Documenting Remix Culture

Pretty much everyone has been linking to the second installment in Kirby Ferguson’s outstanding series, Everything is a Remix. But I think it’s worth highlighting Ferguson’s work, in part because he is a keen observer of how the practices of remix and adaptation permeate popular culture and even scientific inquiry. He also is a skilled editor, adept at producing juxtapositions between two related texts.

Everything is a Remix Part 2 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

The second part of the series touches on the role of (Hollywood) filmmakers in adapting material from older texts in order to tell new stories. In particular, Ferguson traces the influence of older films and texts (including Joseph Campbell’s discussion of myth) on Star Wars, a discussion that I wish I’d had a few weeks ago when I was writing an artcile on fan films and adaptation. Ferguson’s broad definition of “remix” allows him to define genre elements as a remix practice, which allows him to show that Avatar, far from being a completely “original” film stands upon and reworks older, familiar material. But, essentially, as Ferguson’s title for the series suggests, “everything is a remix.” And far from diminishing the “originality” of these stories, Ferguson recognizes these remix practices as creative acts that can potentially take us in new and unexpected directions. Philosophically, these ideas may themselves not be new. Literary and cultural critics have recognized the permeable boundaries of texts for some time, but I think Ferguson presents these ideas in an accessible, engaging, and entertaining format. I’m very much looking forward to parts three and four.

Leave a Comment

Subscribe without commenting