One of my prelim exam committee members pointed me towards Mark Amerika’s new work at remixthebook.com (@remixthebook) last week. I have previously read–and read about–Amerika’s work, but that isn’t necessarily the focus of the thoughts to follow in this blog post.
Mark Sample has a (great) guest post on the blog this week, in which he deconstructs “remix” a bit, arriving at some questions and conclusions I thought interesting. And that’s what I’d like to hash out, ineloquently, here.
What’s wrong with simply mix? Why the prefix? Why remix? Why use to describe some of the most innovative and startling work of our generation a prefix that evokes return or restoration?
To remix suggests that pieces are tossed and turned and tumbled and reassembled into a whole that more or less resembles the original in structure. Like a kaleidoscope, the parts shift, but they’re always contained and framed by the shaft of the scope.
These, I think, are pertinent questions, especially for someone who has thought about remix, appropriation, interactive narratives, simulations, participatory readers, blah, blah, blah. In my own understanding of how these pieces fit together (perhaps peek at my prelim rationale for a brief overview/context), there is always something that comes first, a ground state: whether it’s a context or mission in a simulation or game; a rabbit hole or puzzle in an ARG; a texton in ergodic lit, etc. The ground state is something supplied by the “author,” sometimes with the express purpose of making it available for derivative works and/or semiotic sequencing (or re-sequencing).
Admittedly, that’s a bit of a daft, simple response.
What really gets me excited by Sample’s post is the smart etymology of “re.” I’d like to move it a step… somewhere: I’m not sure if it’s further, closer, in a different direction, or whatever the appropriate spatial metaphor in relation to the “ground state” of the post.