Re-mix, Re-mash, Re-define.

by maddicook


(Image: Samantha Laura Kaye 2013)

In this digital age we have entered a culture of mash-ups and remixes, enabled by modern computing technologies available. Theses technological resources support this new culture, allowing prosumers to organize their efforts together and develop specific platforms to publicize and share their content.

These collaborative efforts form part of the phenomenon of audiences participating more activity in creating and sharing their own content than ever before. As Lawrence Lessig reveals “remix utilizes the (multimedia) language through which the current generations communicate” (2008).

Produsage, a ‘collaborative, communal practice of content creation’ is a constant process of remixing and/or writing over the original work in order to discover new possibilities. Open platforms such as Reddit allow this; an example can be derived from Reddit’s continuous stream of meme creations. As do mash-up and remix channels, such as YouTube, which allow you to trace the development from the initial, notorious video clip which is then transformed into mash-ups, parodies, reinterpretations. Produsage is rapidly establishing itself as the standard mode for communitydriven, collaborative content creation online. Produsage communities are creating new creative resources and collaborative content, and in doing so are beginning to contest the established industries in their fields.

In our new media world, remixes and mash-ups of all kinds are quite easy to find. They are constantly surfacing on social media sites, usually in comic forms where the meaning is subverted or undermined revealing a critical engagement to the content. A video that surfaced not so long ago was the Taylor Swift ‘goat remix’. Remixes such as this, and thus the technology used, facilitate the democratic participatory culture. These remixes allow users to completely transformed the significance/atmosphere of the original video, in this case revealing a critical evaluation of pop music. Initially a song about romance (a classic “good girl falls for the bad boy” scenario), this remix undermined the meaning of the song, reconstituting the song and adapting its message from a serious issue, to a comic parody.

New media is continuously flowing across a multiplicity of new platforms. The ‘goat remix’ surfaced on YouTube, where from audiences actively produced, edited, shared and evaluated their own versions, others staring Nic Cage, a towel dispenser, a rabbit and a man crying (click here to see an amazing video including all of the above).

With numerous methods for online file sharing these videos have now spread to other platforms such as Reddit and Facebook, stirring up discussion about the video and allowing an unimaginable amount of sharing. The original video has 5 390 600 views on YouTube (to date), and has 9 040 000 hits on Google Videos.

The enormity and accessibility of file sharing, and the innovation of new technologies, have allowed this new culture of mash-ups and remixes to thrive. Due to our participatory culture and the increased interest in creation of new content, this culture has taken off, allowing for new possibilities and opportunities for creation, innovation and design. The power is in the prosumers hands; make of it what you will.