Chloe, Dave, June / storyboard

delivery_man_storyboard

 

Our video is focusing on the day in the life of a food delivery man. It starts out with a student ordering food online and falling asleep. We then transition to the delivery man waiting for an order to be placed. We then go to the delivery man waiting for the food to be made. And then we get him waiting for the customer (who is still asleep) to come down for the food. After a while of waiting, the delivery man leaves. He then gets hit by a car (maybe)… and the customer gets angry when she wakes up and realizes that the delivery man didn’t wait…

Maggie, Inez, July: Storyboard.

IMG_0511Scene 1-6. Closeup of teddy bear, until the purchase of the Teddy bear at the counter

IMG_0512Scene 7-12. Continual of purchase, and walk out onto the street while on the phone

IMG_0513Scene 13-18. Phone conversation, and pass off of the teddy bear to a friend

IMG_0514Scene 19-24. The “crazy” girl wraps the teddy bear, and the boy goes on a date with his girlfriend

IMG_0515Scene 25-30. The boy surprises his girlfriend, by giving her the wrapped teddy bear, the crazy girl walks into the store.

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Scene 31-36. Questions, madness, and “surprises” ensue!

ThereWhile this may qualify as some of the world’s worst drawing, it was immensely helpful.  We can already see how this saved us loads of time upon filming. It was extremely important for us to work out our differences in one spot before we headed out with all of the equipment. By going through this shot by shot process, we solidified our plot, and we are all now 100% on the same page as to where we want our video to go, and how we want it to look. It makes the filming process something we look forward to rather than are worried about. While we had quite a bit of conflict, it was healthy conflict, and it led to a better and more developed project. With 36 scenes to shoot, we are super excited to embark on this project.

As for the process, we cut out more than half of our original story, because we realized we were leaning toward the length of a feature film rather than a few minutes.

Besides basing out the simple characteristics of each shot, we used color to identify special effects. Whether it be illuminated red eyes, artistic lighting from the back, or an after effects filter we will need to apply in post production. (except in the first page where we got carried away with color in the hair, and on the teddy bear). Occasionally we used arrows to represent transition, or movement, but we left the scene vague enough to be up to artistic interpretation at the time of shooting. Now that we have a solid plot, the rest is more of a collaboration process where we are all (hopefully) on the same page 🙂

Oh! And we are excited to pick our cast.

Storyboard – Stephanie and Luke

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Abstract of the story: On one normal GPS recitation, the main character falls asleep as usual. However, as he wakes up all of a sudden, he finds himself in a complete different spot: He is in front of the International Financial Center. And he has changed his clothes into business formal. He is told to work, and he finds out his work is really boring as well as tiring. After he ends a day’s work, he gets a phone call from a woman claims to be his girlfriend. She yells at him for being late for their date once again. He morns for his current life and rushes to the rendezvous but hits by a car. But he wakes up when he is hit by the car, he finds out everything before is just a dream. He is still in the GPS recitation.

 

 

Billy and Nick Sound

Initial Sound:

Final Sound:

Billy’s Reflection:

The project we made is about Nicholas and I surviving within a zombie apocalypse. We took a long time to put everything together, since we needed to redo a lot of the voice recordings to choose the best combinations of voices. Nicholas made the narration and his character’s voice, and I think he has an outstanding variety of voices that will bring a smile into our faces. I made the script dialogue and voiced my character as well. After having the recordings and the additional sounds found in freesound.org, I compiled everything according to the script; the compilation took around three hours. Nicholas imported the music and revised what I have compiled, and the final product is finally done.
I noticed that the sounds in the headphones and the ones in the surround sound are completely different; I did not expect this to happen. However, overall, I had quite a lot of fun making this sound audio log.

Nicholas’ Reflcetion:

This project was probably the most difficult for me thus far, because of all the topics/activities covered in this class, “sound” was something I had no previous experience with. However, my partner was excellent, as he was knowledgeable and creative, which really helped our creative process.

My biggest challenge was understanding the terminology and applications taught in class, and hence using those lessons in the creative process. At first, I was highly intimidated, and really just played it by ear. Billy was the main editorial force in our rough draft, and hence I was not put to the test.

When it came time to revise our initial process, Billy and I worked cohesively to complete the task. In this capacity, I learned how to use the software by doing it, which really reinforced what I learned in class. Furthermore, every mistake we made in the process taught me something better. I can fairly say that working on the audio clip this week was perhaps the most helpful in terms of me learning the material, and I can say I am proud of the finished project.

Mary Kate and Nan’s sound project version 2

Mary Kate:

Bringing together elements and being able to create this horror-movie type sound piece demanded a very meticulous process. Using the tascam field recorders and microphones to record some of our sounds and learning about the different programs available for us to use to edit sounds, all the knowledge gained built up to producing this sound piece which I feel that Nan and I really did our best and I’m really pleased with how it turned out.

The most difficult part I found was to ensure that all the sounds followed the particular story line, and that they merged and synthesised well with one another. It was also important to play with the amplitude of each particular sound to deliver the effects that we desired, but at the same time, ensure that all sounds could be heard clearly. I think that was the most challenging part, after having all the sounds in a particular sequence, now adjusting the tones and pace of each piece of sound in the larger piece. We had some difficulties with the ‘wind’ sound and tried to diversify it as best as we could. We had to introduce some ‘breathing’ sounds in order to make the character walking through the grass more real and to create a relationship with the listener as well. The breathing was pretty tricky because we had some heaving breathing that we had recorded previously and what we had to do was cut it shorter, extend the time for one breath but also adjust amplitudes at specific points in order to make it more natural. This was also the case for all the other sounds that we used in the sound piece and it was really a learning and perfectioning process, adjusting the sound, then listening with headphones on, then adjusting again and listening with the eyes closed to feel the effects.

I think playing with sounds requires a lot of time, and commitment, and I think people who create sound are really amazing because I believe they go through a much more thorough and meticulous process. It demands a lot of attention to produce the desired effect. But I am very happy with the first sound piece that I have ever created, I think this project gives me a good base and experience to now be able to create other sound pieces of my own. What I really liked during the presentation of the piece to the class was the feedback given, our sound piece was very abstract and was open to different interpretations. Another important note to take out from doing this project is to always listen to your sound piece through speakers as well as headphones to ensure that the effect is equally as great when played out loud in the room.

 

Nan:

Now we get to playing with sounds!

At first, we just came about the idea of making sounds about a horrible story. Then we tried to imagine every sound we can think about, such as the wind sound, the owl sounds, the stepping sound, the gate, etc. And when we were thinking about sounds, the story was shaping. We made it two scenes, one is outside, the other is inside, and the character is seeking for someplace safe outside, and she saw a big house, and then she stepped into the house, which is still very terrifying.

Because it is better and more convenient to do with one laptop. So basically we worked together on class or after class together. Also, the difficulty to us is to make everything fits well. Sometimes the sound of wind is too loud, and the character’s sound is too low.  We need to adjust the volume of different sounds. We also spent more time on adjusting the “breath sounds”. And it took a bit time for us to figure out how to slow down or how to higher the pitch. Finally, we decide to make the story no ending, since horrible story always needs unknown thing to attract people’s interests.

The reflection is quite helper. As beginners, both of us didn’t aware of the importance of testing our project not only on headphones but also on speaker. Playing sounds is interesting and needs cooperation. I think I have learnt a lot from my own experience and also on others’ projects. Maddie’s group of creating a cool sound by combining two sounds.

 

July and Inez’s audio

We are trying to tell the story of a robot and a lucky girl. Although there’s limit communications between them because of the language barriers, the love and companionship is universal. We design the script for the audio first and then gather materials for the audio from either online or recording. When downloading records, we use http://file2hd.com to transfer video or other sources into audio; http://freesound.org  to find the sound; http://www.readspeaker.com/voice-demo/ to change the language. After that, we use audition to edit and combine all the records, sounds and music together.

