Remixing with a Purpose

Yesterday Jonathan McIntosh over at Rebellious Pixels presented Storycampers (and anyone else able to watch Air Mozilla – I had some problems) with some of his work and his thoughts on remixing. Not only did Mr McIntosh agree to be our third week guest speaker, he’s facilitating Storycamp at BAVC and blogging up a storm.

For everyone! The presentation is recorded here.

In this post, I want to highlight one of the underlying themes of Jonathan’s presentation. He talked about fair use and the legality of appropriating other people’s work, and then he talked about the ethics of appropriation. This is something that hit me pretty deeply.

I thought that Jonathan’s focus on remixing as critical commentary, remixing with a purpose, was one that was particularly relevant. Another piece of that lesson, though, has to be about perseverance. After the heinous attacks on our Week 5 guest speaker, Anita Sarkeesian in recent weeks, this lesson seems even more necessary.

Anita continues to fight online harassment and trolls that are responding to her not-even-started project about gender issues in video games. Using remix among other techniques, Anita writes that “this video project will explore, analyze and deconstruct some of the most common tropes and stereotypes of female characters in games.” This angers certain people, and they lash out in really disgusting and inhumane ways.

The lesson is that despite what other people might say or do in response to a critical commentary or remix, if that remix has a real purpose then the creator has to persevere and reveal that purpose to the world. Anita is doing this by refusing to give up her project despite the hate speech and threats that are raining down on her. It’s inspiring to watch her persevere.

I think that part of perseverance is also about being able to say the thing you have to say. That ability is more and more becoming reliant on having skills that allow you to participate in the digital world. From my perspective, learning web skills is one of the things that will help you persevere because web skills will give you the ability to make your constructive criticisms and share them with the world.

We’re working on helping people learn these skills, and you can help. Help others share their voice by getting involved with the Mozilla Summer Code Party today! Or, share your own voice right now ;)


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Remixing with a Purpose

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