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Notes on “Everything is a Remix: The Force Awakens”

Everything is a Remix: The Force Awakens from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

Kirby Ferguson has released a fifth episode of Everything is a Remix, this time focusing on the work of J.J. Abrams, particularly his latest film Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In this occasion Ferguson goes into some detail of how different types of remixes are developed. He presents two key points that allow him to explain how Abrams’s remix approach is different from George Lucas’s. While doing this he also poses a question that appears to be inevitable once culture becomes aware of how the creative process has always functioned in terms of borrowing, citing, appropriating, and recycling material: is remix reaching its limits?

The first premise that Ferguson introduces is the concept of copying major story elements as opposed to directly copying scenes or shots.  He explains that the former is what Abrams currently does, and the latter is what Lucas did. This approach is what I have defined in various publications as cultural citation. [1] (For a specific explanation of how cultural citation functions see my previous notes on Ferguson’s first three episodes). Both Lucas and Abrams actually perform two different forms of cultural citation. Lucas developed his shots by close emulation, which is what bands such as Led Zeppelin did when they took blues compositions to develop their own songs , or what Quentin Tarantino continues to do in his films (See my first notes). Copying entire plot lines fall under the broad practice in literature usually discussed under the term of intertextuality, which is the ability to embed ideas within ideas to develop new works. This particular form of “borrowing” or appropriating is difficult to track because it is more about being aware of references held in one’s memory–in other words, one must know the history prior to viewing the work in order to notice the resemblances that would go unnoticed for a person who is marginally familiar with the subject. But with the increase of material being produced even in this broad manner and our ability to track all types of recyclability with quantification of data, this more broad form of immaterial borrowing is becoming more obvious to people who normally would not worry about such details in the creative process.

The other premise that Ferguson presents is how remix functions in large part with what he refers to as “familiar.” He actually contrasts this term with the “novel” to develop a diagram of his own that shows that the most successful remixes (if we are thinking in commercial terms primarily, according to his conclusion in this episode) are the ones that fall right at the middle of both the familiar and the novel.

Ferguson_Familiar_Critical

Figure 1: image capture from Ferguson’s “Everything is a Remix: The Force Awakens,” at minute 6:56.

The familiar and the novel resemble my own definition of the framework of culture, in which I explain that there are two layers. The first layer is where something is introduced (Ferguson calls this “novel”) and the second layer is where that which is introduced attains cultural value and is then ripe for remixing (Ferguson calls this “familiar.”) The diagram towards the end of his episode (see figure 1 above) visualizes in different fashion what I presented in past articles with various diagrams of the framework of culture (See figure 2 below).

FrameworkRemix4Frs

Figure 2: For an explanation of these diagrams see “The Framework of Culture” and “Culture and Remix: A Theory of Cultural Sublation”[2]

This comparison of terms in a way appears to be a remix of remixes in itself since Ferguson and I may well be part of “multiple discovery” a process he explains at the end of his third episode in the series. It leads us back to the question on whether or not remixing is reaching its limits. Ferguson argues that remix can be successful when it is used in a balanced approach when it takes enough of the familiar and enough of the novel in order to present a work that is entertaining to the audience. The question that remains with Ferguson’s proposition is if the novel and the familiar as he presents them are reconfigured to become a type of formula to develop remixes that will be more likely successful? (According to how he defines success.) Can this be possible one may ask, when it is well known that the “novel” is that which resists to become part of the mainstream (or using his term “familiar”), even when parts of it may clearly be incorporated? This question is likely to remain unanswered as it has proven to be part of the drive for creativity by those who remain on the margins and decide to develop a vision of their own. Such individuals are at the periphery, and to be there, the price to question a more balanced approach (between the familiar and the novel) appears inevitable. This may well be a residue of the well known debates of high and low culture beginning in late modernism well into postmodernism.

In terms of at least popular success, it appears that Ferguson’s very own series may be a good example of balancing the familiar with the novel, as he has become an influential figure in popularizing the importance in understanding how remix (as a “novel” creative form) functions well when it is balanced as he explains in his fifth episode. More importantly his short films help make a case to understand why it is crucial that we not only become aware of the creative process, but also that we practice cultural production in fair fashion. On this last point Ferguson appears to give general references to the sources that have influenced him whenever he can, although one may wonder if some of his references go unacknowledged and credit is not attributed to those people from whom he has borrowed to develop his arguments? Slippage of accreditation on his part may be unavoidable given that his documentaries in the end are quite general and borrow from literally hundreds of people who have contributed to the main premises he taps into. This question is more than crucial among individuals doing in-depth research.

