Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Pollag_Remix_Design
Nothing is Original
3 List of illustrations
9 What is Remix?
10 Remix in Music
14 Remix in Film and Art
15 Remix in Design
18 Remix versus Recycle
20 The Future of Remix
26 Open Design
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Fig. 1. Hans J. Wegner - Wishbone chair 1950 - 5
Fig. 2. Jasper Morrison - Bac chair 2007 - 7
Fig. 3. Philippe Starck - Glob chair 1990 - 7
Fig. 4. Hans J. Wegner - Wishbone chair 1950 - 7
Fig. 5. Hans J. Wegner - Chinese Chair 1944 - 7
Fig. 6. Unknown author, Dynasty Ming - Tai Shi Arm chair 1368-1644 - 7
Fig. 7. Gotye and Kimbra on Grammys 2013 - 11
Fig. 8. 26 out of 100 Martino Gampers chairs - 16
!Fig. 9. Landﬁll Harmonic Orchestra Instruments - 19
!Fig. 10. Trendlist Generator on iOS device - 22
Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates
with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old
films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs,
poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture,
bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light
and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak
directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft)
will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is
non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery -
celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always
remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where
you take things from - it’s where you take them to.”
INMovieMaker Magazine #53 - Winter, January 22, 20041
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Fig. 1. Hans J. Wegner - Wishbone chair 1950
While doing research for my Bachelors work rocking chair, I was struck by
one chair. This was a design that I found so extraordinary for its time that I had a
strong need to ﬁnd out more about its background because I could not
understand how somebody could create such an exceptional product at that time.
That chair was Hans J. Wegner’s Y chair designed in 1950 for Carl Hansen &1 2
Son , a 64-year-old design that still looks exceptional. I could not ﬁgure out how3
Wegner could come up with such an interesting design. So I started my research; I
wanted to understand the background or what could have inspired him, and I
found it. He wanted to recreate the old Chinese traditional Tai shi Yi chair. It4
was not very hard to ﬁnd the source of his work because he always admitted the
reinterpretation and spoke openly about it. Moreover, he even called his design Y
chair to give you a clue. I was thrilled. I could not believe that this extraordinary
chair had an ancestor, and not just a single one. Wegner himself designed its
progenitor. The ﬁrst chair by Wegner that was inspired by Chinese antiques was
designed in 1944 and it was simply called, China Chair for Fritz Hansen . Six5
years later, he came up with a new reinterpretation of it, the already mentioned Y
chair. I always believed that this product had to look like it was out of this world
in the 1950s but it never did. It had roots and history. After this discovery I
decided that I should also ﬁnd out if someone had reinterpreted this already
iconic design at a later date. With no difﬁculties I quickly found a few very similar
designs obviously inspired by my favourite Y chair. Glob Chair by Philippe
Starck, designed in 1990 for Kartell, or a chair that might resemble Y chair the6 7
most: the Bac Chair by Jasper Morrison for Cappellini, designed in 2007. I8 9
realised that for all these years I had been ignorant. I naively thought that iconic
designs just appear. That they are born from nothing, in the head of a genius, and
now I understood that nothing is created in a vacuum. That every object that is
created is determined by many aspects of its contemporary world, and this was
not the only discovery. I realised that lots of creative individuals work with history
and objects that are already known, to recreate them. I understood that nothing is
Hans Jørgensen Wegner was a world renowned Danish furniture designer.1
Holmstedt Olesen, Christian. Hans J. Wegner Just One Good Chair. Ostﬁldern: Hatje2
Cantz Verlag, 2014.
Danish furniture company founded in 1908.3
The Tai Shi Arm Chair is an Asian dining chair developed in the Ming Dynasty4
A Danish furniture design company founded in 1872.5
A French designer who has become widely known since the start of his career in the6
An Italian company that makes and sells plastic contemporary furniture.7
An English product and furniture designer.8
An Italian furniture company founded in 1946 by Enrico Cappellini.9
Fig 2. Fig 3 . Fig 4. Fig 5. Fig 6.
!Fig 2. Jasper Morrison - Bac chair 2007
Fig 3. Philippe Starck - Glob chair 1990
Fig 4. Hans J. Wegner - Wishbone chair 1950
Fig 5. Hans J. Wegner - Chinese Chair 1944
Fig 6. Unknown author, Dynasty Ming - Tai Shi Arm chair 1368-1644
I invented nothing new. I simply assembled the discoveries
of other men behind whom were centuries of work…
Progress happens when all the factors that make for it
are ready and then it is inevitable.
