Works Cited

Arola, Kristin. “It’s My Revolution: Learning to See Mixedblood.”

Aufderheide, Patricia. “Copyright and Fair Use in Remix.”

Beyoncé. “Beyoncé – Lemonade (best Moments) HD.” YouTube. YouTube, 24 Apr. 2016. Web. 2 May 2016.

ICC Witness Project. “The ICC Witness Project…” The ICC Witness Project. Tumblr.?

Lessig, Lawrence. Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. New York: Avery Publishing Group Inc.,U.S., 2008. Print.

Thomas, Tashima. “Race and Remix: The Aesthetics of Race in the Visual and Performing Arts.”

videomobara. “Pipilotti Rist – Ever Is over All.” YouTube. YouTube, 11 May 2009. Web. 30 Apr. 2016.

 

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Ethnography

Process. Knowing what to use and how to make the Industrial Revolution remix was easy—North and South is one of my most favorite movies and the book is by one of my favorite authors. Also, I love that time period. So, when I decided I was going to go an ethnography, it was only natural that I would want to include the movie and some literature from that time period. When I made the ethnography, I used clips from North and South and then cut in pictures from the Industrial Revolution and a poem from William Blake.

I think the hardest thing for me with that particular project was how to choose what to include. I decided to limit it mostly to the movie North and South, even though I love so many other books, poems, and art from that time. Once I picked that movie, I tried to pick parts of it that would highlight {spoiler alert} parts of the Industrial Revolution.

The ethnography went through a major revision when I decided to change the group I was going to remix. However, once I decided to do the Industrial Revolution, I stuck with my work and didn’t feel the need to make major changes. However, as I proceeded through the process of making this remix, I realized that I was constantly adding onto the video and “remixing” what I already had. This was interesting to realize: the process of remixing is new over. In fact, author Tashima Thomas notes how “each remix in principle expands the possibilities for future remixes” (Thomas 183). Not only did I feel like I was doing that, but it also seemed that I followed his definition of “selective remix” while making the ethnography. He says that this sort of remix “maintains its relationship to the original while adding and subtracting elements from it” (Thomas 182). The foundation for my ethnography was North and South, but I definitely added and subtracted to it.

Rationale. The ethnography that I did over the Industrial Revolution has a lot of history that I wanted my viewers to know. I wanted them to be able to see how personal the effects of it were—it was more than just a conflict between the working class and the owners. Individual people were affected. This is one of the reasons why I bookended the worker/master/union political strife with the love story between Mr. Thornton and Miss Hale. Both groups were affected, even if they might not be directly connected with the industries.

I wanted to make this remix of the Industrial Revolution because this is a time period that interests me greatly. I wanted my audience to learn about the Revolution through the lenses of what interested me the most about this time in the history of England—the arts and literature. I also wanted the viewers to see how the Industrial Revolution affected people and relationships—it was not something that was abstract or a great un-affecting event. Rather, friends were on opposite sides of the system. There was profound tension.

Profile

Process. When I made the profile of my mom, I wanted something that my mom would like. I wanted to represent her—but honestly in a rather abstract way. When I thought about my mom, I thought about all that she had done for me and for my family. My profile of her ended up being very family oriented and not as specific and focused just on her as it could have been. Originally, I was thinking about find things that were “unique” to only her, but then I realized that she is a big part of my whole family—so I wanted to show that side of her, instead.

When I was doing the remix profile of my mom, I immediately thought about how she has done so much for me and my family. She is an excellent cook and she taught several of us at home for school. I wanted something that would be able to reflect that. The alphabet food book captured that very nicely, I thought. I used iBooks on my Mac and then inserted more pictures that I found online.

I really did not feel like I needed to revise what I had done on the profile. I started and finished with the idea of book. The content of my book varied slightly. At first, I thought about making a straightforward cookbook that included recipes that my family loved. However, I wanted something that was more informative than just the recipes. I wanted to focus on the stories behind the food. That is when I made the alphabet book profile of my mother.