During the process, we have encountered lots of the difficulties:

For instance, to display the sound of the robots, we have tried several methods: 1. effects/modulation/ Flanger/robotic  2. effects/time and pitch/Stretch and Pitch – make three copies of one audio and put them in three tracks, keep one normal and add lower pitch, raise pitch to the other two respectively, and run them at the same time 3. record a robotic background noise and add it on another track to the original audio and play them at the same time. After making a trial to each method, we finally using both method 1 and 2, and manage to figure out how to change the human voice to a robot voice.

Another problem occurs when trying to find some sounds. We use  http://freesound.org a lot to find the sound, and it’s super convenient. However, some of the sound is not available, so we try other methods like looking for a video edition and then change it into the audio file. Basically we applies two methods, one of them is copy and paste the link to http://file2hd.com and extract the video track to audio, and another one is to download the original video and import into adobe premiere, and them only keep them audio part. Other than that, we have tried different recording equipments, we have found that Blue Yeti Multi-Pattern USB Microphone has a perfect sound quality while Tascam DR-40 Handheld Digital Audio Recorder cannot prevent the noise. Thus, eventually, we record our audio with the former one and has achieved satisfactory sound performance.

Talking about the future improvement, we hope we can figure out how to present the audio in different ways so that every moment can be meaningful. Now the audio still has plenty room that is informative but not interesting.

Anyway, it’s super fun of making this audio!

Here is our audio!

Chloe and Isabella’s Sound Piece- Original + Revision Documentation

As people who had never really recorded or edited sound, we had only a very vague idea that we wanted to do something with street food. I really liked the notion of incorporating something “of the city” into the project, but wasn’t really sure how to do it. We also knew that we didn’t want to do anything that required us to be voice actors, because it’s awful to hear yourself on a recording.

We used the TASCAM to record several minutes of the sound of street food being made in the middle of the night. The majority of those minutes was the sound of noodles being fried on a wok, but there were also some other shorter samples of chuan’er being cooked and cars and bikes going down the street.

We eventually decided to make some sort of a song out of the sounds we’d recorded. We spent hours dividing up the long recordings into individual sounds in garage band. We put each snippet of sound into a category- sizzles of the pan, hits of metal, voices, car vroom sounds, etc. We started looping and combining different “hit” sounds to make a sort of percussion beat, but realized the sounds were a little too choppy to do this well. We applied some effects (light echo, changing ambience) to make the sounds a little more smooth.

Seeing as neither of us has much musical knowledge, we were lost as to how to get the piece anywhere beyond an avant-garde percussion beat. We enlisted the help of a DJ friend who had logic pro installed on his computer and offered to help us make the audio go somewhere. We added a “drop” after the basic rhythm section that made the piece just a little more complex.

In class, one critique was that the piece was full of mids and highs, but no lows. We addressed this by adding one of Garage Band’s drum loops to the track. Another main piece of feedback was that the “drop” came out of nowhere and the beginning half didn’t really properly lead up to it. We increased the volume towards the end of the first beat and added the Garage Band percussion to make the drop seem a little more built up to. We also increased the volume of the track to compensate for the quietness of having to be recorded a couple feet away from the wok fire.

Street Food Audio/ Chloe and Isabella

Isabella and I originally didn’t know what kind of audio we wanted to create, but we knew we wanted to use sounds associated with Shanghai life. We then decided to use sounds of local street food vendors. Originally, we were just going to record people ordering street food and compile it into one audio sound. However, once we actually went out and used the TASCAM to record the sounds, we realized we had much more than voices.

When we heard all the sounds we got with the TASCAM, we had the idea to turn them into a song. Along with the voices, the TASCAM also picked up sizzling, hitting of pan, etc. We uploaded the file and in garage band cut the file to separate individual sounds. We repeated the sounds to create different beats with the sizzling and pan hitting, then layered in voices.

From there, Isabella and I were a little stuck because our sound was boring, so we asked a DJ friend of ours to help make it sound more like a song. With his help, we used logic pro to mix up the beats a bit and add echo effects.

For our revision of the audio, we added a loop sound from garage band to make the sound a bit lower. We also upped the volume and added other voices to make the context more clear.

Here is the original sound

 

and the revised sound

Maggie and Stephanie’s Sound Piece

Stephanie:

First, Maggie and I decided to make a scary sound recording. We considered several settings of the scary story, and at last we decided to make a scary story about the way back to dorm. We thought it was well-related to our normal life and could best synthesize with our peers. We set the story line as the following. One night, a student was leaving the AB but missing the shuttle bus back to dorm, thus she had to walk back to dorm. On her way back, she first heard coin-dropping sound, and she stopped. Then she went into the Family Mart to see if the weird sound would disappear. When she continued to walk back, she heard the coin-dropping sound again and she asked “Hello”. She still went on walking, and she heard the sound once more, she was frightened, asking who the sound was. Then the sound “Sorry” haunted her when she was running away. In the end, the girl breathed heavily after a long run, and she heard one more “Sorry” and screamed. End of the story.

After we decided what to be our topic for the sound recording project, we started gathering recordings. We used TASCAM to record sound. I first recorded five sounds: footsteps on the stairs on the way out of AB, exiting the AB, the shuttle bus leaving, the traffic noise, and the Family Mart welcoming music. Then Maggie and I used Garage Band to set these recorded as background sound of the whole story. We downloaded “footstep”, “running”, “breath”, “scream”, “coin-dropping”, and “Sorry” from Internet. And we put these sounds into the Garage Band. We looped “footstep” when the main character started walking because we wanted to create a continuity of time and space. We used “coin-dropping” three times to create a horror atmosphere, with three different reaction of the main character. The first time she stopped, indicated by the stop of footstep. The second time she said “Hello” in suspicion, recorded by Maggie afterwards. The third time she asked who the sound was, also recorded by Maggie. After this, we added “Sorry”, looped and panned it to different channels. We wanted to make it sound like a person was chasing you, and saying “Sorry” to both of your ears. We also changed the footstep sound into running sound, and added heavy breathing sound as well. In the end, we saved only the breathing sound to create horror, and we ended it with one more “Sorry” and a scream, leaving the ending open. Thus we thought the listeners could engage themselves in the sound recording project and imagined the ending by themselves.

After we had the structure of the sound recording project down, we added many revisions. First, we recorded Maggie saying “Goodbye” to me to better indicate the setting and timing of the story. Second, we added Maggie’s reaction of missing the shuttle bus, because the original piece was hard to interpret her missing the bus. Third, we added fade-in and fade-out to different sound tracks, and we kept the volume of different sound in accordance, what’s more, we panned several tracks in order to provide the listener a better understanding of the space.

The most interesting part of creating a horror sound recording is that because Maggie and I have listened to it so many times, it no longer sounds horror to us. But we are really happy to find that others really like this piece. But we also recognize some problems in the recording project. First, wind in the background. When I recorded the traffic sound, I also recorded the sound of the wind. Maggie and I tried to lower the volume of that track so that the wind sound would be diminished. But that did not work out. After class we decide to add the volume of wind, and introduce one more track of wind to enhance the horror atmosphere. Second, the beginning of the project was too fast. We only had Maggie saying “Goodbye” to me, which may be incompatible in creating a whole setting of the story.

In all, I have learned how to use TASCAM field recorder and how to use Garage Band to create a sound project. And I think Maggie and I have created a really good sound recording project, which we name as “My Last Trip Back to Dorm”. But we also learn that it takes a lot to create a horror sound piece, and in the process of recording there could be many distraction and unnecessary noise.

Maggie: 

Since Stephanie covered the majority of our process I will focus on the revision aspect of our piece.

Based on feedback we noticed the wind was a bit distracting. We noticed this beforehand and lowered the wind down to quite a low level, but it didn’t seem to be enough. Therefore in the editing process we played with the pan of the sound of the wind. Hopefully, it added a bit more dimension to the piece. (Also, I think pan might be my favorite feature:))

We also adjusted the pan of the bus moving away so it sounded more like the bus was actually moving into the distance.