Snow, Richard. I Invented the Modern Age: The Rise of Henry Ford. 2013.1
WHAT IS REMIX?
I have become fascinated by the ideas of remix, reinterpretation,
appropriation and stealing in design. Of course it is nothing new. All of these
techniques have been around for a long time. Quoting someone, trying to recreate
someone’s approach, creating work inspired by the work of others. Everybody
does it. Not only that, in fact we all remix numerous people every day. We wear
clothes we have seen in a magazine, on someone else. We listen to the song our
friend recommended to us. We try to be as good as our idol and therefore we are
trying to replicate some of his or her personality. In fact this dissertation is a
perfect example of a remix. I quote various people. I develop ideas I read, heard
or have seen somewhere else. The way it is put together is my original approach.
My subjective perspective on this topic is what matters. It is based on research; it
is not radical. There is nothing like a revolution of ideas; it is always only
evolution. I want to look into the progress of ideas, its history and its future. I
want to implicate all this information into my practice of Product Design where it
is not common to talk about remix. Product designers mostly call it “rip off.” I
think that it is time to take a step back and look again. It is the time when being
open might pay off. I would like to picture how it should appear in design. Let us
ﬁrst look into other practices that have already been dealing with remix for a
longer period of time. These practices are mostly found in industries that do not
deal with physical objects, which is why it is a little bit easier to work with this
technique, so let us look into remix in the music industry.
REMIX IN MUSIC
Remix is when a song is edited or recreated to sound different from the
original version. This process was developed through the technology of sampling
that allowed us to cut parts of songs and use them in the way we want.
See, 30 years ago, you had the ﬁrst digital samplers, and they changed everything
overnight. All of a sudden, artists could sample from anything and everything that came
before them, from a snare drum from the Funky Meters, to a Ron Carter bass line, the
theme to "The Price Is Right." Albums like De La Soul's "3 Feet High and Rising" and
the Beastie Boys' "Paul's Boutique" looted from decades of recorded music to create these
sonic, layered masterpieces that were basically the Sgt. Peppers of their day. And they
weren't sampling these records because they were too lazy to write their own music. They
weren't sampling these records to cash in on the familiarity of the original stuff. But the
thing is, they were sampling those records because they heard something in that music that
spoke to them that they instantly wanted to inject themselves into the narrative of that
music. They heard it, they wanted to be a part of it. You know, in music we take
something that we love and we build on it.1
Remix is an interesting take on music creation because it also works with nostalgia
and memory. Remixed songs might use only a fraction of an original melody but
this fraction creates a feeling of familiarity that is very important. Familiarity is
good, friendly, and something we are not afraid of. After your brain registers an
impulse of familiarity (and you might not even realise it), you become less
sceptical about the new tunes. Especially if you are listening to a melody from a
song you used to like. The most famous song that has worked with this familiarity
in the last few years is from the Belgian-Australian multi-instrumentalist and
singer Gotye: “Somebody I used to know.” The song has 547,462,034 million
views on YouTube at the point of writing this dissertation. This mass success is2
regarding two melodies Gotye uses in his song that almost everybody in the world
knows. These two melodies are taken from nursery school songs. The main
melody of the song heavily resembles the melody of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”
In fact, it is exactly the same melody with few notes left out. The chorus of the
song has a similar melody to another nursery school song: “Baa Baa Black Sheep.”
Furthermore, the guitar melody in the opening of the song is the same as the late
1970s Police hit, “Cant stand losing you.” Gotye’s song is a masterpiece of remix.3
Through referencing positive childhood memories, he could not have been
unsuccessful. The best part of it is that most listeners do not even realise the
psychological game that has been played with them. You are only left with an
uncanny, familiar feeling.
Mark Ronson, “How sampling transformed music”, TED Talk, March 2014. [Accessed1
25. 9. 2014]
A video-sharing website.2
English rock band formed in London in 1977.3
Fig 7. Gotye and Kimbra on Grammys 2013
http://www.grammy.com [Accessed 1. 10. 2014]1
Something has to be somewhat original to be interesting.
