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.

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