Brain Pickings

Everything is a Remix, Part 2

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We’re big believers in remix culture and the idea that creativity is combinatorial. Last fall, we featured the first installment in filmmaker Kirby Ferguson’s Everything is a Remix — a four-part documentary about the history of sampling and collaborative creation. This week, he’s back with the second episode, this time squaring in on movies to demonstrate that even the most critically acclaimed films, those hailed as masterpieces of originality, borrow heavily from other creative products — an idea we’ve already seen to be true in art, music, graphic design and animation.

We’ve got stories that have been told, retold, transformed, referenced, and subverted since the dawn of cinema.

To illustrate his point, Ferguson goes after the monolith of modern cult cinema, Star Wars, and traces its many surprisingly direct influences across everything from mythology to the Flash Gordon series of the 1930s to the work of iconic Japanese director Akira Kurosawa.

Even now, Star Wars endures as a work of impressive imagination. But many of its individual components are as recognizable as the samples in a remix.”

And in true meta fashion, Ferguson collaborated with Robert Grigsby Wilson on a visual “case study” dissecting Kill Bill and exploring the many other films that influenced Tarantino’s blockbuster.

Ferguson’s work is incredibly important in making sense of today’s ever-evolving ecosystem of creativity, originality and derivative work, and perhaps a step towards inspiring and informing new, attuned legislation that fosters remix culture and collaborative creation rather than hindering it, so please consider supporting him with a modest donation — we did.

via Daring Fireball

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