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remix redux

To get started thinking about remix, you might find it helpful to look at the Wikipedia entries on assemblage in composition and Lawrence Lessig’s book Remix.

Additionally, there are a lot of resources listed here and here.

Our conversation on remix started by looking at how remix was framed as the theme of CCCC 2010: Remix is there used as a metaphor for “changing it up,” “looking at things in a new way.” Not quite “remix,” but not too shabby.

According to the Wikipedia, “a remix is an alternative version of a song, made from an original version. This term is also used for any alterations of media other than song (film, literature etc.).” The notions of “remix” and “mashup” (a mix of two or more songs together) come from music. This has been reinterpreted and translated to image (think AdBusters or Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup cans or comic strip mashups) and video (think sweded movies, montage, changing the audio track of a video clip— stretching out to Auto-Tune the News, etc.). It can also extend to writing.

Digital appropriation
There are images, sounds, video clips and text aplenty online. Copying those and reworking them with software (or printing images and text and reworking them on paper) is one way to accomplish a remix.

So why do it?
Appropriation and remix are primarily used to make some kind of commentary—but it can also just be a lot of fun to work with a song or image you really like. But “why?” is an important question: why would or should your students should make a remix of something? What does that help them to accomplish?

Other issues surrounding remix

  • One concern regards copyright: does the work you and your students do constitute fair use? How will you work with and talk about copyright, Creative Commons, etc?
  • Does it make sense for your students to learn Photoshop or iMovie or GarageBand (or any of their open-source alternatives) to do remix work for your class? How might you introduce new software?
  • What about remixing text: how should students quote or cite what they’re using? Should they? What kinds of textual remixing could your students do?
  • Other questions/issues?

If you’d like this post in a PDF, here is the workshop handout.

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