It’s been said we live in a “remix” culture, where most of the pop culture we consume–especially movies, TV shows and popular music–is all about taking a pre-existing intellectual property, like a novel, comic book, song or television series, and mashing it up with something else, in an effort to create something “new.” Besides movies, TV and music, it seems most of the internet memes we see everyday are a result of some kind of remix at work. Basically, remixes and mashups are everywhere.
Cited by most as one of the biggest ever examples of remix culture was last year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Although generally beloved by most who watched it, give or take a few curmudgeons out there (you know who you are) even among those who loved the movie, they had to admit it was in large part a “remix” of the original 1977 Star Wars. But is this a good thing or a bad thing? Director J.J. Abrams is often accused of “ripping off” other artists when creating his own work, but does he really do it more than anyone else?
Pop culture enthusiast Kirby Ferguson believes our remix culture isn’t just a 21st century phenomenon, that in fact we’ve been doing it for decades, if not centuries. His video essays Everthing is a Remix illustrate his points pretty well, and now he’s done a special edition of Everything is a Remix focused soley on The Force Awakens. In the video, he shows how Episode VII is very much a beat-for-beat redo of the original Star Wars, but it really just follows a very long tradition of storytellers copying, transforming, and combining existing art in an effort to create new art. J.J. Abrams is maybe just a little bit more obvious about it than everyone else.
You can watch Kirby Ferguson’s video essay below, and be sure to support his Everything is a Remix Kickstarter. Be sure to let us know what you think of it all in the comments.