We tried to adjust the reaction to the first coin drop. We wanted the first reaction to be non-verbal because in real life, you would not automatically say something if you heard coins. We moved the coin drops a bit sooner, so it emphasized when the girl stops walking.

All in all, I really enjoyed this project!

Arctic Cent – Dani, Dave, & Maddie’s Sound Project

Dani:

For the sound piece, we began by recording the Rugrats theme song played by Maddie on the piano. We then tried to layer it into a rap/hip-hop beat. Our goal was to take two very different pieces of music and mash them together. It was really difficult to mix the Rugrats song with any other sound piece, so we decided to look for two songs that shared the same bpm. We came up with Arctic Monkey’s “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High” and 50 Cent’s “21 Questions”. We took the instrumentals from Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High, and layered it with 50’s cent’s acoustic rap. The majority of the project was done on Garage Band, but we did try to trip the instrumentals from Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High using Audacity. This was extremely difficult and unsucessful. In the end, we were able to adjust the song so that the instrumentals of Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High matched with the original version.

Maddie:

After finally finding two songs that we wanted to use together and deciding that we’d use the original Arctic Monkeys’ song instead of the acapella version, I went in and extracted the clip where they sing “Why’d you only call me when you’re high?” and integrated that into the 50 Cent rap. To do that, I had to take out part of the rap, then move the second part of the split rap a bit further in the song by a second or so. Additionally, I worked on the beginning part of the song when 50 Cent first starts rapping to make the entrance a bit smoother and less awkward. Also, I moved where 50 Cent sings “Giiiirl” a little so that he came in slightly later, since in the original the speed at which he comes in was too quick for what we liked. Since I’ve never seriously worked with sound or any sound editing software, this project was quite time consuming and frustrating at times, but after working in Garageband for a while, it became easier and more satisfying, though equally as tedious.

Dave:

I mainly helped out with the ending of the song and with streamlining some of the rough parts of the song. What I tried and failed to do was to take out the instrumentals of the Arctic Monkeys song so that we were left with the only the vocals. That proved to be extremely hard and way beyond my skill level. I downloaded tons of software and VST plugins for audacity but I still couldn’t extract the instrumentals without it sounding really bad, and even then some of the instrumentals were still present after the extraction. We decided to compromise with technology and Maddie was able to hide most of the disruptive beats that were left in the Arctic Monkeys sample. Overall this was a frustrating and hard experience that felt a little rewarding.

Reflection on Photoshop

After an extensive session of attempting to Photoshop the beautiful image we started with, I can come to the conclusion that learning how to use photo-editing tools with minimal frustration will take more than a few days work. This was my first time using Photoshop, however I am up to the challenge and would like to see how far I’d go in improving my skills. In this project, I added the top hat to the monkey in this image in an attempt to make the monkey out to be like a magician that convinces the minion to give up his bananas to him, in this cold barren winter land. My next edit involved colour-correcting the image so that the bananas tried to blend in with the new green background. My greatest challenge I’d say was trying to incorporate other elements of certain images pulled from the Internet. For example I wanted to add dark reflective glasses to the image but I failed to cut off just the round edge and place it on top of the eyes like the monocle. Additionally, despite using the various clone tools, I failed to remove the tiny snowflakes on the hands of the original monkey. However, I think blurring the image kind of achieved that. In general it was a fun experience anticipating what next my group-mates- Billy, June and Isabella would do to alter the image.

A response to everything being a remix

The notion that there is hardly any originality left in work today does not astound me at all. It is very common for artists and designers to find inspiration from works that have taken from other works and so and so forth. The reason why I am so unfazed by the massive amounts of borrowing, stealing, and inspiring that art has on people is because I hold a great interest in one a style of music that is steeped in “remixing” songs. Jazz, a style of music that has evolved throughout the 20th and 21st century, has it’s roots in the taking of old songs and putting a new twist on them. “My Favorite Things” from the Sound of Music has been covered by John Coltrane; “Autumn Leaves” has been covered time and time again by many different jazz artists. Jazz artists tend to take pop music from culture, and then sequentially change and morph the song in order to suit how they want to speak through it. The same basic ideas are present in the new version of the song, but the artist’s voice is placed into it in order to give the work a new meaning. Everything being a remix is totally fine, however blatant plagiarism and theft is another matter all together. If the work isn’t given any more value by refinement or remixing, then it shouldn’t be treated as such. It is simply theft and that’s that. Nothing that we see is truly original, but I think that human beings have enough common sense to differentiate between a work that is a direct copy or work that is simply steeped in inspiration from other works.

collaborated image

 

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my partners: Isabella, Billy and Angela

We found the original piece like this:

Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 3.51.08 PM

I was the first person editing this image. The flying monkey is pretty cool, so I took it out. Thinking of that monkey loves banana, so I added several bananas and a mini in front of the monkey. So the monkey will seem to jump from the ground and try to get those bananas. I leave the background blank and hope the next people can add something else to that. During the second turn, I added a skateboard and also shadows to make it fit to the monkey.

This was my first time using Photoshop. Though I only used limited simple tools, I started to find how powerful and complex it is. Hope I can have more time to deeply learn this tool.

comic

Fruit-Puns

Cooperated with Nicholas and July.

The experiencing of producing this comic was actually an experience for me to get to learn using photoshop. I will never try to learn it until I need it. We got our pickle, strawberries and car online. We added eyes, eyebrows and mouths to each ones to give them character. Though we did it separately, we tried to make the style looked same and I think we greatly made it. 🙂

One feature of this comic is that we scanned Nicholas’ hand writing and placed them in the comic. This makes the whole comic much more vivid.

Distinctions between Remixes and Copying?

Jonathan Lethem’s article explicitly confronts the issue of plagiarism and how we interact with it in society while Kirby Ferguson’s “Embrace the Remix” and “Everything is a Remix” does it implicitly. However, they both do boil down to the point of how the objects we see and interact with in contemporary society have (most likely) existed before, and are just being remade/recreated one way or the other.

While I was reading the article and watching Kirby’s videos, one of the main questions that I kept asking myself was if anybody else noticed that these were similar quandaries to those that had been presented in “On the Molotov Man” and in Benjamin Walters’ “The Work Of Art In The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. Before, we were seeing some of the direct repercussions and criticisms that come with copying a work. Yet now, we are being made aware that some creative professionals do this in ways of paying “homage” to the original creation.

I wonder if there’s a line where we draw the distinction between wrongfully reusing a certain person’s work and/or ideas and when we are using it to “develop art to another level” which is similar with the principle that the patent law uses to make patents only exclusive for a certain number of years. If we are to take Kirby’s take, everything is truly a remake of something else and we only ask for copyright permissions and credit sources as a form of courtesy.

In a closing note, I’d like to point out that this doesn’t really happen in fashion. When a style or cut becomes popular, it is incorporated by the high-end and high-street brands. Furthermore, styles from previous decades and centuries are always seen to be evolving and being incorporated in present-day fashion without so much as the blink of an eye! In this sector, it’s not really frowned upon to re-make even though creativity is still the most upheld virtue.

Re-Undersatnding Comics with McCloud

I am glad to say that this was my second time reading Scott McCloud’s book “Understanding Comics” having previously done it for my IB English class. The first reading was more to see how a “text” could be presented in terms of comics and images and this second reading had me looking at the book in light if the fact that I was to use McCloud’s tips to create a comic panel of my own.

Though I would never be classified as a comics’ fan, I only religiously followed one football comic growing up and usually preferred the shorter cartoon panels in the newspaper. Reading McCloud’s book had me analyzing all the “stylistic” choices an artist takes into consideration to make their panel a success. It surely wasn’t just the story embedded in the comic that had me purchasing the books every week, it was, according to McCloud, also due to the way the comic panels were laid out, and this helped me appreciate the final products and work of the artists even more!