Also, the reality is that cultural production appears to be moving towards the speed of speech (we are producing media at the moment based on how fast we may type and may surpass this very soon to the speed of thought years from now). It is becoming more and more difficult to keep track of all things we would need to cite in order to be fair to those who have performed important research that informs our opinions and points of view. [3] But doing this remains important because on one level, one may not recognize a remix if the citation is not recognizable (this may not be so important if one is not interested in making sure people know that what one is producing is a remix). In terms of developing new arguments, it is a matter of ethical etiquette for one can always claim that one reached certain conclusions based on independent research, and this is where the community is important. Perhaps the most basic automated peer reviewer may be Google, who can show us who has written what fairly well. So, loss aversion (another term by Ferguson) may become reconfigured, perhaps even acceptable, or strategically displaced, in the future and the ethics behind such omissions may change as the concept of the writer as author shifts into new forms.

The downside of Ferguson’s series as much as I like it, and I particularly like “Everything is a Remix: The Force Awakens,” is that all episodes may well be shooting for the middle of the road towards that balance that Ferguson considers “explosive.” The challenge for future episodes in the series is whether or not they will become too formulaic, a bit like the Star Wars films are likely to become a successful template for money making, now that Disney owns the franchise. The challenge for remix as a practice in the end is to remain pushing itself by reinventing new forms and ideas with what is already invented–in order to make the remix truly different and new; and if it is done really well, such work could be novel, functioning at the edges of the first layer of the framework of culture. If remix stops doing this, it may well reach its limit, but something else will likely evolve out of such possible exhaustion–and that will be the difference of remix according to its very own repetition.[4]

 

[1] I began discussing the principles of this term in 2009. The basic definitions were published in 2012 in my book Remix Theory: The Aesthetics Sampling. A more developed version can be found in my article “Culture and Remix: A Theory of Cultural Sublation (2014).” Earlier versions of this can be found in “The Framework of Culture: Remix in Music, Art, and Literature (2013),” and “The New Aesthetic and the Framework of Culture (2012).”

[2] There is a fifth diagram that shows how meta-loops are at play in our current state of production. See “Culture and Remix: A Theory of Cultural Sublation” (2014)

[3] I go over the implications of the ever-increasing speed of production in “Regenerative Culture,” (2016).

[4] For the relation of difference, repetition and remix see David J. Gunkel’s Book, Of Remixology (2015).

“Political Remix Video: An Interview with Dr. Colin Gardner” by Diran Lyons

Diran Lyons has been producing political remixes for some time. I recently received a tweet of his latest mashup “Political Remix Video: An Interview with Dr. Colin Gardner” which combines selected clips from Lyons’s own previous mashups with an interview with Dr. Gardner, who is professor and chair in the department of art at UC Santa Barbara. Following his previous approach, Lyons’s video mashup questions the way we perceive the moving image, which in this case is redefined as the time image by Dr. Gardner, according to philosophical writings on film by the late French philosopher Gilles Deleuze. The time image questions our expectations of cause and effect; it is an image that reminds us to look beyond the surface of movement. Based on this premise, Lyons goes on to show clips from several films, mass media, and speeches by politicians on the left and the right of American politics. The result is a mashup that takes no sides but questions all things persons could possibly assume about power and absolute positions on right and wrong.

Routledge Companion to Remix Studies Now Available

I just received in the mail a hardbound copy of The Routledge Companion to Remix Studies. It’s been such a long process. Editing 41 chapters has been quite an endeavor, but a good one. I would like to thank my co-editors, xtine Burrough and Owen Gallagher, who are just amazing collaborators. This book could not have been published on time had it not been for our mutual diligence in meeting deadlines. I also want to thank the contributors who were just amazing during the long editing process (for a full list of authors see the dedicated site for the book: Remix Studies).

I really hope that researchers, academics and remixers find the anthology worth perusing.

More information on the book:

Routledge: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415716253/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Routledge-Companion-Remix-Studies-Companions/dp/041571625X

 

Analysis of the Films In Cold Blood, Capote, and their Corresponding Novel and Biography

InColdBloodCapote

Figure 1: selected shots from Capote (left) and In Cold Blood (right).

Interdisciplinary Digital Media Studio is a class in the IDS program in The School of Visual Arts (SoVA) at Penn State in which students are introduced to methodologies and conceptual approaches of media design. For the class, I taught them how to research and develop design presentations with the implementation of data analytics for moving images and texts.

