In addition to being a print book published by the prestigious University of Minnesota Press, remixthebook expands the concept of scholarly writing and publishing to include multimedia art forms composed for networked and mobile media environments. The remixthebook.com website is the online hub for the digital remixes of many of the theories generated in the print book and features the work of artists, creative writers and scholars for whom the practice and theory of remix art is central to their research interests. Since one of the primary aims of the project is to create a collaborative and cross-disciplinary approach to the way contemporary theory is performed, and to anticipate future forms of art and writing that challenge traditional modes of scholarly production while still taking on the philosophical issues of our time, the remixthebook project could be considered an open content platform for others to use as source material for their own art work, literary creations, 21st century multimedia theory, and/or innovative coursework.
Given the rapidly changing digital culture most of us are immersed in these days, and especially the way networked and mobile media communication systems are influencing the development of hybridized, post-studio arts practices, my hope is that the remixthebook project will indicate to emerging artists, creative writers and cutting-edge scholars, particularly those engaged in advanced forms of digitally processed, practice-based research methods, an alternative model of writing they can invest themselves in as part of a professional course of action. The time for repositioning the contemporary artist’s relationship to theory per se has already come and gone. For example, it is no longer a matter of requiring that MFA or practice-based PhD students write 30-40 page papers responding to the canonical texts of post-structuralism and whatever trendy academic theories come after. Emerging artists may elect to take that path as a way to experiment with the less spontaneous forms of academic discourse associated with late 20th century humanities research, but the protocols of theoretical performance and the fields of distribution they manifest themselves in are changing so fast, theory itself can no longer properly become canonized, and for most artists and theoretically-inclined creative writers, that’s a good thing.
In fact, over the last decade, I have observed how advanced contemporary art and creative writing students in particular are interested in seamlessly integrating their own artist theories into the core artistic practices they are in the process of developing while immersing themselves in the network culture. For many contemporary artists and writers, this means setting their mind on autopilot and letting the language speak itself. Sometimes the language wants to speak like a conceptual art statement, an avant-pop fiction, or even some kind of warped remix of pseudo-autobiography, creative nonfiction, and theory. remixthebook plays with all of these genres and more. It could be said that the playful use of genre as remixological filter is employed to spontaneously tweak each occasion of (multimedia) writing and that the entire enterprise is designed to expand the concept of what it means to perform one’s artwork as a spontaneous and continuous theory-to-be.
My hope is that other interdisciplinary artists, adventurous writers, expert amateurs in the network and mobile media arts, digital humanities scholars, and innovative arts educators will be able to use this hybridized publication and performance project to experiment with their own practice-based research into remix art and culture. This is why I put the source material out there in the first place, so by all means remix the book!