Just like words to create sentences, songs and artworks have become building blocks for new ones. In his essay, Eduardo Navas proposes a future in which constant updates and connectivity will become ubiquitous. Read the first of five chapters. An shorter version of this article was published in the Norient book Seismographic Sounds (see and order here).
Cultural production has entered a stage in which archived digital material can potentially be used at will ; just like people combine words to create sentences (just like this sentence is written with a word-processing application), in contemporary times, people with the use of digital tools are able to create unique works made with splices of other pre-recorded materials, with the ubiquitous action of cut/copy & paste, and output them at an ever-increasing speed.  This is possible because what is digitally produced in art and music, for instance, once it becomes part of an archive, particularly a database, begins to function more like building blocks, optimized to be combined infinitely.  This state of affairs is actually at play in all areas of culture, and consequently is redefining the way we perceive the world and how we function as part of it. The implications of this in terms of how we think of creativity and its relation to the industry built around authorship are important to consider for a concrete understanding of the type of global culture we are becoming.
In what follows, I evaluate situations and social variables that are important for a critical reflection on how elements flow and are assembled according to diverse needs for expression of ideas and informational exchange. I begin by elaborating on what I previously defined as the regenerative remix , which is specific to the time of networked media, to then relate it to speech in terms of sound and textual communication. I then provide examples that make evident the future trends already manifested in our times.
Because digital media consists in large part in optimizing the manipulation of experience-based material that before mechanical reproduction went unrecorded, the aim of this analysis, in effect, is to evaluate how ephemerality is redefined when image, sound, and text are digitally produced and reproduced, and efficiently archived in databases in order to be used for diverse purposes. In other words, what happens when what in the past was only ephemeral is turned into an immaterial exchangeable element, and most often than not some type of commodity? To begin in what follows I analyze how the regenerative remix functions as a type of bridge to a future in which constant updates and pervasive connectivity will become ubiquitous in all aspects of life.
The Regenerative Remix
The regenerative remix did not exist prior to the time of new media – although the principles that inform it in terms of symbolic language certainly did.  It developed as part of computer technology and our increasing ability to archive and reuse material as we see fit. The regenerative remix throughout the early 2000s was most evident in the Web application mashup – a specific type of software mashup, which juxtaposes two or more applications that are constantly updated, meaning that it is designed to change according to data flow. Early software mashups consisted of textual information overlapped with maps.
Google continues to implement this principle to produce many of its online services, which would quickly become irrelevant if the information on the respective applications forming the mashup were not constantly updated. In this sense, the regenerative remix mirrors the flow of constant cultural production which has consistently helped shape the general understanding of history. At the time of this writing mashups are also integral to the development of apps increasingly used in mobile media. This tendency however is becoming ubiquitous in all media due to the pervasiveness of networked communication; arguably, at some point in the future, it may be present in all aspects of daily life.
Image, Sound and Text
Unlike other types of remixes, the regenerative remix does not always have a specific form; instead, it comes about when an element is recycled in a way that is measurable. This means that the source being repurposed is available in digital form. If its original form was analog then it goes through a process of digitalization in order to be properly measured; or meta-data on the subject is inputted for proper analysis. This is relevant for image, sound, text, or any combination of the three. The regenerative remix is completely dependent on archives designed to be accessed recursively. Social media fully depends on principles of the regenerative remix, but social media platforms are not necessarily software mashups; rather they implement software mashup principles when APIs are used or accessed to create a feed into or out of their platforms. 
Thus, social media can be considered part of the regenerative remix in terms of discourse. A person may notice or become aware of the originating sources that make up an element being used, but this awareness is not what validates such element as a cultural form. Instead, the cultural recognition of the source may be perceived as somewhat unimportant in the name of practicality – the validation of the regenerative remix lies in its functionality.
Software mashups are an obvious example of the regenerative remix because information constantly flows through them; the quantitative process of constant updating is an integral part of their functionality and validation.  As it will become evident below, this is not so different from how speech constantly flows; but unlike oral communication, elements within the regenerative remix can be tracked and analyzed because such material is data that is archived. Speech unless it is recorded disappears into thin air. It must be noted that as recording devices are increasingly everywhere, there may well be a time when all activity will be recorded and uploaded to databases for automatized analysis. This stage may develop in the future as computer power grows and a market for tracking all activity, not just the consumption and behavior of humans, becomes relevant to ongoing investment in entrepreneurial innovation.
Regenerative Remix is Preceded by Older Types
The regenerative remix has its foundation in three other types of remixes, that preceded the time of the digital: the extended (popularized in disco culture when producers decided to make songs longer by extending the instrumental parts of tracks), the selective (explored by DJ producers who modified, deleted and added elements to create aesthetically different compositions of a pre-existing song which was recognizable as a type of version) and the reflexive (a meta-composition that allegorizes its source, much along the line of the selective remix; it may borrow from the extended remix as well in order to attain autonomy). All three types of remixes are found in music since the late 1970s and early 80s, and continue to play an important role in the production of new music genres. 
