This publication is an updated version of a doctoral dissertation in Cultural Anthropology at the Department of "Theory and History of Culture", Faculty of Philosophy of the Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski", 2012.
Thanks for the invaluable advice and suggestions to:
Prof. Ivaylo Dichev, Professor Alexander Kyosev, Assoc. Professor Daniela Koleva, Prof. Irina Genova, Prof. Svetoslav Kokalov, Prof. Boyan Manchev.
Thanks to Iara Boubnova for supporting me and aspiring to have the text published; to Kiril Prashkov for advice on the preparation and formatting of the book.
Thanks to all the artists who agreed to publish documentation of their projects: Hans Bernhardt and lizvlx (Ubermorgen),
Herman Ziegner, Pravdolyub Ivanov, Daniela Kostova, Brody Condon, Guthrie Lonergan, Michael Mandiberg,
Eva and Franco Mates (0100101110101101.org), Ivan Mudov, John Rafman, Kalin Serapionov.
The present study traces the process of dematerialisation and fragmentation of what is commonly referred to as art work, or else, all processes and artefacts at the heart of artistic practices in contemporary visual arts, ruled on the one hand by technological advancements in production and sharing of images, and on the other – by changes in the attitude to the very definition of art. Specifically, the focus is on issues those processes pose to traditional notions such as original, copy and their related matters of space, time, media, in turn leading on to positioning author and audience. The context of the present study are visual arts and by no means does it refer to art per se, both for limitations in the researcher's expertise and, more substantially, for the distinctive differences in the relationship between art work and materiality of the artistic expression across fields: it varies from literature to music, either of those are distinguishable from the position in performing arts, etc.
Remix culture looks like free dematerialised culture for all. The unprecedented by scale online creativity echoes the utopian ambitions manifested by various artistic avant-garde on democratisation of aesthetic experiences, the participation of the audience in the creative process, the free transfer of cultural objects and contents between contexts, the abandonment of genre, form or expression limitations, between codes of high and low culture, in brief – between art and life. Seemingly where avant-garde has failed today's techno-media succeed. Except that these dematerialised cultural objects (having once headed for the avant-garde strategy of resistance) in the longer run turn out to be perfectly adapted to the post-Fordist phase of capitalism and new economies.