Remix culture: not just creativity, also social play

Flickr user Normative's 8-minute video on remix culture talks about how this isn't just about sitting around your house remixing, but often turns into a social event among remixers and their friends. It's a very good piece, and resonates with fanfic and other social forms of audience participation -- remixing isn't just about saying something back to a creator, but also about talking with your friends.

The Evolution of Remix Culture (Thanks, Jim!)


  1. Great video, i’ve put out the link to it to some friends. Figured they’d enjoy watching it as well.

    Anyways, i personally enjoyed it and think this topic could be easily expended upon to make a much longer documentary. Though that’s not to say that your video is lacking, it’s very well done (:

  2. I’m not sure when or why people started thinking of ‘culture’ as a product, not a conversation.

    “Hey Jude” is not ‘culture’ on its own. It’s culture because when I sing “na, na, na-na-na na…” you know right away what to sing next. It’s a shared experience between all of us.

    it’s not about shiny plastic disks, carved stone, or colourful mud on canvas, it’s about how we relate to each other, what we share, what we have in common.

    A culture where one side owns everything and the other side is forbidden from engaging with it is not a culture worth having.

  3. Well, yeah, sure. I mean, this whole remix thing. I mean Shakespeare “remixed” an Italian short story called “Un Capitano Moro” to write Othello, and based Iago on a very similar character.

    Here’s the thing, though. He ADDED to it, he brought his own genius to it, he changed it haphazardly to make things better. He destroyed it and rebuilt it in his image.

    That’s the problem with a lot of this current mashup culture, there’s no pushing it to the next level.

    I mean, sure, miracles happen, like when Girl Talk brings together Biggie and Elton John in “Smash Your Head,” but really, where is the really, truly inspirational, complex, animated, forceful and lasts in your head more than 2 seconds. Please enlighten me.

    I think the problem is that we are constructing a incestual culture where easy access to media just makes everything bland and razor-thin sentimental. I mean when John Hughes wrote “The Breakfast Club” he didn’t care about referencing some hip, knowing, and simple meta-narrative, he wanted to create something ORIGINAL.

    That’s the danger in all of this. Where are our original ideas, instead of being something clever. You show me a video of a bunch of hipsters trying to emulate the video, but I ask the seminal creative question that should be the first thing a creator pays attention to, which is “Who gives a crap?”

    And really, when Homer first starting writing crap down, he was all about a “social experience” of oral storytelling. I’m sorry, having 19 kids get together in Mumbai and do the same hipster dance really doesn’t impress me.

    Get some hipsters together to do their hipster version of “Faust” or even the hipster version of the airplane bomber or whatever, add to it, like theater troupes are doing in London such as Punch Drunk. Don’t just get together for some narcissistic afternoon, do something serious and meaningful to everyone, not just to your reflection in the mirror.

    1. Do you really think there is “danger” in the lack of depth and originality in the remix culture?

      Let it be, I say. Sure, a lot of it is quite shallow and (inherently) unoriginal, but it’s not like we’re on the verge of some culture collapse, are we?

  4. Although the Boing Boing hierarchy haven’t yet deigned to post our work, raw+raucous remixed immediatism is what we’re all about!
    Nothing needs be staged, and there are no contrivances.
    And we are UNDOUBTEDLY taking it to the next level!

    Not only a revolutionary affront to traditional perceptions and precepts, the Decentralized Dance Party is also widely recognized as the ultimate interdisciplinary medium, creatively melding Music, Dance, Theatre, Karaoke, Comedy, Chaos, Adventure, MCing, DJing, Fashion and Military Stratagem; gleefully repurposing public space and stimulating all senses in an intensely interactive Auditory Adventure!

    Crowd-sourced Communal Fun Creation at its best, participant/performer dichotomies crumble and age-old inhibitions are forgotten as all rise together in a chaotic+joyful monument to the human spirit!

    It would be great to receive some feedback from fellow BoingBoingers… :)

  5. I strongly concur with sunoxen’s well put response, and I even signed up to Boing Boing for the first time to do so.

    The original phoenix cut up was original. It reminded me of that great Happy Days Weezer vid. The others were embarrassing, however relevant to ‘remix culture’. The wankiness comes when people start to obsess over the process and their own role in the process and not the results. It is not good art just because you can explain why it is good art. And it’s not good art just because you star in it.

    And with all due respect that applies to you too Mr. Gary “gleefully repurposing public space and stimulating all senses in an intensely interactive Auditory Adventure” Lachance.

  6. Thanks for your feedback moped.

    The overblown analysis/wankiness is a quite recent development, after many years of unwittingly “keeping it real”… and intended primarily for comedy’s sake.
    Not that my enthusiasm for this project doesn’t often get the better of me :)

    Drop us a line if you’re ever in the mood to Party!

  7. Dear Gary, your non-taking-of-offence at my somewhat snarky comments has made me appreciate your project more.

  8. Ha! People get together and make something in a couple hours, edit it in a couple more – it’s a day or two’s worth of art making, a project someone is flexing their creative muscles with. It’s fun, it’s exploratory, it’s not a big deal, it’s ephemeral and silly and only bears relevance in a very specific context. And then! Simply because it is in a format that can exist forever, as opposed to the art of an impromptu dance party in the living room or a new trend in teenage doodles on the side of a page of homework, it is edified into a sign of an impending cultural collapse?

    Get over it! It’s just fun. It’s just people screwing around.

    What is interesting is to talk about how people have fun with media these days, and how each little iteration of that is indicative of larger changes in how media is consumed, re-appropriated, and re-digested – to discuss how our culture in general is becoming much more media literate than it ever has been before. Let’s keep the conversation about the big picture, and not get so distracted by the specificity of this one example that we lose the ability to talk about what it is a part of.

  9. Only posting this because of relevance:

    that’s a video we made featuring recut public domain 3 Stooges shorts for our song ‘Schadenfreude’ (get it? 3 Stooges uses schadenfreude as their main comedy vehicle!)

    And that’s a video we made recutting Night Of the Living Dead (again, public domain) into a Zombie Love Story for our zombie love song ‘She Loves Me (For My Braaains).

    So there you have it: remixing with original elements, making statements about and adding to, the originals.

    Won’t make any overt claims about the quality of the art (well, we like ’em anyway), but at least they’re topic appropriate!

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