“…beautiful as the chance meeting on a dissecting-table of a sewing-machine and an umbrella”
~Isidore-Lucien Ducasse, a.k.a. Comte de Lautréamont
What is a remix? And for that matter, what is an original? This lab-based CCT seminar taught by Professor J.R. Osborn explores the “remix” as both an analytic framework and a method of critical practice. Remixes can be found in music, text, images, education, games, art, technology, fashion, and wherever something intended for a particular meaning or use is redeployed and reinterpreted within a new set of constraints. Digital technologies have catapulted remixes to a new level of visibility. But the remixing of culture precedes these technologies.
The concept of Remix often referenced in popular culture derives from the model of music remixes which were produced around the late 1960s and early 1970s in New York City, an activity with roots in Jamaica’s music. Today, Remix (the activity of taking samples from pre-existing materials to combine them into new forms according to personal taste) has been extended to other areas of culture, including the visual arts; it plays a vital role in mass communication, especially on the Internet.
~Eduardo Navas, Remix Defined
Remix and Old North
Students who took Remix Practices in fall of 2015 were given several assignments related to Old North and the history of Georgetown. Assignments for this course consist of hands-on experiments exploring the remix across a spectrum of media forms: text, sound, image, video, and simple interactive animations. Several students chose to focus on Old North as the subject of their final remixes.
For example, this visual remix by CCT student Alexandra McCarthy depicts the complex interplay of personal response, public narrative, and learned information that comprise memory by juxtaposing four photos: 1) A photo of Dahlgren Quad taken by CCT student Han Wu for a remix experiment to reflect on the senses; 2) the McCourt School of Public Policy Founding Ceremony; 3) a demonstration in Red Square marking “four minutes of silence to remember Michael Brown after the decision of the Ferguson grand jury”; 4) Richard T. McSorley, S.J., demonstrating for nonviolence on the steps of Healy Hall.
Is everything a remix?
This film by New York-based filmmaker Kirby Ferguson explores the question, is everything a remix? From the Everything is a Remix website: “…Everything is a Remix has been viewed over two million times and produced a popular TED Talk. Amazingly, Remix continues to change the way people think about creativity, originality, and copyright.”