Brain Pickings

Everything is a Remix

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From hip-hop to Hitler in the bunker, or why skilllessness is no obstacle to creativity.

We’re big believers in the importance of remix culture as a petri dish for creativity. You may recall the excellent Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy panel with Shepard Fairey and Lawrence Lessig we covered last year, some striking proof that originality is not all it’s cracked up to be, the fantastic Walking On Eggshells documentary about intellectual property in the age of remix, as well as RIP: A Remix Manifesto — the ambitious feature-length documentary about copyright and remix culture. And evidence for it is everywhere — most recently, in yesterday’s rather amusing tornado autotune remix.

This week, we bring you Everything is a Remix — a compelling four-part video series by filmmaker Kirby Ferguson about the evolution of remixing and collaborative creation, from folk art to today’s most cutting-edge tech-assisted multimedia creations.

[Today] anybody can remix anything. Music, video, photos, whatever, and distribute it globally pretty much instantly. You don’t need expensive tools, you don’t need a distributor, you don’t even need skills. Remixing is a folk art — anybody can do it. Yet these techniques, collect the material, combining it and transforming it, are the same ones you use at any level of creation. You could even say that everything is a remix.”

The first part of the series was released this month, with the remaining ones coming by the end of the year. [UPDATE: Per Kirby’s comment, only part 2 will be out this year, the remaining four will be released within the first half of 2011.] To support the project — an important voice in the dialogue about creativity and intellectual property — consider making a donation. (And, while you’re at it, we aren’t turning those away either — Brain Pickings is funded almost entirely by reader donations.)

UPDATE: Part 2 is now available and, unsurprisingly, it’s excellent.

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