Ever been in a club and hear the war-cry Reeeeeeemix?!!!!!
Most of us know what a remix is. For those of you who don’t, I’m going to assume that you’re over 70 and I’ll explain it for you. A remix is where someone takes an original version of something, usually a song, but it can also be a commercial, art, or even a poem, and then rearranges it to make a new version of the original product.
Remixing has been around for a long time. William Burroughs, the famous beat writer and author of Junky and Naked Lunch, at first credited Brion Gysin with the first example of remixing a poem Minutes to Go and then he thought about it some more and credited T.S Eliot’s The Wasteland as the first “cut-up.” Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso were also both remixers.
Most people who are in their 30’s and early 40’s can remember when rap first came out. The song Rocket by Herbie Hancock brought scratching from the clubs of New York into America’s mainstream and helped start the remix craze. A whole new billion-dollar industry was started from that one song.
From rap, DJ’s began venturing into other genres. They remixed “old-but-goodies,” they remixed tunes from orchestras, they remixed nursery rhymes, and that started other genres which morphed into techno, house, and drum-and-bass. This progression is how culture evolves. Ideas are taken from previous works, given a spin, then spun some more and as the years go by, new styles and genres emerge.
There is a modern-day war on culture. It’s an intellectual war. People are fighting corporations over who owns the rights and the use of these ideas that make up our culture. A kid who wants to take a song and remix it, by law, has to ask for permission and will have to pay a corporation to use the original song. Almost always that kid is not going to ask for permission. Most times he will just “take” the song, remix it, and put it on Youtube or send it to his friends. It’s usually when the remix gets big, or goes viral when the corporations who own the rights to the song cares and will come after that person, although that’s not always the case.
The movie RIP! A Remix Manifesto talks about these issues and others. The movie presents a scary look into the future where corporations not only own our right to free speech and our ability to use our present culture in our work, but they have also begun patenting life. If this is allowed to continue corporations will eventually own all of our food supplies as well as possibly being able to control how and when we chose to have a child. (For the record the movie doesn’t talk about the child part, but if you think about how they are patenting life, and you think one step further, it’s not farfetched.)
Corporations are very powerful. They have lobbyist, they have teams of attorneys. But worse than that, they have a major impact on how you think and what you buy. If you don’t think so let me ask you, do you watch the news? It’s owned by a corporation and they tell us what is going on in the world, whether we know it’s the truth or not is another matter. Ever look at ads? Corporations tell us what to buy and why we should want it and why we should feel good about buying it. They’ve got a hold of our minds and now they’ve got a hold of our culture too.
Corporations are literally considered a legal person. By law they have as much rights as humans, if not more, but yet they don’t have to follow the same rules as us. Because of this corporations are becoming the new super-race and whether we want to admit it or not, and we are becoming their slaves. And before I get off on a tangent and start ranting like an old guy on how we’re losing our freedom and how we need a revolution against corporations, let me have a person who’s much smarter and more organized than me explain how were are losing those freedoms, especially in the realms of art and music.
Here’s the link to the site.
Here’s a link to the entire film