Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Great artists still steal

Here's an awesome video series that addresses many of the same ideas (and in a more elegant way) that I did in a previous post. Watch through the credits because he puts more content in afterward.

Everything is a Remix Part 1 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

Everything is a Remix Part 2 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

Everything is a Remix Part 3 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

I can't wait for part 4.


  1. What a great series of videos - it's really interesting. Thanks for sharing! 8)

  2. Thanks for these videos, very good researched and well explained. The thing is you can´t reinvent the wheel, and wherever money is involved, there is a decent pressure to repeat a success. Whats needed in order to do that is research and getting inspired by what is successful and appealing to many. Especially on part 2 it came to mind that its all about the storytelling; you won´t please any kid of the generation in 2040 with a video of Flash Gordon, maybe the newer version Star Trek is too old then and needs to be in line with the Zeitgeist of the newer generations - like we are now still the readers of far older fairytales to our children, its all about the generations - and so is the demand. I also like the concept of multiple discoveries, referenced in the third movie.

  3. Very interesting videos. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Well done great watch

  5. Yeah. When was it written: "There is nothing new under the sun." And the pantheistic notion that the earth itself is simply a metaphor for the structure of God's intent. We live in patterns. Whether those patterns extend beyond life and mathematics, no one knows, but one is tempted to assume yes. We Christians are, indeed, supposed to re mix the life of Christ. The problem comes in at survival level, as fantasio begins to suggest. When there are limited resources and competition that concerns the safety and continuance of life, then taking a pattern becomes a matter of territory.

    As far as honor goes, to pattern someone else's work too closely becomes reprehensible and pretty dang weanie. Originality when you come down to it, is not as required as is freshness. The Remix, that shuffles things up, can produce juxtapositions that surprise and provoke. But lots of times, audiences just want to be satisfied - and the ancient path of story has been worked carefully over since the beginning to prove that path.

    I always used to tell my writing workshops - the storyteller's mind is like a blender - everything goes into it - personal experience, the news, other books and movies and songs and stories, the experience of neighbors, friends - ancient scripture, physics as applied to life, causalities, social and cultural expectations - then you turn on the machine and you rearrange everything.

    Nothing new under the sun. Only in short segments sometimes. Which isn't bad. And we LDS believe that is the pattern of all eternity, jah?

  6. Thanks for sharing Sam. It's amazing how things work without us fully realizing it, until its all done.

  7. Fantasio: Great comments, and very true.

    K: I don't condone copying anyone's work closely for profit, but I like his idea that we learn through imitation. A lot of aspiring artists (not beginners usually, but college-educated artists) have been so blasted with anti-plagiarism ideals that they have forgotten an important source of creativity and talent mastery.
    So like you said, our minds are like blenders. I think we should be conscious about what we're putting in too, because there's stuff being loaded in every day whether we like it or not.

  8. So true, Sam! It's only now, after graduating that I am beginning to overcome my fear of emulation (even though that's about all I did when I was in elementary school). I hope you share this with your current and future students.

    On a side note, I have just begun to notice everything is a remix. I have been listening to a lot of stand up comedians lately and I've noticed in a lot of early performances the influences from other comedians (e.g. Daniel Tosh's early performances are similiar to Jim Gaffigan's performance before he found his own voice).

    Great stuff! Thanks for these posts!

  9. Yes - that concept of things being loaded in is one I've never actually incorporated in this particular metaphor - for all my "You're teaching whether you mean to or not" subscription. I'm glad you woke me up to that, because it's utterly true. All the "additives" you get from any media experience - or any experience - but especially from any experience with commercial media of any kind.

    My daughter pointed out that diff between "copying" and imitating for learning - and you add to that, the trading around of concepts. Too bad you guys don't live in our ward. I'd just love to hear more of how you see things on a regular, f-t -f basis.

  10. K: I think it was one of Marilyn's poetry teachers that taught that idea---that you have to surround yourself with great poetry, because otherwise you end up writing stuff unwittingly inspired by billboard ads, grocery store music, hallmark cards, jingles. . .

  11. kinda reminiscent of the view of creation held by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in that God created the world from extant material, rather than ex nihilo or "out of nothing" which is the predominant Christian view. If I'm not mistaken ancient Hebrew thought also maintained that God created the world from stuff that was already laying around.

  12. Part 4 is up now, fyi.


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