One of the assignments consisted in analyzing the films Capote (2005) directed by Bennett Miller and In Cold Blood (1967) directed by Richard Brooks in relation to their corresponding books, Capote by Gerald Clarke and In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. We viewed the films in class, and read, both, the novel and the biography. The class then analyzed the respective books by doing word searches, analysis of specific passages, and creative approaches by the respective authors, to then evaluate those searches in relation to the films.  For the films I provided montage visualizations, which are selected screen shots representative of all the scenes (figures 2 and 3).

Read the complete entry at Remix Data

Timeline of Pulp Fiction: Actual Version and Chronological Edit, by Eduardo Navas

PulpThumbOf4

Figure 1: four shots from around a third into the film. Left is original edit, Right is chronological edit

During the Fall of 2013, I analyzed Pulp Fiction with my students in my Video Art Class for the School of Visual Arts at Penn State. One of their assignments was to produce  a video and then re-edit it to tell the same story but in different order, and therefore explore how aesthetics play a role in experiencing a narrative.   We went over a few examples that would give them ideas, some of the links I provided as resources included Pulp Fiction and Memento.

Read the full analysis on remix data.

Hip-Hop to Dubstep: International Music Styles and the Remix, Part 4 of 7

Above: “Pump Up the Volume – Part 1, The History of House Music”, included in the resource selections below.

List of online resources and music selection for week 4 of Hip-Hop to Dubstep, taught during the summer of 2013 at The New School’s  Media Studies, Department of Communication. I will be releasing brief notes based on my class lectures in the near future. If interested in looking at the actual class webpage with all the weekly selections at once, feel free to peruse this link: http://navasse.net/NS/NCOM3039A/. My notes will not be available on the class webpage, only on each corresponding entry here on Remix Theory. Please note that links may become broken. If and when this happens, the best thing to do is to search for the source by name. And do let me know if anything is broken and I will look into it.

View:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Week 4
Hip-Hop/House Music/Techno
June 24 – 28, 2013

Music Selection and Relevant Links:

Modulations – History Of Electronic Dance Music Documentary
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cveYosINMQM

Pump Up The Volume – Part 1 – The History Of House Music
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcpWFiriv3w
Pump Up The Volume – Part 2 – The History Of House Music
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtSmjnumwew
Pump Up The Volume – The History Of House Music Documentary PT 3:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxVNW5Fh0g8

Rave – BBC house music documentary from 1992 [1/3]:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaLSZy8AfSw
Rave – BBC house music documentary from 1992 [2/3]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuf8dwxdhZ8
Rave – BBC house music documentary from 1992 [3/3]:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDUpxze2II4

Krautrock – The Rebirth of Germany (BBC Documentary) – Full Version
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHUwkYkn_kA

 

Hip Hop Music Selection:

LA Dreamteam – “Rockberry Jam” (1985)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDd3N_uGlKo

Rock Master Scott And The Dynamic Three – “The Roof Is On Fire” (1984)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlAUAIFo7CM

Beastie Boys – License to Ill (1986)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYMSa5PoRK8&list=
PL25B9AE950D56705F

Erik B and Rakim – Paid in Full (Album, 1987)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8Ot0jDQpYY
ErikB and Rakim – “Paid in Full” (Remix)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7t8eoA_1jQ
Sample sources for bass-line and drums:
Dennis Edwards – “Don’t Look Any Further”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CH3rx8LhrQo
Soul Searchers – “Ashley’s Roach Clip” (break happens around 3:35)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XNr06zoKYg

LL Cool J – “Going Back to Cali” (1988)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdizL4on-Rc
LL Cool J – “Illegal Search” (1990)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nnb-TL-5oY

EPMD – “You Gots to Chill” (1988)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUGisre9xNU
Sample taken from Zapp & Roger’s “Bounce to the Ounce”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lK6wOG_aDl8

Boogie Down Productions (KRS-One) (1989)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4LAb777Dtg

Ice Cube – AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted (Album, 1990)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOhkBOsXoB0

Public Enemy “Night of the Living Baseheads” (1988)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyR09SP9qdA

A Tribe Called Quest – The Lowend Theory (1991)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEuZWegc34w
A Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders (1993)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmaBXE17S00

Wu – Tang Clan – Enter The Wu. Tang – 36 Chambers (Full Album, 1993)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuZVbShtNeU

Dre Dre – The Chronic (Album, 1992)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhOXih3EhF4

2pac – 2Pacalypse Now (Album, 1991)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0wqYeC2J5k

