Are classically distinct academic classifications, qualifications, and divisions the most efficient and effective means by which to disseminate knowledge and initiate progressively significant academic discourse? Is it possible to re-conceptualize the above criteria concerning academia and the professional realm? Questioning the very academic and professional systems that provide the historical foundation for modern discourse and the means by which to initiate critical questioning can be both academically and professionally problematic. With watchful eyes, the old guard stands protectively over the historically developed systems of semiology, discourse, and organizational structures surrounding each distinct discipline. The guard must amend itself. In his historical evaluation, Bennett mentions that we are at a distinct moment in history when, “we must walk backwards into the future.” As academicians, we must ensure at all times that both a historical reflexivity and a holistically new paradigm are maintained. Presently, the reorganization of the modern academy should encourage academic Mixology. Mixology is a reorganization and reclassification of the traditional academic structures and the dominant systemology. Mixology is dominant practices, emergent culture, and historical reflexivity utilizing technological augmentation.

Mixology is:
Social Science
Popular Culture
Thematically Driven
Historically reflexive
Theoretically based
Bottom up
Project by project oriented

Mixology is not:
Solely theoretical
Top Down
Solely Productive


Mixology, Structuralism, and Semiotics

Before outlining the superstructure of Mixology, it is important to define the substructure of Mixology. Although seemingly contradictory, Mixology’s substructure resides in classical structuralism and semiology. According to Strauss, meaning can only be derived from a general objective structure of rule in which particular items or units are differentiated from each other, and derive their meaningful character from their place in this general structure. Their structure although not given empirically has to be discovered and defined in relational terms. If we apply these theoretical principles to academic structures, the substructure of Mixology begins to illuminate itself. Applicably, if the above listed academic objective structure reflects the existing physical academic structure, and the particular items or units mirror the distinct academic disciplines or departments within the academic structure that derive their meaning from their place in the structure, but also derive meaning through their relational terms.

According to the above, academic departments not only establish their meaning from their distinct qualities and place within the existing academic structure, but academic departments also define themselves through their relational terms. Mixology attempts to establish the fundamental semiotics and relational terms that permeate and mediate the various established academic disciplines into one holistic academic entity.

Upon further examination, the parole or individual pointers of the structure of Mixology emerge and articulate themselves. Vocabulary, including vision, space, layers, sound, narrative, conscience, and historical futurism, begins to articulate the cross sectional semiological themes that tie together several disciplines into one Mixology. Strauss stated that, if the general characteristics of the kinship systems of given geographical areas, which we have tried to bring into juxtapositions with equally general characteristics of the linguistic structures of those areas, are recognized by linguistics as an approach to equivalences of their own observations, then it will be apparent that we are much closer to understanding the fundamental characteristics of social life than we have been accustomed to think. The kinship systems of the linguistic structures of academia are represented through Mixology’s above six themes. Although the geographical areas of academia reside in the distinct spatial and physical context, each distinct department is bound together by the kinship of Mixology's linguistic terminology. Mixology linguistically binds the distinct areas of academia and encourages cross-sectional pollanization and academic augmentation through defining and exploring the above themes. Although each department carries with it a set of historically constructed linguistic signifiers, signs, and myths, it is time the signs, signifiers, and myths of each discipline collided to augment academic totality, rather than underdeveloped entities of academic specialization.


The Science and Structure of Mixology

In his discussion of semiology and structuralism, Strauss mentions, today, no science can consider the structure with which it has to deal as being no more than a haphazard arrangement of just any parts. An arrangement is structured which meets but two conditions: that it be a system ruled by an internal cohesiveness, inaccessible to observation in an isolate system, and that it be revealed in the study of transformations through which similar properties are recognized in apparently different systems. Although ostensibly stable in nature, the classical academic system is a haphazard attempt to independently distinguish truly common disciplines. Although each discipline carries with it it's own set vocabulary, each distinct discipline holds the common vocabulary, semiology, and sub-structural principles of Mixology. Mixology is a transformation through which the similar properties within these academic disciplines are recognized, but also encouraged, exploited, and investigated academically. Mixology maintains an internal cohesiveness through a shared thematic vocabulary. The vocabulary of Mixology encourages the similar characteristics and properties of inherently distinct academic systems to meld into a cohesive means of academic communication and exploration.


Case Study: The Photograph, Academia, & Mixology

In his illuminating exploration of academic communication, Barthes makes the case for the significance of signification. Within classical academia, the internal academic structure carries with it significant signification of power, organization, and efficiency. From his exploration in From Concept and Signification, Barthes argues that like academia, the photograph is a signifier. Barthes’ analogy although literal and powerful when originally proposed, has been problematized with the advent of digital technologies and technological manipulation. Digital technologies and technological manipulation play a key role in augmenting the explorative nature of Mixology. With the mentioned advent and integration of technology and manipulation into our everyday experience, the signification and the notion of the photograph as an untainted signifier and record has been falsified. With this digital augmentation and integration into the academic structure, the significance of traditional academic structure must been re-evaluated. As the photograph is no longer a privileged literal transcription of time place and synthesis, arguably, classical academia is no longer privileged as the most effective means of exchange, dissemination, and synthesis of knowledge.