From this reading, I took away that the audience’s engagement (or what the artist foresees the engagement will be like) is a great influence in the work being produced by comic artists, and therefore should I ever consider being one, I should take the minute choices with a thorough thought process especially if the comic is a short strip versus a book-long comic.

Comic Revision

To revise the comic I first redid the borders around each image, making them thinner to not draw attention away from the stick figure. I also redid the wall lines to make them match the border. I also added a few frames to make it more clear what is happening when the hand is pushing the stick figure off of the cliff. Finally, I added more sequencing to the stick figure falling and repositioned him.

Here is the original comic and below is the new one I revised.

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Revised comic:

comicfinalchloe

 

 

Fruit Puns by June, July, and Nicholas

Fruit Puns

Let me begin by saying that this project was quite a bit of fun. Both working with my partners and working on this project was delightful, as well as incredibly educational, as you learn much about photoshop by constantly working on it. I found that this project dynamic was very similar to the previous “exquisite corpse” photoshop project, as the project’s progress constantly relied on the other partner to be completed. This said, my partners were all focused on the good of the project, meaning that they were all cooperative and open to each other’s ideas. For this reason, I regard this project a huge success. I hope that you enjoy the new and improved “Fruit Puns” comic.

Nicholas Sanchez’s response to remix’s

If I have observed anything from the youtube series “Everything is a Remix” and the “Ecstasy of Influence”, it is that all things, and I do mean all things, are created from the old. This is not an opinion, or even a well stated thesis. Just as sure as Bob Dylan derived his music from the work of others, we can be absolutely sure of the categorical claim that all creations are the culminations of older works.

The way I see it, there are two discussions regarding this topic present today. The first, is to determine whether it is acceptable for new creations to incorporate aspects from older creations, considering the claims Kirby makes. This is a discussion about plagairism. The second discussion pertains to the legal aspect of copyright and patent, or rather, the ownership of intellectual property.

To address the first, I think both the Kirby and Lethern are in agreement. By this I mean that both agree that part of the creation  process does indeed include the observation and incorporation of already existing things. This inclusion, emulation, or duplication, is not done maliciously or out of laziness. Rather, this is just a natural and unavoidable part of the creative process. Therefore, in a way, all forms of creations are to an extent, plagiarism. However, such plagiarisms are not inherently evil nor do they detract from the creation. Such usage must be appreciated as a natural byproduct of the creative process.

The second discussion, which concerns law and patenting, is a little bit more difficult an issue to address. I say this because big and powerful “Patent Trolls” are numerous, and fight tooth and nail to squeeze every profitable cent from artistic creation. Notable examples would be the response of EMI Records to Danger Mouse’s “Gray Album”. As Lethern points out, patents were not created to discourage creation nor feed the greedy patent trolls, but really to do just the opposite. Effectually, they were created to allow the original creator time to cover their costs, and then allow for the invention to be explored for the general good of the public. However, these original noble intentions have since been perverted by institutions such as the patent trolls.

I agree with all the points that both pieces present. However, I think that as this postmodern society advances, and the issue of intellectual property is further debated, we must never forget those whose creative license is at stake. Many artists do feel that their works are indeed protect by the very laws that patent trolls abuse. In conclusion, all sides must be considered moving forward.

Brad and Angelina in Shanghai – Kelsey, Dani, Yu

brad & angelina in ShanghaiEDIT

Yu’s part:

According to the class discussion, I changed the size of the minipanels in the first panel to make the figures and speech more easy to read. Also I drew lines of the figures to make it more comic like and to match the following panels. Air plane is emphasized with black lines too. In the second panel I deleted the speech bubble to make it clearer and simpler.

Dani’s part:

For my adjustment of the comic, I enlarged the pop out box in panel 2 to make it obvious that the intention was to zoom in onto the original image. I also centered the texts inside the speech bubbles.

Kelsey’ part:

For the changes I adjusted the speech bubbles in the fifth panel to match the tone of the speech as suggested in class. I also gave Angelina a different hairstyle to match previous panels. I tried to adjust the line thickness in the sixth one, but due to jagged selection edges it did not turn out well.

Comic Revisions: Maggie, Luke, Inez, Isabella

Before:

A broken she:he

After:

comic draft (Revised)

 

Maggie:

After the presentation of Tuesday we took what everyone had to say, and tried to incorporate it into our comic:

  1. We attracted attention to the beginning of the comic by adding the red frame around the first panel. Now the attention is not drawn to the big black panel on the bottom
  2. We changed the positioning of the boy and and girl in the second panel, so that their body language points toward the right. We wanted it to push the story forward.
  3. We extended the red from the breakup scene across the whole comic to not only separate the boy and girl, but also to imply a parallel time progression. We aim to allow people to better understand the direction by which they read our comic.

Luke:

After the critique about our comic panels, I found out some basic elements of making comic which we didn’t think of before. Like how could you attract someone’s eyes from the very beginning and hoe could you make the comic in a easy way to be understood by the audience. These elements gives me a alert on how to make a great comic.  For what a really fabulous comic to me, first it must be meaningful and next it have to include the comic experience. last but not least, a great comic must have a great story line.

Inez:

With the critiques from class, I can feel the complex notion in the simple images. Comics seems to have more inspiration from people’s instinct.  Since people have an expectation of simple panels for comics, all the underlining emotion have to be obvious for reader to capture and logic should be set up when constructing the comics. The colour and image we used need to be well-designed to catch people’s eyes and arouse their attention all through the panels. For instance, we revise the direction of the character so that people can be led fro the beginning to the end of the story. Also, comics is to present multi-axis imagination by the 2-dimension world.
Isabella:
We got some good feedback for this comic. I definitely noticed the heaviness of the black computer panel after it was pointed out to us. We added in a red line from the first panel to both divide the boy and girl sections and draw the eye in the right direction of the comic. We also received an idea to make the boy and girl sections look as though they had been ripped, but opted not to implement this critique because it didn’t fit with they style that we wanted. I was pleased with how our comic came out in the first round, and doing these critiques is always really helpful to make the piece even better in ways the creators can’t really see.

Response to “Everything is a Remix” and “The Ecstasy of Influence”

I find it interesting that in a time of such commotion around copyright that there are so many others who do believe that everything is an appropriation of other works – and that that is just what art and “invention” is. Both Lethem and Ferguson believe that this mimicry is part of cultural production; Lethem states, “It becomes apparent that appropriation, mimicry, quotation, allusion, and sublimated collaboration consist of a kind of sine qua non of the creative act,” following up with the assertion that “If these are examples of plagiarism, then we want more plagiarism.”

The objective of copyright, as Lethem indicates, is “‘to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts,’…[which] encourages others to build freely upon the ideas and information conveyed by a work.” This is exactly how people should see how artists work; the artists are merely paying tribute to others who have inspired their own work, and are not simply ripping them off. This, however, leads to the need for credit where credit is due. It is different if an artist pays tribute to another and admits to it, and completely another when they insist that the idea was entirely original. This point is emphasized by Ferguson’s example of Steve Jobs, who was known for being candid and accepting about his “stealing” of other ideas, but in later years when others were “stealing” from him, found the act appalling and unforgivable. Ferguson puts it nicely when he says that Jobs is essentially saying, “Great artists steal, but not from me.”

I think that in modern times, it is extremely difficult to find a completely original idea – if possible at all, as much appropriation is subconscious – and Ferguson just emphasizes this point. Many of the examples he gave, including Led Zeppelin and Star Wars, I had no idea sampled so much from other sources of media. The success of both of these examples, I believe, is an affirmation that copying is acceptable, and even encouraged, in all forms of art. Without borrowing from other sources, media today would largely be dull and, honestly, would probably still be borrowing from such sources without anyone noticing.

