iGeneration 2008: Final FAQ (and what can YOU do with this course?)

iGeneration: Digital Communication and Participatory Culture 2008 was an honours course in Communication Studies at the University of Western Australia.  The unit coordinator was Tama Leaver, and the five talented students who took the course were Kiri, Alex, Chris, Shemila and Joanne.  The honours course was a collaborative effort; Tama provided the frame and the first few and last weeks of the course, but the central seminars were constructed and run by the students (and, can I say, they all did a fine job!).

The first thing someone looking at this course blog should know, is that everything here – the unit outline, the seminars, the podcast project, the remix project and all of the artefacts and conversations, are released under a Creative Commons Australia Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 license. This means educators, students and pretty much anyone else is free to use, and re-use any of the material here as long as they give attribution (the easiest way being a direct link back to this blog), and the material in used non-commercially (and we consider any and all educational uses as non-commercial, along with plenty of other uses, too) and that any subsequent work building on these materials is also shared under a similar license (no, it doesn’t have to be exact, but the intent needs to be pretty much the same).  This course, and all of its content, are an Open Education Resource and we encourage you to borrow, mix and build upon the work here.

The second thing you should know is that this is a course blog which, for those unfamiliar with blogs, means that this course is in reverse chronological order – the first posts made in July are at the end of the blog, the most recent posts are at the beginning (this one being the most recent and thus the top post).  To navigate you can either follow the links to specific parts of the course using the menu links at the top of this and every page, or you can use the side-bar which points specifically to the posts and artefacts created by the students for assessment (which entailed created audio podcasts and video remixes, each with a critical exegesis, which basically means a short essay explaining why they made the remix or podcast they created in the context of exploring participatory culture).From the main page you can also access the monthly archives in the side-bar.

Finally, if you’re an educator or a student, considering using or building upon material here, please also consider the value of Open Educational Resources and, if you ever get a chance, either yourself or encourage others to think about the value of putting material online for others to learn from; it’ll make us all smarter in the long run! 🙂

And that’s it for 2008!

The End of the Course As We Know It!


Congratulations everyone – the remix projects are done, the exegeses have explained (most of!) your creative thinking and the final comments are posted – your iGeneration journey (or, at least, the formal unit-shaped bit) is done! As part of this wrap-up can I just say what a pleasure it has been to be your guide (and I’m deliberately not saying teacher – I’m sure I learnt just as much from you all as you did from me in this course) in this unit; the conversations have been great, your work fun to read, listen to and watch;  and from your final comments on the unit I’m left with the sense that iGeneration was a successful adventure in learning for everyone!

Now, to the marks: your hardcopy exegeses and marks can be collected from me in my office. Your remixes were all great, I should add, but as we agreed, the blog is a place for conversations, not marks, so you’ll need to come and collect them from me in person. 

Beyond that, congratulations to Kiri and Joanne who’ve now finished their Honours year; and good luck to Alex, Chris and Shemila who will be finishing off their no doubt impressive dissertations (and creative projects for some) next semester!

For this unit, though it’s been a pleasure! Thanks for all your contributions and good luck with whatever comes next in life!

PS For those reading this and wondering why this post needed cupcakes as the final photo – well, you need to meet Jo and Alex and then you’ll understand (I’m sure they’re secretly co-writing a fabulous cupcake blog somewhere!).

[Photo: ‘Cupcakes’ by Zesmerelda CC BY SA]

copyright < creative commons (aka the history of the world)


Exegesis – Remix Project

Copyright is one of the most influential creations of last century – it currently governs what each person, community and country can watch, copy, buy and listen to. It is the “the exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute the matter and form of something (as a literary, musical, or artistic work)”, (Merriam-Webster, 2008) for the purpose of providing, “an incentive for people to produce new works for the benefit of society as a whole. The incentive is created by the opportunity to be paid when other people use and disseminate those works.” (Australian Copyright Council) Too often the impact of copyright is not fully understood – younger generations have grown up knowing no other option than copyright that extends 70 years after the life of the artist or author. The remix project aims to suggest to the audience the incredibility limiting nature of copyright law, particularly in comparison with Creative Commons licensing. This exegesis will explore the project in relation to theory surrounding copyright and its place the present and the future.

Although copyright originally began as a reaction to the eroding of printer’s monopolies, it has now become a tool of the artist, the author but most importantly the corporations – a way in which their ideas can be safely protected from being reused, modified or remix, even if their own work is an merely a remix of another. Creators and authors complain that they are, “plagiarized, ripped off by publishers, savaged by critics, counterfeited – and we [sic] even get our works copied by “pirates” who give our stuff away for free online” (Doctorow, 2008, p. 55). It’s even argued that, “without the protections guaranteed by our copyright laws, many of the works we enjoy and rely upon today would never exist.” (Copyright Clearance Centre) This is true up to a point, works should be protected and one should receive value in return for their efforts. The problem mainly lies in the duration of copyright law. The length of copyright has been exponentially increasing, to its current length of up to 70 years after the death of the author or artist.

For the first half of last century, author and artists had greater access to copyrighted material. Copyright lasted for a fraction what it does now. This means that works would be released much more quickly into the public domain, where they could be adapted, reused and reshaped by the next generation. The works of Walt Disney are a classic example of the freedom that was available to recreate works, “Disney added to the work of others before him, creating something new out of something just barely old.” (Lessig, 2004, p. 23) Most of the films from Disney are re-telling of traditional fairytales, many collected by the Brothers Grimm. Due to less stringent copyright laws, he and his company were able to use these stories as well as building on the culture currently surrounding them to create new works – he “ripped creativity from the culture around him, mixed that creativity with his own extraordinary talent, and then burned that mix into the soul of his culture.” (Lessig, 2004, p.24) The changes in copyright law mean that instead of being able to use works from the 1960s and 1970s (which would have been released in public domain by now), the last content to be released from copyright to the public domain is from before the Great Depression. (Lessig, 2004, p.25)

Copyright enforces limits on the how one can create works that reflect the current culture they live in. While the cost of computers, sound and video equipment and software has decreased dramatically in the last two decades, it is still not in any way easy to recreate a legal remix work. Simply having a short clip from tv show playing in the background of your film can set you back $10 000 in licensing fees – now consider the cost of constructing a remix, some of what have hundreds of clips. (Lessig, 2004, p.24) If one cannot show their culture in their works, it makes it difficult to construct meaningful works out of, from and based upon their culture surrounding them. The introduction of Creative Commons licensing enables people to partly license their work, and allow others to still reuse, remix and modify it according to the authors stipulations. (Creative Commons)

In addition to the Creative Commons licensing, the attitudes towards ownership and whether the author or artist must enforce complete copyright in order to fully ‘own’ their work are altering, and whether full copyright is the most beneficial license for the author, is being questioned as well. Both Lawrence Lessig (Free Culture) and Cory Doctorow (Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future) have released free copies of their books onto the Internet; Lessig’s text is even licensed under Creative Commons. Doctorow even explores why he gives away copies of his book ‘for free’ (the text is available electronically, at no charge, from his website) – he believes that not only has it does it actually attract a larger audience and therefore more physical copies sold, but it “opens many other opportunities for me to earn a living from activities around my writing, such as the Fulbright Chair I got at USC this year, this high-paying article in Forbes, speaking engagements and other opportunities to teach, write and license my work for translation and adaptation,” (Doctorow, 2008, p. 75).

