Appropriation & Remix

Embrace the Remix

1) Summary 

In Kirby Ferguson’s Everything is a Remix: Part Three, he discusses the processes of copy, transform, and combine as the elements of creativity. According to Ferguson, “Creativity isn’t magic. It happens by applying ordinary tools of thought to existing materials.” Copying is the first element of creativity; it is how we learn and build a foundation of knowledge about the previous formed ideas of people before us. For instance, Hunter S. Thompson re-typed The Great Gatsby just to see how it would feel to write an award-winning novel. After we have learned the fundamentals of copying, the next step of creativity is the ability to create something new through transformation. By taking an idea and creating variations, transformation becomes a new way to innovate. The last element is a combination of ideas that can result in major creative leaps. An example of this is the personal computer revolution in which Apple copied and combined all of the features from the XEROX Star 8010, but transformed them in a more user friendly way than the original.

2) Response

Ferguson’s approach to the history and elements of creativity made me realize that we live in a world where everyone is seeking inspiration from others. We are constantly filling our heads with other people’s ideas, and without even knowing it, our originality begins to diminish. In Ferguson’s TEDTalk Embrace the Remix, Ferguson brings up the debate about Bob Dylan’s own originality; Some people claim that Bob Dylan stole other artists’ songs. Throughout his career, Dylan did not even recognize that many of his songs were just melodies that had been copied, transformed, and combined with new lyrics. So, some of the most well-known artists, writers, inventors, etc. that claim they are original are, in actuality, using the elements of creativity to create something that will impact the world on a grand scale. Personally, I am constantly inspired by others work, and I have copied, transformed, and combined ideas from books, music, films, and art in my own creative process. One of my favorite books, IT, is pretty much 192 pages of all the things that have inspired Alexa Chung from when she was young to now. It shows how her style and art has evolved and been influenced by all of the beautiful ideas that surround her in everyday life. Also, one of my favorite speeches, Tavi’s Big Big World, is given by Tavi Gevinson as she talks about the struggles she faced to be as original as possible when it came to all aspects of her life. She eventually realized that she was most creative when she was influenced by other people’s work, so she grew to embrace inspiration from other sources. So, I just surrender to the fact that no one, not even myself, is going to be completely original; for me, it is satisfying to fill my head with other people’s ideas and see life through their eyes.