Blog Response #2 (Steven Lourenco)

Death Grips – Spread Eagle Across the Block 

(Black Google instrumental/Link Wray “Rumble” sample)

Hi-yo class,

I’m currently sitting in beautiful Penticton, B.C. and I just finished reading Leo Manovich’s Models of Authorship in New Media and I feel like our current state is inspiring and slightly daunting.  I feel inspired knowing that there are large communities existing in various networks who wish to share and build upon what is being created. Although it feels like we are constantly being bombarded by singular platforms, products, and packagings (daunting/worrisome/stop/ah/fuck/off), there is a little bit o’ hope in reading an article like Manovich’s. Big Leo points out that the lines that for (what seems like FOREVER) that distinguished between viewer/user and artist/author, are dissipating. Manovich refers to Roland Barthes’ assertion that much in the same way that we regarded “art” or “masterpieces” as a sort of commodity, waited upon by the viewer until it arrived in a solid piece to a tangible “venue”; we had a tendency to expect some sort of “theological meaning” that we could receive from some sort of GOD-AUTHOR (I absolutely LOVE this term! its a middle-finger to the overlords! fuckye…HMU if you’re offended by my middle fingers and f-words)

We rely heavily on the programs and software that we use to create in our current climate, of this there is no doubt. But now that the user has such a strong understanding of the potential of these programs, the insights and skills and experimentation that we bring to the rigidity of the interfaces, gives a us an author-like experience as well. It like we’re given the soil to grow the trees, but we can plant whatever damn tree we want. Manovich sides with Barthes in lightly abandoning words like “collage” and “montage” and appreciating the potential for terms like clash and blend as the terms seem to invoke a feeling of these celestial items (too close to the “god-author” term (?) – meh), flying around at incredible speeds, bouncing out of the ears of artistic minds and climaxing in an explosive moment for all to experience.


Son, this is what arts are made of.

Barthes is talking about collaboration, intentional or un, as a cultural story or script that is intangible but widely understood or rather accepted. As a user or author works around/with/in a certain program or say a game like Doom (1993), they are experiencing this story and by placing themselves within the narrative. This ultimately places them as storytellers of distinct and unique tales, which hopefully enrich the tale.


Pictured above: GOD-AUTHOR

Manovich also discusses our understanding of “remixing” and “sampling” and how they are received as a practice and as a term or language. Manovich points to Goodwin who described sampling and its benefits as an “…unhibited use of sonic recording as a central element of composition. Sampling thus becomes an aesthetic programme.” What Goodwin is saying here is that in the same way users could edit Doom to fit their narrative, musicians like the example of M/A/R/S’s Pump Up the Volume or almost every single hip-hop producer, could chop and separate each distinctive part of a song and clash and blend ;) the shit out of it. Sampling was not a slight to the original “creator” but maybe a tip-of-the-hat kind of thing. The music I posted at the top by Sacramento Rap/Punk/Rock/Trap/Hop/Hipper-Than-thou group Death Grips, is a pretty good example of the “creator” sharing their work with all, and allowing them to do whatever the hell they wanted with it. Although it isn’t the freshest idea (as pointed out in Manovich’s many examples), Death Grips utilized wesbites like Reddit, and 4Chan, to share all of the samples from their 2011 album “Exmilitary”.


When Manovich mentions “remixing”, he speaks of the logistics that were available to artists when multi-track mixers hit the market. He mentions how culturally, remixing is accepted by some and for others, is a violation of an artist or company’s ownership (ie. stealing).


“Hand over the cymbal samples, Trap-lord!”

This is the slightly disheartening part of the whole thing. One would think that it is intrinsic to our human selves that we would exist in a shared and communal practice, where all are accepted and welcome to the tools and ideas that Manovich examples in the Lunix “kernel”. It is truly unfortunate that our world has been reduced to a system of “MINE” and “NOT YOURS” and all that bullshit and that we have to market and fetishize and copyright all over the place, but perhaps this is what we’re responding to in this art. Perhaps our neglect for our masters and our ability to put our greasy fingerprints on everything is the answer. Lets keep it greasy and learn, and teach and let everyone in to the party. We can do it now!



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