theory. Modern classical music has a parallel trajectory with new forms emerging by new concepts, instruments, sounds, and music theory.
In popular music since the 1920s in the US, everything starts with the blues (itself a hybrid fusion of African rhythms, gospel and religious music, and European instruments like the guitar.) Blues provided the structure for the development of jazz, rock, soul and R&B, and can take on just about any music source/style for continuing fusions. Blues/soul/gospel was also re-echoed through Jamaica and gave us reggae, without which we wouldn't have house, early hip hop and rap, and a whole encyclopedia of musical forms. All the contemporary hits on the music charts (usually repetitions of standard formulas) as well as break-through new innovations are developments of the possibilities from this legacy, and good musicians have the logic of new forms in the deep structure of their musical consciousness.
Contemporary music is now global, international, and transcultural, most often involving creative adaptations and new fusions of the US-European musical archive with other cultural sources. The story continues...
Background and Theory:
- Irvine, Hybridity/Remix/Dialogism: Theory and Examples (Introductory Presentation; review music examples)
- Irvine, Music Semiotics: Popular Music as Meaning System
- Erik Davis, "Roots and Wires: Polyrhythmic Cyberspace and the Black Electronic" (see the section on "Dubbing the Drum.")
- Brian Eno, "The Studio as Compositional Tool," (1979, published in Downbeat, 1983).
- Paul D. Miller, "On DJ Culture" (Liner Notes for the CD, Songs Of A Dead Dreamer ).
- Eduardo Navas, Remix Theory: The Aesthetics of Sampling (Book).
- Simon Frith, "Music and Identity" (from Stuart Hall and Paul Du Gay, eds., Questions of Cultural Identity, London: Sage, 1996).
Essential Backgrounds and History of Genres
- Allmusic | Wikipedia: Popular Music Genres | Timeline of Music Events (links to major events by year)
Screenings (Music Documentaries)
Music Industry and Production Info
Internet Radio and Issues with "Ubiquitous" Digital Music
- Steven Levy, "Facebook, Spotify, and the Future of Music," Wired, October, 2011.
- Leading Examples of Streaming Music Services and Stations
- SOMAfm: SF Bay area all-digital music streaming by music category "channel".
- Lounge Radio.com [electronic music "station" in Switzerland]
- Pandora [early pioneer in music streaming with proprietary "music genome" music properties database]
- Spotify [combining with Facebook and music as social link]
Web-based Music Tools, New Music Communities
Work through music semiotics models and main theory models of the course. Choose two songs or two musicians to discuss as examples of a music hybridization process in a modern or contemporary culture. You can provide links or embedded video/audio in your Wiki response for the week. Review the description of the layers or dimensions of hybridity in the notes to last week's syllabus unit, and find examples to discuss that exemplify one of more of these dimensions.
|13 Hybrid Bodies, Genders, Cyborgology: "Sex x Technology = The Future"||[−]|
The Human Body as Symbolic Vehicle:
Body-Machine and Sexual Hybridities as Ultimate Transgression
"Sex times technology equals the future - that's one of the most powerful equations there is going. You can't shut it off, you can't smother it with brackets and parentheses, hide it away in a footnote. It's there." --J.G. Ballard (Interview, Spin Magazine, 1989)
Considering the Hybrid (Sexed) Body and the Body as Inscription Medium
Hybrid, mixed identities for our bodily and social selves creates ambiguity and uncertainty--conditions that produce anxieties, fears, repressions, denials, and misrecognitions. In many ways, the mixing, crossings, and hybrid states of the human body (the sexed body), the human brain, and sexual identity have become the ultimate frontier of repressions and transgressions. The human body (real, imagined, and fantasized) remains the ultimate "platform" for mixing meanings, messages, desires, and fears.
We have a long history of machine-body fantasies, spanning from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Fritz Lang's Metropolis to the most recent cyborg and android films and imagery. We also have cultural traditions--often disturbing and unsettling to some--of using inscriptions and alterations to the skin as a symbolic medium. Tattoos and all forms of body modification are highly encoded and signify different cultural messages in different contexts (from marking slaves and prisoners to various subcultural membership to forms of sexual meanings and fashion. Recent fantasies of cyborgs, androids, futuristic bodies, and "super heroes" (e.g., Xmen) combine these forms in a variety of bodily fetishes and fantasies.