Or you could maybe take a twist on something very
familiar and make it a little bit different. Perspectives
like this suggest that when presented with a repository
of raw footage, users find originality in creative
rearrangements. They value skills associated with finding,
editing, and remixing existing content in interesting ways.
And in contrast to historical perceptions of authorship
closely tying originality to the individual, users redefine
originality as fundamentally connected to collaborative
appropriation and remixing.
N. Diakopoulos, et al.
N. Diakopoulos, et al., “The Evolution of Authorship in a Remix Society”, Proceedings of1
Hypertext and Hypermedia (Manchester, 2007).
An important factor in the success of remix is nostalgia. We know that
progressive products are usually not accepted very well by the majority of
customers. Many great thinkers have been understood only years after their
death. The general public is usually not so open minded as to spot a genius in a
new enterprise. Nowadays, it is very hard to even attract people’s attention. They
need something familiar to relate to otherwise they begin to doubt it and think it
through and people tend to be very critical when judging new things. It is hard for
us to just accept something new so we usually try to ﬁnd out all the negatives ﬁrst.
But nostalgia can help with attracting someone’s attention. Familiarity works as a
recommendation from a friend. It gives us an internal blessing to reach for this
new thing. Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Tipping Point, describes six types of1 2
consumers on example of farmers. He says we can think of consumers as:
Innovators, the adventurous ones. The slightly larger group who were infected by them
were the Early Adopters. Early Majority and the Late Majority, the deliberate and the
skeptical mass, who would never try anything until the most respected of farmers had tried
Nostalgia can help the audience with easier acceptance. People love items that
have history, an interesting story and charm. We often talk about good old times,
when things were better made, with more focus on detail, better materials and
quality. That is why remix can be such a powerful tool of creation. Your work
immediately has certain qualities of former objects. On the other hand, you
would never impress a person seeking innovation, with a nostalgic object. He
would be always interested in the most progressive one. And that is why remix
culture is not absolutely universal. Even if you are focused on a mainstream
market, you cannot please everyone. There are always going to be small groups
that are not going to be interested at all in what you are offering. In this case, very
progressive and very conservative groups that are not interested in contemporary
mash-up of old designs.4
Canadian journalist, bestselling author, and speaker.1
Debut book by Malcolm Gladwell, ﬁrst published by Little, Brown in 2000.2
, Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (New3
York: Little, Brown, 2000).
A mixture or fusion of disparate elements.4
REMIX IN FILM AND ART
The next domain that is nowadays very much connected with remix, is ﬁlm.
It seems to be the second medium after music that works with this method so
intensively. Maybe this is because even if you have exactly the same shot, with the
same camera, same actors and same scene, there are so many ways to approach
it. Or maybe because ﬁlm can be based on someone else's story, picture or even a
dream. It works not only with visuals but also with sound so it is possible to create
a more complex atmosphere. It seems as though ﬁlm is a great medium that can
take all its inspiration and adapt it in a new, interesting way.
Of the ten highest grossing ﬁlms per year from the last ten years, 74 out of 100 are either sequels
or remakes of earlier ﬁlms or adaptations of comic books, video games, books, and so on.
Transforming the old into the new [...] is Hollywood's greatest talent.
We've got stories that have been told, retold, transformed, referenced, and subverted since the
dawn of cinema.1
There is a special place for remix in visual art. If you attend an art school to
become a painter, the way you learn how to draw a still life is by observing,
examining and copying what you see. Everybody in the classroom might draw the
same thing from same angle; however, everybody will have a different picture. It is
the mixture of real life and our expression that will be the ﬁnal output and that is
again characteristic of a remix. Appropriation and collage have been successful
tools that have helped to create, for example, Pop Art, and Andy Warhol was one
of the greatest remix masters. He knew that to be successful in the art scene
meant being a business thinker as much as a creative person, and Warhol was
more than that. Maybe it was his rational thinking that made him exceed others.
He quickly realised that to reach a mass audience he needed something that
would help him. Something that allows the rapid spread of information in an era
without the Internet. Something that would make him the focus of the public as
much as celebrities are. Warhol came up with the brilliant idea that if he made a
print of a famous person, it would be instantly famous without much work
because it already contained a famous aspect: the celebrity. That is how the
Marilyn Monroe collection was born. Adding colour variations of his work
helped him to create a remix of his own work. He used the silkscreen technique
that allowed him to make a large number of colour alterations, so he could reach
a broader audience.
