Remix, by Lawrence Lessig, is a compelling peek into the politics and controversy surrounding the modern form of multimedia collage. I brought this point up in a previous post, however Lessig goes into much greater detail. He includes the origins of citation in text and how that carries (or doesn’t carry) over to the technology and digital arts of today. I see the same contradiction in the rights to cite text versus audio and video use. If students are allowed to quote other literary works without contacting the author, then where is the harm in sampling (mind you, sampling, not using an entire piece) of another form of media? The freedom to do so has come about in this age of read/ write media and technology. The level of ingenuity in some contemporary examples of remixing media does not necessarily surpass the genius of the crafters of the original products. The approaches are significantly different. As Lawrence Lessig mentions, the two spheres of innovation are dependent upon each other in a sense. Without original materials, remixers would have no raw material. Remixes inspire other artists to evolve and create new forms of original work. Also, what I've personally discovered is that many remix artists like Girl Talk, Super Mash Brothers, and Max Tannone (Jaydiohead) offer their end products free of charge. Given the prevalence of the legal system in the music industry since the Napster fiasco, I don't think any remixers would be so foolish as to try to pass off obviously sampled material as original nor would they require payment without seeking legal rights to do so.
The recontextualization of the material is, to both Lessig and I, the most important aspect of remixing. If someone has the ability to alter, pervert, and juxtapose preexisting media to convey an original idea, I believe that artist has a truly original creation on their hands. I'm currently working on my first attempt at video and audio remixing and I must say that I admire those who can make it look easy. It's a delicate process, just like many other art forms. And those who are not aware of the intricacies of the process should not write off the end product as plagiaristic simply because the raw materials used can stand alone as art.