Tuesday, April 19, 2011


First I want to say that I really enjoyed RIP! A Remix Manifesto (by the way, did anyone else recognize the voice of the narrator?). A lot of the concepts covered really frustrated me. For example the IRAA and their outrageous lawsuits have frustrated me for a while. I mean suing people for up to $250,00 per fucking song, how is this considered okay by anyone? I wanted to throw something at my screen when they interviewed the record lawyer after the trial.

On the other hand, I can understand both sides of the coin on some other issues. The M.L.F. versus Disney comes to mind. I do personally believe that what the M.L.F. was doing is fine. However, if I was Disney I would be pissed. Mickey is a character that they worked hard to cultivate and make popular, and his appearance on anything can potentially generate a good deal of revenue.

On to the reading.

Connection 1 - The commercial economy. The movie covers a lot of this. The recording industry for example. They are trying their damnedest to preserve the traditional commercial economy. They don't like remixing. They view it as copyright infringement. They are purely commercially motivated and don't give a rat's patootie about contributing to culture.

Connection 2 - Hybrid economy. Radiohead's release of Rainbows is the embodiment of the hybrid idea. In 2007 they broke away from their record label EMI and released the record online themselves. They allowed people to decide how much the record was worth to them, and pay accordingly. I can remember my room mate at the time, a huge Radiohead fan, being incredibly excited about this. He was also very poor. On the release date he wasn't able to pay (he did purchase the album on vinyl later though) but he was still able to download it legally. This is the hybrid economy at work.

Connection 3 - Collaboration spaces. The film itself participates in a collaboration space, Opensourcecinema.org, which unfortunately doesn't seem to exist anymore. They author uploaded all of the footage from the movie and invited users to remix it as they saw fit. Pretty freaking cool idea if you ask me. I was really hoping to try this but, like I mentioned before, the site seems to have disappeared.

Another thing I want to mention is the part in the book about the Harry Potter fans fighting back against the goons at Warner. This is pretty freaking cool. It also parallels one of my favorite snippets in the movie. Somewhere around the 1 hour mark, and a man states that we really have the power here. If we want to change things, we need to stop buying from the people we don't support. This is was the Potter fans did, they organized a large boycott and fought back against what I view as an oppressive corporation. Neat stuff for sure.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Commercial and Sharing Economies

"If we're in a place where we feel such simplicity should reign, where we're not insulted when someone mentions money, where we meter the relationship with price, then we're within a 'commercial economy'" - Lessig pg 121. We are constantly immersed in the commercial economy. Indeed America runs off of it. Staples of American culture such as Wal-Mart, McDonald's, and Starbucks would not exist without it. In a commercial economy people participate purely for monetary reward. I will write this book and publish it, but only if you buy it. Set prices are necessities in this economy.

A sharing essentially exists solely for the joy of those participating. There is no money being thrown around. Lessig uses romantic relationships as an example. Though money is very rarely being exchanged between partners, there is indeed a currency being used. This currency is emotional or spiritual assistance and validation. Price is not needed in this situation, though if both sides do not reciprocate the relationship will not last long. Price is an insult to the sharing economy, because it is an over simplification. In cases such as Wikipedia people participate purely for the pleasure of it.

But why are these distinctions needed? Simple really. When it comes to remix culture, the commercial economy is not needed. People remix and participate purely for the joy of being part of the culture. Some do end up receiving monetary compensation sometimes, but overall that is not the motivation.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

10 (Post dated so it is in order)

Here is one of my favorite remixes - Toy Story Requiem

Audio from a Requiem for a Dream trailer, with video from Toy Story 2. Pretty freaking cool.
In Remix Lessig discusses remix as a modern form of collage. On page 70 the book explains that collage
"emerged with the invention of photography. Very shortly after it was invented.. you started seeing these sort of joking postcards that were photo composites. There would be a horse- drawn wagon with a cucumber in the back the size of a house. Things like that. Just little joking composite photograph things."

A digital remix is just the natural evolution of collage. Toy Story Requiem is one of these collages. Firstly, the video juxtaposes many different clips from Toy Story 2 together to create a cohesive narrative that fits the audio. They did a great job with this. The character's lips even match up with a lot of the dialogue. I would imagine that this took quite a bit of time to accomplish. It is also a collage in the sense that it takes the video from one film and posts it over the audio from another. It is like taking the Mona Lisa and pasting it into Nighthawks (that would be a sweet collage).

