For my first video I decided I wanted to achieve a kind of Tony Abbott parody. I am very glad to finish it, as Final Cut Pro crashed on my computer, and despite its autosave feature, I lost almost the entire project. For this remix, I decided to focus on Abbott’s ‘Stop the Boats’ policy which is quite controversial and still very relevant in time. Whilst searching around for boat footage to use, I came across ‘Lamas with Hats Episode 2′, which I was already familiar with and knew would actually be perfect. Experimenting with some dodgy editing (I am new to this kind of edit so bare with me), I was able to replace the llama who sank the boats’ head with an image of Tony Abbott wearing a swimming cap and goggles (the original image may be found here), placing recorded footage of my own mouth opening and closing on top of it so he appeared to be talking. I also placed a still image of my mouth over the image when his face appeared onscreen but not speaking. At the beginning and end I sourced some footage found on youtube to add a little bit of context. The first clip is a part of his campaign, where he ironically says that Australians “need to keep their heads above water”. I also played around with the quote “stop the boats”. The final version I felt needed a little sprucing up, so I added a free music sample I found online with a kind of uplifting, optimistic, beachy theme, working with the irony I attempted to conjure perfectly. Although I am aware that the editing is a little bit novice, I learned some new skills and I am overall pretty happy with the complete product.
War is not the Aswer
I knew from the beginning that I wanted to remix something Harry Potter, and I am extremely pleased with the result! I took footage from the scene where Voldemort rejoices to the crowd thinking Harry has died (yes, the scene with the laugh that has been remixed countless amounts of times) from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two. I changed around the order of bits and pieces so that it fit Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On’; the result, a new story where Voldemort comes to realise the error of his ways, preaching to the crowd “war is not the answer”. Malfoy is moved by his performance and transformed, he too, realising his bad judgement.
I think this edit is really funny, and I think it’s an absolutely perfect example of the soundtrack’s ability in completely changing the atmosphere and mood of something. I did not need to change too much at all, the song and the clip just seemed to fit together. The only things I altered were the order/repetition of small moments so that the clip told a specific story matching with the song, and as Voldemort raises his arms at the beginning, I changed the colour filter to be much warmer, fitting Voldemort’s message of ‘love’, not ‘war’.
On the subject of video remixing-
I’m pretty lost for ideas at the moment so I’m looking around already created video remixes for inspiration. I was reminded of the video below. This will forever be one of my favourite things.
If you are interested, there’s an entire series of these ‘Obama Songs’ available on youtube.
I now really, truly appreciate how much effort goes into making something like this. Hopefully the next two tracks I create won’t be as difficult as this as I won’t have to familiarise myself with Audacity. Anyway. For this little mashup I experimented with religious orchestral tracks I found on looperman, mixing them with a soft charming noise and simple drum beat. I cut/copied/pasted various sections so that they repeated themselves, and moved things into different orders. I also faded the beginning of each loop in and out, even if only slightly. I was really impressed with how they all ended up sounding together, being really picky when it comes to editing. Sticking with the religious theme, I downloaded that famous Monty Python line from ‘Life of Brian’, switching it to mp3 via an online converter, and dubbed it over the closing as a kind of ultimate climax.
I approached this project with no pre-consideration as to what I wanted to do. I realised I love the idea of sticking with the movie theme I started above, and I eventually decided to play with speech from the film ‘My Fair Lady’, a classic I remember watching regularly with my mother. Ironically, even though I spent much less time getting used to Audacity this time, I am less pleased with this one than I am with the first final product of ‘Messiah’. Whilst putting together all the different samples this time, I was a lot more fiddly and selective about where they went. Although it does work, I am more critical, I think I lost the flow and feeling and needed to focus less. I am still quite pleased with how I have come however! For ‘Eliza’, I sampled the speech from ‘My Fair Lady’ and amplified it quite a lot, even adding an echo. The harp, drum, and trumpet (the trumpet is slowed until unrecognisable as a trumpet and is audible more of an ambient buzzing) are sampled from Looperman, while the applause, rooster crowing, and cats meowing were downloaded from youtube and transferred to mp3. I’m having fun with these noises!
For my third remix I decided to take a different and simpler approach. After playing around with lots of looperman tracks and being very pedantic and picky about how they fit together, I decided to start anew and go back to the very basics. I selected part of an intro from an unnamed piece of music I have on my computer that I had acquired over the years and love, and copied/pasted it to repeat over and over again for about a minute (adding fades to make it sound smoother). I then dabbled for a while with a simple orchestral piece, before deciding the track would be better off without it. I sourced another piece of music I had in my Itunes (Eg anda by Sigur Ros) and slowed the speed and added it to the mix. Together they both felt quite soothing and I love how they sound. Going with a gentler sound, I also added a background of bird chirps. I changed nothing with how this track sounded, simply cutting it so that it played longer than the other two tracks. For a while I searched for some wind chimes to charm at different occasions, but I decided that I loved the simplicity of the sounds and I didn’t want to complicate it too much. In the end I settled for a simple repeated ticking. I soon realised that I was happy and I had a finished track. Making this, I realised that you don’t need to tweak too much, things naturally fit together and sound great. Being too complicated and adding too many different things together can ruin something great. I’m quite happy with the results of this remix, I will probably have a bath later and listen to it. For me, it’s soothing.
