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<eyebeam><blast> technonomadic / Re-mix

Dear Eve Andree Laramee and Paul Miller a.k.a Dj Spooky that Subliminal

I really enjoyed the post by Eve Andree Laramee

>     Rhizomes
>     Woven Magnetic Memory Cores
>     Ants
>     The Eroded Terrain of Memory
>     Fissiault's Five Laws of Randomness
>     The Origins of jodi.com
>     Pynchon on Screen Names

I am very excited also by Paul Miller's statements on nomadic culture.
If someone hasn't already coined the word -- we are now of the
"technomadic" variety. Let me know if someone already has... (Roy Ascott

I am very much interested in DJ culture -- mixing, remixing, sampling
etc. In Resonance across fields.

Thinking Historically:
The first composer that is central to ideas that can be seen as relating
to Re-mix culture is Charles Ives. Ives very early on, became interested
in musical processes, spatial relations and "behaviours." Cowell, in
"Charles Ives and His Music" states:

The germ of Ives's complicated concept of polyphony seems to lie in an
experience he had as a boy, when his father invited a neighboring band
to parade with its team at a baseball game in Danbury, while at the same
time the local band made its appearance in support of the Danbury team.
The parade was arranged to pass along the main street as usual, but the
two bands started at opposite ends of the town and were assigned pieces
in different meters and keys. As they approached each other the
dissonances were acute, and each man played louder and louder so that
the rivals would not put him off... Ives has reproduced this collision
of musical events in several ways:  From it, for example, he developed
the idea of combining groups of players (sections of the orchestra) to
create simultaneous masses of sound that move in different rhythms,
meters and keys. (Cowell, pps. 144 & 145)

Thus the traditional notion of context was breached, and a spatial
notion of juxtaposition and sonic relativity was explored. (COWELL,1969)
Ives explored spatial acoustic relations in his work "The Unanswered
Question" by positioning the musicians around a room in a particular
manner.  I am more and more interested in the potential of the spatial
remix - brought about through navigation.

Many similar properties are explored in our experiential apparatus (the
World Generator). I have coined the term "Recombinant Music" in 1995  to
describe music which is modular in nature, that can be combined and
recombined through computer-based construction mechanisms. Such
permutation based music is non-linear and exhibits non-closure. Modular
sonic elements can be explored through interactive navigation,
triggering "location sensitive" sound objects. This could be a spatial
location (as found within virtual environments - VRML) or "time-based"
locations as found on a video disc, CD Rom, or other non-linear housing

Another aspect related to the music of Ives, central to my project, was
his recontextualisation and abstraction of folk music. We can directly
relate this to the use of sampling in terms of contemporary
technological "folk" music.

When Ives cites a familiar tune, it will often be somewhat distorted in
rhythmic or pitch relationships, perhaps incomplete or overextended. Not
only, then, may we suddenly realize a rich complex of remembrances, with
their attendant connotations, but  this in turn is being counterpointed
against by the expectational surprises Ives has written into the
familiar: well known shapes blur and shift before our attention.
(Childs, p.122) 

Sound sampling, a process that enables a sound or group of sounds to be
digitally recorded and altered in numerous ways, allows for sound to be
culturally "referential" as well as culturally transgressive or
re-creative. Technologically empowered recombination, enables new forms
of juxtaposition and relative abstraction of sonic material brought
about through direct user/listener interaction. Technology now enables
new forms of spatial, rhythmic and tonal juxtaposition within computer
based environments. The above notions explored by Ives are relevant to
our examination of complexity as experientially entertained through
technological apparatus. "Ives realized both the complexity and the
simultaneity of human experience; he also saw that in many ways the two
are not independent of one another." (Brandt,  in Battcock, 1981, p. 223


I want to be as pluralistic as possible in looking at ways to understand
and talk about the WWW and new electronic forms of media. This can come
from many directions and perspectives.

Relevant to the probabilities which are embodied within the recombining
of elements... of ideas - through communications like this...

In terms of the potentiality of such exchanges Jean-François Lyotard in
Driftworks states:

"What is important in a text is not what it means, but what it does and
incites to do. What it does: the charge of affect it contains and
transmits. What it incites to do: the metamorphoses of this potential
energy into other things-other texts, but also paintings, photographs,
film sequences, political actions, decisions, erotic inspirations, acts
of insubordination, economic initiatives, etc. ...(These Essays) their
content is not a signification but a potentiality." (Lyotard, [date not
set], p.10)


Barthes discuses "drift" in The Pleasure of the Text:

My pleasure can very well take the form of a drift. Drifting occurs
whenever I do not respect the whole, and whenever by dint of seeming
driven about by language's illusions, seductions, and intimidations,
like a cork on the waves, I remain motionless, pivoting on the
intractable bliss that binds me to the text (to the world). (Barthes,
1975, p.18)

This is the best description of "surfing" I have found...

It is this very practice of "drift" that is interactively actuated
within systems of non-hierarchical navigation, and facilitated through
technological means.

Barthes in Pleasure of the Text:

Text means tissue;  but whereas hitherto we have always taken this
tissue as a product, a ready made veil, behind which lies, more or less
hidden, meaning (truth), we are now emphasizing in the tissue, the
generative idea that the text is made, is worked out in perceptual
interweaving. (Barthes, 1975, p.64)


Bolter, in his writing on Hypertext suggested this observation:

In place of hierarchy, we have a writing that is not only topical: we
might also call it "topographic"... It is not the writing of a place,
but rather a writing with places, spatially realised topics... The
writer and reader can create and examine signs and structures on the
computer screen that have no easy equivalent in speech. (Bolter, 1991,

This is very important to my vision of the future of the web // VRML and
new forms of publishing and "intermingling" of the technomadic variety.

I think this goes back to the very intersting observation that Ken
Goldberg earlier made about the Telescoping of distance... that the WWW
brings about.


In Image - Music - Text,  Barthes comments:

The fact is (or, it follows) that writing can no longer designate an
operation of recording, notation, representation, "depiction" (as the
Classics would say); rather, it designates exactly what linguists,
referring to Oxford philosophy, call a performative, a rare verbal form
(exclusively given in the first person and in the present tense) in
which the enunciation has no other content (contains no other
proposition) than the act by which it is uttered... on the contrary, the
hand (of the author), cut off from any voice, borne by a pure gesture of
inscription (and not of expression), traces a field without origin - or
which, at least, has no other origin than language itself, language
which ceaselessly calls into question all origins. We know now that a
text is not a line of words releasing a single 'theological' meaning
(the "message" of the Author-God) but a multi-dimensional space in which
a variety of writings, none of them original, blend and clash. The text
is a tissue of quotations drawn from the innumerable centres of
culture.... (Barthes, 1977a, pp.145-146)

Language Re-mix


I am very excited by the potency and polyvalence of the Re-mix.

In writing about Recombinant Poetics I take pleasure in the collisions
of idea-cultures; in the generation of new ways to understand and
participate on multiple levels of meaning/becoming... as part of a
"Technomadic" society of flows.

I leave for Hong Kong on Saturday,
Back to Baltimore then on to Tokyo for Opening of the Japanese
Translation version of
"The World Generator / The Engine of Desire"
opening April 23 at the ICC -- networked to the ZKM in Karlesruhe by
phone (ISDN) and Modem...
Back to Baltimore
then on to Wales for a meeting of CAiiA Researchers.

In each space I will attempt to re-enter and participate in this space
of focused energy exchanges...

Bill Seaman

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