Remix culture  

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"There is a good case to be made for dub as the genesis of remix culture. The early hip hop block parties in New York-manned by those such as Kool Herc (a Jamaican by birth) and Grandmaster Flash- are obviously derived from the sound system scene in Kingston. Early disco heroes like Walter Gibbons and Arthur Russell; Francois Kevorkian, Larry Levan and Shep Pettibone, owe the madness of their dub crazy angel dust soundscapes to the experimental genius of the Jamaican pioneers. The idea of the mixing desk as an instrument and the DJ/remixer as an artist in his own right derives directly from dub." -- John McCready, "A Bluffers Guide to Dub"[1], 2000

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Remix culture is a term employed by Lawrence Lessig to describe a society which allows and encourages derivative works. Such a culture would be, by default, permissive of efforts to improve upon, change, integrate, or otherwise remix the work of copyright holders. Lessig presents this as a desirable ideal and argues, among other things, that the health, progress, and wealth creation of a culture is fundamentally tied to this participatory remix process.

Sampling in musicmaking is a prime example of reuse, and hip-hop culture's implicit acceptance of the practice makes it a remix culture.

This term is often contrasted with permission culture.

Lessig is now using the term 'Read/write culture' to refer to broadly the same thing and 'Read only culture' to refer to a permission based culture. He has been queried as to his reliance on a binary opposite rather than a spectrum of permissions but this he explains is his way to broadcast this message to a mainstream audience.


A remix may also refer to a nonlinear re-interpretation of a given work or media other than audio. Such as a hybridizing process combining fragments of various works. The process of combining and re-contextualizing will often produce unique results independent of the intentions and vision of the original designer/artist. Thus the concept of a remix can be applied to visual or video arts, and even things farther afield. The disjointed novel House of Leaves has been compared by some to the remix concept.

Remix in literature

A remix in literature is an alternative version of a writing, different from the original version. Author Ramsay Wood argues that the fables in The Panchatantra are the oldest known example of remix culture. More recently, Nigel Tomm published "Shakespeare's Sonnets Remixed".

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Remix culture" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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