I absolutely love this!
Before the lecture, I was only familiar with Pogo’s work through his ‘Alice’ piece through social media. I love the dreamy kind of tones this particular ‘Trouble’ piece. It’s nostalgic and makes me feel a kind of fond feeling. I would definitely listen to this kind of thing in an everyday kind of situation, on a daily basis. I am going to make a playlist, maybe for my car.
I think that it’s a testimony to Pogo as an artist that he uses well known commercial pieces, manipulating them into a context where the samples are unrecognisable. I also love that the samples are all authentic to the work he is manipulating, with no outside instrumental pieces.
It’s hard to really sum up the concept of the ‘Wall of Sound’ in words. I believe it’s truly something you kind of have to hear for yourself to be able to understand completely.
Hearing the term rang a bell for me within the lecture and I was sure that I had heard it before, even watched the clip ‘Be My Baby’ by the Ronettes in association. Although hearing the term again made me think about when I originally heard it, I know that I have always been very aware of the wall’s effects in music. You cannot help but know about it, even indirectly, as you cannot help but feel its effects. The best word I can think of to describe the wall would be ‘striking’. You can feel something coming into contact with your very core. For me, I feel as if my insides are all vibrating.
Immediately I think of Radiohead’s ‘Let Down’, of Bon Iver’s ‘Towers’, the classic Beach Boys’ ‘Good Vibrations’ (of course).
The Wall of Sound is something I will definitely be considering whilst remixing together sound projects. I personally enjoy subtle and mellow songs engaging the wall, songs that are not by any means any less striking.
Remix, a term coined to the act of “reworking already existing cultural work(s)” into something completely new.
To quote Germain civil rights organisation Gesellschaft e. V., “We live in an age of remix.”, and it would seem that many are consciously unaware of the grandiose impact remix has on the world around them. ‘Remix culture’ is a concept people interact with knowingly or not, on a daily basis as “Everything is a Remix.” Thousands of examples from our cultural collective validate this very point. Seventy-four of the last 100 top grossing films were sequels, adaptations, or remakes. Technology has made this process easier, more common, and easily accessible. The news report, the cult TV show, the summer blockbuster, the chart hit or iconic photograph – all are open to endless reinterpretation by anyone with the right software.
The ‘myth of originality’ places emphasis on the point that no idea or work is ever completely original, instead the product of influence, as each and every person is essentially “a mashup of what you let into your life”. Celebrated creators – artists, writers, scientists, inventors – have always known the power of the synthesizing mind and have advocated for embracing the building blocks of combinatorial creativity. As Van Gogh puts it in his letters, “As an artist you are only a link in a chain, and whatever you find or whatever you do not find, you can find comfort in it.“
To learn and excel not only in the fields of creativity, but also in the field of knowledge, we must learn from each other, as ““None of us can know everything; each of us knows something; and we can put the pieces together if we pool our resources and combine our skills… We are learning how to use that power through our day-to-day interactions within convergence culture.” An example of remix’s harnessing of collective knowledge may be attributed with Henry Ford’s renowned penned statement “I invented nothing new. I simply assembled the discoveries of other men behind whom were centuries of work … progress happens when all the factors that make for it are ready and then it is inevitable.”
Remix is tool put into practice universally, however many remain threatened by the prospect of ‘stolen originality’, seeing a golden opportunity to make a few dollars. The ultimate enemy to remix is money, Everything is a Remix‘s Kirby Ferguson explaining “: “We believe that ideas are property and we’re excessively territorial when we feel that property belongs to us. Our laws then indulge this bias with ever-broadening protections and massive rewards. Meanwhile huge legal fees encourge defendants to pay-up and settle out of court.” There are those who have dedicated themselves to fight, establishing a “Right to Remix”. Digitale Gesellschaft e. V. spokesperson Marcus Beckedahl for instance, demanding legal changes be made in Europe as “The right to remix has become a fundamental requirement for freedom of expression and free speech in a digital society.”
Remix extends to be imbedded within the very fabric of expression, of persona, and should be celebrated. People remix themselves, and the world around them everyday without knowing it. How incredible, that the artist is able to influence the artist. As Jean Luc Godard said, “It’s not about where you take things from– it’s about where you take them to”.
Today in class we played around with vector graphs. I then proceeded to turn a simple picture of Kevin Spacey into what you see above. This class was a lot of fun, I guess the highlight (apart from transforming Kevin’s face of course) of the lesson was that one thing only needs to be slightly tweaked to become something else entirely. Who owns the image? Kevin? The original photographer? or Me? (I like to think me). I like the concept of a ‘shared community’, where everybody owns everything, as well as nothing at all. Freedom to creatively explore art with no constraint.