 

Maggie’s Response to Everything is a Remix

Kirby Ferguson’s idea that innovation is not based on creativity should not have surprised me as much as it did. His ideas made such logical sense, that one would think they would have thought about it before. But, this is SO not true. When I thought of innovation, I thought of one super smart anomaly of a person, who happened to think differently than everyone else. But innovations occur out of the efforts of many, not of one. You start as someone copying the greats of others, and then through a process of efforts, you create a work that is “new.” But, is it really new? Of course not, it is an accumulation of everything you have learned, and nothing you learned was yours to begin with.

It is like imagining a new animal! Think of anything. Here is one to look at.

img-thing

The thing about this animal is that while it doesn’t necessarily exist, its component parts do. Its head is a fox, its body is a bird. While you think you can create a new animal, one that no one else has seen, well, this is true. But the parts, are not. Same with a song, with a movie. The product may be new, but its structure lies in years and years of history.

What I want to think about most is what our world would be like if the remixing of copyrighted material did not carry with it a “social taboo?” If everyone was encouraged to cooperate, communicate, and share all their ideas, discovers and information, what kind of incredible things would our world discover? Is the concept of intellectual property problematic and curbing the potential progress of the world? Or does it keep honesty, and credit in check?

Response to the ecstasy of influence and everything is remix

Although The Ecstasy of Influence and Everything is a Remix are shown in different ways, and focus on different fields of art, they are pretty similar to each other. Both of them are talking about copy, creativity, remix.

After reading their works, I think the creativity without being accused of stealing others’ work depends on many factors.

For example, when talking about calligraphy in china, the style we used comes from other artists. However, in this field, if we write something in this style, no one will say you steal something from other. Also, if you use certain terms, which have specific meaning itself, from other artists’ work, people will just say you use it for reference, because you use this term yo create a new scene of poem. But when talking about novel, like the one in The Ecstasy of Influence, if we use the famous sentence, or make use of some plots, will it be a problem of plagiarism? It’s hard to say. 

Therefore, the standard of copyright, creativity, … really depends on which field you are in, whether you create or combine something new, and the degree of what you have created. But its true that everything, every work we do in on the base of other’s achievement. The development of society is literally based on the history, what we have created, what is good, what is bad, what can be better, etc.

To Everything is Remix, i do believe that “create” is just combine what we have already had.  But this, we add our thoughts in it. Like the part “The song remains the same”. Can we say they are really the same? Of course no. For instance, in the first movie of The Hobbit, the dwarves sing the song: misty mountain in the movie. the sone is slow, deep and melodious. And the ending song in the movie is sung by another singer. Actually, the two songs re almost the same, not only in the melody but also in the lyrics. But the ending sone is faster, and added some modern elements like jazz. They copied, without fundamental change, but they do give the movie new tongues of song.

Stealing can motivate creativity, I agree that. But when we talk about stealing others, we agree that. When we think about being stolen, we will definitely disagree that. In today’s society, it is reasonable that a lot of stuff we create are measured by the amount of money. And if we are stolen, it means our own stuff is somehow losing its own value. And also, human being are self-centered. Therefore, we need copyright to maintain the society. But to me, I think the creativity of “stealing” will never stop, since we need to improve and to see something new.

Reflection on “Everything is a Remix”

Kirby Ferguson’s series did what I think I’ve been waiting for all of these other articles to do. His explanation of the origin of copyright laws really made me reflect on how their original intent have been skewed and warped into a way of taking money from people. Ironically, perhaps intellectual property law would only actually work in a non-capitalist system!

Ferguson’s observation of the creative method of “copy, transform, combine” got me thinking about the way architecture has reacted to this. In architectural movements throughout history, we see the exact same elements appearing on many buildings in the same timeframe and reason. Those elements, such as dentil molding in post-colonial United States, are used to identify buildings from a particular era or movement. Copying in architecture has been done without question for hundreds- even thousands- of years.

“Everything is a Remix” also made me reflect on brutalist architecture. Among other things, this movement is reliant on the idea that everything has already been done, and basically gives up trying to make anything original. Even for people who like brutalism, its products are heavy and ugly. They are characteristic of eastern Europe’s communist cities, and are rarely regarded as a positive aesthetic to live in or around. I guess this is what can happen in a creative pursuit that stops “combining” to create newness.

Response to The Ecstasy of Influence

As a skeptic of this whole “Plagiarism is Good” movement,  I spent this entire piece waiting for Lethem to give me some concrete examples. I understand that this is a very rudimentary criticism, and perhaps I should take the piece for what it is and stop looking for the evidential proof, but I have trouble being convinced that intellectual property is so damaging to our collective creativity and progress when I haven’t really been told why, but rather had the theory thrown in my face several times over the course of the essay.

I did really enjoy Lethem’s point about the power of pop culture symbols that have been taken into our culture on a less-than-conscious level. It would be interesting to observe a culture or society that has remained isolated from pop culture media (from the east and west alike), like the Cacataibo region of Peru, which is home to a tribe of Native Americans who have chosen to separate themselves from the rest of the world. Lethem asserts that creativity and artistic evolution are not possible without taking on aspects of already produced pieces, and I would like to study how art has evolved in cultures like the Cacataibo, where there is a much smaller pool of past work to draw on, versus a place like the United States, which has access to much of the world’s work through globalization and the internet.

While Lethem’s stringing together of sentences from different preexisting works is beyond impressive and drives his point home in many ways, I think the work still lacks something in the idea of an action plan. He mentions citation being basically futile because plagiarism happens so much outside of the quotation marks, but does that mean we should do away with it in all forms? While many artists, authors, etc have only good intentions with their plagiarism, conscious or not, some do have bad ones, and removing legislation to protect artists who have had their original works stolen and passed off as original by someone else (I’m thinking Jeremy Scott and Jimbo Phillips), rather than “remixed” into something else.

Response to “Embrace the Remix”, “Everything is a Remix”, and Lethem’s “The Ecstasy of Influence”

After watching Kirby Ferguson’s video series and Lethem’s excerpt, I found that plagiarism is not necessarily something wrong to do but something that we need to be aware of. Since our birth, we imitate and learn from our parent’s basic behaviors, such as eating with a spoon/chopsticks and making sounds with our voice. Later, we adopt the culture surrounding us, such as how to greet, how to dress, and how to speak. Of course, everybody is different in personality and characteristic; thus, we not only copy what our society provides us but also reform these traditions slightly to suit our tastes, making each of us special. For example, different writers like to write with different hand shapes and with unique handwritings, but the idea of using a pen/pencil to write words is the same. In perspective, a copy is not longer an imitation when we apply our own preferences and choices. Therefore, the copy becomes the “original” when other copies similarly copy the copy. (I am playing with words here.)

We usually connect different ideas together to create and discover something new. As presented in Kirby’s Everything is a Remix, many films, such as Stars Wars, created their scenes by recreating other films’ scenes in order to entertain the audience. Big corporations, such as Apple, imitated the idea of the Xerox computer to create a personal computer, the Mac computer, for households. The configuration of present keyboards may have originated from the piano, and the printing technology was invented through the availability and existence of other materials such as ink and paper. Lethem’s work presents various examples in literature and music in which famous works can be found as a combination of other famous works. In essence, our plagiarizing nature enable us to make original things through the reformation of the copies similar to the mutation of the DNA in organisms.

However, we also suffer from loss aversion as mentioned in Kirby’s series and implied in The Ecstasy of Influence. We can feel that we have lost our “original” work when others try to copy and recreate it, and we often say that our work was “stolen”. This case can be represented in Apple’s strategic aquisitions in which Steve Jobs practically fought against others who have a similar idea to his inventions with lawsuits, when Apple also clearly copied and used others’ main idea for profit. Nonetheless, this loss aversion is just an illusion, because owners are still practically owners of their work, and fulfilled ideas cannot be easily “stolen”. For what I know in my experience, our works are the source that provides inspiration for others to advance what we have created, since I, too, have copied and reformed countless times.

