Introduction to the Visual Arts

Remix Culture

Remix is the Newest Artform!

Remix is the media, the ideas, the culture of the 21st century! A new way of thinking about creativity for a new, wired century!

Or is it?

Like so many developments in culture & technology, once you start to look at something “new” like Remix Culture with your new awareness, we start to find it all over the place and stretching back into human history. You could argue that the very definition of human culture is remix.

Good artists copy, great artists steal.

— Pablo Picasso

Even if the ideas and roots of Remix aren’t as new as we think, for sure the power of the software on our laptops & phones, combined with the speed of The Internet, add up to a real paradigm changer. You don’t need a computer at all to do “remix,” but they sure can offer remarkable possibilities, including the possibility to take from, and send to, other countries and continents in an instant.


Remix Activity

Let’s try some remix! Remix anything you like. Words. Images. Audio. Video. Your remix doesn’t have to be electronic, you could also remix tapestry, sculpture, performance, or other physical or ephemeral media. Try whatever you like, and then document and discuss your activity in your blog post.

We’ll talk later about the idea of Algorithmic Art or Procedural Art. Like Remix these are ideas that go way back in time, but have found new agency and power in the computer age. The Algorists used computers, and artists like John Cage used chance operations like throwing I Ching coins to determine elements of his musical and visual compositions. You could write a poem by going to the Art110 Roster page, clicking on some of your all of your classmates websites and, for example, going to their latest blog post, selecting the 5th word from each person’s post, and then stringing those words together and formatting them like a haiku.

CC Mixter

Many of you are familiar with SoundCloud. CC Mixter is another music sharing website. CC Mixter doesn’t have as pretty and friendly an interface as SoundCloud does, but CCM does have 2 very cool features:

  1. Every track on the site has a Creative Commons license.
  2. In addition to posting finished remixes, many artists post isolated tracks: a capella vocals, a drum track, a guitar riff, a sound sample.

CC Mixter is a great place for a remix artist to find all kinds of legal elements for your next project. Next time you’re sitting in the Starbucks in the CSULB University Library, instead of just reading web pages, you could be creating. If you don’t already have audio editing software, you could download a free program like Audacity.


If you want to try an audio remix, CC Mixter is a great choice. And if you want to try an image mashup, Flickr is great.


In Flickr you can search for anything you like in the search box in the upper-right. And then with the License drop-down in the upper-left you can choose to see the results that have the license you want. If you want an image to post as-is on your website, you could select Creative Commons Only. If you also wanted to remix that image, then you’d pick License > CC > Modifications Allowed.


Since Remix is so much about social production you might like to collaborate with some classmates. You could, for example, get a group of 5 people, have each person shoot 1 minute of video, and then give everyone all 5 videos. You could each edit your own video out of the group footage. You could try other variations or “rules” that let you work both collaboratively and independently.

License it

You should choose a license for your work. You have 8 choices.

Your Blog Post

Whatever your Remix Activity is, include it in your blog post. If it’s text or image-based, show it in your post. If it’s a physical remix, take a photo of it. If you remix audio or video, upload it to CCMixter, SoundCloud, Vimeo, YouTube, or a similar site, copy the embed code, and paste it in your blog.

In your write up, talk about:

  1. The freedom & fear, the empowerment & risks, of Internet Culture.
  2. Your thoughts about Copyright: is it working as is? Should it be strengthened, weakened, or modified?
  3. What license you’ve chosen for your work and why.
  4. Your experience of making your Remix piece. How did you do it? Did it come out as you expected? Were there surprises? Challenges? Insights?

Girl Talk

Ithaca Audio

Don’t hold back, just push things forward from Ithaca Audio on Vimeo.


Notorious B.I.G. & Miley Cyrus

Led Zeppelin / Black Dog

Eric Whitacre

Natalie Cole & Nat King Cole

Tupac @ Coachella 2012

Michael Wesch / Web 2.0 … The Machine is Us/ing Us

Michael Wesch / A Vision of Students Today

Julian Sanchez

Creative Commons / Wanna Work Together?

Wanna Work Together? from Creative Commons on Vimeo.

Creative Commons / A Shared Culture

CC Mixter

ccMixter: The Spirit of Sharing Culture from on Vimeo.

Aaron Swartz

Grand Rapids Lip Dub

John Oliver


Comments? Questions? What great art did you see, make, or experience today?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.