Below is me having fun and turning Kevin into a multicoloured alien.
Then and Now
The way in which images may be literally manipulated and re-situated around each other is done so as to demand a response from the viewer. I personally find myself responding quite passionately when confronted with any type of ‘then/now’, ‘past/present’ photograph. The ABC’s ‘Then and Now‘ photo series evokes many emotions and I am hit with conflicting responses, a kind of melancholic nostalgic fond awe.
As I hunted through old photo albums I searched for a picture of a place that I miss dearly, the place I grew up in. When I travelled to the same location a few days ago, I felt as if I had been slapped in the face as I was hit very hard with the vision of a very different kind of dwelling. The new owners have renovated the space and the house is now very strange to look at. With certain atmospheres, objects and environments, we attach memories. When these spaces change as they inevitably do, the environment to which we have attached our memories disappears, leaving us in a despair of sorts. Memories though are able to survive, and this is why I am specifically passionate about photography. The visual is so powerful. We are able to see what what once was. Re-live the past in our heads. To me this is in a way quite tragic, but also comforting. The technique of overlaying an old photograph onto the same location of today provides a contextual insight into the history surrounding us. The combined images of my childhood home makes me feel a kind of grief, a longing for a life that I miss; but I look at what once was with fondness. I feel thankful to the space for allowing me to share its presence for a time. For being a comfort.
I have come to learn that remix is simultaneously about re-shaping the world, as well as a reflection of time itself. The remix becomes the past’s tribute, early life inspiring later life.
A little something I did really quickly, playing around with layer masks on photoshop. I am happy with the result. Something so simple turns an innocent picture into something evil. The Teletubbies shape a child’s world through exposure to the screens on their chest, where dictators may do the same thing. The screen is selective. The screen is power. I think it’s pretty self explanatory in an ironic sense.
When I began this subject I was only semi aware of remix as an art form. Musicians, film directors and artists remix, sample, attribute and recreate works preceding them all the time. Whether the works be stolen in a quest for success, whether the works be adapted in hopes of creating something new, or whether the works be re-created in homage to the original, remix occurs in the public eye all the time. Genres have expectations and rules that come with them. We all expect a horror film to be scary and it is highly likely to take place at night time. The same storyline, the same themes are repeated over and over in the world we know, and we pay to see it. What is popular at a certain time, is usually similar in the war of content.
I was aware of conflicting opinions surrounding the subject of copyright (for me, predominately in the music industry), however I believe that I had overlooked just how deeply remix has become imbedded in the fabric of everyday life, even of our own individual personas. I dye my hair every few months a red, a newer, better version of myself which I believe expresses my personality more accurately. People remix their bodies all the time, they get vaccinations to ward off unwanted disease, they get new knees or breasts or hips, they wear glasses, shop for clothes, straighten their hair. People make themselves new every day, seeking to improve themselves. This is remix. Remix is creation.
Remix is exciting. How incredible, that the artist is able to influence the artist. That the best of one thing, may be mashed together with the best of another. That a simple minor adjustment may transform something old into something new. I’m really excited to see what more comes from this subject, to open my eye to what creative influence I take from the world around me as I become deeper aware of a world of remix.
During class last week something triggered a memory I have about a book I remember my friend buying one time as we were out shopping in the city. After a quick phone call, she put me onto Austin Kleaton’s book ‘Steal like an artist: 10 things nobody told you about being creative’. The book is a kind of manifesto to the creative, and emphasises the point that no idea or work is ever completely original. Influence is inevitable, should the artist erect roadblocks in effort to prevent unoriginality, they would ironically be smothering the creative process.
After searching Kleon online looking for material to include in this blog post, I came across a talk he performed to some American students which went viral and is oh so relevant (see below).
“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.”
– Jim Jarmusch’s ‘Golden Rules of Filming’
Noteworthy director Jim Jarmusch is prominently about celebrating the culture of the world. This is reflected not only from within his works, but in his philosophy.
The world is shared, so why not embrace diversity and similarity as one? The new grows from the old, and the old from the new, neither able to exist without the other. Co-dependant. Likewise a film is the result of a combining of efforts, efforts from those who contributed to its production, as well as efforts of those who inspired ideas. So. How could one person/company simply say they ‘own’ the work?
I put ‘A film by’ as a protection of my rights, but I don’t really believe it. It’s important for me to have a final cut, and I do for every film. So I’m in the editing room every day, I’m the navigator of the ship, but I’m not the captain, I can’t do it without everyone’s equally valuable input. For me it’s phases where I’m very solitary, writing, and then I’m preparing, getting the money, and then I’m with the crew and on a ship and it’s amazing and exhausting and exhilarating, and then I’m alone with the editor again … I’ve said it before, it’s like seduction, wild sex, and then pregnancy in the editing room. That’s how it feels for me.
– Jim Jarmusch
I know, the title of the blog is so original. But hey. Remix births new originals from an already pre-existing nature, so the name mirrors the context of the subject. I’m really looking forward to the progression of this subject!
Over and out.
– Toni Harris