March 15th, 2010 by noeliadz 1 comment »

I was not familiar with the mash-up concept until doing the readings for this week and after browsing for a while Youtube I choose this video because of its political message. The strength of the video is derived from the combination of all its parts, which when pulled together as a group comment on each other and give new meaning/significance to the original music/images. As Lessig describes in his defense of this type of sampling: ” Their meaning comes not from the content of what they say; it comes from the reference, which is only expressible only if its the original that gets used. Images or sounds collected from real -world examples become “paint on a palette.” ” (74) In this case the real footage of the Katrina devastation along with images of Bush in which he appears smiley and removed from reality, flying high in his plane, are reinforced by the Hip-Hop song which is extremely critical of his actions in a very direct fashion. Given that the Hip-Hop song is an original one, although it does have sampling within it, I am not sure if the song is indeed a Mash-Up like the work by Girl Talk would be. The song along would make a political statement but when  paired with the images, it also speaks to and is critical of, the ways in which the media portrays minorities and contribute to reinforce racist stereotypes. The target of the political criticism in the video incorporates both Bush and the media simultaneously by combining all the different elements into one stream.

Rick Astley Nirvana Mashup

March 15th, 2010 by Charlie Edwards No comments »

DJ Morgoth (audio), Thriftshop XL (video), “Never Gonna Give Your Teen Spirit Up,” 2008. Video, uploaded to YouTube, color, sound; 3:53 min.

This seamless mashup of Rick Astley’s 1987 pop hit “Never Gonna Give You Up” and Nirvana’s grunge anthem “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (1991) was released in the middle of 2008, when the practice known as “Rickrolling” was becoming popular among mainstream internet users.  Rickrolling began as a simple prank on the cult imageboard 4chan: a user would click on a misleadingly-named link and find herself watching Astley’s original (unoriginal) video. But it quickly evolved into something much bigger. It was unarguably a meme – millions of users worldwide were rickrolled – but, beyond this, rickrolling became a disruptive countercultural act, mobilized on- and offline for protest or lulz. In February 2008, the song was broadcast at anti-Scientology demonstrations by the group Anonymous. In April, the New York Mets conducted an internet poll to select an eighth-inning singalong song – five million voters wrote in “Never Gonna Give You Up.”  In November Rick Astley, whose career had been lackluster since the early nineties, was voted MTV Europe’s “Best Act Ever,” and rickrollers in the UK attempted to resist the entrenched dominance of a TV talent show by pushing his record to the top of the Christmas singles chart.

As the meme peaked, though, its subversive power eroded. YouTube rickrolled its users on April Fool’s Day, and at the 2008 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Rick Astley unexpectedly performed (or rather lip-synched) the song from a float, rickrolling 50 million viewers.  Nancy Pelosi even rickrolled anyone who clicked on her tour of the Speaker’s Office  when the Congressional YouTube channel launched in January 2009.  Encyclopedia Dramatica has thus declared it an “old meme.”  

The mashup melds seeming antitheses – eliciting outrage from some Nirvana fans who find it disrespectful to the memory of the lead singer, Kurt Cobain (he committed suicide in 1994). It was “Teen Spirit”, though, that propelled Nirvana to mainstream success; their album Nevermind ultimately went 10x Platinum, outselling Astley’s debut by five to one. The mashup can be read, perhaps, as comment on a culture that eats its young, and elegy for those young, who from this distance seem equally innocent, and lost.

Note that in spite of objections by the copyright holders both video and audio remain widely accessible on YouTube and file-sharing sites.

March 15th, 2010 by Heather Heim 1 comment »

Shining Remix

March 14th, 2010 by Kasey Powers No comments »

This is one of my favorite remixes, taking “The Shining” and creating a trailer that makes the film look like a family film.  This was created by a New York editor, Robert Ryang, for a contest held by the Association of Independent Creative Editors.

From a cultural perspective, trailers like this one and remixes like Hitler’s Downfall, allow things to be re-seen.  And it makes it easier to look at something with a fresh perspective once that window of possibilities has been opened.

