Awesome Stuff: Everything Is Still A Remix

from the always-has-been,-always-will-be dept

Over the past few years, we’ve made many references to Kirby Ferguson’s excellent online documentary Everything Is A Remix, which makes a clear case for the fact that the acts of copying and remixing are at the very heart of human creativity, and no creative work exists in a vacuum. This month, Everything Is A Remix is using Kickstarter to celebrate its fifth anniversary.

The Good

If you’re a fan of Techdirt, there’s a good chance you’re a fan of Everything Is A Remix. It was originally released in four parts, but for the anniversary is now available as a combined video remastered in HD. If you haven’t seen the documentary, now’s the time to watch it — and if you have, now’s the time to watch it again (it’s embedded above, in place of a pitch video.)

Then, whether you’re a new or an old fan, you can celebrate that fandom by backing the Kickstarter and picking up one of the new t-shirts, posters or both. In addition to a bold, simple “Everything Is A Remix” design, there’s the option of a shirt or a poster sporting a very nice new design showing off the elements of creativity:

There are some high-roller options for megafans with cash to spare, too, including bringing Kirby’s live presentation version of the documentary to your event.

The Bad

When I first saw this Kickstarter, I got excited about what I thought was going to be a sequel to EIAR, following up on all the developments of the past five years and all the new, incredible examples of remix art (and the conflicts over it). Alas, that is not the case, and the primary purpose of this Kickstarter is to celebrate the anniversary and promote the new HD edition. But all is not lost, as the creator has something else interesting for us to see…

The New

Kirby Ferguson’s new project is another documentary series on a whole new topic, and everyone who backs this Kickstarter also gets a full subscription to that. This Is Not A Conspiracy Theory, the first episode of which is free on YouTube, is shaping up to be a fascinating and unique approach to the topic of conspiracy theories. Starting with an exploration of their history since the assassination of JFK, the series makes the case that conspiracy theories are a reaction to (and a distraction from) the more nebulous forces that really control us: systems and technologies that we built, which have no motives and are neither benevolent or malevolent, but which can push us in different directions by the very nature of their design. The first episode is dedicated to laying out this premise and is definitely worth a watch, and the second and third are available DRM-free with a one-time subscription fee or by backing the EIAR anniversary Kickstarter. There’s no fixed schedule for the remaining episodes, but the series will clock in at 80 minutes once it’s complete.

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Comments on “Awesome Stuff: Everything Is Still A Remix”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Instead of coming here to introduce discussion topics why not start your own blog? Hasn’t it occurred to you that perhaps people aren’t interested in coming here to see you talk about your own thing that’s off topic and that they came here to read about and discuss whatever the topic on hand is for the thread? No one is stopping you from starting your own blog if you wish to introduce topics to talk about. Why freeload off of Mike’s audience and derail the conversation? It’s kinda selfish don’t you think? Shows what kinda character you are. Makes it more difficult for you to be taken seriously. Reflects poorly on your position.

Is the reason you refuse to start your own blog because you can’t make it into a success? Is it that no one really cares about what you have to say? Is coming here instead of starting your own blog to introduce topics an admission to the fact that your blog would be unsuccessful because no one cares about your opinion? Yet this is supposed to be a democracy and you want to corrupt the legal system to force your very self serving minority will on the majority. To do so the likes of you have focused their attention on politician buying and secretive meetings with politicians. Prove me wrong. Start your own blog. Grow your blog. Make it successful. Show us that you can build a large audience of people that agree with you. Because all you have done so far is trolled a large audience that disagrees with you and made yourself look foolish in the process.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I think a lot of people here hate pirates as well. I would guess it’s really more of a hatred towards the current state of copyright, and that it doesn’t help promote arts and education but holds them back. (Which you would know if you watched the video.) Remember people, this isn’t a two team fight. It’s not “You’re with me or against me.” or “Black and White”. As with most things in life there’s a lot of grey area in between each “side”.

