RE/Mixed Media Festival 2010

Please come to the RE/Mixed Media Festival 2010. I will be on the artist panel discussion around 3:45pm and being one of the judges for the remix competition screening around 8:15pm. Hopefully see ya there!

Sunday, May 30th 2010; 2 PM
Galapagos Art Space, 16 Main Street DUMBO, Brooklyn

FREE! (21 and over)

The RE/Mixed Media Festival is our way of contributing to the ongoing conversation about remixing, mashups, copyright law, fair use, and the freedom of artists to access their culture in order to add to and build upon it.  While there are numerous events addressing these issues, they are usually discussion-based, featuring lectures and panel discussions about policy.  We believe that one of the best ways to make the general public aware of these types of issues is by demonstrating all the types of art and culture that remix touches. To that end, on May 30th we will transform Galapagos into a multimedia art space for a full day/evening of:

  • Film & Video: Throughout the day, we will feature remixed film and video dating back to the first remixers like Joseph Cornell (1936) to contemporary “vidders” utilizing 21st century technology to remix media content as cultural commentary, and machinima artists whose art consists using video game technology to construct new narratives.
  • Music & Sound: Remixing has a long tradition in music from John Cage, to hip-hop sampling, to broadcasters like Joe Frank.  The RE/Mixed Media Festival will highlight DJs, musicians & artists who use remix to create unique works, including legendary remixer Steinski, electronic hip-hop duo Mad Happy, and others.
  • Artists-Only Panel Discussion: Usually at events like these, you’ll here panel discussions from lawyers, pundits and policy-makers, with a few artists thrown in here and there. Since this festival is all about the art and the artists, our panel discussion will be a discussion and debate amongst the artists themselves, taking on the pros and cons of sampling, remix, appropriation, and copyright reform.
  • Visual Art:  The concept of remix is nothing new in the world of art.  Artists as diverse as Duchamp, Rauschenberg, Warhol and Lichtenstein have all used cultural icons and found objects to comment on the society that produced them.  The festival will feature an exhibition of painters, photographers and collage artists who we feel represent remix culture. All works will be available via silent auction to benefit RE/Mixed Media and the League of Independents.
  • Fashion: What does remixed fashion look like? How can clothing serve as a medium for recombinant memories of style, culture and evolution? These are questions producer Elizabeth Pulos aims to tackle with the Remixed Fashion Show, featuring designs by Jojo Monson, Arthur Arbit and Katie McKay. Projections by Rachel Blackwell, beats by Karl Marx and a performance by rising burlesque star Miss Em all challenge our atavistic notions of what “dressing up” really means.
  • The Roots of Remix: One room of the festival space will be a dedicated “Roots Room” with ongoing video, audio, photographs and readings that take visitors through the history of remix/mashup – demonstrating that, far from being a new phenomenon, remix has been with us for centuries.
  • Sponsor Tables: Many of our sponsors and supporters will have tables set up on the balcony level, so that our visitors can familiarize themselves with the myriad organizations dedicated to promoting a free and open culture.  Current sponsors and supporters include: The Open Video Alliance, Public Knowledge, and Creative Commons.

The Conversation

In the past decade, digital hardware and software has allowed artists and consumers access to media-creating tools previously only available to professionals.   The result has been not only an explosion of user-generated media, but an explosion of creativity as well. Artists began applying remixing and mashup techniques borrowed from the music world, to digital video and film, creating new works of art using elements from other sources.

The art of remixing is now considered acceptable after being practiced for three decades in music, while artists remixing appropriated video and film are subject to lawsuits. We believe it’s time that the same legitimacy granted to music be granted to the visual arts as well.

The doctrine of fair use in U.S. copyright law allows copyrighted works to be used for “purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research”.  We believe this should apply to any appropriation that uses the original in order to create something new, provided it doesn’t mitigate the potential market or value of the original work.   Since the 18th century, copyright laws allowed for these kinds of use. Today, software manufacturers and ISPs can circumvent this legal provision by building copy restriction mechanisms into the hardware itself, preventing artists from creatively remixing video, sound, words and images, even when the resulting works might fall under fair use.  The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1996 codified these types of restrictions, criminalizing the production of technology that circumvents measures that control access to copyrighted material.

Public domain laws have suffered similar setbacks.  Before 1964, copyright extended for a term of 28 years, today a copyright can last as long as 120 years and since 2008, the law gives the copyright holder the “exclusive right” to create derivative works.  This means that cultural phenomena such as Pop Art, which relied on reframing cultural icons, couldn’t emerge today without being sued into obscurity, nor would we have the works of Mozart, Shakespeare, or Thomas Edison.

The Festival aims to challenge the current laws by bringing public awareness to media mixing as a legitimate practice, while at the same time remaining within their boundaries of the law.  We are soliciting artists who remix responsibly. This does not mean claiming someone else’s work as your own, it means recognizing that every artist contributes to the global cultural library and works can and should be built upon, modified, and repurposed with the goal of bringing a new work of art into the world.

Posted on May 18, 2010 in Arts, News

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