Society of the Spectacle (A Digital Remix)
is a furious collage of black and white images (and sudden flarings of
colour) and theory-saturated subtitles that you can only grasp at as they
roll by, occasionally recognise, and go with the odd beauty of their flow.
It's appropriately playful ("everything is fucked but fun"),
pulsing, pop-ish and engrossing-the hypertext crowd stoked on Godard [...]
[T]he rapid editing and churning information flow reflects the struggle
to connect with global politics, the impossibility of slowing down, but
at the same time conveys a manic playfulness, a creative resistance against
considerable odds." - RealTime magazine
Society of the Spectacle (A Digital Remix) is a ten-minute DVD art-loop
that uses source material from the writing, images, recordings, and other
psychogeographical wanderings of arch-Situationist and French philosopher
Guy Debord. The art work is composed by members of DJRABBI, a digital
art collective of political activists, and includes visual remixes by
Rick Silva aka Cuechamp, the sonic detours of Trace Reddell aka the pHarmanaut,
and original subtitles by Mark Amerika aka Kid Hassid.
artists filter the Situationist icons, concepts and strategies through
an eclectic mix of contemporary software and "net art ideology",
a space of mind where the society of the spectacle becomes hostage to
"the virtual condition." But locating a post-Leftist pleasure
politics of new media hactivism and social engagement does not require
an overturning of terror; rather, it demands an improvisational detour
into the spiritual unconscious. Here, an emerging model of the network-distributed
art collective decomposes the raw elements of a runaway information economy
in order to resituate the role of the artist as intellectual sabateur.
Using hyperimprovisational methods and techniques to invent a provocative
style of digital poetics, the artists encounter the immediate presence
of terror and fear in both political and media culture. Offering neither
a spectacular critique of the spectacle nor an apology for their own tendencies
toward spectacularly accidental juxtapositions, the artists behind the
SOS remix host a polysensory potlatch of conceptual and material resistance
against the official, separatist amnesia of historical practice.
digital remix of the notorious SOS stands on the other side of communication,
where it appeals against advertisement culture's perpetual reconciliation
of the dominant State with Hollywood blockbusting in order to accelerate
the official, and flagrant, destruction of language, image, and sound
across the planet. The function of the spectacle is to make culture forget
history. It won this war long ago. Now that history is forgotten, preemptive
strikes of the reigning oilgarchy merely tear the stitches apart, reopening
the old wounds of the defeat of '68. Which brings up the question: what
are artists to do?
The visual images of the DVD are an accelerated remix of pictures generated
from Google searches on the Internet. The Google "search terms"
come from Debord's writing. Each image that is found on the Internet is
trimmed and spliced into Debord's original collage of black and white
stock footage. Thousands of manipulated images are then compiled into
a stream of agit-pop iconography that challenge the viewer's capacity
to see the world anew.
DVD's soundtrack is scored by the pHarmanaut and adopts a new situationist
form of détourntablism. Part diversion, part quotation, loops from
an undated 7" EP of Debord's proto-human beat boxing and rudimentary
organ playing slam into slices of deep house, dub, and punk-disco. The
orchestral elements derive from a series of databending scans of Debord's
writing. As word count and other data become the notes of a minimal MIDI
score, entire chapters of Debord's scathing polemic transform into the
varied ambiences of a new sonic psychogeography.
English subtitles are an on-the-fly remix and overwriting of the original
text from the Society of the Spectacle film directed by Debord.
image of Castro fills the screen. Soon, multiple Castros appear, digital
clones of the image - not the Man - and a visual ideology is born. The
virtual stripped bare by
all of its political bachelors
in the DVD, we see images of the City. The soundtrack slips from aloopy
carnival theme into subharmonic dub beats. The subtitles read:
is what makes us nomadic,
and in moving we become-memory,
light beings accelerating
our bio-mass through the concrete jungles,
structured to dam up our movement
even though we ourselves are leaking."
Amerika has had four international retrospectives of his digital
art work, one at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London, one
at the Media Arts Plaza in Tokyo, one at Ciber@rt Bilbao 2004, and one
at FILE in Sao Paulo. His epic online narrative, GRAMMATRON, was selected
for the 2000 Whitney Biennial and his sound art work, PHON:E:ME, wascommissioned
by the Walker Art Center and the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art.
The third and final project in Amerika's net art trilogy is entitled FILMTEXT.
