I will be speaking at the Aesthetics of Renewal conference in Ottawa, taking place at the Chateau Laurier from November 3 to 6, 2011. My paper, titled “The Creative Advance: How Remix Makes the Familiar Novel Again,” is scheduled for Saturday, November 5 at 3:15 PM. Unfortunately, I do not what room it will be in. As soon as I know I will post it.
I will post the full paper after I present it, but for now here is the abstract.
According to Steven Shaviro, British-American philosopher Alfred North Whitehead’s “philosophical speculation collects the most heterogeneous materials and puts them together in the most unexpected conﬁgurations…to use an analogy not from Whitehead’s time, but from our own – it is like a DJ’s practice of sampling and remixing.” Like the DJ or Mash-up artist who gathers, layers, and blends together an eclectic mix of sounds traversing a variety of genres and styles of music in order to produce something never heard before, Whitehead builds on the thoughts that came before him in order to craft new conceptual compositions that had previously never been imagined. These novel compositions are formed through the re-assemblage or remixing of previously existing elements, thoughts, and ideas, that, as I will explain, then become the disparate elements for future remixes and compositions. For Whitehead, this process of remixing a diverse set of disparate things in order to generate something new is what he calls the “creative advance”. Focusing on this concept of the “creative advance”, this paper will explore how Whitehead’s philosophical practice from the early twentieth century is connected to, and in many ways foreshadows, the contemporary practice of many American remix and mash-up music artists, such as Girl Talk, Negativeland, and Danger Mouse, whose work has proliferated with developments in audio and digital technologies over the past twenty years.