LIT30001 Remix Culture

The aim of this subject is critically explore the contemporary practice of remix. In the age of YouTube, Google Video and bit-torrents, found material is more readily available than ever and remix has emerged as a genuinely vernacular and democratic practice of cultural production. The subject seeks to examine the aesthetic, political and tactical motivations behind artists’ re-use and manipulation of found material. Remix art practice also raises important questions about the audience. To what extent do these new platforms of production and distribution reconfigure conventions of media consumption? One of the main objectives of the subject is to investigate questions of ownership, originality and creativity in the age of Creative Commons and peer to peer networks.

This subject is a critical and creative engagement with the practices of remixing, mashing and remaking of found material. It will introduce students to the history of art practices based on the use of found footage, such as hip-hop, rap and the appropriation art associated with postmodernism, as well as the “do-it-yourself”, hacker sensibility of cyberpunk. Remix is also a vital force in communities within digital and video games cultures, where existing games are modified (modding) and short films (machinima) are made from “in world” footage or using the game engine itself as a medium. While redefining the concept of originality, these practices also raise important questions about creativity and intellectual property. What makes a remix an original work of art and not plagiarism? Should a remix have copyright status? How do we critically assess and evaluate remix art? And what forms of social and political empowerment (or otherwise) do such practices enable? As well as critically exploring these questions, students will also experiment with these practices to create their own remix.