The work was commissioned by Playstation 2 as part of his European retrospective
and the 2.0 version of the work
premiered at SIGGGRAPH 2002.
has recently toured parts of Japan, Europe, Australia, and the USA as
a VJ performance artist and out of these performances has produced a DVD
with surround sound entitled CODEWORK which was recently acquired by the
Denver Art Museum for their permanent collection.
book of selected artist writings, META/DATA: A Digital Poetics, is being
published by MIT Press as part the Leonardo Book Series.
He is presently a faculty member in the Department of Art and Art History
at the University of Colorado, Boulder and more information about his
work can be found at his website, markamerika.com.
Reddell explores the intersection of digital media production
and theory, microsound and space music, DJ sets, networking technologies,
literary criticism and speculative philosophy, and the history of drug
culture. Recent works may be found at Stasis_Space, DJRabbi.com, Electronic
Book Review, and the U.S. Department of Art and Technology's Tel-SPAN
project. Under the names The pHarmanaut and Galactus Zeit, Trace's audio
works have been released on several microsound.org compilations and The
Communications of Tomorrow label. Trace has recently streamed experimental
programs as part of the OpenAir Radiotopia (Ars Electronica 2002) and
Platoniq's Open Radio Festival (Barcelona 2003).
publications include articles in Leonardo Music Journal and Electronic
Almanac, as well as the Contemporary Music Review. Trace is currently
an Assistant Professor of Digital Media Studies at the University of Denver,
where he also directs the graduate program in DMS. For more information
go to http://www.du.edu/~treddell/
Silva (Brazil, 1977) Silva's digital art has shown in festivals
and museums in 5 continents. He's performed his most recent work with
the DJRabbi collective in Tokyo and London. His work has been written
about in the New York Times, the Guardian UK, Liberation, El Pais, and
featured on the CBS evening news. ricksilva.net
of the Spectacle (A Digital Remix) DVD
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Society of the Spectacle (A Digital Remix)
Artist Signed Limited Edition DVD
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Museo Extremeno e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporaneo
January 27 - May 14, 2006.
International Media Festival
Hong Kong, PRC
October 20 - November 2, 2005.
September 30 - October 3, 2005.
Syntax Root: Loop, London, E:VENT,
performance June 17, screening June 18, exhibition June 18 to July 3,
VIDEOEX Experimentalfilm & Video
Festival, Zurich Switzerland, May 20-29, 2005.
Hyperpolis 2.0: The
Age of Reason, Polytechnic University, Brooklyn, NY, May 4, 2005
6th Seoul Net and Film Festival, May 1
- June 30 2005
Parque Ferial Juan Carlos I., Madrid, Spain, February 10-14, 2005.
Transmediale International Media
Art Festival 2005: Basics, Berlin, Germany, February 4-8, 2005.
RFF 2004, University of Bremen, Germany, Dec. 18, 2004.
Digital Interconnection 2004, Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts. Tokyo,
Japan. Nov. 7, 2004.
Canariasmediafest, Las Palmas, Spain, October 21-28, 2004
Design In Progress Festival "Society of the Spectacle" Solo
Exhibition, Openbare Bibliotheek Eindhoven, Eindhoven, Holland, October
back_up Festival, Festival of New Media in Film - Weimar, Germany, October
Disinformation Center. LUXE Gallery, New York, NY. Aug. 21 - Sept. 4,
California State Summer Arts Festival. CSU, Fresno, Ca. June 28 - July
"New Applications in Psychogeographical Research" panel. The
Society for Literature and Science's European conference. Paris,France.
June 24, 2004.
Screen category. 2004 Sydney Film Festival. June 11-26 2004.
Machinista 2004: International Arts
and Technology Festival. Glasgow, Scotland, and Perm, Russia. May
Bilbao, Spain. April 23-30, 2004.
Once.Twice 04: Festival
of Sound and Video. Mattin Center for the Arts. Baltimore, MD. April
Annual Cintax Film Forum. U of California, Riverside. April 10, 2004.
Jihui Digital Salon. agent.netart.
Parsons School of Design. New York, NY. March 24, 2004.
Le Divan Japonais. Le Divan du
Monde. Paris, France. March 1-15, 2004.
World Premiere: Batofar. Paris,
France. February 26, 2004.
Biennale de Paris. February
20-March 15, 2004.