Love is all you need, worry vs. laughter, and why Plato’s got nothing on Jay Z.
Music is the quintessential vehicle for modern philosophy, a poetic gateway into our most deepest existential truths and sincerest beliefs. Add to it the visual treat of superb art direction, and you’ve got a powerhouse of cerebral-creative indulgence. That’s exactly what UK-based designer Mico Toledo does in his wonderful Music Philosophy project, bringing together three of our favorite things — music, philosophy and typography — in weekly typographic renditions of famously profound song quotes.
From Judy Garland to Jay Z, by way of Lennon and Dylan, the project captures in the minimalism of lyrical candor what ancient philosophers did in voluminous tomes — the timeless human quests for love, happiness and the meaning of life. And, okay, rock’n'roll.
The posters look fantastic as iPhone wallpaper — you can grab them for free right from the site. And for the t-shirt aficionados among us, some of the quotes are available on screen-printed tees.
See more of Toledo’s work on his Flickr stream. And if there’s a song lyric you’d like immortalized, you can submit it for consideration.
What legal anachronism has to do with Bob Dylan, Picasso and Family Guy.
We’re big proponents of remix culture here because at the core of our mission lies the idea that creativity is merely the ability to combine all the existing pieces in our head — knowledge, memory, inspiration — into incredible new things. Last year, we featured a brilliant panel with Shepard Fairey and CreativeCommons founder Lawrence Lessig titled Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy, followed closely by the excellent documentary RiP: A Remix Manifesto.
Today, we bring you Walking on Eggshells: Borrowing Culture in the Remix Age — a new documentary from Yale Law & Technology, offering 24 densely compelling minutes of insight into various facets of intellectual property in the age of remix. From appropriation to sampling to creative influence to reuse, the film is an anthology of conversations with some of today’s most notable remix artists and media theorists, exposing the central paradox of contemporary copyright law: How can something originally intended to incentivize people to create serve to hinder new forms of creativity?
You’re not gonna tell me ‘oh, that’s not creative because you’re using someone’s sampled piano note’ There’s no question that at some point using other people’s recordings is 100% your creativity, and at some points it’s 0% your creativity. Then it’s even trickier because sometimes it’s just this recognition — you recognize that this fits, and isn’t that recognition something amazing that maybe no one else recognized?” ~ DJ Earworm
Let’s just take Bob Dylan or somebody like that, whom we take for granted. Does he have a grocery list, an inventory of all of his influences, all the people he has plagiarized and taken from and sampled? These are things that are part of creativity. They are previous things, previous artworks, previous entities. They already exist. Nothing comes out of your ear, out of thin air.” ~ Joy Garnett
For those of us living on the remix side of things, the film’s thesis is hardly groundbreaking. But what makes it important is that it adds another voice to one of the most necessary and urgent creative conversations of our time, building on a narrative that will continue to bend an antiquated law until it breaks and makes room for a more inclusive, era-appropriate conception of creativity.
Deconstructing Bach, or what Noam Chomsky has to do with the history of jazz.
Back in 1973, American composer Leonard Bernstein offered a series of lectures at Harvard on music and the international grammar of music. Three years later, PBS televised the lectures, and they have since also been published in book format.
In 2007, the MIT linguist Noam Chomsky discussed the lecture series, saying:
I spent some time with Bernstein during the preparation and performance of the lectures. My feeling was that he was onto something, but I couldn’t really judge how significant it was.”
Bernstein was a master of breaking down music for lay audiences, and if you really want to watch him at work, we highly recommend revisiting his appearances on a 1950′s TV show called Omnibus. During his several visits to the program, a young Bernstein engagingly deconstructed Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (and also pieces by Bach) but then brought audiences into the world of jazz, opera, American musicals, and the conductor’s craft. Bernstein’s seven appearances, which anticipate his later Harvard lectures, have been collected in a newly released DVD collection available now on Amazon.
Dan Colman edits Open Culture, which brings you the best free educational media available on the web — free online courses, audio books, movies and more. By day, he directs the Continuing Studies Program at Stanford University. You can find Open Culture on Twitter and Facebook
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