In recent intersections of postmodern and feminist/gender theory, questions about the complexity of sexuality, gender, desire, and the human body are combined with questions about the ideology of "Man" or "human" and technology in the long tradition of humanist thought. The recent debates on the "posthuman" intersect with the long-term problematizing of sexuality in queer studies and recent feminist thought.
Although we can only touch on the larger issues here, let's consider the question of ultimate taboo hybridities in the body, sex, gender, and the multiple technologies that are now embedded in our experience of the body and what it symbolizes in culture.
Why are cyber-selves, like those in The Matrix and Avatar, always imaged as sexier, stronger, and freer than "real selves"? What are our fantasies of androids and cyborgs telling us? How are they used to trouble sex and gender identities and categories?
Many writers have commented on machines and technologies as "prostheses" (extensions, externalizations of functions) of the body and human organs. Are all of our "smart devices" prostheses that alter our body/machine relationships?
Fashion and fetish are now symbolic technologies for the body, and many kinds of body modification are mainstream "consumer" items in Western societies. What happens when the sexed human body--and the body fused with machine and computer intelligence--is the symbolic medium?
Orientations to the Question of Humanity, Technology, the Body
- Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents (Das Unbehagen in der Kultur; literally "The Uneasiness in Culture") (1930) (Wikipedia overview) (etext excerpts).
Major arguments: individual and collective/social repression of libido and aggression is the price we pay for "civilization" (Kultur). We need to recognize the effects of civilization's alibis and repressions for not dealing with libido, resulting in the return (and revenge) of the repressed in other forms. Machines and technologies are seen as prostheses of human mental and bodily functions that we have not adapted to.
This view is closely parallel to Freud's study of "The Uncanny" (Unheimlich), the sense of strangeness, uncertainty, fear, and anxiety felt when encountering objects or beings (fictional or real) not clearly animate or inanimate, human or nonhuman (like robots, cyborgs, and monsters) (etext excerpts).
- Michel Foucault, History of Sexuality, Vol. 1: Summary of main arguments.
Foucault's reinterpretation of formerly accepted views of Victorian and modern repression: sex is always "put into discourse." By extrapolation, the sexualized fantasies as represented in imagined cyborgs and androids enable expression of forbidden or taboo desires by transferring them to "machines" (which we "know" are not "real").
- Katherine Hayles, How We Became Posthuman (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1999).
Excerpts from Prologue and Chapter 1.
Has our technological culture made the earlier humanist idea of "human" as a universal value obsolete? Does technological inter-dependence create new conditions for "being human" which requires a new concept of the human?
- Donna Haraway, "A Cyborg Manifesto" (excerpt from Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (New York; Routledge, 1991), pp.149-181: Web
version | pdf.
An influential view of postmodern sexuality and gender that uses the idea of the cyborg as a symbol for re-imagining hybrid sexual and gender identity.
- Transhumanist and Futurist Movements:
Recent speculative and utopian movements are developing new scenarios for a hybrid human-technology future:
- Ray Kurzweil, on the Singularity, AI and Utopian Futurism
Essay and editorial in The Futurist (2006).
Kurzweil, Key film and video presentations and interviews: 1 | 2
Kurzweil's Singularity University | Video archive of lectures by scientists and engineers
Kurzweil's forthcoming movie, The Singularity is Near
- Transhumanism (Humanity+) movement | Hybrid Reality Institute
Speculative philosophies that see a utopian, hybrid human/AI/advanced cybernetic future.
Popular Culture Imaginary from Frankenstein to Cyborg/Android Movies and Television
- Ridley Scott, Blade
Runner (1982) (from the novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick)
Replicants (androids): dystopian future and film noir femme fatale meets sexual fetishization of the cyborg/android.
Screening in class: bio-tech birth of the Replicants; Dekard's visit to the uncanny "friends" of Sebastian and fight scene with Pris. Frankenstein moments in Roy's coming to self-consciousness and wants to meet his maker.
- The Terminator series: technology meets gender for hypermasculinity and dystopian fears, with a touch of the leather kink.
- The Borg in the Star Trek series: one imaginary for the borg-sexed hive-mind body: 7 of 9 and the Borg Queen.
