Thinking through Digital Media

Transnational Environments and Locative Places


Chapter 5: Collaborative Remix Zones: Toward a Critical Cinephilia

Our final chapter revisits the concept of cinephilia after digital media and distributed networks. We seek to identify a place for critical cinephilia that moves toward an opening of meaning from the control of transnational media corporations (TMCs). Critical cinephilia within collaborative remix zones moves from the voyeuristic to the interventionist, through multiple iterations of remixing. 

distress cruft.jpg

Distress Cruft (my fellow Americans) 

United States, 2007–2008 | Robert Spahr

Crufts are several series of auto-generative images from source material scraped and harvested from websites. He appropriates the hacker term “cruft,” which refers to unpleasant sub- stances, superfluous junk, redundant or superseded code, and useless and badly designed computer programming. Distress Cruft (my fellow Americans), for example, examines the practice of camouflaging security practices as a tourist-friendly service at the Empire State Building, where visitors are offered the opportunity to purchase their security photograph as a souvenir. 



Indonesia 2005–present

EngageMedia is a new media portal for video file sharing and a generator of sustainable media development and networks for environmental and social justice work from the Asia Pacific. EngageMedia operates between globalized development and environmental and human-rights degradation in Indonesia as an example of social-media remix as contestation. Projects include Papuan Voices, Migrant Worker Stories, and Suara Baru (New Voices). 



United Kingdom/United States, 2006 | Michael Takeo Magruder

In {transcription}, Magruder samples and processes BBC broadcast in real time. The result is a montage of stills sequenced through cross-dissolves. The project becomes an occasion for thinking about news media’s “ethical filtering of content and manipulative remixing of data” in the presenting purportedly factual information disseminated almost instantly, thereby writing history in real-time.