Everything is a Remix. Directed by Kirby Ferguson. Four-part video series, distributed1
online, 2011, [accessed 24.9.2014], http://everythingisaremix.info/watch-the-series/.
REMIX IN DESIGN
While remix in music is common, we have a different perception of it in
Product Design. It is neither discussed nor seen. It is visible only by educated
people in the ﬁeld. We are not used to thinking of objects as new interpretations
of old designs that are put together from ancient fragments. But that does not
mean that there are not examples of appropriation in design. A good example
would be Dutch design that has worked with idea of the ready-made for a longer
period of time. Except that idea of ready-made was to dignify everyday object
into art and approach of Dutch designers is more about showing different
perspective on object. It might have taken two objects to create one that will have
a different function. What is true is that these objects with a certain kind of poetry
have been more highly valued than original objects. Nevertheless there is a fun
aspect of play. Taking something to create something better out of it is what
generated value. A perfect example would be Martino Gamper’s project “1001
chairs in 100 days”. Over a period of two years he collected more than 100 chairs
that have been the basis of his project. He created 100 original designs using only
pieces from products that were already on the market.
My intention was to investigate the potential of creating useful new chairs by blending
together the stylistic and structural elements of the found ones. The process produced
something like a three-dimensional sketchbook, a collection of possibilities. I wanted to
question the idea of there being an innate superiority in the one-off and used this hybrid
technique to demonstrate the difﬁculty of any one design being objectively judged The Best.
I also hope my chairs illustrate — and celebrate — the geographical, historical and
human resonance of design: what can they tell us about their place of origin or their
previous sociological context and even their previous owners? For me, the stories behind the
chairs are as important as their style or even their function.2
Italian designer based in London who became internationally regarded through his1
project 100 Chairs in 100 Days.
, Martino Gamper, “100 Chairs in 100 Days,” (Dent-De-Leone, 2007).2
Fig 8. 26 out of 100 Martino Gampers chairs1
Gamper,Martino. 100 Chairs in 100 Days, Dent-De-Leone, 20071
…And the soil from which we grow our creations is
something we scorn and misunderstand, even though it
gives us so much… and that's copying. Put simply, copying
is how we learn. We can’t introduce anything new until
we’re fluent in the language of our domain, and we do that
through emulation. For instance, all artists spend their
formative years producing derivative work.Nobody starts
out original. We need copying to build a foundation of
knowledge and understanding. And after that... things can
get interesting. After we’ve grounded ourselves in the
fundamentals through copying, it’s then possible to create
something new through transformation. Taking an idea
and creating variations. This is time-consuming tinkering
but it can eventually produce a breakthrough. These are
the basic elements of creativity: copy, transform, and
Everything is a Remix. Directed by Kirby Ferguson. Four-part video series, 2011, [accessed1
REMIX VERSUS RECYCLE
One of the deﬁnitions of the word recycle, according to the Oxford English
Dictionary , is: “to return material to a previous stage in a cyclic process.” To1
“use again” would also be a suitable way to describe the process of a remix; to
take material that is already there and reuse it. It also takes additional energy to
reuse material that would again suit both processes so what is the difference?
Mostly it would be material degradation. In terms of the philosophy of a remix,
what people usually aim for is to create an extraordinary product out of already
used materials. The virtue of the new work should be that its quality is always
higher than the quality of input materials. Material does not degrade but it gains
in its value. It also draws attention to the original work and what are positive
aspects for the original creator. On the other hand, when we recycle we are not
able to achieve the same quality as raw material production. If we want to use less
energy than a standard process (which is the aim, otherwise we would not recycle)
we cannot achieve the same quality.
As we have noted, most recycling is actually down-cycling; it reduces the quality of a
material over time. When plastics other than those found in soda and water bottles are
recycled, they are mixed with different plastics to produce a hybrid of lower quality, which
is then moulded into something amorphous and cheap, such as a park bench or a speed
bump…. Aluminium is another valuable but constantly down-cycled material. The
typical soda can consists of two kinds of aluminium: the walls are composed of
aluminium, manganese alloy with some magnesium, plus coatings and paint, while the
harder top is aluminium magnesium alloy. In conventional recycling these materials are
melted together, resulting in a weaker—and less useful—product.2
Down-cycling as a process also has its opposite: up-cycling. This should be deﬁned
as generating better quality material out of a less valuable material. This is
possible to achieve in Art, for example; taking simple materials and converting
them into valuable objects. This is a virtue of most artists that we celebrate. As an
interesting example I would like to mention the Landﬁll Harmonic Orchestra. This is3
an interesting social project that was created with the vision that even people in
poverty should not be limited by the material world. Aside from many social
aspects and educating people that would never be able to attend these kinds of
instrument lessons, I would like to emphasise the recycling aspect of the project.