2pac – “Changes” (1992, remixed and released in 1998)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nay31hvEvrY
Samples from Bruce Hornsby and the Range – “The Way It Is” (1986)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOeKidp-iWo

Nas sampled 2Pac’s “Changes” for his song “Black President” (1998)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxdW5ImUy1s

Notorious Big – Ready To Die (Full Album, 1994)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4moqaKUwbY
Biggie Smalls – “One More Chance”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNynDNPQR0g
Biggie Smalls – “One More Chance Remix” (1995)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=132OAFRqoFI
Remix samples from Debarge’s 1993 song “Stay with Me” (sample starts around 2:36)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jc4X7tLYqNs

 

House Music Selection (early house):

Anita Ward – “Ring my Bell” (1979)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URAqnM1PP5E

Skatt Brothers – “Walk the Night” (1979)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Q3PkEjKMLc
Extended remix:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTH1dW3_E1Y

The Salsoul Orchestra. “Ooh, I Love It (Love Break)”. 12″ Original Remix Shep Pettibone. (1982)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkDmbJegNpw
Short version (break mix):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynSP04nUThk
(Note that in the above mixes you can already hear the drum arrangement that Frankie Bones would come to perfect with drum machines.)

First Choice- “Let No Man Put Asunder” (1983)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKOY6xpir90

 

House Music Selection (house proper):

Chip E. – “Time to Jack” (1986)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cUpalmjMZ0

On The House – “Move Your Body” (1986)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enyh56-Q_Cs
(First record to use a piano in house music. Became a house anthem because it uses the word “house” in the lyrics)

Mr. Fingers (Larry Heard) – “Can You Feel it?” (1986)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeiH9Mm0E5Y

Farley Jackmaster Funk – Jack’n The House (1987)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZFw2aLFX0E

Ralphi Rosario – You Used To Hold Me (1987)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCVP8-2-DzQ

Phuture – “Acid Trax” (1987)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKbLI8EufNo

Raze – “Break for Love” (1988)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axvKAXi8N8M

“Work it to the Bone” (1988)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gg-CPoLKnDo

Jungle Brothers – “I’ll House You” (1989)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFGhQSiGHWM
(The above crosses over to what came to be called “hip-house.” Some house purists did not like rap combined with house. Often times only the dub or instrumental versions of this record was remixed on the dancefloor.) One of various intrumental versions that were released:
“Richie Rich Instrumental”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0k1qLGVjsM

Ten City – That’s The Way Love Is (Underground Mix, 1989)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99jHPfkZX3Y

 

Techno Selection:

Cibotron, “Clear” (1983)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGqiBFqWCTU
“Clear” Frankie Bones (founder of House music) Remix:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkrk5Gzo_2A
Also listed under electro-Funk for Week 3
Cibotron, “Cosmic Cars” (1983)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOBUqCIXXWY

Model 500 “No UFOs” (1985)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNz01ty-kTQ

Derrick May – “Nude Photo” (1987)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIx32rZdENM
(2004 Remix)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7HiL2m63pQ

Derrick May – “Rhythim Is Rhythim” – Strings of Life (Original Mix, 1987)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiCEGXGm-z0

Inner City – “The Good Life” (1988)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUwfOOdg4eE
Inner City – “Big Fun” (1988)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omfiVkkJ1OU
Inner City is a crossover act, and is not necessarily considered a techno group, even though Kevin Saunderson is one of the three founders of Techno in Detroit. The songs by Inner City were also mixed with Freestyle and some Electro-Funk, depending on the club.

Joey Beltram – “Energy Flash” (1990)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALsHox5sYCk
Considered a pivotal track in defining the sound of techno particulary in Europe. It is one of the compositions that also opened the door for the aesthetics of trance. Beltram considered his composition to be part of house music, but it eventually became labeled as techno in Europe for selling purposes.

Aphex Twin – Didgeridoo (1992)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5UBYOv1G9A

Carl Cox – “The Player” (1996)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXlgIpcjfxs

Jeff Mills – Metropolis (Full Length, 2001)
Inspired by the film Metropolis
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4V7lSNezJs&list=PL45E81DDD3837F6B1

Richie Hawtin – “DE9 | Closer To The Edit” (2001, full-length)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MSymIy9eCY

Juan Atkins – “Flash Flood” (2012)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJ8fszlzX-Q

Hip-Hop to Dubstep: International Music Styles and the Remix, Part 2 of 7

Above: Skatalites Authentic, included in music selections below.

