This section is concerned with the production and reception of remix. The aesthetical concerns of remix culture producers and how their work has been received by their respective audiences is a primary focus. How the aesthetics of diverse art communities influence remix is a key area of exploration, as is the question of whether or not remix can be considered an art form in its own right, or if it is merely derivative of other fields of artistic practice. Consequently, issues of specialization, and the crossover from one creative field to another are central elements considered in order to gain a sense of the type of aesthetics that have developed in relation to the act of remixing. How remix may play a role in redefining our basic experiences is a key issue among chapter contributions.
8) “Remix Strategies in Social Media”
Social media, as it developed until now, brings forward a new information form: a data stream. Instead of browsing or searching a collection of objects, a user experiences the continuous flow of events. These events are typically presented as a single column. New events appearing on top push the earlier ones from the immediate view. The most important event is always the one that is about to appear next because it heightens the experience of the “data present.” All events below immediately become “old news”—still worth reading, but not categorically “new”. The data streams created by Facebook and Twitter users are two such examples of this information form.
In this chapter I discuss the data stream form, and analyze its differences and similarities to other types of information organization and interaction popular in digital culture which other writers described as remixes and montages. Is data stream also a remix, or is it something different? Since no single author organized this montage, the events often have no connection to each other, so “montage” maybe is not the best term. We also can’t compare this with a surrealist intentional juxtapositions of completely unrelated objects; if you have many friends with similar backgrounds and interests, at least parts of your stream are likely to refer to similar topics and experiences.
9) “Remixing Movies and Trailers before and after the Digital Age”
Until the late 1990s, the primary purpose of the movie trailer was to give audiences a taste of the pie, the film, in order to encourage them to view the complete feature at the theater. I assume that a good movie trailer works “like a translation” in its attempt to raise in its audience effects of meaning similar to those expected by the movie in its specific text organization. To check if this is still true for trailers made in the time of the participatory web, I discuss some new practices in movie consumption, exploring the so-called “sweded” short self-made remakes and some typologies of “remix trailers” (i.e. mashup trailers, genre remix, kinetic typography, fake trailers, and so on).
I argue that these new digital trailers of the DIY age deeply transform the meanings and forms of the source movie through a rewriting operation and a creative reformulation. Through the dissemination on video and social sharing websites remix trailers use the logic of repetition as a means of supporting a logic of innovative reinterpretation.
10) “Remixing the Plague of Images: Video Art from Latin America in a Transnational Context”
In this chapter Vergara focuses on four case studies which use remix to revise the smooth flowing or the unsteady flickering of the plague of images circulating online and offline on a daily basis. There is the bitter criticism of transnational capitalism and diverse forms of invasion in Ximena Cuevas’ Cinepolis (2003); the appropriation of images about protection and surveillance in Graciela Fuentes’ To Protect (2003); the re-vision of fifteen years of Colombian television in José Alejandro Restrepo’s Viacrucis (2004); and the scratching of a speech by Fidel Castro in José Toirac’s Opus (2005). Despite their differences, these artists complicate remix as a contemporary aesthetics in works privileging contrast and noise to draw attention to the smoothness and/or fragmentation of mainstream media, to re-orient the reading of known sounds and images, as well as to expose the relationship between the appropriated elements and what Slavoj Žižek calls the “material traces of ideology.”
11) “Race & Remix: The Aesthetics of Race in the Visual & Performing Arts”
In this chapter I apply remix theory as an exploratory discursive strategy examining the ruptures and re-assemblages of racialized identities. What follows is a critical reading of the aesthetics of remix in relation to race in the visual and performing arts of Latin America and the Caribbean. From the colonial to the contemporary, this assemblage of visual remix strategies is organized according to three compositional styles: the Casta Grandmaster Remix, The Banana Remix, and the Monster Mash Remix. I examine how visual representations of the fragmented body are sampled, reassembled, and repeated like beats producing a visual soundtrack. This dislocation of a body of people and the fragmentariness of subjectivities creates a mythical consciousness of racial identities. I interrogate the stability of repeated, recognizable tropes as they relate to mythologies of race and gender in the visual and performing arts of Latin America and the Caribbean.
12) “Digital Poetics and Remix Culture: From the Artisanal Image to the Immaterial Image”
In this chapter, Tavares reveals how immaterial potentialities of digital media amplify the artistic processes that are sustained in meta-creation procedures – characteristic of remix culture. First, she shows how digital media potentiates meta-creation processes and updates the traditional possibilities of montage, collage and bricolage, considered in this text as key principles of the remix culture. Secondly, she identifies what is “new” in the introduction of remix culture to the creative processes, summarizing which differences are introduced in terms of art making and which are the challenges to be faced by the agents of the digital meta-creation processes.
13) “The End of an Aura: Nostalgia, Memory, and the Haunting of Hip Hop”
Memories once firmly rooted in places in the past now float free of historical context, their auras lost, and eras unknown. We all share memories courtesy of the mass media, and its rampant reproduction of artifacts. To most of us though, the sharing of memories, of cultural allusions, binds us together, gives us a sense of belonging. The digital reproduction of cultural artifacts, images, sounds, events, and moment-events has rendered authenticity irrelevant. Our nostalgia runs rampant through our media. Technological mediation does a great deal of its work by manipulating context through the replication, reproduction, and circulation of moment-events. Media allusions work by mapping one context to another. Viewing the sampling of the hip hop DJ and the lyrical allusions of the emcee through the lens of Benjamin’s “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” in this chapter Christopher illustrates how mechanical reproduction has created a new nostalgic aura.
14) “Appropriation is Activism”
Appropriation is Activism. Remixers devour popular media sources which deliver highly coded and controlled messages ripe for appropriation. Popular media convey their messages in highly predictable and recognizable ways, allowing remixers to play into and against these tropes, archetypes and patterns. Co-opting loaded images and memes equalizes the relative power of the remixer and source to the viewer. Explosive critical and popular results can be achieved from relative weakness and obscurity through the appropriation of media. In this chapter, I consider remix in the context of the media landscape, questions of authorship, define critical remix and describe the activist artists and remixing cultures in which such works are created. This will cultivate insight into the validity of creative copying practices, such as remixing, and by examining the context and meaning of remixing practices, the power of technology and activism to give individuals a critical voice in the media landscape may be illuminated.