As new technology makes it increasing easier to copy images, sounds, text, film and an assortment of other media, some are proclaiming, “if the Internet can’t be controlled, then copyright is dead” (Doctorow, 2008, p. 83), but Doctorow argues that far from being dead, copyright is broken. (2008, p. 87) There is still and always will be a need for authors and artists to protect their works, but with new technology must come new ways of doing things. The Creative Commons license not only accepting that people are going to copy works, it expects it, and some forms of the licnse even expect people to alter and manipulate the workers – all as long as the original creator is given credit for their work.

These issues that surround copyright in our current culture were at the forefront of my mind during the planning and execution of my project. In choosing what would be explored in the project, I decided to make a high-impact piece. I decided to portray the copyright laws as ending the view-ability of our history to suggest to the audience the great impact that copyright right has on our culture – as though the severe nature of copyright, and the limits it puts on remixing, reusing and modifying, almost makes it as though that time is history doesn’t exist.

The sounds and images were sourced from either sites that held wholly creative commons material or that contained creative commons filters. By searching various words and phrases I was able to gather source material that reflects key moments in history and our current culture, a majority of these images feature people participating in a community or the images reflect a particular community and the culture attached to it. The remix indirectly addresses participation as the images feature assorted aspects of community, and participation is a vital element of community. Additionally the sounds and images were gathered from sites that encompass strong aspects of community, a community that supports and contributes to a pool of Creative Commons sources for other to remix, reuse and modify. The topic of communication is dealt with as the project employs varying mediums to communicate the one theme and the ability, or lack there of, everyone to be able to convey their own communication through the manipulation of sound, image and film to reflect upon their culture.

I chose to use computer style font, language and sounds between the images to convey the impression of impartiality. This suggests to the audience to temporarily put aside their own opinions about copyright to objectively look at my project. The music of the 0000-1910 images begins to crescendo right before it is interrupted by computer glitch sound effects. This is meant to represent the increasing abundance of material and sources that would be or could be available for use, that had been cut out by copyright law. The two different musical clips help differentiate between the pre-copyright (as we know it) and Creative Commons periods, the first musical clip is almost other worldly, suggesting the audience the lack of resources to create works or to remix them (both financially and skillfully) and hence the almost unobtainable nature that these sources held, the second clip, played after the Creative Commons logo is much more modern, fresh and upbeat – representing the change of licensing and the freedom that everyone has to not only create works but the freedom to modify them as well.

I decided to have the year counter playing over the images to aid the suggestion to the audience that copyright has not existed in it’s current format since the beginning of time, that this has only been a recent development. The first counter finishes on the year 1923 – the year in which Disney created Mickey Mouse. The second counter runs from 2001 to 2008, from the year Creative Commons began to the present.

After sampling several pictures to convey the beginning of the copyright an Creative Commons periods, I decided to use the logos instead as they conveyed everything that I was trying to find in an image, but in a format that conveys a more uniform message to different audiences.

The biggest problem I had over the course of the project was finding images for the pre-copyright section that were Creative Commons licensed. I particularly wanted to source images that appeared as though they could have been taken during that time, had photo cameras existed. Due to the freedom the sites allow with the naming and tagging of images and sounds, some images were obviously more difficult to locate than others. This issue was resolved by attempting several combinations of words, as well as multiple searches, to try and gather as many images of diverse cultures and communities.

This was followed closely by my difficulty in picking a topic. Being given an open-ended project and topic seems to be more mentally paralysing than one with very strict and defined guidelines. After several initial ideas and a few false starts I decided on the showing the impact of copyright on the history of the world after seeing a television show use a the Ken Burns effect on the images in their opening sequence.

The software that I chose to create my project on proved to be somewhat unpredictable. I mainly used iMovie, as this was the only film editing software I would be able access at home as well as at university. The software failed to apply the effects to several of the clips, repeatedly and on separate computers. Although I attempted to recreate the effect using Final Cut Express, this proved to be far too time consuming. After several more attempts the iMovie software finally applied the effects. This proved to be frustrating and time-consuming period – at the mercy of technology, with no ability to impact the outcome!

Overall this was a project that, although challenging due to the restrictions on copyrighted material, was great. To be able explore remix in our own way and through different topics was a great opportunity that is not overly available in an undergraduate degree.

This was no small topic for a project totals under one minute (plus credits), but hopefully through the use of remix I have suggested to my audience the dramatic affect that copyright has on all of our lives. While licensing laws will still remain a point of contention, I’m sure for many years to come, this course and project has demonstrated the other options available apart from full copyright and why and where one should use them.

References – Exegesis

Australian Copyright Council (2008) ‘Copyright Purposes and Sources.’ http://www.copyright.org.au/information/introduction/intro-2.htm (accessed 29th October 2008)

Australian Copyright Council (2008) ‘Information Sheet G023v14: Duration of copyright.’ http://www.copyright.org.au/intro-5.htm (accessed 29 October 2008)

Copyright Clearance Centre (2008) ‘Copyright Basics.’ http://www.copyright.com/ccc/viewPage.do?pageCode=cr10-n (accessed 29 October 2008)

Creative Commons (2008) http://creativecommons.org/ (accessed 29 October 2008)

Doctorow, Cory (2008) Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future. San Francisco: Tachyon Publications

Lessig, Lawrence (2004) Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and The Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity. New York: The Penguin Press.

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (2008) ‘copyright.’ http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/copyright (accessed 29 October 2008)


References – Remix Project

3arabawy -صَحـَـفي مِصـْـر ‘The Russian Revolution 1905 الثورة الروسية’  http://www.flickr.com/photos/elhamalawy/2716484543/

A. Diez Herrero (2007) ‘copyright’[graphic file] (December 5, 2007) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/21572939@N03/2090594428/ (accessed 29th October 2008)

A. www.viajar24h.com (2003) ‘fSapa & Ta Phin-172’ [graphic file] (December 3, 2003) Every Stock Photo http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=2305396 (accessed 27th October 2008)

akk_rus (2008) ‘Trinity church in Vorobyovo. Moscow, Russia’ [graphic file] (January 26, 2008) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/akras/2231957439/ (accessed 26th October 2008)

Angela Sevin (2006) ‘Kikuyu woman traditional dress’ [graphic file] (January 1, 2006) Every Stock Photo http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=37987 (accessed 28th October 2008)

Antmoose (2005) ‘Helena’ [graphic file] (December 30, 2005) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/antmoose/84543614/ (accessed 23rd October 2008)

aranarth (2007) ‘Our computers’ [graphic file] (July 19, 2007) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/angelaypablo/860181962/ (accessed 29th October 2008)

Argenberg (2006) ‘Red Square in Moscow (2006-01-058)’ [graphic file] (January 21, 2006) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/argenberg/266012776/ (accessed 26th October 2008)

AtomicPope (2005) ‘Johnny Ramone – Hollywood Fever Cemetery’ [graphic file] (March 23, 2005) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/chuckypurdue/9378224/ (accessed 29th October 2008)

