The art of remixing first began with the remixing of sounds using early music recording technologies. However, it has since manifested into the popular craft of remixing still and moving images to re-contextualize and introduce a plethora of perspectives using the same starting materials. In this past decade of incredible technological revolution and growing globalization, remix culture has been promoted to the status of an easier and more common task as billions of works of digital art reside in the many pockets of the internet waiting for a human mind to pick them up and workshop them. Even though the concept of remixing and incorporating bits and pieces of information and art from different sources is in the nature of our being and our world, questions of creativity, originality, and ownership have never ceased to exist throughout history in the form of lawsuits, YouTube video takedowns or sometimes, even both. Whether it’s short TV commercials or groundbreaking art like Andy Warhols’ work, mashups of content have always found their way and left their marks on the world of popular media and culture.
Everything is a Remix - System Failure (Kirby Ferguson)
This film by directory Kirby Ferguson, as very clearly expressed in its title, asserts that the nature of our creativity is derivative, that innovation is inevitable, and that everything is a remix. The film itself, is a collage of multiple forms from animation to archival footage to original footage. By describing the history of the personal computer and the success of Apple, the film explores its theory of the three core elements of creativity: copy, transform, and combine. The film argues that the interdependence of our creativity, that has been veiled by our cultural ideas of ownership and originality, is now being exposed in this digital age as we are confronted by the ethical and legal challenges that accompany this newly exposed interdependence.
Chronogram of Inexistent Time (Malena Szalm)
Chronogram of Inexistent Time is a photomontage by director Malena Szalm that explores the ephemeral, instantaneous, and nonlinear quality of human memory and the role that plays in the perception and construction of our realities. The 5 minute film is a collection of still and moving images flashing on the screen. They are never too clear for us to make entire sense of them, yet they still carry a familiar quality to their setups maintaining a mystery that we are encouraged to piece together throughout the film. However, reconfiguring these fragments of images proves to be harder and more subjective than it seems, thus displaying the mashup abilities and limitations of our memories and brains.
Remix Specs - A Classic (Lilian Mehrel)
Finally, Remix Specs - A Classic is a Spec commercial reimagined from director Lilian Mehrel’s films. The film still retains the features of a commercial with its pace and soundtrack but brings new visuals to the picture and an appealing quirkiness that makes it feel like a remix even though it may not necessarily scream remix at first glance.
About the author
Lujain is an undergraduate student studying computer engineering at New York University Abu Dhabi who is particularly invested in engineering applications in the world of biotechnology and biomedicine. She is also interested in exploring science and technology in film as well as the cultural and political significance of cinema.