Blog Assignment: Rip! A Remix Manifesto


Blog Assignment
Summer 2014 Digital Arts / Mixed-Media Studio:

We used to be able to watch this entire documentary film online... but now they are asking for donations. Please try to view full video.
RiP! A Remix Manifesto (it's about 86 minutes)

RiP: A Remix Manifesto from Laurent LaSalle on Vimeo.

Take notes on what you find most revealing or surprising about the contemporary practice of remix artists. Does the video raise issues about your own use of digital media... in your artwork or your life? How does the video relate to recent internet blackout/protest and SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) legislation? Do you side with the CopyLEFT or the CopyRIGHT?

Prepare your comments (about 150 words) and have them ready to post to the blog...


Though "Remix Manifesto" made some valid points, I found the film to be incredibly biased and lacking in good examples of copyright corruption, as there are a plethora of them. Perhaps one of the most valid and, frankly one the only powerful, examples of overbearing copyrights was that of the Amazonian plant copyright. This, I believe, is a perfect demonstration of how out of hand copyright laws have gotten. Instead, the documentary focused on a band, "Girl Talk" which I do not find to be impressive or shocking; it is safe to assume that nearly everyone in my generation has used technology to remix music in a similar fashion as Girl Talk. Also, music is indeed an enormous participant in the copyright bandwagon, however musicians often make most of their money touring. Perhaps it would have been more beneficial for the documentary to focus more on visual artists who, similar to Girl Talk, remix images to create their work and thereby, generate their income. "Remix Manifesto" touched on this with the history lesson about Mickey Mouse and the gang of artist's (the Air Pirates) who use "Mickey" in unconventional settings. In conjunction with Mickey's borrowed personas early in Disney history, it seems almost ridiculous that the Air Pirates would now be sued for using Mickey imagery in a satirical sense.
As a visual artist, I absolutely side with the copyLEFT. Borrowing from media is often crucial in making a statement about the source.

The main argument of this documentary, it seems, is to not trust big media. To be an artist, one must operate outside of the law. This is because the laws put in place concerning copyright are not there for the protection of the common people or even the artists themselves but are instead there for conglomerates so that they can continue to profit. At one point in the film they talked about how the band Radiohead left their label and released their album independently and even let fans choose how much they wanted to pay for the songs. An artist creating remixes of Radiohead’s music was then sued by Warner for copyright infringement. The band itself had nothing to do with Warner’s decision and most likely would not benefit from the money that could have been gained had it been paid. Companies like Disney and Warner own so much of what they deem to be “intellectual property” that I wonder how this will bode for future artists of all trades.

I’ve always been on the fence about people borrowing art and music from others, throughout the years I’ve had many debates about it with friends. Watching Rip! A Remix Manifesto didn’t really help me make up my mind on which side I am on but it did bring up some interesting points. I don’t think that people should be so harshly punished for illegally downloading music and making it their own because almost everyone does it. There’s no way that the government can regulate the downloading of music because there is a new website that pops up every day to do so. I do think that Girl Talk was too much a part of this film, there are better artists out there who sample music from others that could have been used. For example, Daft Punk has gotten away with sampling music for years and using their music could’ve added some more depth to this film. The creator of this film barely touched on appropriating/sampling/stealing on actual physical art, which was somewhat disappointing. I wish he would’ve focused more on artists such as Andy Warhol and other pop artists. I’m not saying that I like Andy Warhol’s work, but I am always interested in hearing other’s opinions on artists appropriating. I thoroughly enjoyed the part of the film that mentioned Brazil because it gave a positive outlook on appropriating/sampling music, unlike the rest of the documentary. And it was nice to hear that remixing music helped kids get out of bad situations.

Desiree Harper

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