 

Response to The Ecstasy of Influence Yu Zhou

My first impression on this selected article is: oh, Bob Dylan again. Then I found out he was just among the many famous people in various fields mentioned in this essay. It seems that I can think of the question of copy, plagiarism from both sides. And there’s actually no simply yes or no. I like the idea of using scissors to cut the universe into pieces and then create, rearrange the pieces. This metaphor fascinates me.

“Finding one’s voice isn’t just an emptying and purifying oneself of the words of others but an adopting and embracing filiations, communities and discourses. ” I bet everyone more or less agree with this idea, but I am amazed at how the author structured his words!

The part in this essay that catches my eyes most is the USEMONOPOLY. The underlying meaning of copyright discussed by the author refreshed my understanding of the term. I was among the majority who take it for granted that copyright is a law, a sign of advanced, well-organized civilization. Now I am pretty much convinced that this is a social negotiation as stated by the author. The art and the nature of this world did not have the implication of copyright. It is the product coming out of economic concern to protect personal gain in order to help with the growth of the society and the mankind.

response to THE ECSTASY OF INFLUENCE and EMBRACE A REMIX

One thing I found Jonathan Lethem’s “The Ecstacy of Influence: A Plagiarism” interesting is that the entire text is made up of quotes from other people. A text that talks about plagiarism is actually a remix of many other works. It will become so ironic if we consider remix as one kind of plagiarism. So does remixing equal copying and pasting? Kirby Ferguson uses 4 videos to encourage us to embrace the remix. The reason given by him is simple: everything is a remix. Copy, transform and combine are the social evolution rules. At the end of part two of his video series, Ferguson lists varies pairs of people who create a similar or exactly the same piece of work at the same time. Why will these things happen? Art is not only derived from life, it is also derived from other existing materials. Since these works are the remix of all other works existed before it, it is natural that two different people may create similar work at the same time.

However, what is the line between plagiarism and remixing? I think the crucial point lies on the transform step. People need to add their original thoughts into their work. What’s more, they have to be shameless and admire that they truly copied some part of other works. It acts just like quotation in writing essays.

The Ecstacy of Remix/Everything is a Remix Response

I agree with the ideas presented in both pieces, that everything is a remix in one way or another. A conversation I often had with my old roommate, who’s a studio art major back in NYC, was how she was sick of people talking about and making pieces revolving around the idea that “there are no new ideas, everything is just a copy of a copy”. While she didn’t agree with this sentiment, these pieces suggest that yes, everything is in a sense, a copy of a copy, but that’s not necessarily  a bad thing, especially considering that there weren’t ever completely original ideas to start with. Reading Lethem’s article was interesting, but I felt Ferguson’s video series was much more effective at driving the point home, mainly because he was able to play clips as examples. As someone who wants to be a producer in the future, the idea that everything is a form of remix is kind of a relief. There’s a lot of pressure on artists to make something new, original, edgy, etc., etc., when what’s really important is to make something good. This weird emphasis on new sometimes drives artists to try to hard to be new and original, and make something overly dark, filled with cheap shock factor, and in general concentrate on being different rather than good.

I think copyright laws can be a little ridiculous sometimes. Just last semester, I was working at a producing internship and was looking up public domain songs. I realized I recognized most of them from elementary school choir class. This probably meant that songs were chosen not because they were classic choir songs, or good for kids to sing, rather, they were free to use. It’s a little ridiculous- would Katy Perry sue a bunch of fifth graders for singing Firework? Hopefully not.

Ferguson mentioned the Grey Album, Danger Mouse’s remix album of Jay Z and The Beatles, and I was curious so I tried listening to it. I thought the result was something unlike either of the original albums. It seems silly for the Beatles’ record company to sue, because I doubt anyone would listen to or buy The Grey Album if they wanted to listen to the Beatles. If anything, it introduces more people to The Beatles music and could encourage more sales of the original. Strangely enough, if my working knowledge of music copyright is correct, if Danger Mouse had created a cover mash up album, much like Glee does in most episodes, it would’ve been perfectly legal.

Side note: the phrase “you wouldn’t steal a handbag” always reminds me of this clip from the show The IT Crowd (A British comedy which has been had two attempted remakes in the US so far) :

The Ecstasy of Influence and Everything is a remix

Lethem and Kirby’s arguments are very convincing and similar with various overlaps. It feels like Lethem is the written form while Kirby is the animated audio visual form of the same type of arguments. “Copy, transform, combine” I had not given too much deep thought into that before but now that I think about it, life in itself is composed of these elements as we adapt ourselves to our environment. I was quite surprised to see the number of box office and famous movies that have adopted and appropriated things from various other sources, especially Avatar. The first time I saw Avatar, I thought it was a great movie, now when I look back at it with new eyes, I still think it is a great movie but what I also have in mind is the way it was created and put onto the screen for us to enjoy. In a sense, I don’t only watch the movie, but I understand more of the workings behind putting a movie together.

I really liked the fact that Lethem emphasised and associated art with love and the value of a gift. Art creates a connection between the artist and his intended recipient and this act of giving a gift is priceless and that turning it into a commodity in a way devalues this art. I really also like the fact that Lethem while discussing and criticising this idea of plagiarism, he referenced all of his borrowings and the changes he made to other works and where they were essentially taken from at the end of his article. This not only shows how he appropriated and used other people’s work to make a work of his own but it is interesting to see how his article is a collage from various different sources that may be derived from various other sources and this points out to a point that he makes in his article, people appropriate other people’s work and copy, borrow, combine things together to make their own.

One phrase that stuck with me from Kirby’s videos is “our creativity comes from without, not within” and that we are dependent on each other. All we do is copy, and as I was watching his videos I thought that a lot of the things we encounter and do in our daily lives is copying and appropriating and adapting, from the way we style our hair, dress, to copying notes at school that are taught by the teacher who was taught by other teachers who maybe learnt it from a book that was written by someone else and the list could go on. This also made me think of our Communications lab classes as we use photoshop and html ~ and we are essentially copying from others, taking images from various websites and transforming them and combining these elements to create something different just like the comic panels we all just made. Another phrase that was particularly enlightening was “progress happens when all the factors make for it to happen”, food for reflection.

After reading/watching both works, I came to wonder though that even if everything is a remix indeed and if we can go tracing back ideas and sources in time, but surely there would perhaps be a stop somewhere and also somewhere there would exist an original form?

The Ecstasy of Influence/ Everything’s a Remix

When I was younger, I was convinced that I made up the song “Kumbayah My Lord”. My sister even said: oh that’s a catchy song, where did you hear it. And I told her I made it up, because I wholeheartedly believed I did…that was until I heard in school one day.

I think the idea of cryptomnesia that Lethem brings up in his article applies to every aspect of creation whether some people admit it or not. We are copiers from birth: we copy the habits of our parents, their speech, their tastes, and so much more. When it comes to art and music, we produce what we like. And in order to know what we like, we must have some previous notion of taste.

In Ferguson’s TED talk he brings up Bob Dylan’s remixing of older folk tunes. Whether or not Dylan had the intention of copying these older songs is something we will never know, but at the very core of it, music is just a combination of the same 12 notes. In my opinion it’s difficult to criticize artists who appropriate and remix because I don’t believe there is anything to consider “original”. We are constantly being inspired by our surroundings and our memories.

Response to The Ecstacy of Influence: A Plagiarism

Back to The Ecstasy of Influence (clearly a play on Bloom’s title The Anxiety of Influence). It is broken up into parts based on themes. Each part has a few chapters which are either short memoirs, essays, or even short stories with analysis. The fact that it isn’t all essay keeps the flow going nicely. I was really excited when in the Preface he had already mentioned John Ashbery, John Barth, and Don DeLillo. These are all people I write about a lot. The book is practically my blog if you throw out the math. OK. Not really. But it was sort of feeling that way from the Preface.