Bimurch (2007) ‘Japanese Fan Dancer’ [graphic file] (November 4, 2007) Every Stock Photo http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=3031603 (accessed 28th October 2008)

Blablaurgh (2007) ‘At Saqsawaman’ [graphic file] (June 8, 2007) Every Stock Photo http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=3784119 (accessed 28th October 2008)

carlosluz (2007) ‘revolution’ [graphic file] (June 6, 2007) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/carlosluzz/533386204/ (accessed 27th October 2008)

Cdammen (2007) ‘Nintendo DS Game Cartridges, Again’ [graphie file] (March 10 2007) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cdammen/416339658/ (accessed 29th October 2008)

Chadh (2000) ‘WTC Twin Towers, pre-9/11 NYC’ [graphic file] (2000) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/chadh-flickr/277042271/ (accessed 29th October 2008)

Creative Commons (2002) ‘cc,logo.png 189×46 pixels’ [graphic file] (2002) Creative Commons http://mirrors.creativecommons.org/presskit/logos/cc.logo.png (accessed 28th October 2008)

Crinn Wolk (2005) ‘Sailing, Sailing’ [graphic file] (November 25, 2005) Every Stock Photo http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=76609 (accessed 28th October 2008)

Cristiano Betta (2006) ‘Asian Girls’ [graphic file] (September 26, 2006) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cristiano_betta/2942236893/ (accessed 29th October 2008)

David Wilmot (2005) ‘Auntie Edith’ [graphic file] (February 26, 2005) Every Stock Photo http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=73430 (accessed 27th October 2008)

David Wilmot (2005) ‘William Francis Robert’ [graphic file] (February 26, 2005) Every Stock Photo http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=73924 (accessed 27th October 2008)

dbking (2004) ‘Andrew Jackson’ [graphic file] (August 24, 2004) Every Stock Photo http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=284536 (accessed 27th October 2008)

dbking (2004) ‘Emancipation statue at Lincoin Park’ [graphic file] (August 27, 2004) Every Stock Photo http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=303842 (accessed 28th October 2008)

dbking (2005) ‘National Cathedral’ [graphic file] (July 30, 2005) Every Stock Photo http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=1264474 (accessed 27th October 2008)

dbking (2007) ‘Alexander Hamilton’ [graphic file] (January 15, 2007) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/bootbearwdc/359047222/ (accessed 25th October 2008)

Eli Hodapp (2006) ‘iPod Video playing on my TV using a regular camcorder cable.’ [graphic file] (Septmber 26, 2006) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/io_burn/253591923/ (accessed 29th October 2008)

ErrorCell (2006) ‘009’ (September 24, 2006) The Free Sound Project http://www.freesound.org/samplesViewSingle.php?id=23061 (accessed 29th October 2008)

escapethematrix (2007) ‘London Eye’ [graphic file] (January 9, 2007) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/escapethematrix/388928321/ (accessed 29th October 2008)

foxypar4 (2008) ‘Firework Display – Hogmanay Street Party, Dornoch, Scotland’ [graphic file] (January 1, 2008) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/foxypar4/2153422313 (accessed 29th October 2008)

Franz88 (2007) ‘London Bridge’ [graphic file] (August 1, 2007) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/franz88/973423120/ (accessed 25th October 2008)

Gimmeahug (2008) ‘Statue of Liberty’ [graphic file] (January 18, 2008) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/gimmeahug/2201931670/ (accessed 25th October 2008)

guitarguy1985 (2008) ‘computerstartup’ (April 18, 2008) The Free Sound Project http://www.freesound.org/samplesViewSingle.php?id=52050 (accessed 28th October 2008)

Hazy Jenius (2006) ‘Giza Girls’ [graphic file] (November 1, 2006) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/hazy_jenius/291459380/ (accessed 29th October 2008)

Hc_07 (2007) ‘Horse and cart’ [graphic file] (May 12, 2007) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/82684220@N00/496250520/ (accessed 25th October 2008)

Ironmanixs (2006) ‘Taj Mahal’ [graphic file] (September 18, 2006) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/ironmanixs/179159399/ (accessed 26th October 2008)

jackfrench (2005) ‘Full Moon Festival’ [graphic file] (September 18. 2005) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/jackfrench/46438286/ (accessed 29th October 2008)

James Gordon (2008) ‘Iraqi arab elder, near Fallujah’ [graphic file] (January 31, 2008) Every Stock Photo http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=2543820 (accessed 28th October 2008)

James Gorrdon (2004) ‘Arches National Park, Utah’ [graphic file] (June 2, 2004) Every Stock Photo http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=2428261 (accessed 27th October 2008)

Jimbowen0306 (2005) ‘Mount Rushmore’ [graphic file] (August 20, 2005) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamiedfw/445506874/ (accessed 25th October 2008)

jimg944 (1986) ‘can8602_02, El Castillo, Chichen Itza, Maya Ruins, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico’ [graphic file] (February 1986) Every Stock Photo http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=350712 (accessed 27th October 2008)

Joe Geranio (2008) ‘Julio Claudian Wall Painting 2’ [graphic file] (May 3, 2008) Every Stock Photo http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=3969829 (accessed 28th October 2008)

Joe Shlabotnik (2006) ‘Lego People’ [graphic file] (March 23, 2005) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/joeshlabotnik/305410323/ (accessed 29th October 2008)

katrinket (2006) ‘Pokemon plane’ [graphic file] (September 1, 2006) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/fuzzyblue/247771233/ (accessed 29th October 2008)

Kevin Walsh (2005) ‘Masai’ [graphic file] (April 20, 2005) Every Stock Photo http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=638 (accessed 28th October 2008)

kk+ (2005) ‘Sierra’s Pirate Birthday Party’ [graphic file] (June 19, 2005) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/kk/20155523/ (accessed 29th October 2008)

Krupo (2007) ‘Ancient Rome’ [graphic file] (May 18, 2007) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/krupo/539026049/ (accessed 23rd October 2008)

macieklew (2004) ‘Church Tower’ [graphic file] (January 1, 2004) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/macieklew/415909370/ (January 1, 2004)

Marion Doss (2008) ‘Slave pen of Price – Birch et Co’ [graphic file] (June 12, 2008) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/ooocha/2573890689/ (accessed 25th October 2008)

**Mary** – is in Hawaii, Aloha! (2006) ‘The ruins of ancient rome’ [graphic file] (October 8, 2006) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/virgomerry/373407277/ (accessed 23rd October 2008)

mckaysavage (2007) ‘India – Madurai – 023 – brightly garbed Rajasthani women pilgrims’ [graphic file] (October 30, 2007) Every Stock Photo http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=2832842 (accessed 28th October 2008)

mckaysavage (2008) ‘India – Faces – Rural women driving their own change 1’ [graphic file] (January 23, 2008) Every Stock Photo http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=2740135 (accessed 28th October 2008)

mgrenner57 (2005) ‘State of the World 2005 event, EU Parliament Brussels Audience at EP’ [graphic file] (March 1, 2005) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/mgrenner57/122985588/ (accessed 29th October 2008)

mharrsch (2006) ‘The Convent Parlor by Giuseppe De Gobbis Venice Italy 1976 oil’ [graphic file] (March 9, 2006) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/44124324682@N01/172233468/ (accessed 25th October 2008)

mikep (2005) ‘Yea, it really looked like that’ [graphic file] (June 21, 2005) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikep/32085367/ (accessed 29th October 2008)