The regenerative remix evolves out of the aforementioned meta-productions and borrows from them as needed to become pervasive in the flow of archived information in all forms as repurposed elements are released back into culture. Content can be produced anywhere and in any context. A person walking down any street, for instance, may notice something and decide to take a picture or video and immediately upload it to Facebook or Twitter; all of this in a matter of minutes, if not seconds. This opens the cultural space to major changes in how people come to relate to others in public.
The most evident example of this in the United States is reports of physical abuse of African Americans by (for the most part) white police officers.  Video uploads documenting police interaction with African Americans are pivotal documentation in the growing number of reports. The arguments on this are contentious and are of major concern to the United States on national and civic contexts. In other parts of the world, the regenerative remix played a major role during the Arab Spring, particularly in Egypt and Tunisia, where activists on the streets used social media to self-organize against their respective governments. 
It was also important for the Charlie Hebdo shooting in France, where social media once again was used to organize street walks in response to the deaths of cartoonists who satirized the prophet Muhammad, as well as to share images of people holding pens signifying the right to free speech; consequently, the hashtag «#JeSuisCharlie» went viral on Twitter for many days.  People with divergent and conflictive goals can also make use of constant updates. Isis, the self-named «Islamic State» has been able to exercise its influence with the adoption of social media to spread their radical views, aiming to recruit people beyond the region of the Middle East. 
In effect, people with all types of agendas come to shape the mediascape by uploading sound clips, videos, images or messages to any platform, whether it be social media, a personal website, or blog. Sharing media with a mobile device currently is as fast as writing a short e-mail or text to a person. Most recently it no longer is necessary to record to then send a file; one can now stream live while recording from mobile devices.  In this respect, social media platforms used to perform all of these activities function more like a regenerative engine that can only stay relevant as long as people keep uploading and sharing material.
The current state of regeneration and recyclability is possible because we are at a point in time when we can communicate locally or globally with anyone, and experience content using a mobile device, while walking, riding a train, or flying on an airplane. Constant updating, the key principle of the regenerative remix makes all of this possible. Its foundation is in the flow of sharing ideas, which in the past were not always archived but simply shared in a social context, and perhaps recorded in some textual form byway of reconstruction of events. But once mechanical recording devices were introduced the ephemerality of events became more complex. It is to the implications behind the recording of the immaterial (of experience) becoming archived that we must now turn.
This text was published first in a shorter version in the second Norient book «Seismographic Sounds». Click on the image to know more.
 This is a reasonable proposition as long as the person has access to the material. Some archives are evidently password protected. The person has to be also in a position to exert such an act, and this is linked to economics and class that define the person’s reality. I am not able to go into this issue in this text as its focus is on how sampling is functioning in terms of regeneration.
 This is already evident in the fact that the time it takes to produce just about any cultural apparatus has been shortened exponentially since the industrial revolution. Futurist Alvin Toffler makes a case with his term «The 800th Lifetime». The much criticized Ray Kurzweil, who currently is affiliated with Google, also makes a case for exponential growth, arguing that Moore’s Law will be superseded in 2020, and we will enter a new paradigm of innovation. See, Alvin Toffler, «The 800th Lifetime», Future Shock (New York: Bantam Books, 1970), p 9-10. Ray Kurtzweil, «Ray Kurzweil Announced Singularity University», Ted Talks, Last updated February 2009.
 My use of the term «building blocks» is influenced by the work of Manuel De Landa, who discusses language in relation to biology and geology. I refer to his work throughout this essay. See, Manuel De Landa «Linguistic History: 1000 – 1700 A.D.», A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History (New York: Zone Books, 1997), p 183–190.
 Eduardo Navas, Remix[ing] Theory, Remix Theory: The Aesthetics of Sampling (New York: Springer, 2012), p 101-108.
 For a concise account on this see Martin Irvine, «Remix and the Dialogic Engine of Culture: A Model for Generative Combinatoriality», The Routledge Companion to Remix Studies, eds. Eduardo Navas et al (New York: Routledge, 2015), p 15-42. Also see Scott H. Church, «A Rhetoric of Remix», The Routledge Companion […], p 43-53.
 Navas, Remix[ing] Theory, p 101-108.
 An expanded definition of these terms can be found in Remix[ing] Theory, p 65-66.
 The New York Times has an increasing list of articles on Police Brutality. See «Police Brutality, Misconduct, and Shootings», accessed May 7, 2015.
 A good account of how Twitter, in particular, played a role earlier in Iran is Lev Grossman, «Iran Protests: Twitter, the Medium of the Movement», Time Magazine, last updated June 17, 2009. For a concise account of how social media was used in the Arab Spring see David D. Kirkpatrick and David E. Sanger, «A Tunisian-Egyptian Link That Shook Arab History», New York Times, last updated February 13, 2011.
 Jane Martinson, «Charlie Hebdo: A Week of Horror When Social Media Came into Its Own», The Guardian, last updated January 11, 2015.
 Rick Gladstone and Vindu Goel, «ISIS Is Adept on Twitter, Study Finds», New York Times, last updated March 5, 2015.
 A few companies already offer this service. See the website livestream, accessed on May 6, 2015.