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What Comes After Remix?


The question that at this point is really hard to answer is what comes after remix? Will we get eventually tired of cultural objects - be they dresses by Alexander McQueen, motion graphics by MK12 or songs by Aphex Twin – made from samples which come from already existing database of culture? And if we do, will it be still psychologically possible to create a new aesthetics that does not rely on excessive sampling?

When I was emigrating from Russia to U.S. in 1981, moving from grey and red communist Moscow to a vibrant and post-modern New York, me and others living in Russia felt that Communist regime would last for at least another 300 years. But already ten years later, Soviet Union caused to exist. Similarly, in the middle of the 1990s the euphoria unleashed by the Web, collapse of Communist governments in Eastern Europe and early effects of globalization created an impression that we have finally Cold War culture behind – its heavily armed borders, massive spying, and the military-industrial complex.

And once again, only ten years later we seem to be back in the darkest years of Cold War, except that now we are being tracked with RFID chips, computer vision surveillance systems, data mining and other new technologies of the twenty first century. So it is very possible that the remix culture, which right now appears to be so firmly in place that it can’t be challenged by any other cultural logic, will morph into something else sooner than we think.

I don’t know what comes after remix. But if we now try now to develop a better historical and theoretical understanding of remix era, we will be in a better position to recognize and understand whatever new era which will replace it.

Article  2007