Mikey G Ottawa (2007) ‘Police Staff Car – Ottawa 05 07’ [graphic file] (May 12, 2007) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeygottawa/494531076/ (accessed 29th October 2008)

moonpie (2006) ‘Stonehenge HDR’ [graphic file] (September 24, 2006) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/_moonpie/251570737/ (accessed 26th October 2008)

~MVI~ (2008) ‘Lincoln Memorial (Washington DC)’ [graphic file] (August 9, 2008) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/bigberto/2764464101/ (accessed 26th October 2008)

Narek781 (2007) ‘Armenian army’ [graphic file] (July 25, 2007) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/56767781@N00/897304654/ (accessed 26th October 2008)

Night86mare (2007) ‘Grandeur, Asian Style’ [graphic file] (August 2, 2007) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/night86mare/1004961927/ (accessed 27th October 2008)

noenbubble (2008) ‘Baby Grandad, Horse, Cart’ [graphic file] (February 11, 2008) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/neonbubble/2258527728/ (accessed 25th October 2008)

Okinawa Soba (2008) ‘SLAVES, EX-SLAVES, and CHILDREN OF SLAVES IN THE AMERICAN SOUTH, 1860 -1905 (2)’ [graphic file] (August 2, 2008) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/24443965@N08/2724476942/ (accessed 23rd October 2008)

Okinawa Soba (2008) ‘SLAVES, EX-SLAVES, and CHILDREN OF SLAVES IN THE AMERICAN SOUTH, 1860 -1905 (22)’ [graphic file] (August 2, 2008) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/24443965@N08/2723654375/ (accessed 23rd October 2008)

Okinawa Soba (2008) ‘The White Slave’ [graphic file] (August 2, 2008) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/24443965@N08/2724475570/ (accessed 23rd October 2008)

Paul-W (2006) ‘102 Robert Pittenger and army buddies’ [graphic file] (October 2, 2006) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/paul-w-locke/259402152/ (accessed 26th October 2008

Peter Morgan (2005) ‘Standing Guard’ [graphic file] (April 9, 2005) Every Stock Photo http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=105956 (accessed 27th October 2008)

rosathorns (2007) ‘Eskimo and his kyak’ [graphic file] (March 21, 2007) Every Stock Photo http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=3784071 (accessed 28th October 2008)

rosathorns (2008) ‘Obleka’ [graphic file] (September 8, 2008) Every Stock Photo http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=4160078 (accessed 28th October 2008)

Sam and Ian (2006) ‘The sphinx and the pyramid of Giza’ [graphic file] (January 22, 2006) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/sam_and_ian/89836895/ (accessed 23rd October 2008)

Sgt.Steiner (2008) ‘JNP-A-06’ [graphic file] (March 31, 2008) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/42114936@N00/2285479947/ (accessed 26th October 2008)

shapeshift (2007) ‘Intense gaming’ [graphie file] (January 13, 2007) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/shapeshift/104228344/ (accessed 29th October 2008)

sjtiffen (2008) ‘Mud People’ [graphic file] (July 20, 2008) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/sjtiffen/2685752580/ (accessed 29th October 2008)

suonho (2005) ‘glitch_09_loseswordswoman_(suonho)’ (July 8, 2005) The Free Sound Project http://www.freesound.org/samplesViewSingle.php?id=3796 (accessed 28th October 2008)

suonho (2005) ‘glitch_10_gliciosi_(suonho)’ (July 8, 2005) The Free Sound Project http://www.freesound.org/samplesViewSingle.php?id=3797 (accessed 28th October 2008)

swamibu (2008) ‘The great pyramid: size matters’ [graphic file] (January 18, 2008) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/swamibu/2223726960/ (accessed 23rd October 2008)

“T” altered art (2006) ‘Shimmer’ [graphic file] (June 2, 2006) Every Stock Photo http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=3354445 (accessed 28th October 2008)

tobi123 (2007) ‘Typing2’ (May 7, 2007) The Free Sound Project http://www.freesound.org/samplesViewSingle.php?id=34541 (accessed 28th October 2008)

Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library (2008) ‘Children display their summer reading forms proudly’ [graphic file] (May 28, 2008) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/topekalibrary/2531927598/ (accessed 29th October 2008)

Vann Westfold (2007) ‘SecundoTempore2’ (May 2, 2007) The Free Sound Project http://www.freesound.org/samplesViewSingle.php?id=34301 (accessed 28th October 2008)

Vlastula (2005) ‘Hollywood Sign’ [graphic file] (September 22, 2005) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/vlastula/450642954/ (accessed 29th October 2008)

vsqz (2006) ‘Universal City Walk Hollywood (4)’ [graphic file] (November 4, 2006) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/vsqz/293551381/ (accessed 29th October 2008)

wili_hybrid (2007) ‘Train on desrt’ [graphic file] (November 12, 2007) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/wili/1999071010/ (accessed 23rd October 2008)

wili_hybrid (2007) ‘Train on desrt’ [graphic file] (November 12, 2007) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/wili/1999071010/ (accessed 23rd October 2008)

will_hybrid (2006) ‘Lajpat Nagar’ [graphic file] (November 3, 2006) Every Stock Photo http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=1407175 (accessed 28th October 2008)

Yewenyi (2007) ‘Wall’ [graphic file] (November 6, 2006) Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/yewenyi/360373376/ (accessed 25th October 2008)

Build / Create > Change

Culture in the twentieth century was controlled by the ever-tighter grip of copyright law, protecting the rights of those who put time, effort and money into their music, film, book or whatever else they might create. This control, although protecting, maintained the distance between creators and consumers – until digital technology and the Internet. With the tools of creation and alteration in hand, users of cultural content have changed the way they interact with media and culture. Instead of being illegal as the law states, the practices of sharing information, building on existing works, cutting up and modifying culture both old and recent is a natural expression of creativity. The remix is a cultural form that exemplifies this idea, and this critical exegesis will briefly situate my video in the theory of participatory culture and remixing.

Before the Internet revolution, we copied cassette tapes on personal stereos, and photocopied text onto sheets of paper edged with grey. Whether for greed or simple pleasure, this was our way of sharing culture. However, since digital technology came to town, reproducing culture has become faster and easier, and the ways we interact with other people and with media has changed dramatically.

Numerous different forms of content are transferred between people and places. The enormous number of channels opened up by the internet – unimaginable in traditional broadcast media (Doctorow, 2008, 69) – means that information of all kinds proliferates. Much of the information passed around the Internet is ‘culture’ (and by ‘culture’ I mean products of an artistic or creative nature, often with an educative and/or entertaining purpose). The networks of the Internet see an enormous amount of culture being created and re-created, copied and distributed. The Internet enables sharing between peers like never before. Lawrence Lessig explores this in his book, Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity, stating that we are seeing ‘an effect of the Internet beyond the Internet itself: an effect upon how culture is made….the Internet has induced an important and unrecognized change in that process’ (Lessig, 2004, 23).