List of online resources and music selection for week 2 of Hip-Hop to Dubstep, taught during the summer of 2013 at The New School’s  Media Studies, Department of Communication. I will be releasing brief notes based on my class lectures in the near future. If interested in looking at the actual class webpage with all the weekly selections at once, feel free to peruse this link: http://navasse.net/NS/NCOM3039A/. My notes will not be available on the class webpage, only on each corresponding entry here on Remix Theory. Please note that links may become broken. If and when this happens, the best thing to do is to search for the source by name. And do let me know if anything is broken and I will look into it.

View:  Part 1

Week 2
June 10-14, 2013
Dub Music/Hip-Hop

Music selection and relevant links:

Links used to contextualize why everything is not a remix, but why the concept of remixing has become popular to discuss recycling of material in forms beyond music:

Everything is a Remix, Part 1
http://vimeo.com/14912890
Everything is a Remix, Part 2
http://vimeo.com/19447662

 

Historical resources:

History of Jamaican Music Pt 1
(Discusses ska and rock steady)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4J4P6ozT0g
BBC Reggae The Story of Jamaican Music Programme 2 Rebel Music
(Discusses reggae and briefly dub)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvycRljrAH4
BBC Reggae The Story of Jamaican Music Programme 3 As Raw As Ever
(Internationalization of Jamaican music)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnBCnX_Hctk

Dub Stories (full documentary): View the first half. The second half of the documentary is about Dub in France :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6Eet-sm8Yw

Deep Soul The Up Rising Of Motown Part 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkd1c4T5HiE
Deep Soul The Up Rising Of Motown Part 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xe9NGrEJQEE
Deep Soul The Up Rising Of Otis Redding Part 3
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXGallmBcTA
Deep Soul The Up Rising Of Otis Redding Part 4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jFXR6o639g

 

Music Selection from Jamaica, 1960s:

Ska:

Ernest Ranglin, “Liquidation”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJ_iZ9iBYBM

Skatalites – Ska Authentic (Album, 1964)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4kH8PvwDyM&list=
PL0A7039D867DDDA2A

Skatalites – Simmer down (1964)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9HyXc4e7Qc
Youtube’s Music Selection of Skatalites and Ska:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwPLeczyhKg&list=RD02O9HyXc4e7Qc

Rock Steady:

John Holt & The Paragons – “I’ve Got To Get Away” (1968)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRDILYQqUkM
YouTube’s Music Selection of The Paragons:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECwMLVUt67c&list=
PL22729AAD8001A0B9

The Melodians – “You Don’t Need Me” (1968)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHe3owGT7iw

Studio 1 recordings:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fCJEmh0G1g&list=RD02uHe3owGT7iw

Reggae (See England)

Dub (mainly 1970s):

Lee Perry and King Jammy – “Rude Boy”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y87id6TGopc

King Tubby & Augustus Pablo – “Ruler Fi Dub”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIhaL04aJpI&noredirect=1
YouTube’s Music Selection of King Tubby:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvYSYOKFCbk&list=RD025iQxCG1c39I

YouTube Music Selection of Mad Professor:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BU75iSYyphY&list=RD02ctnz-GciFQ0

 

Music Selection from England, 1960s/70s:

Reggae (recordings took place in England, or were made popular internationally through England, with close ties to Jamaica):

Jimmy Cliff, “The Harder They Come”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGE4dnrPPZQ
Jimmy Cliff & others, YouTube’s Selection:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18EAqHx2lMk&list=RD02ixBo3niO_Do

Bob Marley – Catch a Fire (First Album, 1973):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDadSKdegBo&list=PL9BDE49614C503F66
YouTube Music Selection of Bob Marley:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=us7hfASz0g4&list=RD026QC_ZMWTxJU

Bob & Marcia – “Young, Gifted and Black”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubDVUQon5BE
Bob & Marcia – “Really Together”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mi6LDdBdvzo

 

Music Selection from the United States, 1960s-70s:

The Supremes “Baby Love” (1964)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23UkIkwy5ZM

Marvin Gaye – “Easy Living” (1964)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzyeHRQdTHQ
YouTube Music Selection of Marvin Gaye:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARWFDoADlqk&list=RD02SzyeHRQdTHQ

James Brown – “The Payback” (1973)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IST6qRfVqwY

Motown Music Selection:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTe06PrXwo4&list=RD02–jWPzNNdN4

 

(Looking ahead to week 3)
How concepts of Dub and the selector & MC/Deejay were popularly introduced in pop music:

Chic – “Good Times” (1979)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8g6bUe5MDRo

Sugarhill Gang – “Rapper’s Delight” (1979)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diiL9bqvalo

The Framework of Culture: Remix in Music, Art, and Literature, by Eduardo Navas

Image: The four diagrams of The Framework of Culture. Each is discussed below.

