Day 10 @ ITP: Video and Sound

Week 1
Assignment #3: Responses

The Ecstasy of Influence - A plagiarism
By Jonathan Lethem


Blues and jazz musicians have long been enabled by a kind of “open source” culture, in which pre-existing melodic fragments and larger musical frameworks are freely reworked. Technology has only multiplied the possibilities....

I enjoyed listening to the talk and reading this essay on remixing versus plagiarism. It made me think also about how notions and thoughts and philosophies can also be remixed, as we are always feeding off or reacting in some way to what other people have already put out there. Like in Julian Rosefeldt's "Manifesto", where he remixes numerous manifestos into monologues in a collection of short films that also reference so many other things visually also without saying them directly. In a way I guess the point of both this article and the video is that referencing is also remixing, and in that way we are always remixing.

Today, when we can eat Tex-Mex with chopsticks while listening to reggae and watching a YouTube rebroadcast of the Berlin Wall’s fall — i.e., when damn near everything presents itself as familiar — it’s not a surprise that some of today’s most ambitious art is going about trying to make the familiar strange.

Images from the article "The Complete History of Art References in the Simpsons":


"Embrace the Remix"


The part that stuck with me most from the talk was when he talks about how people were criticizing Bob Dylan for borrowing blues melodies, and that Woody Guthrie said that words are what make folk songs original, not necessarily the melodies. That made me think about various ways that you can take a basic structural element and use its form to put your own content in and create something new. He also brings up the issue of how copyright law inherently goes against the idea of remixing, and says he would prefer to think of everything as a collective property that we are all building on, and that progress happens because of all things that have happened.