Jay Bolter once said that everything is a remediation of another. Such would imply that everything created, even if unintentional, is sparked by or extrapolated from something already created; a Remix if you may. Does this mean that nothing is original? And if nothing is original, how can someone ever really be creative?
An example of a remix you may not have realised is the tunes of ‘baa baa black sheep’, ‘twinkle twinkle little star’ and the alphabet! Although worded and set at a pace different from one another, each song is ultimately a remix of the other! Don’t believe me? Watch this video.
Personally, I think it a talent that people of different contexts, Baa-Baa black sheep for example created in the 17th Century and the alphabet and Twinkle-Twinkle in the 18th Century, can take a terminal object – something past trend, and renew it in a light that another generation can benefit from. The degree in which they need to change it would obviously equalise more creativity. In fact, ripping off a tune so clearly wouldn’t be allowed by copyright in this day and age! So either a song must; be orphaned and subject to no copyright like these songs above; apart of the creative commons so that an individual is authorized to use it as they will, or be changed to such a degree that the benefit of the medium (e.g the entertainment and mood setting of a song) is still there, but it’s not blatantly the work of another!
Perhaps that is why McLuhan suggested that the medium and its effects on society is the message and not the content that it delivers. It is the medium that is original.
You may also be interested in this article that claims the same tune isn’t just used in these three nursery rhymes, but internationally and across time. All the way up to, it claims, ‘What a Wonderful World’by Louis Armstrong. But where did the ‘original’ come from? This other article claims Mozart. What do you think?
- Whelan, A., 2016, “Week 8: Rip/Mix/Burn: Music sampling and the rise of remix culture” Lecture/Prezi Presentation, BCM 112, University of Wollongong, 8 April 2016.
- Lessig, Lawrence (2008) ‘Culture of our past’, in Remix: making art and commerce thrive in the hybrid economy, pp.23-31. https://archive.org/stream/LawrenceLessigRemix/Remix-o#page/n46/mode/1up