Note: This text was commissioned for the exhibition Reuse Aloud, taking place at the NewBridge Project Space, Newcastle, England; and broadcasting 24 hours a day on basic.fm throughout March, 2013. Many thanks to the curators Will Strong and Rosanna Skett for commissioning the text.  A recorded version is also part of the exhibition.

An earlier version of this text was presented as my keynote speech for Remixed Media Festival in NYC.  In that occassion I only focused on literature. The version for Reuse Aloud was revised to include art and music as well. My thanks to Tom Tenney, director of the NYC festival for giving me the opportunity to test my ideas in front of a very receptive audience.

This text can also be downloaded as a PDF, which is friendlier for print, or for reading on tablets: NavasFrameNC_Web

Introduction

We live in a time when the self-awareness of recycling of material and immaterial things is almost taken for granted. I state almost because, as the following analysis demonstrates, the potential of recycling as a creative act in what we refer to as remix is in constant friction with cultural production. Consequently, the purpose of this essay is to demonstrate the importance of remix as a practice worthy of proper recognition exactly because of its ability to challenge the mainstream’s ambivalent acceptance of aesthetic and critical production that relies on strategies of appropriation, recycling, and recontextualization of material.

Proper recognition is only worthy when it is an attestation of a particular achievement, which can only come about through struggle. Arguably a type of struggle that is certainly recognized and even celebrated quite often, (which admittedly makes for romantic narratives) is the basic human struggle: the will to live. We can think of struggle here as a term spanning across all types of activities, from war to natural disasters—many which are now commonly shared all over the world.

But to begin with a more basic premise, struggle in its most abstract form can simply consist of reflecting on the pain of self-awareness; of having the burden of knowing that we just exist and, for the most part, will do anything to make sure that we will exist for as long as possible. Many of us are willing to find ways to extend our lives before we take our last breath. Others, admittedly, will struggle to leave this world as soon as possible; thus, it may be suicide the subject of struggle in such cases. But this brief reflection on struggle as a humanistic preoccupation is mentioned because we diligently have extended it to everything we produce. It is an important ingredient in what we may call progress.  As romantic as it may sound, human beings have the tendency to struggle in order to be better; whatever that means. And as we have grown as a complex global society, we have been able to extend our struggle on to and through media.

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Images from the Exhibition Three Junctures of Remix

Image from Cali2’s Flickr stream. From left to right: Mark Amerika, Giselle Beiguelman, Elisa Kreisinger, Arcangel Constantini, Trish Stone, and Eduardo Navas

The opening at Calit2 on January 17 was a complete success.  Many thanks to Jordan Crandall and the gallery committee for their support in the realization of the exhibition. A special thanks to Trish Stone and Hector Bracho and the entire Calit2 team for all their help.  It was truly a great experience.  The discussion panel, which took place just an hour before the official opening will be online very soon, in the meantime I want to point out that there are lots of great pictures on Flickr for anyone interested to view.

More Soon,

Eduardo

Not a Remix–Nor a Sampling: Why Fareed Zakaria’s Plagiarism is Unacceptable

Image: Huffpost

By Eduardo Navas

Note: This entry was updated on August 19, 2012 with an extra commentary at the end of the main text.

As an educator in higher education and researcher specializing in remix culture and authorship, when I first learned about Zakaria’s admission to plagiarism, I was very disappointed in him, and thought that there was no way around it, that his admission of plagiarizing parts of Jill Lepore‘s work on gun control written for the New Yorker puts into question his intellectual integrity.

I thought that his apology was quick and to the point, but that somehow it was not enough. I thought that it was necessary for Zakaria to come forward and explain in as much detail as possible the reasoning for his behavior. And I thought that I wasn’t alone in hoping for this to happen–that if an actual explanation was delivered, it would all serve the constructive purpose of discussing the seriousness of plagiarism with students while providing a concrete example of a public intellectual who committed such an unacceptable act.

I thought that Zakaria should give an extensive explanation, first, simply because he owed it to his audience and readers, who have come to respect his work at CNN, Time and The Washington Post; and second because it would inform, and therefore become, admittedly, an unusual contribution to the debates on intellectual property during a period when younger generations are prone to plagiarize due to the easiness of copying and pasting.

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