Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘remix’

04 FEBRUARY, 2011

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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14 JANUARY, 2011

See Something Cite Something: A Fair Use Flowchart

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The social web era has introduced new challenges to attribution and citation. In an information system where content discovery is the currency of cool, not crediting your sources is a new form of piracy, plagiarism perpetrated against fellow publishers, driven perhaps by the misguided notion that there somehow isn’t “enough” — enough audience, enough interest, enough status — for everyone. The lack of attribution and source citation across the social web is not only one of our biggest pet peeves, but also one of the most serious issues that journalism has to sort out as it grapples with new publishing platforms. (In fact, we’re working on a forthcoming project in that very vein — stay tuned.)

So we were particularly thrilled to stumble upon this excellent See Something Cite Something flowchart guide to crediting your sources when you “see something cool on the Internet.”

Fair Use and Source Citation Online

Published just in time for yesterday’s World’s Fair Use Day, the flowchart is a tongue-in-cheek reminder to do the decent thing in what’s actually a very serious issue in publishing and content curation. Massive hat tip to co-creators Rosscott and H. Caldwell Tanner for doing what should’ve been done a long time ago.

via Coudal

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12 JANUARY, 2011

The Frontier Is Everywhere: A NASA Tribute

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Nearly two years ago, we noted that NASA could learn a thing or two about inspiring the public and rousing excitement around its monumentally important work. Now, one NASA fan has taken it upon himself to bridge the frustrating gap between NASA’s deeply inspirational work and the toothless official communication about it, remixing breathtaking footage of our planet and the cosmos with an audio excerpt from Carl Sagan’s iconic Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space.

For all our failings, despite our limitations and fallibilities, we humans are capable of greatness.” ~ Carl Sagan

For more of Sagan’s glorious vision for the future of mankind in the universe, don’t miss this fantastic 9-minute animated adaptation of Pale Blue Dot.

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06 JANUARY, 2011

Sound Unbound: DJ Spooky Explores Remix Culture

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We’re big proponents of remix culture as the great enabler and cross-pollinator of creativity. Musician, producer, filmmaker and author Paul D. Miller, better-known as DJ Spooky, is one of remix culture’s most vocal and avid beacons, a rare champion of both its creative practice and its sociopolitical theory. In Sound Unbound, he curates a provocative and intelligent collection of essays drawing on the last 500 years of collaborative creation across music, art and literature and tracing everything from the history of stop-motion photography to Muslim influences on early hip-hop.

From an introduction by BoingBoing co-founder and open culture advocate Cory Doctorow to Brian Eno‘s exploration of the history of bells in Europe as a regulator of time to an investigation of the evolution of copyright law by Google’s senior legal counsel, the book features a wide and fascinating spectrum of texts by 36 of today’s most compelling, controversial and creative thinkers on remix culture.

Accompanying the book is a 45-track collage of a CD featuring fantastic, unexpected remixes blending rare historical recordings with modern music to deliver gems like “The Western Land” (William S. Burroughs and Iggy Pop with Techno Animal), “Erratum Musical (Score for Three Voices)/Voyage for Three” (Marcel Duchamp/George Lewis and Aki Takase) and “Eolian Episode/Gnossiene” (James Joyce/Erik Satie).

You can sample audio clips from it here, here and here, and catch an exclusive interview with DJ Spooky about the project.

As an artist, I’m a gatherer of personalities. I like pulling together radically different people and seeing what everybody has to say, and just kind of let it be a social sculpture.” ~ DJ Spooky

Sound Unbound is as much a research project into humanity’s propensity for non-linear thinking and co-creation as it is bold affirmation for the democratization of media and what we call combinatorial creativity.

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