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Lessig's main point is essentially that our current system of copyright law is absolutely absurd and outdated. The example he uses of Stephanie Lenz's story really gets my blood boiling. I just cannot begin to fathom how what she did is unacceptable. She filmed a video of her kid dancing to some music on TV, who cares? Who are the lawyers who pushed for this? How do this people sleep at night?

Read Only, or RO, culture is media created that we can't give back to. This is essentially all media created before the internet age; newspapers, books, records, CDs, movies, TV, etc. Read/Write, or RW, culture is culture in which the consumers are also the creators. In an RW culture we the consumers take the media that we consume, digest it, and re-create it. Essentially it is what students do on college campuses everyday, and what kids everywhere do on their computers all of the time.

Lessig uses Sousa because he and Lessig are kindred spirits of sorts. Though separated by many decades, both support read/write culture. Sousa was worried that the prominence of the phonograph, a read only technology, would eliminate what we now call read/write culture. Like Sousa, Lessig is a major supporter of RW culture.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Blog Seven

"Hip Hop Goes Transmedia: Seven Laws" by Marguerite de Bourgoing is primarily about how the new generation of hip hop is self made. The artists promote themselves by performing at open mics and clubs, and by having a strong online presence through blogs and twitter. It also talks about how hip-hop and fashion are so intertwined that a lot of these artists actually have their own clothing lines.
This article fits in with everything we have been talking about this semester. These hip-hop artists are essentially the embodiment of web 2.0. They are the users creating the content and distributing it without the meddling of the evil record industry. They are on myspace, facebook, twitter, blogger, tumblr, and flickr. They are participatory culture in every sense.
Miller's key argument is essentially that although in one sense nothing is original, in another sense everything is. He says that it is impossible to see anything outside of the context of what we have already learned. The way I see this is that we are all a product of humanities collective experience, and we can't learn or process anything outside of this context. I used the example of science in class. In a sense nothing in science is original, it is all a natural progression of what has come before it. Miller uses Edison as an example of this. Edison expanded on the ideas of others to create the phonograph, which is a new and unique invention. It was however only possible because of the work and knowledge that past scientists had helped to accumulate.
Miller's book is relevant to what we have learned in class so far in the sense that in our day and age we have access to more information than ever, and with everyone online contributing content it is extremely difficult to not include someone else's ideas or work into our own in some form. Though you may not be directly plagiarizing someone, no matter what you are incorporating someone else's ideas in your own.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Important terms

Convergence Culture - Jenkins states that convergence culture is the movement of content across multiple platforms. He uses the example of the "Evil Bert" incident. Basically some kid photoshopped Bert from Sesame Street into pictures with people like Bin Laden and Hitler. The picture of Bert and Osama ended up on anti American posters in the Middle East, and then on CNN. He talks about all of the channels that the photo went through. Bert was on TV, his picture ends up going through photo shop, then back onto the internet, printed in the Middle East, taped by CNN, and broadcast back into American Living rooms. Pretty crazy journey across multiple platforms.

Participatory Culture - We no longer idly consume media, we participate. We provide feedback. We post on Twitter, and those tweets end up on news networks like CNN. We also consume media, and remix and regurgitate it back out in different forms. Websites like YouTube allow us to create our own media, and post feedback on media that others have created.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Blog 4

On page #88 of Everything is Miscellaneous Weinberger states that "every time you organize matters in one way, you are disordering them in another,". For some reason this jumped out at me more than anything else. I think to a certain extent this is definitely true. Take the exercise we did in class for example. When we organized the circles into groups according to overall color, we completely disregarded multiple other categories that the circles could have fallen into. Even when we put all of the circles into a grid with each column representing color and each row representing something else, we were still ignoring certain aspects that needed to be accounted for. This also made me think back on our previous blog posts about how we organize our own things. When I organize my movies by quality, I disorganize them by genre, actor, director, etc.

But is this always true of organization? I'm not so sure. Newegg.com is a good example of this. They have an inventory of thousands of items, and I bet you could find any one particular thing you are looking for. That is because each item is organized into categories. But not just one category, multiple categories. I think that organization only creates disorganization when the organization is over simplified. I like to think of this as 2d organization. Each thing can only fit into one place, which of course creates disorder. However, if each thing is allowed to fit into an unlimited amount of places depending on a multitude of criteria I like to think of it as 3d organization. At least, this is how I visualize it.
Tagging is a great example of this. Let's say I take a photograph of a dog and a cat playing together with a sunset in the background. I may tag it as dog, but someone else will probably come along and also tag it cat. Maybe then a third person will come along and tag it as artsy or something cause of the sunset, who knows. How can adding these tags for every minute detail possibly do anything but help to organize this photo into a database of other photos?