Leigh Beadon (profile) says:

Re: NOT everything is a remix

True “original thought” can only exist if you believe in the divine or supernatural – which some do, and so be it. But unless you believe a thought was handed to a human from a god or a literal muse, then what is that thought? It’s a product of the input processing machine that is the human brain.

Nobody’s claiming that some things aren’t, on a certain level, “more original” (for lack of a better word) than others. Definitely there are some works that make a point or express an idea or evoke a feeling in such a way that it seems like nobody has ever done it exactly like that before. Other works can be the opposite – weakly made points that feel like poor shadows of things that expressed the same ideas before.

But the point is that both such works, and all in between, are fundamentally the products of the outside world filtered through the human brain – every place a creator has seen, every conversation they’ve had, every story they’ve read and song they’ve heard, plays a role in the mental generation of every single thing they create. And the important thing is to understand that fundamental truth about creativity, and stop trying to draw hard lines between “original” and “unoriginal” work – or, I suppose, if you so choose, take the alternative and believe that some creativity comes from superhuman/divine sources.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: NOT everything is a remix

…every place a creator has seen, every conversation they’ve had, every story they’ve read and song they’ve heard, plays a role…

Weirdly, I think we’ve come back to STTNG’s “Darmok” yet again.

Data: The Tamarian seems to be stating the proper names of individuals and locations.
Picard: Yes, but what does it all mean?

Metonymy and synecdoche are the Kontakt and Deckadance of language. Genre is the key signature, and tropes are chord progressions.*

Not to mention that humor and poetry are pretty much founded on the idea of remixing (subverting) shared cultural references and imagery. Before I start rambling, I shou… never mind, too late.

* – and butchered analogies are my specialty.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: NOT everything is a remix

Sounds like you’s need to be a christian spiritualist philosopher.
(why is everyone a cod philosopher these days?)

Those works that sound like nobody has done it before sound like that because nobody has done it before.
The argument that’s made about originality in music (cos we seem to be talking about music now) are that there’s only 12 notes, and it’s all the same three cards etc, but what it always ommitted is timbre.
Timbre is, basically, the sound of an instrument. It’s what makes a piano sound like a piano.
The other AC mentions Kontackt, which is a sampler, that can reproduce, layer and manipulate sounds into unique timbres ( as can a synthesiser, though they generate sound rather than reproduce existing sound). Add to that the hundreds of effects that can be added and you end up with infinite timbres, you can literally create your own instrument.
You’d say “That’s the I-V-IV in A major, it’s as old as the hills”, I’d say you’ve never heard it before, because the instruments it’s played on are unique.

I also note that you’re telling me how to think about it, another common thread in these discussions is what I call the condescension of the creator. They are poor, simple creatures, with some biomechanical rote learning at best, but nothing that you could call genuine creativity – cos how could that be? And certainly no free will. Or at worst they don’t exist, or are just a type of larvae subsumed into the belly of the mafiaa.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: NOT everything is a remix

I don’t get the impression that anyone’s saying that nothing’s new, more that there’s a granularity to creativity. A lot of TD readers/writers seem to be programmers, so it’s natural to put ideas into a framework of OOD/OOP. This itself is then really just a type of abstraction in the spirit of Platonic Forms.

My impression is more that the new contains elements of the old as well as unique and novel aspects. Those aspects can be ‘truly’ new (a waveform built from a zillion layered oscillators) or ‘temporally’ new (a recombinant sequence made entirely of bits of ‘other people’s stuff’).

Then again, I may just be rambling nonsensically again. I can’t seem to hit the proper dose of coffee today.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: NOT everything is a remix

There’s some real autospell goodness in that post, but i think you get the drift.

One more thing I’d like to add is that it’s been my experience in 20+ years of playing/creating/listening to music, that non-musicians are really terrible at listening to music. They simply cannot hear the similarities between two songs, even when it’s pointed out. Where two songs share a snippet of identical melody over identical chords, they can’t seam to pick it.
Non-musicians love to say it’s all the same, but totally lack the critical listening skills to tell when it is.

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