The second chapter is all about postmodernism in SF (speculative fiction). I was delighted to find that Lethem makes almost the exact same argument in one of the essays that I made in the first post I referenced above. Roughly that people writing SF should be familiar with all these modern day trends like postmodernism so that they can incorporate the techniques into their works to create much more effective literature. Or maybe not. Your choice. But if you aren’t familiar with these techniques then you can’t make the choice. You’re limited by what you know. He also does an interesting deconstruction of Philip K. Dick and his influences.

Response to Everything is a Remix & The Ecstasy of Influence

I’m almost convinced by Jonathan Lethem and Kirby Ferguson. Their opinions are in many ways similar, one focusing more on literary work and the other focusing more on media and entertainment.  I do agree with their main argument that “copy is inevitable in modern life”, and that patent laws nowadays seem to be doing more bad than good. However, what I also believe is that the patent laws is not likely to vanish nor change completely because, after all, people are selfish, both mentally and materially.

I found Ferguson’s example of Steve Jobs quite interesting and accurate. In 1996 Steve Jobs said “Good arts copy, great arts steal . And we have always been shamelessly stealing ideas.” But in 2010 he said “I’m going yo destroy Andriod, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.” Steve Jobs is not alone; in fact most people have this kind of logic. People receive inspiration and ideas from existing work, but become protective of their own work. Thus what’s maintaing the patent law is the thought of “I spent a lot of money and time making this so I should be the only one benefitted from this” instead of “I made this and I just want everyone to see this” when a person creates something new. Yes, “a cat may look at a king”, as long as it doesn’t attempt to steal the crown.

People are also protective about what they think are “original”. Their own works of course, and also the works they perceived as THE “original”. The sitcom Ipartment  produced by Shanghai Film Group Cporporation and Shanghai Film Studio in 2009 received wide criticism for stealing the plots and lines from earlier American sitcoms such as How I Met Your Mother and Friends. Audience get angry for Ipartment copying what they love, but they don’t seem to care that How I Met Your Mother and Friends may have used the lines from somewhere else. This is why the arguments over patent right are never stopping, leaving the patent laws a hard nut to crack.

 

 

 

Response to Embrace the Remix

Nothing really comes from scratch anymore, and music is no exception. The first thing bands talk about when they form are their influences, and they typically start off by (and never really stop) playing other people’s music. Entire genres, like folk, blues, and hip-hop, are based upon liberal borrowing out of either tradition or necessity. Simply put, every artist you love, no matter how unique, innovative, and game changing they may be, stands on the proverbial shoulders of giants.

I think the most important thing to be avoid of musical plagiarism is do not leave a paper trail leading right back to the song you supposedly plagiarized. In the case of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” vs. Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up,” Thicke had done multiple interviews name-checking Gaye as inspiration for his No. 1 hit. He told GQ, for example, “One of my favorite songs of all time was Marvin Gaye’s ‘Got to Give It Up.’ I was like, ‘Damn, we should make something like that, something with that groove.’ Then he started playing a little something and we literally wrote the song in about a half hour and recorded it. The whole thing was done in a couple hours.”

And one more thing, the real music comes from your heart not from other peoples work.

Responding to The Ecstasy of Influence/Embrace the Remix

Lethem’s essay reminded me of a concept discussed The Unbearable Lightness of Being, a book I just started reading by Milan Kundera. Kundera opens his novel with a brief description of Nietzsche’s concept of eternal return. This idea basically states that anything that exists once and never returns is meaningless. I think that art, no matter which form, builds on itself and no artist is successful without the influence of others in his or her field. However, artists are scared of unoriginal aspects of their own work due to the influence of others. This fear is unwarranted because influence is not only inevitable, but necessary. On the surface, the idea of having another work influence your own is different than plagiarism. However, when I looked at plagiarism with the idea of eternal return in mind, plagiarism took on a whole new meaning.

With Lethem’s essay, we again see the message through the mode of conveying it. At the end, we realize that everything in the essay was taken from other texts and pieced together. I think that the essay being a collage text was not only clever of Lethem to do, but added a complexity to his message and essay itself.

“We are not self made, we are dependent on one another”— Kirby Ferguson, Embrace the Remix
Nothing is completely and utterly original. Just taking the fact that we contain our parents DNA proves that there is no way to escape influence. Everything builds off something else, just like humans grow and develop with the help of parents, family members, teachers, peers, etc.
Based on the concept of eternal return, something that comes and goes with no hope of being reproduced, remixed, adapted, is merely useless because it has existed only in its own lifespan.
A great musician could write and perform the greatest and most brilliant song ever composed, but if that song exists solely in its one performance, can that song really be great? It is the recording, remixing, reproducing of music, literature, artwork that continues to build the platform in which artists of all forms are able to create their work.

Everything is a Remix & The Ecstasy of Influence Response

There is much merit in the arguments made against the fight against plagiarism in the two media pieces we had to study this week: “The Ecstasy of Influence” as well as “Everything is a Remix.”

These two works criticized the isolated idea of “this work is my property” and the copyright/patent laws in the US as stifling creativity. “Everything is a Remix” in particular argues strongly that the art of creativity is exactly copying and pasting–but pasting in a different way. For example, taking the same idea and transforming it to apply to another idea (also copied) to form a ‘new’ idea; this is called ‘remixing”. No creative work of art is ever entirely original; what makes a work of art unique is the method of ‘remixing.’ Moreover, we are inspired by others to create. If all of us worked to create something original, civilization would become stagnant as creating something wholly original is different and the ‘multiplicity’ of ideas would most definitely interfere.

“The Ecstasy of Influence” focuses more on plagiarism in literary works. Furthermore, it also brings science into the mix. Neuroscience shows that our memories and everything makes us, like a quilt, is stitched haphazardly. “If we cut-and-paste our selves, might we not forgive it of our artworks?” Moreover, how intentional is this ‘cutting and pasting’? We are influenced by the things we see in our lives and they forever shape us whether or not we actually recognize the influence they have on our lives.

While I do agree that copyright laws nowadays are too intense for the fostering of a healthy creative culture, I do believe that in the law’s original intent, it was well-intended and should be thus used as it was intended.

Response to the Everything is a Remix by Yu Zhou

I really like the idea of Everything is a Remix. When talking about Bob Dylan of stealing other people’s songs, it came up to my mind that once my friend showed me her original piece of song. Yet she was not confident of its originality because that might be a melody buried deep inside her mind for so long and just came out. She said that perhaps she only heard it once. Maybe Bob Dylan did “steal” the melody on purpose or maybe he did not. It’s hard to classify the border line of doing on purpose or by accident. I don’t think we should punish those innocent “stealers”. Or else people will be so afraid to create. In a world of 7000000000 people, coincidence happens all the time. People share ideas. In academic fields, people have the strong data base to search for already-existing ideas(though probably not all of them are published), but when it comes to art, especially music, it’s hard to search. So here comes the question that we cannot do anything to those who did it on purpose either. How do we detect one’s intention?   Pessimistically nothing.

The idea that all things begin with “copy, transform, combine” on this planet really impresses me. These three worlds illustrate the reproduction and evolution of lives on the earth. They also describes the popular word “remix”. It’s really smart to use this argument to somewhat justify remix as it seems more convincing. We ourselves are the product of remix. Why should we stop it? Films are built on other films, literature, well-known TV shows etc. Macintosh was built on Xerox. Newton found the Laws standing on giant’s shoulders. In this sense, creativity needs remix. If we are to create out of nothing, we stand on the point where our ancestors did. When our mind did not evolve that much, there will only be repetitions of the same or similar creation. So in any fields, we learn from the previous masters to do real innovation. Also it’s very interesting that we tend to justify stealing from other as long as that’s what we do and we benefit from it. When it comes to the case others stealing from us, we get furious as Jobs did to Samsung. For personal current benefit and interest, we really want our product to be protected so that we can earn more, or to stand in the stage of history longer. It’s really a mixed feeling. A certain time period of protection is very necessary, but the question is how long should it be? In different areas the time period should be different probably. The division requires huge amounts of work!