From a commercial perspective this points to the fact that we are often at the mercy of the advertisers or PR people on what our first impressions are.  Because it is so easy to change the meaning by re-editing, and adding music, voice over, or text.  This trailer is meant as a spoof, but here two cases where a misleading trailer was the one used to market the film.  When “Miracle on 4th Street” was first released, it was in July, so the trailer makes it seem the film is a romance removing all traces of Santa.  In 2007 with the release of “Bridge to Terabithia” the trailers made the movie appear to be a fantastical action adventure quest, and while that is part of it, the movie is really a coming of age story of two best friends.  Imagine what would have happened if this Shining trailer had been released to the public as the real thing.

Thriller Remix by The Floozies

March 12th, 2010 by Aaron Kendall No comments »

Mark and Matt Hill, brothers from Lawrence, KS, make up the duo known as “The Floozies”.  Both are skilled musicians who have spent the last few years recording and performing unique remixes, incorporating a variety of music genres.  In this video, Matt is performing a remix of Michael Jackson’s 1982 hit song Thriller.  The entire performance and recording were done by Matt alone.  Four locked off cameras are recording different angles of his performance.  This video not only presents a unique re-creation of a popular song almost twenty years later, but also demonstrates the technological capabilities that make such a recording possible.  One can see from this example, at least one of the points that Lessig was trying to make in Remix, that being the value of the amateur musician that John Philip Sousa was, at least partially, trying to protect in 1906 (23).  Here we see a creative artist, affordable technology, and open distribution, coalescing to make a contribution to popular culture.

Remix Culture Assignments

March 12th, 2010 by Matthew K. Gold No comments »

Hi Everyone,

Here are the updated reading assignments for this week:

Lessig, Lawrence. Remix: making art and commerce thrive in the hybrid economy. New York: Penguin Press, 2008.

Intro + Part I: pp. 1-117
Part 3 + conclusion: pp. 253-295

Heffernan, Virginia. “The Hitler Meme

Various, “Downfall” videos on YouTube.

Further reference: “Downfall/Hitler Meme” on Know Your Memes

Leavitt, Alex, “Memes as Mechanisms: How Digital Subculture Informs the Real World.” Convergence Culture Consortium Blog. 2 February 2010. .

Assignment to Explore:“Memes and Remixes/Mash An Argument” by Bill Wolff


Blogging Assignment: Remix Curation

Write a blog post on our group blog that presents a remix video that you’ve found on a public video sharing site like YouTube or Vimeo. Imagine that you work in a museum and that you are curating remix videos as examples of 21st century popular culture. Your blog post must embed the video and include a paragraph or two explaining its significance from a formal, cultural, or social perspective. Suggested length: 250-500 words

n.b. To embed a video file, copy the URL from the YouTube/Vimeo page, click on the YouTube icon above the posting interface, and paste the link in. If you have problems, contact Matt.

Here is an example of what this might look like:

Kutiman, “01 – Mother of All Funk Chords” ThruYou, 2009. Video, uploaded to YouTube, color, sound; 3:36 min.

Israeli artist Ophir Kutiel, known as Kutiman, published the ThruYou video project in early 2009. “The Mother of All Funk Chords,” the first track in the project, contained no original music produced by Kutiman; rather, his video presented an entirely new song — a new melody, a new rhythm — derived entirely out of old footage that Kutiman had found on YouTube. Most of the clips chosen for the project were instructional musical videos that either provided free musical lessons for viewers or performed some relatively banal exercise, such as a scale, on an instrument. By weaving together these mundane clips into a vibrant piece of music, Kutiman demonstrated Lawrence Lessig’s point in Remix that the best remix videos tend to “deliver a message more powerfully than any original alone could” (71).


If you have questions about the assignment, please let us know.

Protected: Class Notes – Social Networking: Friendship, Intimacy, Privacy, Security (and Labor)

March 10th, 2010 by Matthew K. Gold No comments »

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

on line classes article

March 4th, 2010 by noeliadz No comments »

Hello all,

I thought this might be interesting to the rest of the class in case you have not seen it.

Protected: Class Notes — Lessig — Free Culture

March 3rd, 2010 by Matthew K. Gold No comments »

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Protected: Class Notes — 2/24 — Benkler

February 24th, 2010 by Matthew K. Gold No comments »

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Need help with the Commons? Visit our
help page
Send us a message
Skip to toolbar