More than just sharing, ordinary people at home are able to create their own content, a process that is largely facilitated by the fact that the tools of digital technology are more readily available (Howard-Spink, 2004). Much editing software is now affordable for home users, while others are available for free download on the Internet. The consumer of culture now has the opportunity to change those very objects she views, reads and listens to. To modify, adapt, cut up, and build upon an existing work was previously a limited practice; but with the vast array of information and cultural items now available for downloading, sharing and transferring between devices – and the tools to modify them – re-creating is no longer restricted to professional studios.

With these new practices that digital technology has enabled come new opportunities for creativity. Before digital technology – and most importantly, before the Internet – creative works were produced and consumed, and those roles were enacted separately. That paradigm of the user/consumer has significantly shifted, so that the distinctions between authors and readers, producers and spectators, creators and interpretations blend into a single continuum (Levy in Jenkins, 2002). The model of “produsage” proposed by Axel Bruns accurately describes the way in which people increasingly interact with online media, creating content as much as making use of it (Bruns, 2007, 1).

This movement of ‘user-led content creation’ is re-defining the boundaries of creativity, most noticeably through the process of “remixing”. A remix (also seen in the form of a “mash-up”, which generally uses fewer sources than a remix) takes original tracks and combines them into one new blend. Originating amongst music DJs, remixing has extended to video as well and generally refers to the method of cutting up existing forms of culture and putting them back together to create something new (Howard-Spink, 2004). Like other forms of culture, remixes were originally the domain of those with professional equipment but have now become everyday practice – only a glance at YouTube will tell you this.

The amount of content on the Internet is, practically speaking, infinite, and when this is made accessible along with the means to modify and build upon it, the creative process is somewhat changed. In a shift from ‘a Romantic legacy that tells us that art must spring from the mind of a uniquely talented creator’ remixing culture undermines this modernist notion and introduces the idea that creativity does not belong to ‘a special class of creators’ (Howard-Spink, 2004). Thus creativity is democratised. This vast amount of accessible content also presents a dilemma of copyright – how can every user be expected to find every creator for every item they might post onto the Internet? (Doctorow, 2008, 68).

The law never used to be concerned with the creation and sharing of non-commercial culture, controlling only that section of culture produced for commercial ends (Lessig, 2004, 24). An exclusive hold on ownership of such commercial culture was allowed by copyright law in the twentieth century, but as the Internet became a primary site for cultural dissemination and production, things changed. As Lessig states, ‘[f]or the first time in our tradition, the ordinary ways in which individuals create and share culture fall within the reach of the regulation of the law, which has expanded to draw within its control a vast amount of culture and creativity that it never reached before’ (Lessig, 2004, 24).

What this attitude of ‘all rights reserved’ ignores is the reality that creative processes have never been isolated from the times and places in which they were produced. Individual creators certainly deserve recognition for the works they create, but to imagine that culture is not contributed to by many and varied influences is to forget the human impulse to share and create communities around culture. The strictures of copyright law have been accepted for so long because it is ‘a polite fiction that has been mostly harmless throughout its brief history’, but the Internet reveals the disjoint between the idea of sharing and building upon culture and exclusive control of culture (Doctorow, 2008, 83).

Remixed culture, set on the stage of the Internet, is where ideas of participation and interaction, community and sharing can intersect. My video remix, titled ‘Build/Create > Change’, picks up several threads from the idea of collective change as a result of the Internet and digital technology. From audio samples that pick up on key words such as ‘create’, ‘together’, ‘build’, ‘new’, ‘change’ and ‘distribution’ I spliced together music and speech from many different sources to create a single cultural object on one theme – culture that everyone can participate in. The visual side of my project used video and digital photographs from an even wider range of creators to build on the message conveyed by the audio samples. One of the main objectives I had was to take images of building physical objects and remix them in a context that gave them a new meaning – that of building culture out of what already exists.

In the process of sourcing my material and deciding what to use, I came across some remixes, both of music and video, which were ultimately useful to my concept. The result was that amongst the ‘original’ content, I have remixed remixes. This is a kind of picture of the idea that culture is not created in a vacuum, but draws (consciously or otherwise) on what has come before. Not only does my video visually and audibly represent the creation of new content out of old, it participates in the very practice it is speaking about.

Creating a remix video has expanded my knowledge of digital culture and the possibilities the Internet opens up for sharing and participation. By involving myself in that very process of ‘produsage’ – albeit in one small corner of the entire world of user-led content creation – I have come to understand more clearly why a different framework for ownership of created works is necessary in a digital landscape. After all, in the words of the Creative Commons, ‘creativity always builds on the past’.


Bruns, Axel (2007) ‘Produsage: Towards a Broader Framework for User-Led Content Creation’ Paper presented at Creativity & Cognition conference, Washington D.C., USA, 13-15 June 2007. http://produsage.org/files/Produsage%20(Creativity%20and%20Cognition%202007).pdf (accessed 30 October 2008)

Doctorow, Cory (2008) Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future. San Francisco: Tachyon Publications, 2008. http://craphound.com/content/Cory_Doctorow_-_Content.pdf (accessed 29 October 2008)

Howard-Spink, Sam (2004) “Grey Tuesday, Online Cultural Activism and the Mash-up of Music and Politics.” First Monday 9.10, 2004. http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue9_10/howard/ (accessed 29 October 2008)

Henry Jenkins, ‘Interactive Audiences?: The “Collective Intelligence” of Media Fans’ in Dan Harries (ed.), The New Media Book, London: British Film Institute, 2002. web.mit.edu/cms/People/henry3/collective%20intelligence.html (accessed 23 October 2008)

Lessig, Lawrence (2004) Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity. New York: Penguin Press, 2004. http://www.free-culture.cc/freeculture.pdf (accessed 30 October 2008)



Thomas Hawk, ‘Step’ (photo), July 21 2005, http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/27598027/, CC BY NC 2.0.

photoJENic2, ‘Lighthouse Stairs’ (photo), September 9 2006, http://www.flickr.com/photos/jennydinardo/243055350/, CC BY NC 2.0.

Thomas Hawk, ‘She Climbs’ (photo), May 17 2006, http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/148632756/, CC BY NC 2.0.

radiant guy, ‘Hey you! Climb to success!’ (photo), November 9 2005, http://www.flickr.com/photos/lexrex/61841422/, CC BY NC 2.0.

flamingoo, ‘stairs’ (photo), April 8 2006, http://www.flickr.com/photos/pewits/127885345/, CC BY NC SA 2.0.

Torley, ‘Scenes from my SL (2007-08-02 to 2007-11-11) 210’ through ‘Scenes from my SL (2007-08-02 to 2007-11-11) 213’ (photos), July 27 2008, CC BY SA 2.0.
Scenes from my SL (2007-08-02 to 2007-11-11) 210
Scenes from my SL (2007-08-02 to 2007-11-11) 211
Scenes from my SL (2007-08-02 to 2007-11-11) 212
Scenes from my SL (2007-08-02 to 2007-11-11) 213

Matti Mattila, ‘Construction site – Week 12’, 14, 17, 18, 20. (photos), March 21 2008, CC BY 2.0.
Construction site - week 12/2008
Construction site - week 14/2008
Construction site - week 17/2008
Construction site - week 18/2008
Construction site - week 20/2008

Steffe, ‘4 photos I took today’ (photo), November 20, 2005, http://www.flickr.com/photos/steffe/65118195/, CC BY NC SA 2.0.

