Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

Rip: A Remix Manifesto is a new-ish documentary film about the legality of remixes and mashups and features Gregg Gillis of Girl Talk as the poster child for open source licensing. Heading to Girl Talk’s second Seattle show later tonight? Be an informed wild child and get a handle on the remix/mashup debate.  There’s some pretty good Girl Talk show footage, too.

Although the narrator has a strident tone at times, the documentary brings forward valuable insights and varying viewpoints on reuse and appropriation. Reuse and appropriation are not new nor the exclusive domain of music: Walt Disney appropriated the Buster Keaton character Steamboat Bill when creating his first Mickey Mouse cartoon Steamboat Willie.  In  contemporary art, Yasumasa Morimura reinvents iconic art paintings and photographic images using subtle modification and not so subtle self-portrait elements.

Also appearing in the Rip documentary is one of my favorite authors and the technology culturist Cory Doctorow (Boing Boing). Doctorow is a strong supporter of creative commons licensing and many of his published books and short stories are freely available in various e-reader libraries.

Wherever you stand on the remix/mashup question, the documentary Rip: A Remix Manifesto is an informative piece of film.  Have fun, enjoy the music, dance ’til your shirt sticks to your back and your feet are peanut butter. It’s fun, it’s crazy, it’s a good time, no question.  But while doing so, be mindful of original sources, pay attention to how they are adapted and modified, and think about at the point where a remix or mashup become a new piece of work.  There’s no easy answer.

Rip is currently available on Netflix to watch instantly, on iTunes, and as a pay-what-you-want download from Open Source Cinema.