Reflection on Remix and Plagiarism

The Ecstasy of Influence

“You cannot steal a gift!” In Jonathan Lethem article on plagiarism, this sentence catches my attention. In the many examples he gives, it is pretty convincing that most of the great work all have something inspired from other work. If we are really strict on plagiarism, then a lot of classics will not be able to be published. Shakespeare, the South Park, Star Trek, etc. all have elements borrowed from others, can we thus deny their influence on human? We are constantly inspired by the world we live in, and we are constantly inspired by other people in the world. It is really hard to tell the difference between inspiration and plagiarism.

Also Lethem mentions two concepts: gift and commodity exchange. “The daily commerce of our lives proceeds at its own constant level, but a gift conveys an uncommodifiable surplus of inspiration. (Lethem 66)” So I guess when it comes to the commodity exchange, people would call out “Plagiarism!” as soon as they depict resemblance in two different commodities. However when it comes to the gift, it represents more like a commons, which is meant for the vast majority. It is because of the gift that we have the opportunity to see so many great classic in our lives.

This article has somehow changed my perception of plagiarism. Normally I would say any resemblance in an art work without any citation is plagiarism. Now I find out there have been so many adaptations and resemblances in so many classics, hence realizing there is a blurred distinction between inspiration and plagiarism. As for me who live in China throughout my life, I rarely see plagiarism law suit happen here. We Chinese people do lack the conscience of patent. We are so used to buy cheap books, download movies and music online, and copying and pasting other people’s work into our own work. Thus the issue raised in this article seems so far away from me. However blurred the distinction between inspiration and plagiarism, we still need to protect the work and effort of others and do not plagiarize.

Embrace the Remix

In Kirby Ferguson’s TED talk, remix is defined not just as copying, transforming and combing. He states that everything is a remix, which is a better way to conceive creativity. Even something we have patented, for example like Apple’s Multi-Touch, they are just small part of a big thing. One thing that I find interesting is that Ferguson says “[creativity] comes from without, not from within, dependent on others.” His new insight on creativity may be opposed to the conventions we long know. But in this digital age, everything is connected, and everything can affect another thing. It is really hard to define what your own creation is and what is inspired by others. The new view on creativity may be the new incentive of more and more creation.

Everything is a Remix

In part II, Kirby Ferguson mainly talks about the remix of movies. Movies have always been spotlight of adaptation. There have been so many books, games, etc. being adapted onto the big screen. What’s interesting to find out is that people want to see the different adaptation of one creation. If it is a book, then people want to see it in cinema or on TV. Ferguson calls it the preference of familiarity of the audience. Ferguson also uses several renowned movies to show the influence of remix. For example, Kill Bill has so many similar shots with other movies, is it a remix or a tribute? “Creation requires influence.” All great works may all have something inspired by other work, how can we decide whether this act is plagiarism, remix or tribute?

In part III, Ferguson examines the elements of creativity. It is interesting to see that he states “copying is how we learn” and “nobody can start off original”. In fact, many new creations come from transformation. With the copying to learn, transforming to create and combining to renovate, many breakthroughs happen. It is true that so many creations, thoughts, etc. that we have today and we use today are the descendants of their original ancestor. Without the further development of an existed thought or idea, human race cannot process this fast. It is worth noting that Ferguson only mentions “copy, transform and combine” in the remix of creation. It may be true. Steve Jobs learned computer from already existed computers, Leonard Da Vinci learned sketching eggs when he became famous. But what makes them so successful is more than taking and combining from others, it is their talent and thought. Thus it is alright to conclude that it is the unique idea of people that adds new lights on the original ideas.

In part IV, Ferguson talks about the remix in the biological and social sphere, and raises the notion in opposition to “idea as property”. Ideas are free before, but not now. What adds value to idea, something so conceptual? It may be the result of a commercialized market. We are not interested in “common good” but in “individual property”. In order to protect the so-called property, we claim value to idea. Another thing to be noticed in this part is that we have a second standard as to the property of idea. “When we copy, we justify it. When other copy, we vilify it.” Although nowadays many laws and regulations have been signed in order to protect the property, they are still not universal but self-centered.

“Everything is a remix.” Ferguson talks about the remix in entertainment, society, biology, etc. to show the universality of “copying, transforming and combining”. Remix is the path for human to develop faster and better. We may need to change our conventional idea about copying. Sometimes copying is not just plagiarism, but the beginning point of the greatest change.

Comic Reflection

We came up with the idea for the comic quite quickly. The difference between breakups in boys and girls was an easy choice, but one that has probably been done a lot already, so we added some twists to the comic. None of us are very good at drawing, so we wanted to include as little necessity for drawing as possible. We decided to take pictures of the backgrounds and overlay a drawn character onto the image to add a bit of variety. The photos were taken in and around the school and dorms to add relevance to our community.

This project was a great reflection for me to see how far my photoshop has come in just a few weeks. I never thought I would be able to use photoshop productively, especially not to make something from scratch as opposed to just editing an image, but I’m really impressed with the work our group did. The Wacom tablet also turned out to be a great tool. I didn’t use it but Maggie did a great job making our cute little characters, and it was really nice to have them right in photoshop as oppose to having to scan or photograph them and deal with shadow or discoloration.

Paintingception

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In this comic we went for a depiction of a stickman entering an alternate world in a painting, a world filled with color and detail. We storyboarded the comic first and tried to go for many different concepts, such as another person pushing the stickman off the cliff instead of a hand, and the comic becoming realistic once the borders reformed after he fell. Instead we went for a more simplistic route and kept the stickman motif throughout while reserving the detailed bits for the inside of the painting. Unlike traditional comic book style, we opted for the frames to be disconnected so that we could introduce the man being pushed out of the frame in the later frame. The whole comic was constructed vertically so that the viewer can have an easier time viewing the passage of time and to also help out the comic in terms of the minimalist style with lack of dialogue. Overall, we wanted to do something that isn’t usually done and that’s to literally break the fourth wall and make our character get pulled into a new dimension, and then abruptly poked out back to his original home.

A broken she/he – comics by Isabella, Maggie, Luke and Inez

Inez:

The process of making this comics is really fun. We passed through several steps when confirming the theme and expression way. First, Isabella, Luke and I have decided to talk about a comparison of boys and girls’ reaction after they break up. Then we decided to do 8 panels, from break-up to thinking about each other. When Maggie joined us, she brought us many new ideas, such as combine real photos with drawn characters. After discussion, we decided to use Maggie’s idea to express our comics. We also decided to change 8 into 7 panels as well as to add words. Maggie and Luke are in charge of taking photos, Maggie also draws the characters, Isabella is in charge of frames, and Luke and Inez are in charge of collecting other sources and editing the comics. I feel proud when our final comics come into being. 🙂

Maggie:

Working on this comic was interesting. We came up with the idea to merge real life and cartoons. We took pictures of very familiar places to everyone in the NYUSH student body, (Family Mart, Starbucks, hallway, gym, etc.) By doing this we hoped to achieve a type of reality in which the readers of our comic could relate to. We wanted to leave the characters vague so that anyone reading it could project themselves onto the person, be it boy or girl.

As to the technical aspects, I found the Wacom tablet super cool! I want one for myself to doodle during classes, or to write notes on my laptop, since I am still a firm believer in the fact that I need to write things down to process them. I think the most difficult part of our comic was trying to convey our message. We wanted to talk about the breakup process, and their respective reactions/repercussions, but we wanted to convey this predominantly through characters and not words. Toward the end, we realized words were a little necessary if we wanted people to understand what we were trying to say.
Luke:
Comic working is attractive, for what you can do can be everything. Just use your imagination. We took pictures from the real life and combine them with comic icons where is the most interesting in this comic work to make our comics more closer to real life. Talking about the technology tools, we find the Wacom tablet is useful and easy to learn. When I saw Maggie using it, she at first was not that familiar with this tool but just after few minutes she created several lifelike comics persons, which is amazing.

A broken she:he