Remix it like Disney, Warhol and Picasso

My generation has more or less grown up with remixed material from all genres but one of them has received particular attention – remixing music. Funnily enough I can confirm that there have been times I have happily listened to a song when it dawned on me and I suddenly thought: ‘No way! This is the original?!’ So, yes, it has happened that I knew a remixed version of a particular song before I even knew an original had existed. Strange isn’t it? Not so strange if you ask me. Let’s take a closer look at this statement made by a young and inspiring remixer (watch his manifesto on: http://films.nfb.ca/rip-a-remix-manifesto/?film=1): “Disney himself was a sort of remixer, because many of the first animated films produced by his company were based on stories in the public domain”. In the very detailed description that accompanies the short film it states that stories like Snow White, Alice in Wonderland or Cinderella were simply not copyrighted anymore so Disney took the ideas and produced them as films. A genius mind combined with these great stories – masterpieces of film history were born.

Another area where remixing is used, noticed or not, is contemporary art. Especially Andy Warhol and all those other great pop art artists have famously transformed existing photos into something new and different. It provided a new view on the commercialized world and had a great impact on following artists. Even Picasso converted natural shapes into abstract paintings and did this with using an incredibly detailed system. He remixed images of nature. Again, an utter genius. I think it is exactly that part of remix culture that makes it so interesting and important – to create a new view on something already existing. It takes creativity and thought to produce a good remix of a song or just generally a piece of art and so for me the result can only be classed as art, too.

So generally I have come to the conclusion that remixing is a good thing. As long as it stays within copyright rules it’s even better, but I don’t mind the homemade remixes either. Probably because I don’t own a business that could possibly lose money through not authorized, published material. But also because I think that we should work with our collective intelligence and contribute from each other in an inspirational way rather than a commercial one. So let’s hope that this little blur between copyright and creativity brings out more genius minds in creation like their legendary pioneers.

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