Simpson, J. A., and E. S. C. Weiner. The Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford: Clarendon1
William McDonough and Michael Braungart, ,Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We2
Make Things (USA: North Point Press, 2002), 56–57.
Landﬁll Harmonic Orchestra: An orchestra for kids with instruments made from trash.3
“YouTube,” accessed 28.9.2014, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJxxdQox7n0.
Fig 9. Landﬁll Harmonic Orchestra Instruments
The orchestra’s instruments are built from trash materials. This allows children
from the lowest social levels to play instruments that they would not be able to
afford. Instruments are built from various cans, pieces of wood, coins, forks, or
anything you can ﬁnd that is of any use.
Another great example would be the Dutch artist Max Zorn, who creates1
his art from basic brown packaging tape. We can call his use of cheap material to
create valuable work recycle art; however, we cannot call it a remix. The original
material, brown tape, does not have any artistic value before the touch of Max
Zorn. This can again help us to differentiate between these two terms. Remix is
about celebrating the original product. We use it in our new work because we
value its qualities and we want to link its genius to our new fused endeavour,
whilst recycling is about ﬁnding another use for materials that no longer have any
value and are destined to become trash.
Dutch artist who has been active in street art at night and urban art since May 2011. His1
style is notable for its use of brown packing tape as a medium and cutting on acrylic glass
with a scalpel to create portraits that need back lighting to be seen. Max Zorn, “Max
Zorn,” accessed 26.9.2014, http://www.maxzorn.com.
THE FUTURE OF REMIX
We have discussed applications of remix in the disciplines of Music, Art
and Product Design, to be able to compare this technique in various
environments. What is now used in one domain might be the next big thing in
another. The beauty of these different disciplines is that they inspire each other.
They are no longer isolated but they determine each other with other ﬁelds that
surround them. Many artists are active in different creative ﬁelds and this
transcend from one ﬁeld to another is sometimes exactly the matter that enrich
and innovate. Computer aided design is no longer a novelty but we can predict
that the future of remix will be connected with computers. More intuitive, more
simple, more aided. Regarding this, I found a great example of contemporary
remix in Graphic Design that I would like to highlight. In 2011, two friends,
Ondrej Zita and Michal Sloboda from the Academy of Arts, Architecture and
Design in Prague, decided that it would be interesting to map current trends in
the graphic design scene. They thought this research might be useful for others so
they created a webpage called Trend List and shared what they found with1
everyone, for free.
Trend List is not a criticism of contemporary graphic design. It just points to the fact that
graphic design as well as everything else, is affected by certain trends, and today is no
exception. But a lot of designers do not agree and still insist on the originality of their
work that is based on pure concept. Wim Crouwel says: “You are always a child of your
time, you can not step out of that!” So why close our eyes to the rules and styles around
us? We are always looking for something unique and new, even at the cost of
incomprehension? After all, if someone is able to create a modern design it just means that
he is able to express the spirit of our time!2
!!Undertaking research would be the ﬁrst part of producing your own mashup. Zita
and Sloboda realised that when you already have all this information in front of
you it is fairly easy for you (even as a non-creative person) to create your own
trendy design but they wanted to take it to an extreme. They created a
smartphone application called Trend Generator that would do all the work for3
you. You only type information you want to have included in your graphic and
you can add a few pictures that can even be taken with your camera if you prefer.
After the magic press of a button, the application generates custom graphics
according to the most contemporary trends. If you do not like the design you
simply press refresh and the trend generator instantly generates a new one. This
product is an ultimate example of contemporary and future remix.
Webpage exploring visual trends in contemporary graphic design. “Trend List,”1
Ondrej Zita, “Trend List,” accessed 28.9.2014, www.trendlist.org/pages/about.2
Smartphone application that generates graphics on demand. “Trend List,” accessed3
I met with Zita, one of the inventors, for an interview. We met in1
September 2014 in a small cafe in Prague to discuss Trend List. I was very much
interested in how this international project began.
