Remix Culture


INF2320H — Remix Culture

Remix encapsulates the confluence of critical thinking and creativity in cultural production in particular and in creative endeavors more generally. This course enables students to examine the place of remix in contemporary society against the backdrop of legal constraints, moral and cultural challenges, political and economic vested interests, and the rise of participatory culture and remix as socially embedded behaviour.

Remix practices involve finding inspiration in what has already been created and then deconstructing, transforming, contrasting, re-using, reconstituting and combining media to produce novel creative outputs that deliver new value. It happens both in physical and virtual environments. The practice is endemic in contemporary culture. We see it now in many forms of art from assemblages to video art, in data construction, in film and video, animation, games, genetic engineering, food, and many other aspects of our culture. Remix is not a new behaviour, it has a long history— for many its ubiquitousness in music production (e.g., hip hop) beginning in the 1980s was a key awareness point, but we have long seen its presence in architecture (e.g., spolia), art (e.g., cubism, collage, “readymades”), film, literature, and music. It has become a cornerstone of our participatory culture and a core information practice.

What is different is that the virtual has made the processes of production more accessible to a broader audience and made it possible to distribute the results of remix activities effortlessly. At the same time content which appears to many as source material to inspire collective creativity is subject to vigorous efforts to lock it down as intellectual property. There are many perspectives, for instance, remix practices juxtaposes piracy against these restrictive practices. Remix raises questions about intellectual property rights (IPR), authorship, the collective, what creativity is and where its boundaries lie, what is novel, innovative and original, and the very nature of the producer-consumer. We will view remix through multiple lens some historical, some social, some political and others economic. Remix lies at the juncture of People-Content-Technology and this course investigates remix from the vantage of the field of Information and sets remix within the context of digital culture more generally.


Note: This course includes multiple screenings. These will be scheduled outside the normal class hours, but if students can not attend the group screening they will be able to view the films or videos on their own in the UTL Media Commons. Please allow approx. 2.5-3 hours for each screening.