Appropriation and Remix Culture in our Technological Times

The project discussed in John Michael Boling’s article, The “Microsoft Songsmith” seems to be a pretty advanced and interactive invention. It is an intriguing gimmick to the public, almost like a toy, at which they can play with over and over again at their disposal. I do like the inventiveness of this, however, this still taps into the idea that automation and art can be declared as one. I do not object to automation being a part of art, but this project to me seems more like a software, if anything else. As I just looked up a basic definition of computer software, Wikipedia says they are: “instructions telling a computer what to do and how to do it”. I suppose, if the instructions originated from the artist, then the conceptual idea can be granted, but then, are the results after using the product the artist’s work as well? People who use software could not conceivably be artists at all, but after going through a simple process, like using Microsoft’s Songsmith, they can create and be surprised by the result of what a software has made for them.

Re-cut trailers is certainly a viral cult that has become widely popular over YouTube, and other websites. I do find these highly entertaining and amusing, which reminds me of the “Rose Hobart” project in 1936. Using material and appropriating it with your desired meaning or message is a very concept-driven process. It could nearly borderline story-telling if anything, because of the recreation of stories, and the way they are delivered to an audience. Copyright is certainly neglected when making re-cut movie trailers, because I’m sure the re-cut creators could care less; they just want to get their idea across and amuse the world.

In the third article, I was surprised to see so many references to the moon! I suppose.. I never speculated that graphs could be artworks. It’s a format we are all so familiar with from school, that it almost seems like a joke to present it in a completely different way. Many of these graphs are even playing off the visual aspect of being a graph. The “Mr. T” graph was the one that caught my attention right away! Witty? Definitely. But, for some reason, I still have a problem in declaring something containing vast amounts of wittiness to be taken seriously as art. I suppose this is the battle that many New Media artists are facing, but they don’t seem to let it bother them.

I had seen one of my teachers use the “YouTube Cross-fader” last semester, and it was certainly a riot to experience. I’ll admit, these YouTube manipulating devices are highly intriguing to an average internet browser. The concept of using somebody else’s creativeness has to be 99.9% of the internet today. The amount of original content-driven ideas seems to find its place in a small small distant land with not many others.

Alternating content in a movie by replacing just the audio is another glory of YouTube. All these topics that Boling discusses are all vastly known amongst the mainstream, but the fact that it does adapt to the mainstream could give New Media artists a lot of power and forefront. The idea of getting a video to become viral these days is hard to predict. It seems like the owner of the original video has no say in how the internet audience will respond. This is where it all boils down to a mystery, but also, it takes some studying of the new-generation ways of interacting online. Like many acknowledge, cats or locates have an automatic boost in the amounts of views they receive, just for being… Well, cats. The impact that the internet has had/and is having on the art world is continuously becoming more and more prominent in our culture; it’s hard to avoid it for just one day!

-Nicole R.