Due to the rapid development and transformation of media technologies, we now live in a digitalised, web 2.0 era, which has empowered audiences to become active participants and content creators. As a result, a new culture has emerged: the remix and mash-up culture. Remix cultures entail ‘combinational creativity’. As Kirby Ferguson states:
Remix Culture ‘was made using these three techniques: copy, transform and combine. It’s how you remix. You take existing songs, you chop them up, you transform the pieces, you combine them back together again’ which results in a new creation.
Thus anything can be subjected to the effects of remixing and mashup —whether it be music, TV series, music or interviews. Everything can be copied, transformed and combined into new pieces of work. Pogo, a Perth based remix artist, uses the sounds and songs of classic films and morphs them into hit electronic jams and ‘original songs’.
In most of Pogo’s projects, the newly-created piece of music consists solely of the sounds he samples from those films or scenes, without additional, ‘external’ music or sound effects (Wikipedia, 2014). This activity attracts the argument that remix culture lacks creativity and is killing originality, which in turn infringes copyright law. However in my opinion, it involves skill and talent to be able to orchestrate different pieces of work to create something pretty amazing. Thus copyright poses a threat to such activities as it restricts free expression, creativity, culture, innovation and democracy (Collins, 2008). Furthermore, all stories may be subject to the same criticisms. According to Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch, all plots are a variation of one of seven basic themes. Therefore, we may as well argue that companies such as Disney should also be attacked for lack of originality.
We live an age of participation and produsage where everyone has the means to transcend the traditional boundaries and contribute their own personal essence to a greater piece of work. In my opinion, remix culture enriches and transforms different facets of original content to create something new and amazing which perhaps would not even be foreseen by the original producers.
Want more information? Click here for Alex Bruns’ four key universal principles on produsage and remix culture.
Popova, M, ‘How Remix Culture Fuels Creativity & Invention: Kirby Ferguson at TED’, Brain Pickings, viewed 3 May 2014 < http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/08/14/kirby-ferguson-ted/>
Wikipedia 2014, ‘Pogo (electronic musician)’, Wikipedia, viewed 3 May 2014 < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pogo_(electronic_musician)>.
Pogo 2010, Wishery – Pogo, video, YouTube, 4 November, viewed 3 May 2014 < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qs1bG6BIYlo>.
Ted 2012, Kirby Ferguson: Embracing the remix, video, YouTube, 10 August, viewed 3 May 2014 < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zd-dqUuvLk4>