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?

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