Technology and Mixology

The relationship of technology to Mixology is direct. Digital technologies and technological manipulation play a key role in augmenting the explorative nature of Mixology; these technologies open various means of communication and translation. Technology is viewed by certain academic and professional thinkers to be an antithesis to authentic experience. Elizabeth Diller, primary partner of Diller & Scofidio, illuminates that technology is not the antithesis of authentic experience, yet it is an augmenter to authentic experience, a new layer of experience. There are stereotypically two negative reactions to technology: technophobia and technology as the loss of authenticity. Many academics reject technology without understanding its politics and its potential. Technology must be contended with; technology must be viewed as an instrument of augmentation rather than a mediating detractor of authentification. Technological integration is a key characteristic of Mixology related interactions and productions. Technology provides the means by which to establish an analog to digital relationships that augment individual's perception, presentation, and product. The use of technology as a tool, rather than a fetish item is a central theme of Mixology.


The State of The State

Within higher education, The State is explicitly conceived as a repressive apparatus. The State is a machine of repression, which enables the ruling classes to ensure their domination over the working class, thus enabling the former to subject the latter to the process of surplus-value extortion. The extortion of financial and educational value must cease to permeate academia. As academicians, we are urged to avoid questioning our employer, in many cases The State, and in many other cases the State. Because many academicians depend on the State for our livelihood, it is problematic to question the organization of the system that employs us. Questioning of the established academic system often results in the counter questioning and evaluation of the questioner's academic creditability and status. Questioning must be permitted in order to instigate growth and adaptation. Not only does the State daily extort surplus value and repressively control academics well being, but the State also repressively controls curricula, and furthermore limits cross-fertilization and budgetary allocation through blatant and often purposeful suppressive tactics.

It is time the academicians proved that Mixology can effectively augment the educational process. The proletariat must seize the State in order to destroy the existing state apparatus. Mixology encourages a multi-departmental sharing of resources; through this reorganization, departments eliminate excess spending and therefore create an encouraging and communally augmented space for creation and discussion. Mixology encourages cross-departmental allocation.


Reconsidering Collaboration

By cross-departmental allocation of resources, Mixology also encourages cross-departmental academic collaboration. Hanno Hardt is one of the impetuses for academic Mixology. In his essays Hardt argues, a commitment to a critical approach, in the sense of a Marxist critique of society, will lead to a number of significant changes in the definition of society, social problems, and the media as well as the organization and execution of research projects. They are changes rooted in radical ideas, uncompromising in their studies and innovative in their creation of appropriate methodologies. Disciplinary (and administrative) boundaries must be redrawn, with theoretical (and political) implications for the definition of the field, which leave no doubt that culture as a way of life directs the interpretation of mass communication in society. By combining a critical approach supplemented by radical ideas and appropriate methodologies, while simultaneously presenting mass communication as a complicated and cross-referential body of knowledge, and through academic process, Mixology rearticulates and reunites the academic landscape. With the articulation of a new vocabulary that includes comprehensive thematics such as vision, space, layers, sound, narrative, consciousness, and historical futurism, we as academicians begin to articulate the cross sectional semiological themes that tie our seemingly autonomous disciplines together.


Case by Case

After establishing the theoretical applicability of Mixology, it is important to observe a case-by-case basis of justification of the discipline both within and outside of academia. Mixology is permeating professional establishments and succeeding greatly. Mixology is slowly subverting the traditional specialized top-down structure of the professional realm as well as the academic realm.


Firming up Mixology Consciousness


Firm #1 Diller + Scofidio

Three firms are proving that Mixology not only works within academia, but also within the professional realm. The first prominent example of a Mixology based enterprise is the firm of Diller + Scofidio established in the 1980’s. According to the primary partners of Diller + Scofidio, the team functions more as a workshop than as a firm. It is collaborative, multidisciplinary, experimental, media- and technology-fluent outfit with a strong focus. Diller + Scofidio represent a new wave of Mixologists who “aren’t so interested in what makes a building or what makes art, but who are interested in Big Issues.” Diller + Scofidio's Issues follow the topics raised in the formal linguistic construction of Mixology, questions such as vision, space, and consciousness. Oftentimes, our culture is one of specialization, Diller + Scofidio scrap both genius and specialization and make the essential collaborative and multidisciplinary nature of architecture a datum in their work.


Firm #2 G TECTS & Issey Miyake and Rem Koolhaas & Prada

G TECTS a subsidiary architecture firm of Mr. Frank Gehry, and international clothing designer Issey Miyake have come together sharing resources and inspiration to develop a truly Mixology based space. How and why does it all work? The new Tribeca Issey Miyake shop at 119 Hudson St. in New York City is a tribute to the power of ideas. It is a mix of the enduring old and the kinetic new, a riff between motion and stillness. It is also a fully updateable space marked by the work of two sculptors brought to common ground through an architect intervention: Issey Miyake, the sculptor of fashion designers, and Frank Gehry, the sculptor of architects. As detailed by Miyake himself, the whole project is about heightening the awareness of the space, a central theme in Mixology. Miyake's space, similar to the new Prada store in New York, is a space in which one of the central themes of G TECTS Mixology based space is the integration of multi-functionality. While Rem Koolhaas's design for Prada is predominantly retail centered space that converts into a theatrical space, Issey Miyake’s space promotes constant growth and evolution. By integrating sculpture, architecture, and retail G TECTS and Issey Miyake have successfully created a multifunctional Mixology based space.