Latente /dev/null. ‘Polaroid 600 Manipulation – Torri di Lorenteggio’ (photo), March 6 2008, http://www.flickr.com/photos/e-coli/2315051432/, CC BY NC SA 2.0.

Latente /dev/null, ‘Polaroid 600 Manipulation’ (photo), March 11 2008, http://www.flickr.com/photos/e-coli/2326890389/, CC BY NC SA 2.0.

I, Timmy, ‘the grabbing hands…’ (photo), May 30 2008, http://www.flickr.com/photos/apoptotic/2540055580/, CC BY NC SA 2.0.

hidden side, ‘Addio Polaroid’ (photo), February 9, 2008, http://www.flickr.com/photos/hidden_vice/2251780221/, CC BY NC SA 2.0.

Darwin Bell, ‘what are word for’ (photo), November 30, 2005, http://www.flickr.com/photos/darwinbell/395970515/, CC BY NC 2.0.

Darwin Bell, ‘wired to go’ (photo), November 30, 2006, http://www.flickr.com/photos/darwinbell/310941758/, CC BY 2.0.

Chalky Lives, ‘Panograph’ (photo), July 30, 2006, http://www.flickr.com/photos/traitlinburke/201009136/, CC BY SA 2.0.

Chalky Lives, ‘Tokyo Skyline Panograph’ (photo), July 30 2006, http://www.flickr.com/photos/traitlinburke/201627863/, CC BY SA 2.0.

Chalky Lives, ‘Lower East Side – New York City Panograph’ (photo), August 1 2006, http://www.flickr.com/photos/traitlinburke/203561085/, CC BY NC SA.

Bolandrotor, ‘look! gold!’ (photo), September 25 2007, http://www.flickr.com/photos/bolandrotor/1438898121/, CC BY NC 2.0.

Ben Harris-Roxas, ‘Suburbs’ (photo), December 4, 2007, http://www.flickr.com/photos/photosydney/2085204048/, CC BY NC SA 2.0.

B Tal, ‘The Skyscraper’s Battle With The Heavens’ (photo), July 8 2006, http://www.flickr.com/photos/b-tal/185198606/, CC BY NC 2.0.


justin.blip.tv, ‘iSummit ’06 Opening Panel – Lawrence Lessig’ (video), June 24 2006, http://blip.tv/file/44308/, CC BY.

MusicFilmBroth, ‘art pod the build mr 14.9.08.wmv’ (video), September 16 2008, http://blip.tv/file/1266869/, CC BY.

Matchbook Films, ‘Brick Wall (Run IX)’ (video), February 16 2008, http://blip.tv/file/673306/, CC BY NC SA.

Apperceptions, ‘The Winning Spirit of Collaboration’ (video), January 12 2006, http://blip.tv/file/9587/, CC BY NC SA.

dcd, ‘Collaboration’ (video), October 6 2008, http://blip.tv/file/1329908/, CC BY NC.

Creative Commons, ‘Building on the Past’ (video), July 24 2007, http://blip.tv/file/314905/, CC BY.

Creative Commons, ‘Wanna Work Together?’ (video), June 29 2007, http://blip.tv/file/285260/, CC BY.

Creative Commons, ‘A Shared Culture’ (video), August 21 2008, http://blip.tv/file/1192356/, CC BY NC SA.

C’est le Toon, ‘Eindhoven Skyline’ (video), May 29 2008, http://blip.tv/file/945098/, CC BY NC.

Lawrence Lessig, ‘5 minutes to withdraw’ (video), February 25 2008, http://blip.tv/file/693889/, CC BY.

EyeSteelFilm channel, ‘*Trailer* RiP: A Remix Manifesto’ (video), October 6 2008, http://blip.tv/file/1329162/http://blip.tv/file/1329162/, CC BY NC SA.


duckett, ‘THIS IS OUR MUSIC (Thruewiddit mix)’ (music), June 27 2008, http://ccmixter.org/files/duckett/15556, CC BY 3.0.

Blackberry, ‘Certain Death (Still Alive Remix)’ (music), October 8 2008, http://ccmixter.org/files/Blackberry/17059, CC BY NC 3.0.

Gregory Carr, aka Mr Gosh, ‘Dialog 2’ (audio), http://www.mrgosh.com/audio2.html, CC BY NC SA 2.0.

Gregory Carr, aka Mr Gosh, ‘Night Sounds’ (audio), http://www.mrgosh.com/audio2.html, CC BY NS SA 2.0.

Graffiti: from Vandalism to Art

The history of graffiti can be traced back to early 1970s when teens started to write graffiti on walls in the New York subway. What they write are usually ‘name-based painting began as simple “tags” or signatures done with magic marker and quickly evolved into complex aerosol murals, which writers called masterpieces’ (Snyder, 2006, p.93). As seen in the video Graffiti: from Vandalism to Art, graffiti usually takes place in the form of writers’ tag, stencils and pictures on surfaces of properties using aerosol or paint. As the graffiti stay on the walls permanently, this kind of participation is not welcomed by residents and owners of the properties. In countries like Australia, graffiti drawing is regarded as an unlawful activity because writing and drawing on both public and private (unless the participant has permission from the owner or s/he owns the property) properties are seen as vandalism, not art.

Participation in graffiti in recent years is divided into two parts. The first part is the participation of graffiti writing on-site. The three forms of graffiti introduced in the video, traditional, light-emitting-diode (LED) and laser graffiti, have to be participated on-site in order to create the art. The second part is the online participation on photograph and video sharing in forums and sharing sites, such as Flickr and YouTube. People take pictures or record the process of graffiti drawing and share with others through internet.

According to Jenkins’ (2002) three definitions of participatory culture, one of them is ‘a range of subcultures promote Do-It-Yourself (DIY) media production, a discourse that shapes how consumers have deployed those technologies’, which is best suited to graffiti. Regardless of the different forms that are being examined in the video, they are DIY productions trying to communication with people on-spot and through the internet by photographing and recording. The differences between sharing on-spot and through the internet will be talked about in the later paragraphs.

LED and laser graffiti are derivations of traditional graffiti. They are new ways invented by the Graffiti Research Lab (GRL) for graffiti writers to express themselves in public areas and not being seen as vandalism. As shown in the video, both LED and laser graffiti can be removed from the drawn surface in a short period of time. In regards to the ‘throwies’ (LED bulbs combined with a magnet to create LED graffiti), they stick onto ferromagnetic material and are easily removed from the surface. Laser graffiti is written by using a laser pen, a computer and a projector. Therefore, the writer can erase the tag by pointing the laser pen to a particular point. They solve the problem of drawing and writing permanently on walls, as both of them are temporary and reusable. Therefore, LED and laser graffiti can be seen as a technological transformation of the traditional drawn-on-walls graffiti.

Also, according to SCREAM’s video All City; Insights on Graffiti, graffiti writers usually have to find a place which s/he can escape in a short period of time, and write graffiti when the place is completely vacant. Graffiti writing is to be done alone, or with a few fellows, but not by a large group of people together. The community cannot write on the same wall at the same time as, again, it is illegal. Therefore, LED and laser graffiti provide a platform for them to gather and write together legally. The Graffiti Research Lab then becomes a ‘culture jammer’ (Jenkins, 2002), which the graffiti subculture have been jammed with digital technology to create a brand new phenomenon.