I worked with Michal Sloboda at that time and we have been living and breathing
graphic design. We thought that lots of things look similar so we began to map it. We
have been trying to answer some questions for ourselves: How to sell a poster to a client
that looks like a poster of his rival company and still call it experimental, conceptual or
progressive but the biggest question was: Is it even necessary to have your own style these
My main interest for the interview was the Trend Generator, the machine
that supplements a person. Man is left out so that he is only a decision maker that
approves or rejects the outcome generated by the machine. Zita pointed me to
some other similar systems like Square Space. He seems to be convinced that3
graphic design is losing its importance; that this automation of process is going to
take over, as in other industries.
Your role as designer starts and ends when you say: “Stop, I want to use this one.” There
are millions of combinations. The biggest breaking point for me was after we created
Trend Generator. I realised that maybe I want to focus on other things than graphic design
When talking to Zita I recognised the direct link to the rest of society that is about
sharing, implementing and forwarding ideas, called Remix Society. Brett Gaylor,5
in his document RiP!: a remix manifesto, declared four points of a society manifesto:
1. Culture always builds on the past
2. The past always tries to control the future.
3. Our future is becoming less free.
4. To build free societies you must limit the control of the past.6
Young Czech graphic designer and entrepreneur. Co-founder of “Trend List,”1
Taken from an interview with Ondrej Zita, 27. 9. 2014.2
Web page that allows customers to simply create a web page or logo. “Square Space,”3
accessed 28.9.2014, http://www.squarespace.com.
Taken from interview with Ondrej Zita, September 2014.4
Canadian documentary ﬁlmmaker living in Victoria, British Columbia.5
RiP!: A Remix Manifesto. Directed by Brett Gaylor (USA, 2008), “RiP Remix,” accessed6
Fig 10. Trendlist Generator running on iOS device
With remix also comes the question over who really owns what? What
happens when we use somebody else's work? Law strictly talks about intellectual
property that is protected by copyright law and cannot be touched but what is the
real purpose of copyright? Is it designed to help us or is it other way around?
Some of our copyright laws are hundred years old and we might reconsider their
usefulness. It might not just limit our creativity but also place people who want to
work with the method of remix, into the category of criminals. Copyright was
originally designed to protect the creator from anyone else cashing in on his or
her invention. The main purpose of Copyright is that if you invent something,
you should prosper from it for years to come. Today we know from history that
many great inventions have been improvements of someone else's design. Giving
people the ability to take ideas and improve them might be a big step for
mankind. We should not be limited by idea of money only. We should be able to
recognise taking and recreating someone else's work for further enrichment,
rather than just comparing it to piracy that in this case would be spreading
someone’s material world wide without permission and without giving him
appropriate credit. We need to specify fair use that would allow us to work with
some materials in good will. There is of course the problem of giving appropriate
credit to an original inventor when you use his product for further development.
We live in an era of gathering more information than we can process, and we are
processing way more information than is of use to anyone. Nowadays, we are
capable of creating complicated structures that reference every author that
participated by donating part of his work to a new remix artist, and we also might
be able to calculate the exact part of his reward from this project. But we might
not even go to this complicated extent. There are many other ways the market
can work. The music industry is again a great example because it has already
been through the most turbulent of times. Music producers in Brazil give away
their new music to street vendors for free. They make copies out of it and1
distribute it to the general public. Vendors are the only ones who make money out
of this process but the music producers realise that this is the only way to
encourage a large fan base for their next concert, at which point they earn some
credit for their work. Another interesting approach is the various music streaming
systems that are trying to react to contemporary market needs. Applications such
as Spotify give you access to pretty much any music in the world for only $10 a2
month. The only rule is, you do not own the music. It is an interesting take on
what today’s culture might need. Owning the piece of music is an archaic
approach. What people really want is to listen to music; discover new artists. Hear
the new song immediately when it is released. We do not necessarily need to own
Good Copy Bad Copy - Copyright and Culture Documentary. Directed by A. Johnsen,1
R.Christensen and H.Moltke, Denmark (2007). “YouTube,” accessed 24.9.2014, http://
Music streaming service providing digital rights management–restricted content from2
record labels including Sony, EMI, Warner Music Group and Universal.