Firm #3 Baron & Baron

Baron and Baron, a firm developed several years ago by Fabien Baron, is a truly Mixology based multi-media firm. Sixteen employees from distinct backgrounds such as architecture, film, design, theatre, and sociology among others come together to create a truly amazing production studio. Rather than stressing the differences between disciplines, these specialists encourage cross-sectional fertilization and integration of projects. Projects ranging form commercial spots, music videos, furniture, and architectural gestures immerge from the small studio in New York City. Mixology, although strong in theoretical and academic practice, often solicits the question: Is Mixology marketable and profitable in our commercially driven capitalistic system? Mixology has been proven profitable by Baron & Baron. Baron & Baron nets millions of dollars a year in commercial and retail income. If Mixology can work in the real world, then Mixology warrants proposals and explorations within academia as well.


University of Texas


Mixology and Radio Television Film

Following the principles of Mixology, I suggest the following academically centered proposals to the Department of Radio Television Film for the University of Texas and other institutions. This proposal, although specifically targeted towards augmenting the graduate level curricula, is expandable into the undergraduate curricula as well. More than any other mode of production, in order to experience producing a film, students need the assistance of many individuals. The quality of a project, although heavily dependent on the primary investigators, can be incredibly augmented through multi-departmental collaboration. The quality of movies depends on the people working on them. I propose that graduate filmmakers are encouraged and given the opportunity to work on an independent study basis with the department of Theatre and Dance and with Architecture students to assist in the production design of their projects. In addition, I also propose that projects with substantial interior production are allowed the opportunity to work with the lighting designers from the Department of Theatre and Dance to establish more efficient and affective illumination. Furthermore, after concentrating on the production of the projects at hand, I propose that the students work with the department of Music and Electronic Music to establish original scores for their projects. Using established pieces of music within a student project is often times cost prohibitive. After a score or piece of music is provided, it would be wise to provide the means by which the students could promote their projects with professionally designed graphics. I propose that professors within the Department of Art and Art History Design track provide the opportunity for their students to design and execute promotional graphic designs for students to distribute via press packets. By allowing for the integration of various departments and the sharing of facilities and cross-sectional projects, every participating student's education as well as their portfolio is instantaneously augmented. Mixology provides the means for student projects and student education to ascend to this next level.


Mixology and Advertising

The quality of work being produced within the School of Advertising has been extremely well received and garnished several prestigious awards. Numerous students have been awarded professional accounts through their graduate and undergraduate work at The University of Texas. I propose that the MBA's from the Red McCombs business school and the MFA's of the Department of Advertising should be given the opportunity to establish and run a small yet formidable advertising agency that is exclusively staffed by the students. By allowing the Business school to develop the proposal and maintain the business, the business school could run the business aspects of the agency and allow for the Advertising students to concentrate on the true experience of working with business clients. Mixology provides the notion that by integrating the two distinct academic disciplines, both the Business School as well as the Department of Advertising could benefit. The Business School currently allows their students to invest scholastic funds into the stock market on a semester-by- semester basis. Why should students be prevented from establishing a creative agency whose scholastic talent would rival that of many of the local firms? By establishing this agency, the work of the students participating would be thrust into the truly professional level and provide for a valid competition to the many competing agencies. With currently diminsihed creative budgets, companies would be much more inclined for the reduced rate and the professional work that they could receive from this academic agency.


Fashionable Mixology and its Growth Potential

Within the department of Textiles and Apparel resides the student fashion design division of the University of Texas. Annually students of this department produce hundreds of garments that are ultimately displayed through the year-end fashion show. Merely five years ago, the students were displaying their portfolios of garments within a small room seating 20 people. With collaboration and the principles and production values of Mixology, the annual spring fashion show in 2002 was held in the Frank Erwin Center hosting more than 3000 guests. Garments for the show were provided by the Department of Textiles and Apparel. Production design, production coordination, and filming came from the department of Radio Television Film. Sound came from Convergent Media as well as the Department of Music; lighting was provided by the Department of Theatre and Dance. Through Mixology, each student’s portfolio and academic experience were augmented to include the experience of working within the largest venue in the city of Austin, an opportunity not provided to individual departments or students. It is noted that in projects mirroring that of the real world, the collaboration and effort for a substantial production of this size required much time and effort on the part of the participators. Although this initial series of relationships is challenging to establish, successful efforts to collaborate and prescribe to cross-departmental Mixology are likely to increase and sustain themselves independently.


Mixology Final Thoughts

Bringing the discussion of mixology back into the theoretical realm, Benjamin encourages us to prescribe to the notion that in the modern era where new technology and increased masses are involved in politics and academics, the potential for the public and the proletariat to express themselves and be represented contrary to the status quo is highly possible and potentially revolutionary. Mixology can change the face of education permanently and positively.



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