However, both LED and laser graffiti suffer from the same limitations as traditional graffiti, the limitation of locality. In order to enjoy graffiti writing, writers have to be on the spot to do so. They need an actual space, for example, a wall, a ferromagnetic structure, or a huge building. The same case applies for sharing their writings with other people. They have to be there physically in order to share the moment, unless the graffiti is recorded and put onto the internet (this will be talked later). Out of the three, only laser graffiti can be seen from a further place as it is projected hugely on buildings. The laser graffiti is visible to whoever can see the building.

Besides, due to the nature of graffiti which is a subculture and an unlawful act, is certainly not copyrighted. However, it is hard to relate graffiti written back to the writer him/herself. Therefore, it is hard to define inspiration and copying in graffiti. They have become open sources to other graffiti writers. When a piece of writing is copied, it is even harder to trace out who has done it (when all of them are done in secret to ensure not to be caught).

It is related to the effectiveness of communicating by graffiti writing. Although LED and laser graffiti have solved the problem of vandalizing both public and private properties, they are only effective during night time as both of them rely on emitting light to draw or write. Moreover, as mentioned above, they are temporary and reusable, which means that after the graffiti has been written, they have to be removed and cannot be kept on-spot.

Therefore, this is why graffiti writers or lovers would take pictures or shoot video of the graffiti, in order to store them in their computers and share with other people through the internet. As Snyder suggests, ‘[p]hotographs made ephemeral graffiti pieces permanent, allowing writers to view the work of others without attachment to a specific place or time’ (2006, p.93). It overcomes the problem of locality. Photos of graffiti were first published in magazines, in which writers can appreciate and review graffiti written from all over the world (ibid.).

With regards to digital communication, participants of graffiti take part in related forums, and video and photograph sharing sites. These sharing tools have become essential to their participation. Similar to fan communities and various databases, its extension to the internet has amplified the communications between graffiti communities. According to Jenkins (2003), the internet has ‘opened up new space for public discussions of media content and the web became an important showcase for grassroots cultural production’. Graffiti writers and lovers take photographs and videos of graffiti to show their ‘grassroots cultural production’ with the rest of the community.

The case of graffiti forums is similar to what Levy (cited by Jenkins, 2002) has pointed out about fan sites. The graffiti community is originally a closed community due to the nature of their activity. With the aid of internet, the graffiti community can extend themselves hugely with other graffiti communities. Also, the internet opens the gateway for other people to have a glimpse or even join the community. It seems that the community has become an opened one. However, since the original graffiti community has had a set of jargons and special language, people who are not familiar with the activity would not be able to actively engage in the discussions. An outsider can be easily spotted and they may feel unaccepted by the group. Therefore, the community is still not as open as it seems. In this case, a vicious circle is created. The graffiti communities are regarded as outlaws and the unwelcomed. They are not understood by the society. However, they are as well not being able to be understood as the society cannot get what they mean by reading the forums. Therefore, their status as revolting and angry young people remains.

The last bit of the video is about how the GRL has created an opportunity for people who do not belong to the graffiti community to have a spectacular experience on graffiti. The experience of letting ‘outsiders’ draw graffiti on a bus has opened its mysterious door. These ‘outsiders’ can try to understand what graffiti drawing is like, even children are involved in such an event. In this case, the graffiti community can become an open one. As mentioned in the video, GRL aims to let people who do not used to or even hate graffiti, to try to participate in such an act.

During the research process of the video, a number of video and photograph sharing sites were encountered. These sites can be considered as different collective intelligence. According to McGonigal (2007), collective intelligence uses ‘digital networks to connect massively-multi human users in a persistent process of social data-gathering, analysis and application’. For example, the photograph sharing site, Flickr, which is greatly used during the research, is an online platform which internet users can put up their photographs and share with fellow users. These people who upload their pictures onto the platform are the ‘massively-multi human users’ that McGonigal was talking about. They put together their photographs, tag their friends, add explanatory notes to it, and also group them with similar photographs taken by other users by tagging related subjects.

Applying Pierre Levy’s observation on collective intelligence ‘no one knows everything, everyone knows something’ (cited by McGonigal, 2007) to the graffiti related forums and photographs and video sharing sites, every member of the community would contribute the photographs and videos that are created by themselves. Thus, these online platforms will soon become a collective intelligence which contributors deliberately tag the photographs and videos and the computer will sort them out systematically to create a database. It becomes a combination of .both the intelligence of human beings and the computer.

In conclusion, the video Graffiti: from Vandalism to Art attempts to examine how traditional graffiti is transformed in terms of technology and social acceptance. Traditional graffiti is seen as vandalism of properties as they are written on properties that are not owned by the writers. LED and laser graffiti developed by Graffiti Research Lab are milestones for the development of graffiti. Although there are limitations for these communication methods, the problem of vandalizing properties has been solved. In order to effectively participate in graffiti and share different kinds of writings to other people, graffiti forum and sharing sites are essential. Internet amplifies the effect of communication between people in which the community can appreciate and review graffiti writings from all over the world. Forums and sharing sites become several collective intelligence due to the participation of community members.


Books and journals:

Jenkins, Henry (2002) ‘Interactive Audiences?: The “Collective Intelligence” of Media Fans’ http://web.mit.edu/cms/People/henry3/collective%20intelligence.html (15 October 2008)

Jenkins, Henry (2003) ‘Quentin Tarantino’s Star Wars?: Digital Cinema, Media Convergene, and Participatory Culture’ http://web.mit.edu/cms/People/henry3/starwars.html (15 October 2008)

McGonigal, Jane (2007) ‘Why I Love Bees: A Case Study in Collective Intelligence Gaming’ http://avantgame.com/McGonigal_WhyILoveBees_Feb2007.pdf (15 October 2008)

Snyder, Gregory (2006) ‘Graffiti Media and the Perpetuation of an Illegal Subculture.’ Crime Media Culture. 2006 (2), pp.93-101.

Image, audio and video:

Adrian F (2005) ‘Monkey!’ [image file] (14 October 2005) Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/adrianfurby/52267776 (15 October 2008).

Alan Joyce (2006) ‘Completed LED Throwies with On/Off Tabs’ [image file] (24 February 2006) Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/everythingdigital/104047113/ (16 October 2008).

Alan Joyce (2006) ‘Completed LED Throwies with On/Off Tabs’ [image file] (24 February 2006) Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/everythingdigital/104045253/in/set-72057594069888500/ (16 October 2008).

Alan Joyce (2006) ‘Completed LED Throwies with On/Off Tabs’ [image file] (24 February 2006) Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/everythingdigital/104047012/in/set-72057594069888500/ (16 October 2008).

Alan Joyce (2006) ‘LED Throwies with On/Off Tabs’ [image file] (24 February 2006) Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/everythingdigital/104038643/in/set-72057594069888500/ (16 October 2008).

Alan Joyce (2006) ‘LED Throwies with On/Off Tabs’ [image file] (24 February 2006) Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/everythingdigital/104038724/in/set-72057594069888500/ (16 October 2008).