It would be interesting to see what would happen if we were to have access
to anything and whether it would enrich our creativity when we do not have any
limitations. We can surely manage to create a smart enough system to credit
people who deserve it. Spotify, for example, pays artists based on the number of
playbacks of their songs. It would be great if we could reward every creative1
person who took part in the creation of a piece of art. If we can create such a
complex system that tracks down everyone who participated in the new work,
everybody would be motivated to create something because the artist would know
that even if someone ﬁnishes his idea he would still receive credit for it. Let us
think of it in a similar way to receiving royalties from being remixed. If your
project is so interesting that it will be remixed 100 times and at least ﬁve of those
productions are going to become a hit, you will probably get more credit than if
you try to disseminate it yourself. Moreover, these new adaptations might reach a
different audience that you would never reach, such as different minorities. The
impact on our lives might be quite extensive. It would be something like a world
wide collaborative sharing system. The ﬁrst step would be Open Source, except2
that this system does not expect anything beyond using the original work in good
will, without harming any part of it or the original creator, and without using it
for the interests of industry. This kind of work is licensed under the copyright of
Creative Commons that allows you to freely use and distribute work under this3
license for non-commercial projects.
“Spotify,” accessed 1.10.2014, http://www.spotifyartists.com/spotify-explained/.1
Development of physical products, machines and systems through use of publicly shared2
design information. Open design involves the making of both free and open-source
software as well as open-source hardware.
A non-proﬁt organisation devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for3
others to build upon legally and to share. “Creative Commons,” accessed 1.10.2014,
Yesterday, there was a wall of Tesla patents in the lobby
of our Palo Alto headquarters. That is no longer the case.
They have been removed, in the spirit of the open source
movement, for the advancement of electric vehicle
Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent of
sustainable transport. If we clear a path to the creation
of compelling electric vehicles, but then lay intellectual
property land-mines behind us to inhibit others, we are
acting in a manner contrary to that goal. Tesla will not
initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith,
wants to use our technology.
Elon Musk 1
Elon Musk, CEO “Tesla Motors,” accessed 26.9.2014, http://www.teslamotors.com/1
At the end of the last century, mostly thanks to the Internet and an era of
information that can be spread worldwide in a fraction of seconds, was
approximately when the idea of Open Design was born. A few designers have
seen opportunities in transmitting their ideas to people through the Internet.
They have realised that disseminating thousands of their designs to the world for
free might be more valuable then selling two prototypes. There are also moral
values of Open Design, in that everyone can afford it, but Open Design is not
about being a Samaritan. It is about sharing but also about taking something you
might need. Imagine you do not have the few parts you need to build something
you want but you have some parts that you do not need. Open Design is a
platform for sharing these building blocks and ideas. There are many ways to
make use of Open Design. You might use it to share some of your ideas
worldwide, for free, with the aim that this will bring you to the public’s attention
and they will become interested in your other designs. Yet it is not that simple.
Disseminating your design on the Internet might have also a negative inﬂuence.
Once your designs are made public, you are vulnerable. Anyone can use your
ideas in any way. With all the information out there it is not complicated to copy
pretty much anything. Once you upload your project to the Internet you cannot
even patent it anymore. If patent organisations ﬁnd products similar to yours on
the Internet, your project is no longer suitable for patenting. By placing the
pictures on the Internet, you become your own worst enemy. Gestures like the one
of Elon Musk, from Tesla, who gave away all his patents, might show us that it is
already time for a new copyright law. Patents as we know them are more than 150
years old. The Chinese version of iPhone, called goo phone, is usually on the1
market even before the ofﬁcial release of iPhones. Goo phone sells a fairly similar
looking phone running on a different operating system for a fraction of the cost.
Maybe one more aspect leading designers toward an open society is that it is
difﬁcult anyway to protect your ideas. The design industry goes through lots of
changes, and with 3D printers that are becoming more and more common with2
the general public, or places like Fab Lab, anyone can be a designer. This same3
development happened in photography a few decades ago when the photo
camera became more affordable. These days almost anyone has at least one
camera on their phone. It is also very affordable to even get a professional
camera. But photography did not die; it adapted. I think that this era should be
an era when all of the basic objects that people need should be open and
affordable to anyone. The role of the designer should be to make them somehow
special. Make something so extraordinary that people would want to have the
particular product from you. Or create such a production process that no one can
produce the same object that you do.