Rationale. I wanted to accurately represent my mom and I was not sure how to show her in a way that would reflect her. However, I decided that I was going to focus on just one part of her and not worrying about portraying her entire self. I realize that it is nearly impossible to perfectly capture any person. We are too complex of human beings to be completely classified and “captured.” I want others to see my mom in a way that I see a big part of her. Since food plays a huge part in our home, and since my mother is the primary baker/chef, food plays a huge role in my mom’s life.

Self-Portrait

Process. For my self-portrait, I wanted to people to see the see many different parts of me.  We are complex and creative individuals, and I do not believe that we can easily be categorized. Thus, I believed a mosaic composed of important pictures, quotes, and other special items would be appropriate. I wanted people to see the multi-faceted, multi-layered, and complex beings that we are. We are created very intelligent beings and we should be using all our gifts. We are rational creatures and we each are unique. As a Christian, I see myself reflecting God’s glory and I wanted a self-portrait that would capture the many interests, loves, desires, passions, dreams, and active that I have.

I first came up with the idea of using a mosaic to be my self-portrait when I thought about how complex we are as individuals. I was honestly not sure how I was going to be able to remix myself in a way that I thought would capture the multi-layered complexity that we have as human beings. To make my self-portrait, I used the mosaic creator mosaically.com and uploaded pictures that I had taken and pictures of myself. Most of the pictures that I used were actually profile pictures from Facebook. I was thinking that this would be an “accurate” representation of myself. After I thought about it more, I realized that it probably was not an accurate portrayal of me, but it was a rendering of myself that I wanted the public to see. Kristian Arola talks about this in her essay “It’s My Revolution.” She says, “to understand online identity as regalia is to understand it as an embodied visible act that evolves and changes, and that represents one’s history” (218). I appreciated that Arola had already written about what I had been thinking about. My profile pictures changed over time, and this does represent a change in how I saw myself, or at least how I wanted to display myself to the public.

Rationale. My self-portrait was hard just because I was not sure how I wanted to present myself. I felt awkward and was not sure how to represent myself in a thoughtful way. I still feel like I have not represented myself as much or as well as I could have. Even now that my self-portrait is done, I still feel dissatisfied with it. It makes me wonder how other artists can do self-portraits.

When I was just starting my self-portrait, I thought about doing Buzzfeed quizzes and collecting them in some fashion because I had been struggling to think of a way to remix myself. I decided that the Buzzfeed quizzes could in no way really reflect who I was and I felt that it also made me take the project much less seriously. This relived me of the ethics and beliefs that I have already mentioned. If my self-portrait was just a joke, then I felt it would not really implicate myself. However, I ended up not going through with that idea because I realized that I did really care about my self-portrait. Obviously truthfulness and accuracy are a huge part of my remix ethics!  Therefore, I decided to go with the mosaic because it allowed me to put in a lot of different things—pictures of friends and families and places I have been.

Why Remix?

While studying copyright laws, Lawrence Lessing’s book Remix inevitably showed up. While I think his opinions on copyright are worth reading, I want to focus on something else that he talks about and which played a part in my understanding of remix. While it is not exactly my ethics of remixing, it does answer the question: why remix? What is important about it? How is it useful? I really liked Lessing’s definition and discussion of remix Remix is more than just re-writing a text. It is, “great writing without text. It is creativity supported by a new technology.” (Lessig 82). This definition surprised me. I had thought about remixes as a cover of a song, or as switching the genre in a movie trailer. What I had not considered about remix was its ability to take something from one medium (painting) and remixing it to be a song. Or, for an example from class, the remix done in honor of David Bowe. The artist took the lifetime of a person and remixed him into a montage of paintings.

When Lessig says that “no artist works in a vacuum” and that is it very hard, if not impossible, for art to be original, he also says “it doesn’t mean you can’t make original content” (15). I think that Lessing believes originality to be harder, but there is a possibility for some originality. For example, I read some Charles Baudelaire poetry last semester and one of the things that he strove to do was be original.  The genre he worked with–seduction and lovers’ poetry–was not an original genre, however. So in order to make his work “original” and stand out, he said he wanted to make his work more erotic than previous works. This meant that his work was new. While the ideas he presented may not have been “original,” some of his content is arguably original. He had to make his work more graphic and descriptive than those poets before him. Even when artists attempt to be original, their works still copy and imitate previous works. In this way, every art is a remix of something.

