gnihtyrevE sI A ximeR!
The first thing I did for weeks 13 & 14 was check out Kirby Ferguson’s web video series, Everything is a Remix, which is a really interesting take on how original concepts or pieces of media are used and used and used over again. His videos can all be found here!!
To start the process of remix analysis, I want to start with the quote Kirby used in Everything is a Remix part 2. He said, “Creation requires influence.” This is an important point here, because the Star Wars trilogy would not have been nearly the same without all of the pre-existing films that transformed the movies into what we know today.
A phenomenon from the third remix video really struck me as powerful: this phenomenon is known as multiple discovery. One example of this that I could really connect with due to my background in psychology and science, is the proposals of evolution by natural selection around the latter half of the 19th century. Two major figures proposing these ideas at roughly the same time were Alfred Russell Wallace, and Charles Darwin. The idea here is that multiple people or entities can unleash content of a very similar nature at around the same time and this has some very unique implications. One of these that many great figures have postulated, is that invention or discovery is inevitable because of momentous work done beforehand that has put all the right factors in place to make it possible.
Remixing is a phenomenon that is natural in my opinion. It is necessary to learn something through imitation, or modeling, at times. As Kirby mentions, we need to copy, before we can move on to transform and combine elements and/or media to make something unique. It is interesting that the line between original and unoriginal are quite fuzzy, indicating a subtle nature of the art of remixing, and one that is successfully done by constant research and further work to manipulate elements into something beautiful and worthwhile.
Finally Kirby’s fourth video is one that really speaks volumes about the evolution of remix, and how he perceives it as an art form.
I really liked the idea of this Intellectual Property that was created, that really conflicts with the much more realistic concept of ideas meshing and sharing bits and pieces of each other. The mention of the concept of loss aversion really brought me back to a research article on Environmentalism that found that people found it acceptable and easier to deny harm to the environment rather than doing good for the environment, which sort of plays into the emphasis we as humans place on loss and having things taken away from us, especially when they are our original ideas or creations.
I really thought the one example of the 2-second sample of the hip hop song was really absurd, and really illuminates how far entities and lawyers have gone with the issue of copyrights and patents. The figure that Kirby presented about the number of patent suits involving software being as high as 62% with as much as half a trillion dollars being lost as a result of these suits. All of this data illustrates the detriments of seriously restricting the use of media for remixing purposes. As an idea of how much things have gotten twisted since the late 1700′s, Kirby presents the original Copyright act and the original Patent act, and what I took from them is that they both aimed at harboring the art being created and desired the education of different people.
Another resource that I looked at that was pretty cool was the video trailer for Austin Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist.
He also emphasized that creativity is not a magical talent, but it is really a result of combining different resources and elements in unique ways that makes it what it is. Next up are some examples of remix…
A Few Remix Examples
Above is one really cool example of a remix/mashup. The person who created this video took a song featuring Kermit the frog and mixed a Miles Davis tune in with it to kind of slow it down and bring more jazz into it. The funniest thing is that these two elements are so unlikely to go together normally that they really flow together nicely which is odd, and amazing at the same time.
Another example, which I found pretty humorous, was the Don’t Tase Me Bro mashup seen below:
This news event was funny in itself, but to intermix MC Hammer with it is just legend, wait for it… DAIRY!
Something like this is definitely a remix because you are chopping up a specific video to include something that is meant to say like MC Hammer’s “Can’t touch this”, which in this case is, “Don’t tase me bro!”. Obviously it is a pretty crude and absurd example, but it accomplishes something unique and is a good, silly version of a mashup/remix.
And for a final example:
This clip takes a scene of Hitler and portrays him as a producer of “Downfall” and just does a great job of showing someone as evil and vicious as Hitler and changing the storyline to a Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown for use of parodies and such, which is totally ridiculous for the context of the clip, but really has some level of truth and seriousness underlying all the madness of the remix. This was really well planned and carried out, and I can definitely respect this as a remix and appreciate the different characteristics that make this a successful copy, transformation, and combination.