“Goo Phone,” http://www.goophone.net/index.php?route=product/category&path=20.1
A 3D printer is a type of industrial robot working with additive manufacturing process2
Fab Lab (fabrication laboratory) is a small-scale workshop offering (personal) digital3
fabrication. “Fab Foundation,” accessed 1.10.2014, http://www.fabfoundation.org.
The design industry is going through fundamental
changes. Open design, downloadable design and distributed
design democratise the design industry, and imply that
anyone can be a designer or a producer.”
Jos de Mul1
Jos de Mul, Open Design Now (Eindhoven: BIS Publishers, 2011).1
It is really hard to be innovative in the twenty-ﬁrst century. Most creative
people feel the pressure of their ancestors. We feel like everything has already
been made, like there is no room for us, the new generation. It is hard to be
radical, it is hard to be different, it is hard to stand out from the crowd of creative
people. When we realise that the power of the contemporary art scene might not
be to shock anymore, but to deliver interesting subjective interpretations of things,
we might ﬁnd remix to be a very interesting approach. The personality projected
into an object will be the strength. Collages of things we love are collages of our
personality. Moreover, if we will be open about what we are doing and if we share
our ideas with each other, we might speed up industry and progress much faster
in our development. That does not mean that we have to speed up our lives even
more but brave moves like the one from Elon Lusk, CEO of Tesla motors, who
gave up all patents to the public, is something that might move us ahead. Only
time will tell if people can use opportunities like this to make something out of it.
And if we have all the technology available, then it is only a matter of trying
different combinations to come up with some extraordinary ideas. Remix is not
about taking somebody else's work. It is about using it, to bring it to new
dimensions. The questions remain: what is going to follow remix? After we
exhaust all the possibilities, is there going to be something next? There deﬁnitely
will but only the future will reveal what it is going to be.
• Gladwell, Malcolm. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference.
Boston: Little, Brown, 2000.
• Kleon, Austin. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative.
New York: Workman Pub. Co, 2012.
• Berkun, Scott. The Myths of Innovation. Beijing: O'Reilly, 2007.
• Abel, Bas van. Open Design Now: Why Design Cannot Remain Exclusive. Amsterdam,
The Netherlands: BIS Publishers, 2011.
• Lessig, Lawrence. Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy.
New York: Penguin Press, 2008.
• Johnson, Steven. Where Good Ideas Come from: The Natural History of Innovation.
New York: Riverhead Books, 2010.
• Gamper,Martino. 100 Chairs in 100 Days, Dent-De-Leone, 2007
AUDIO VISUAL RESOURCES
• Can I Get An Amen?, dir: Nate Harrison, 2004.
• Steal This Film, dir: Jamie King, 2007.
• Rip! a remix manifesto, dir: Brett Gaylor, 2009.
• Tim's Vermeer, dir: Teller, 2013.
• Re-examining the remix: Lawrence Lessig at TEDxNYED 2010 < https://
www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8ULxxgjBuI> [Accessed 25. 9. 2014]
• Laws that choke creativity: Lawrence Lessig (TED Talk,2007) < https://
www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Q25-S7jzgs>[Accessed 25. 9. 2014]
• Open Design Now (December 2012) Lecture by Deanna M. Herst < https://
www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXlRMwNYOqA > [Accessed 24. 9. 2014]
• Open structures: Thomas Lommee at TEDxEutropolis (TEDxTalks, 2012) <http://
www.youtube.com/ watch?v=5FXTlOytJRI> [Accessed 21. 9. 2014]
• How sampling transformed music: Mark Ronson at TED Talk March 2014 <http://
[Accessed 25. 9. 2014]
• Author interview with Ondrej Zita, Graphic designer/Entrepreneur, 28 September
ONLINE JOURNAL ARTICLES
Malcolm Gladwell, “Creation Myth,” The New Yorker (MAY 16, 2011 ISSUE), <http://
www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/05/16/creation-myth> [Accessed 21. 9. 2014]
N. Diakopoulos, et al., “The Evolution of Authorship in a Remix Society”, Proceedings of
Hypertext and Hypermedia (Manchester, 2007). <https://www.academia.edu/154045/
The_Evolution_of_Authorship_in_Remix_Society> [Accessed 23. 9. 2014]
[ALL RETRIEVED BY 30.09.2014]