This brings up an interesting point. If every art is a remix of something, how does that work? How can you cite something which might be accidentally remixed? In her article, Patricia Aufderheide addresses this question. “Merely incidental use,” she writes, “is available for fair use consideration” (Aufderheide 275). In contemporary culture, Beyoncé has done a bit of remixing—I am not sure whether it was intentional or unintentional—but she incorporated ideas and themes from Pipilotti Rist’s, “Ever is Over All”, into her car smashing escapade. Would Beyoncé need to cite Pipilotti? How would that work? Did Shakespeare need to cite Greek and Roman myths?

Ethics

When I was remixing engineers as my ethnography, I did not want to misrepresent them. I realize that some may not have difficulty portraying a group because they could say that it was their interpretation of another person or group. While I agree with this idea to an extent, I did not feel comfortable sharing my opinions and perceptions about certain groups because I really was not sure how I felt about them myself and I did not want to offend them in the process. For example, for my ethnography, one of the groups I attempted to interpret was engineers. Once I started, I realized how I really did not know what to say about them. There are so many different subgroupings of engineers and I really did not much about them. All I knew was that I really do not understand their classes. Because I feel this way, I realized that it is important to know something about the group that I am remixing. Before I started remixing the engineers, I had not thought about the complexities of their group. I had just though, “Yep, they are engineers—good at Math and bad at English.” However, when I went to remix that, I realized there is so much more to them than that. Of course, I knew that the people themselves inside the engineer major had depth of person, but when considering them purely on the level of their major, I realized how much of them I did not know. Thus, when remixing a group, it is important to know the group.

The meme that I created was a very poor representation of them, and I found that I could not even boldly own my own work.  Maybe this is because I have engineering friends and I did not want to offend them. This is something I also can consider—who is my indented audience for a particular project? Different audiences are going to have different levels of understanding and preconceived ideas about certain things. For example, when, as an English major, I remix engineers, I am making a statement about them. When I show the remix to my friends who are engineers, they respond by, “Is this what you think about us??” in a tone of utter dismay and disappointment. The level of understanding that they have of their own major is so much deeper than the level that I have.  When I decided on doing my ethnography over the Industrial Revolution, I felt less pressure. I think is is because, as I said earlier, I did not want to offend anyone. Those people who lived during the Industrial Revolution are obviously not alive today, so the pressure of offending them because I had mis-represented them did not exist. Because I had so much trouble, I realized that a huge part of my ethics is making sure that I represent a group to the best of my ability.

I thought that the question as to whether or not I wanted to sign my remixes was interesting. Looking back on the remixes that I have done, I realized that I do want my name associated with my work. The profile that I did of my mom was easy to attach my name to since I used iBooks and I was the “Author.” Personally, I like knowing the author of works because if I like what they have done, and I know their name, I can search them and find more of their works. When things are anonymous, it is obviously much more difficult to search the artist. However, that being said, I think that at times anonymity can be a very important and beneficial thing. For example, in Kenya, there is the ICC Witness Project, which is an ongoing collection of anonymous poems.  Their goal, as stated on their Tumblr page is, “to give voice to some of the missing witnesses for the ICC trial. We want to make sure those were where part of the Post-Election Violence that rocked Kenya in 2008 are not forgotten” (ICC Witness Project).

I still have not decided what I think about copyright laws. I have been thinking about this topic all semester and feel very undecided about it. I think that some copyright laws are good, but I also think that in some instances they are frustrating. I like that copyright allows for the artists to be protected. But, I do wish that sometimes we could have access and use copyrighted materials at no cost if it was for non-profit. I think there should be a balance between using copyrighted materials. If I wanted to make my mom a birthday card using clip art, I think that I should not have to ask permission from the author. If, however, I want to profit from that birthday card I made, then I see why copyright laws are helpful and offer protection.