How to rock a Mixed Media project

Pattie Crider

WRT 320

Re-Mix Project

September 24, 2013

 

Knowledge Made New

 

            Re-mixing is the art of taking what already exists and making it new. The amount of change or addition to an established piece of work can vary from using a small portion, to a complete change to the entire piece of work, or any variation of the two examples. Re-mixing is the art of changing another author’s work.

For my re-mix project, I took the work of The New Book of Knowledge, prints collected in the photography lab at York College of Pennsylvania that would have otherwise been discarded, and a sheet of poster board that was an abandoned project of an 8-year-old.  These three properties of my project were all created by other people.

First, I paged through the encyclopedias looking for topics that interested me.  I began cutting out quotes, pictures and words and making a pile of pieces I might use.  To make the overall look more appealing, I used scissors that cut unique patterns and applied the same process to a selection from the hundreds of photos created by fellow students.  My thought process was to make a connection of some type between the outdated encyclopedia texts and the newly created photos as a new way to consume knowledge. At this point, I wasn’t positive how this would all tie together, but as the creator, I went on instinct and hoped for the best.

 

I only had one Smirnoff in the fridge, so it                      no influence my project.

I only had one Smirnoff in the fridge, so it no influence my project.

 

My dog was nosy and not helpful as he                     walked over my materials.

My dog was nosy and not helpful as he walked over my materials.

I sat at the empty spot on my living room floor and began placing my materials from the pile onto the poster board.

I sat at the empty spot on my living room floor and began placing my materials from the pile onto the poster board.

The first, and the most important line of Manovich’s text, Who is the Author, is “New media culture brings with it a number of new models of authorship which all involve different forms of collaboration.” My project fit his thesis as it grew, piece by piece. I tried to determine a theme for the photos when I realized the theme was, a new media look at knowledge, specifically, The New Book of Knowledge, encyclopedias. I chose, perhaps subconsciously, to use the rocket-like artwork on the poster as my background of the body of a tree.

Bottom Half

Bottom Half

With imagination, this work can be interpreted in endless ways. My specific interpretation is a mix of reality and fantasy, supported with quotes of historical meaning. At the base of the work, roots and death, real and imagined, are grounded. An audience is presented in consumption of performances. A young man surrounded by vegetables, a young boy with imagination spurting from his head through a rainbow while his accomplices pass gas (nuclear bomb) in the face of a centaur and to the far right, a recipe for “Heavenly Hash” by the graveyard while ladies perform musical numbers on the world’s stage…surreal.

Top Half

Top Half

The top piece of my work represents knowledge being shared with others.  The tree is metaphoric in expanding and touching the lives of all people, from those that served time in the service, defending their country and often losing their lives, to students learning or enjoying the material items life has to offer.  Again, my humor urged me to place hamburger above the ladies enjoying the nude presentation of a sculpture and to place a consumer product like Jello, as the base of the skate-boarding rubber duck.  In the center, the arms of the performer expand into a tree (cut from the cover of the encyclopedia) and a fox; the expansion of knowledge through performance is crafty, like that of a fox.  The old versus new technology is represented in the young lady facing an antiquated television and phone.  Around this lady’s neck are headphones that connect to current technology that allows for television and music entertainment on a cellular phone…surreal.

The Crown

The Crown

The crown to this mixed-media mash-up, is made of the front cover of one encyclopedia and the binding cover of three, to form the “holding piece” of a new form of media knowledge.  From the base of the tree a diver is frozen in space, destined to portray people’s desire to be informed by all means of media available to them.  The addition of media re-mixes allows the logic in previous work to be explored in a new form continually expanding the wealth of knowledge to those that choose to explore examples of new media forms.

Full Size

Full Size

Middle Close-up

Middle Close-up

Authorship in media writing

Media has the ability to make life more real.  The user of media, whether creating or reading what others have created, engages in a relationship with others.  This can be in a variety of ways, from internet use, cell phones, television, radio and text.  The common denominator is all information shared  has an author and at times, depending on the format a multitude of authors.  This shift in the ownership of a created piece of work that becomes accessible to others on a worldwide level is what makes life and media work hand in hand.

                Information accessed on the Internet is often intentionally (or unintentionally) tied to clickable links, allowing the consumer to instantly gather possibly more information than ever intended.  All information, though it may seem to just linger out there, unclaimed by any single person, is traceable back to it point of origin.  Manovich wrote that new media created new models of authorship which involve multiple forms of collaboration in order to present a finished product.  This seemed to imply that very little circulating on the Internet is original work.  From one aspect, that is true.  The work has been changed here and there, in virtual reality, but still, one person had to have set this into motion.  The remixing, sampling and open source projects all started somewhere, but have been art of some type mashed together with other art.  This probably started with the Dada’s and their desire to shake-up people’s view on how art is created.  The Dada’s concept of “found objects” recycled into a new art is an easy parallel to what remixing and sampling are in the humanities of the 21st Century.

                Diakopoulos’s graphs in the Remix Culture paper depicted the original “book” type of authorship represented as person to media to person, ie: writer makes literary work and it is read by a consumer.  I understand his four figures shown in the reading, but I think there is one more that could be represented.  Sharing on the Internet means a literary work has been produced and released worldwide.  Again, I envision this as a ray, in a scientific aspect.  The writer creates a starting point and shares it with millions of people at once.  Those reading this static work (written, photo or video) and shares it on their chosen media outlet (Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Google+, etc.) and it just keeps expanding exponentially with no end.  The author will always remain the author.  Ideally, no one should be making changes to a piece of work that is not intended to be part of an open source or remix process. 

I find the art of remixing, sampling and meme extremely enjoyable.  Photoshop and Microsoft Video have made this simple to do.  The process of making these sampled works often involves using what others have already created.  I do this sampling to learn the writing process, especially that of classic rhetors.  I even practice speaking in a rhetorical manner and find that it does affect those I am addressing.  Language and everything associated with language can be used in current times to create works that will cause a reaction or evoke an emotion.  After Miley Cyrus danced on stage with a foam finger, twerking at the music awards, I created a meme of her and Thicke onstage with Thicke’s head removed and Beetlejuice’s head replaced.  In quotes, I wrote “Oh Miley, you’re my #1 too!”  Yes, the photo was taken from the MTV website, but the idea and meme creation stemming from the frame frozen in the video, was mine.  To make this claim, I simply added Girlboxer1970.com to the photo-shopped picture.  To my audience, they realize I didn’t take the photo, I just put my “twist” on the entire performance that honestly disgusted me, yet like a train-wreck, I couldn’t look away.  That is how I want consumers to view my writing, photography and videos.  I’m fine with being a train-wreck as long as my audience continues to return and I don’t get charged for altering Thicke’s head into Beetlejuice.

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