- Eve of Destruction (1991): the value of B-movies for revealing the popular psyche: gender on the rampage.
Eve 8 is a weaponized cyborg, and becomes the sexualized and aggressive version of her designer. A female cyborg designed to pass as human for military intelligence with a fully armable nuclear bomb in her torso. What could possibly go wrong?
- Mamoru Oshii, Ghost
in the Shell (1995)
A very influential anime (inspiration for The Matrix) that imagines sentient androids (organic and machine/computational intelligence) as workers and data carriers, who also achieve self-consciousness to question the nature of their existence and their "soul" (the "ghost in the machine"), a Frankenstein theme.
- Andy and Larry Wachowski, The
Matrix: Reloaded (2003), Matrix Revolutions (2003); Warner Bros. Matrix site.
The "Matrix self" is sexier, aestheticized, stronger, idealized, fire-arms and martial arts proficient, preferably dressed in black vinyl and leather from a high-end designer fetish boutique.
- Appleseed Ex Machina (2007) CG anime film and is the sequel to the 2004 Appleseed film, similarly directed by Shinji Aramaki, and was produced by Hong Kong director and producer John Woo.
This movie takes the anime cyborg to new levels of detail with 3D animation and CGI effects for rendering a cinematic experience.
- I, Robot, Avatar, Minority Report, etc.: ongoing aestheticization of body-machine, utopian and repressed sexualities.
Peter Greenaway, The Pillow Book:
Writing on the Body, Film of a Book, and the Body as Writing Medium
Greenaway has been making fascinating "hybrid" cinema for over 15 years. The Pillow Book allowed him to combine new film technologies (film window within the main film frame for contrasting two narrative time sequences) and a film whose subject matter was writing, sex, the body as text and instrument of desire--the word made flesh made film.
"...this notion of the skin was as an open palimpsest on which to write." --Peter Greenaway, interview in Salon Magazine
"I wanted to make a cinema of ideas, not plots, and to use the same aesthetics as painting, which has always paid great attention to formal devices of structure, composition and framing." -- Peter Greenaway
- Movie information (IMDB) | Plot synopsis
- Background on Sei Shonagon, Japanese author of The Pillow Book (c. 1000), quoted in the movie
- Translations of the texts on written on the bodies in the film
- Biography of the director, background
- "Flesh and Ink," Salon Interview
- Tyrannies of technology and tradition: an interview with Peter Greenaway
- Interview with Greenaway on The Pillow Book, 1997
- Interviews and movie trailers via YouTube
Body|Writing|Word and Flesh
- Compare: Whitney Museum exhibition: Skin
is a Language:
January 12, 2006-May 21, 2006
The largest organ of the human body, skin is also the one with which we are most intimate, even as it presents the exterior of our self to the world. Skin is a Language explores ways in which artists use skin, literally and metaphorically, to examine a diverse array of social, physical, and cultural phenomena. Featuring sculpture, drawing, photography, and prints from the permanent collection, the exhibition includes works by Bruce Conner, Ellen Gallagher, Félix González-Torres, Nancy Grossman, Eva Hesse, Roni Horn, Jasper Johns, Annette Lemieux, Glenn Ligon, Catherine Opie, and David Wojnarowicz.
- Shelley Jackson - Ineradicable Stain (body-text-art project)
- Lee Wagstaff (tattoo art on the body of the artist) | Artist's website
- Tattoo history, demographics, and background: Wikipedia | The Vanishing Tattoo site.
- Zhang Huan at the Asian Society: "The body is proof of identity; the body is language."
- Tattoo symbolism and subculture: tattoodesigns.net.
Discuss one or two examples in popular culture of hybridity or mixed identities in the body, and/or questions of the technological condition of being human, and the anxieties and questions that these provoke. Alternatively, examine representations that question of using the body as a medium for symbols or as a symbolic medium (writing, fashion, marking, modifications, tattoos, etc.).
|14 Final Projects: Presentations and Discussion||[−]|
Discussion of final projects
Final Project Essay Instructions and Resources (read instructions first)
In class: round table discussion of research projects in progress.
Due date: final project essays are due one week after the last day of class.
Archive of earlier student essays (Wiki site): scroll down to heading for final projects by semester.