When I think of remix, I generally think of music.
What I’ve quickly discovered is that remix culture extends far beyond beats and lyricism and basically defines the act of taking something and doing it differently. So here we are, exploring produsage, AGAIN. But stick with me, because produsage cultural practices are so accurate in defining the infinitely changing content, technology and audience dynamics of the 21st century. And the practice of remixing has roots in something I’ve written about before, copyright. I explained before how I thought that copyrights failure, rests in the fact that it isn’t grounded in common sense.
Mix (something) again.
This definition is three words of absolute accuracy. What I find in this definition is that the separation of ‘re’ and ‘mix’ allows such a good understanding of how broad this term is. Mix implies that (something) is a combination of many things, crossing and medium or genre. My favourite part of this definition is ‘again’. It so simply explains that creativity (as manifested through ‘something’) is a cycle, and gives me the feeling that this ‘again’ will be followed by many many more ‘agains’.
As Lessig argues “remix with “media” is just the same sort of stuff that we’ve always done with words. It is how Ben wrote. It is how lawyers argue. It is how we all talk all the time. We don’t notice it as such, because this text-based remix, whether in writing or conversation, is as common as dust.” Consider my natural association of the word remix with music, and question why does this word association exist?
The thing about music sampling and the rise of remix culture is that it was directly contiguous to the emergence of technological innovation which made media and content sharing much more accessible. So we think hey, “remix is that thing that happens when one persons makes a song and another person makes it different” when in actual fact, remix is a word given to an act of creation that has existed virtually forever. Or as Henry Ford put it… “I invented nothing new. I simply assembled the discoveries of other men behind whom were centuries of work … progress happens when all the factors that make for it are ready and then it is inevitable.”
Creativity simply takes root in what has come before. If humans were creative original beings in the truest sense, the possibility that cavemen created a design for the iPhone would exist.
Back to the music sampling and remix phenomenon, here Kirby Ferguson explores the challenges of originality and freshness in our world using the example of music sampling:
Ferguson touches on the absurd struggle between the laws that claim to protect a creative, Read/Write culture but fundamentally restrict the ability of creative minds to lawfully mash-up content, encouraging a Read Only culture that stands to tell us “look but don’t touch”.
Thankfully, the anonymity empowerment of the internet and certain creative minds still stand to tell the R/O culture, “watch me”.