remix culture: pulling it all together

Today’s class is the second day of students presenting their projects. Two students can’t make it; they’re home sick with h1n1 / swine flu, the poor things.

Many students have worried about how to define a remix. The best article we’ve found that does this is probably Eduardo Navas’ The Three Basic Forms of Remix: A Point of Entry, published in Remix Theory on April 26, 2007. He starts by looking at defining it in music: “A music remix, in general, is a reinterpretation of a pre-existing song, meaning that the ìauraîù of the original will be dominant in the remixed version” – so as remixes started, they were generally only remixing a single source. Navas then argues that there are three main kinds of remixes: extended, selective, or reflexive, where the remix “allegorizes and extends the aesthetic of sampling, where the remixed version challenges the aura of the original and claims autonomy even when it carries the name of the original; material is added or deleted, but the original tracks are largely left intact to be recognizable”. Extended or selective remixes might be similar to the homages we see on YouTube, where someone fawningly pastes in lots of images of their heros from a movie that are shown with a music track, while the reflexive remix would be the critical or parodic kind that’s common in political remixes. Other things than art can be remixed too – Neva found a discussion of how concepts and information can be remixed, and Elisabeth is writing about biological and genetic remixes.

[Elisabeth showed us another article with a further categorisation, which I can’t find now… will add later.]

Some students will have to discuss whether or not their examples are remixes at all – is the collaborative BlueSfear.com art worm that Neva‘s writing about a remix? Is She’s the Man a remix of Twelfth Night, as Franziska wants to argue?

Next week, Maria Engberg is coming from Sweden to talk about appropriation in avantegarde art of the twentieth century and how it relates to current digital culture. I’ve posted some readings she’ll be using in Studentportalen/My Space. The following week is the conference which you’re all welcome to attend (if you want lunch and/or dinner, there’s a fee), then we’ll be looking at your videos on November 12 and November 17. Your final paper and video are due on November 20, and we’ll have a premiere party in the evening of November 20, with a screening of all the videos!

29. October 2009 by Jill
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