The True Essence of Life

A good friend sent me a link to the following documentary trailer with a simple declaration: “I bet you will really really really really enjoy this.”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Recommended for any Girl Talk fan, RiP: A Remix Manifesto focuses on the current struggle of the remix culture against “the man” with everyone’s favorite Pittsburgh mash-up artist as the central protagonist.  Art Threat summarizes best:

The film is a fast-paced, entertaining and informative rave-like rip through the world of copyright, cultural policy and mash-up culture. The film’s form is its strength – a pastiche of interview, director POV, fantastic animation, music video, concert, home movie, and multi-media mix. It is in short, an exemplary mash-up piece, true to the investigation found within. By the end you might feel like you dropped acid and read a cultural policy paper, but chances are you’ll just be stunned that a documentary on copyright could be so damn fun.

One of the coolest aspects of this manifesto is that its first-time filmmaker Brett Gaylor has made every chapter available online for anyone to remix, going as far to even launch a website to act as a centralized hub for said remixers to work their magic.  Similar to the release of Feed the Animals, the film is also available as a pay-what-you-want download.  Hence, you have no excuse for not watching.

As much as I love the “pay what you want” model as a stingy end user, from a career standpoint, if you’re advocating the option to give your craft away for free and expect everyone else to do the same, how is anyone going to have a sustainable career?  This publicity may work for mash-up artists like Girl Talk that utilize samples, but what about musicians that are trying to earn a living by learning how to make their guitar talk?  A popular response is touring, but that may take several years before the handful of fortunate ones finally start to bank.

For better or worse, we are part of a “download generation” and there is no looking back.  Gaylor’s documentary was state funded by the Canadian government.  Is this an untapped viable solution? If everyone paid a few pennies for funding the arts, our cultural society could be much richer in the long term.  We’ve already met our quota for uninspired, packaged trash being force-fed to the masses.

Creativity is still alive.  A bigger question I wished RiP: A Remix Manifesto spent more time on is how we can support that artistic development, whether it be through laws, tax dollars, or simply an increased attentiveness from the general public.

On an important related note, one of my favorite publications needs your help (like so many others in the music and newspaper industry).  Over the past five years, Paste has consistently been one of the few magazines I could always trust and rely on for recommendations.  Unfortunately, the global recession has taken its toll on the magazine’s advertiser’s spending habits.

Check out the Paste family’s sincere letter to the readers for the full scoop.  In return for your donations, Paste is opening their vaults to tons of fantastic rare tracks from the creative career artists alluded to earlier.

If all discussed above continues to go unaddressed, we run the risk of losing several important, yet to be discovered cultural contributors…a danger which, in the tone of David Brent, “I HATE.”

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