Alan Joyce (2006) ‘LED Throwies with On/Off Tabs’ [image file] (24 February 2006) Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/everythingdigital/104038808/in/set-72057594069888500/ (16 October 2008).

Alan Joyce (2006) ‘LED Throwies with On/Off Tabs’ [image file] (24 February 2006) Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/everythingdigital/104038892/in/set-72057594069888500/ (16 October 2008).

Alan Joyce (2006) ‘LED Throwies with On/Off Tabs’ [image file] (24 February 2006) Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/everythingdigital/104039010/in/set-72057594069888500/ (16 October 2008).

Alan Joyce (2006) ‘LED Throwies with On/Off Tabs’ [image file] (24 February 2006) Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/everythingdigital/104039010/in/set-72057594069888500/ (16 October 2008).

Alan Joyce (2006) ‘LED Throwies with On/Off Tabs’ [image file] (24 February 2006) Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/everythingdigital/104039104/in/set-72057594069888500/ (16 October 2008).

Alan Joyce (2006) ‘LED Throwies with On/Off Tabs’ [image file] (24 February 2006) Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/everythingdigital/104039199/in/set-72057594069888500/ (16 October 2008).

Alan Joyce (2006) ‘LED Throwies with On/Off Tabs’ [image file] (24 February 2006) Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/everythingdigital/104039374/in/set-72057594069888500/ (16 October 2008).

Alan Joyce (2006) ‘LED Throwies with On/Off Tabs’ [image file] (24 February 2006) Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/everythingdigital/104039472/in/set-72057594069888500/ (16 October 2008).

Alan Joyce (2006) ‘LED Throwies with On/Off Tabs’ [image file] (24 February 2006) Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/everythingdigital/104039589/in/set-72057594069888500/ (16 October 2008).

Alan Joyce (2006) ‘LED Throwies with On/Off Tabs’ [image file] (24 February 2006) Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/everythingdigital/104039687/in/set-72057594069888500/ (16 October 2008).

Alan Joyce (2006) ‘LED Throwies with On/Off Tabs’ [image file] (24 February 2006) Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/everythingdigital/104039769/in/set-72057594069888500/ (16 October 2008).

Alan Joyce (2006) ‘LED Throwies with On/Off Tabs’ [image file] (24 February 2006) Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/everythingdigital/104039866/in/set-72057594069888500/ (16 October 2008).

Alterego (2004) ‘Graffiti Art Party San Dieg’ [image file] (20 December 2004) Wikimedia Commons. http://commons/wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Graffiti_art_party_san_dieg.png (15 October 2008).

Andypowe11 (2008) ‘P1050431’ [image file] (5 February 2008) Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/andypowe11/2265922631/ (15 October 2008).

Andypowe11 (2008) ‘P1050432’ [image file] (5 February 2008) Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/andypowe11/2266712248/ (15 October 2008).

Baggagecabbage (2006) ‘Picture 180’ [image file] (25 April 2006) Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/babbagecabbage/134704531/ (15 October 2008).

Baggagecabbage (2006) ‘Picture 182’ [image file] (25 April 2006) Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/babbagecabbage/134704756/ (15 October 2008).

Baggagecabbabae (2006) ‘Picture 183’ [image file] (25 April 2006) Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/babbagecabbage/134704847/ (15 October 2008).

Boing Boing TV (2008) ‘Graffiti Research Lab, the Movie’ (24 April 2008) Boing Boing. http://tv.boingboing.net/2008/04/24/graffiti-research-la.html (16 October 2008).

C3o (2007) ‘LED Throwies’ [image file] (28 July 2007) Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/c3o/930797842/ (17 October 2008).

C3o (2007) ‘LED throwies’ [image file] (28 July 2007) Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/c3o/930797896/ (17 October 2008).

Dan Phiffer (2006) ‘Throwies Whale’ [image file] (4 September 2006) Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/dphiffer/235258823/ (16 October 2008).

Effin See (2005) [image file] (30 April 2005) Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jbennett/11610167/in/photostream/ (15 October 2008).

Effin See (2005) ‘Paris’ [image file] (25 April 2005) Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jbennett/10833263/ (15 October 2008).

Espi Twelve (2003) ‘Maybe Afterfuture’ Krach und Klang. http://www.archive.org/download/sp12_2003/espi12_afterfuture.mp3 (17 October 2008).

Mark Scott Johnson (2007) ‘IMG_1348’ [image file] (26 November 2007) Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/markscottjohnson/2076996583 (15 October 2008).

Mark Scott Johnson (2008) ‘IMG_3368’ [image file] (17 December 2007) Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/markscottjohnson/2229619361/ (15 October 2008).

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Nadya Peek (2006) ‘I do not like throwies.’ [image file] (1 September 2006) Flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/nadya/262863092/ (16 October 2008).

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SCREAM ‘All City; Insights on Graffiti’ YouthSpace.net. http://www.youthspace.net/index.php/vids/All_City%3B_Insights_on_Graffiti (16 October 2008).

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The Water Cube

Project Exegesis

This video is aimed at talking about participatory culture, community and communication through featuring the Water Cube, which is used as a venue for the Beijing Olympics 2008. Participatory culture can be seen in three ways: through the planning phase, construction phase and lastly, during the Olympics itself. Participatory culture can be seen from paper work, manual labour, to competitions amongst athletes. This shows that the Water Cube has had large amount of participatory culture since its birth and perhaps, will continue to do so even after the Beijing Olympics is over. The Water Cube also exemplifies elements of communities since its birth. Various communities from Australia and China participated in its success. In terms of the Beijing Olympics itself, the athletes and supporters from all over the world, such as Japan, contribute to various communities in the Water Cube. This video would not have been a success if technology did not exist, as resources would not have been found. Blip TV has also help bring about the new form of participatory culture. Lastly, the video is also able to show us how the Water Cube communicates with its users. All these will be discussed in the following paragraphs.


The water cube explores the notion of participatory culture from its planning phase to delivery phase and finally, its usage during the Beijing Olympics 2008. In Henry Jenkins’ ‘Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century’ (2006), five key characteristics of participatory culture are identified. All of these are relevant to my remix project and will be discussed.  Firstly, participatory culture is one “with relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement”. The “relatively low barriers to artistic expression” can be seen through the modern design which resembles the geometry of soap bubbles instead of the traditional brick and mortar boxlike structure. Civic engagement is evident as the construction of the Water Cube project involves mainly the four large corporations (Arup, PTW Architects, CCDI and CSCEC); while the government provides only funding. These four large corporations provide each other with “strong support for creating and sharing one’s creation with others” through the office meetings (which is shown in the video), when ideas are expressed to one another. Through this strong support, the large corporations are confident of taking upon a project which is never done before. Although it is not explicitly shown in the video, the water cube design is a type of “informal mentorship”, where the idea is actually derived from studying the work of Irish physicists. The four large corporations can be considered “novices” as the knowledge passed on by the Irish physicists is used to make something that is tangible. By believing that their contributions matter and feeling some degree of social connection with another, it generates enthusiastic discussions, which leads to the success of the Water Cube. Moreover, the Water Cube was designed with the intent of being more than a container and with the “hope to capture the “spirit” of water” (Gonchar, 2008). The social connection is also brought to another degree as the large corporations have to care about what other people will think about the Water Cube they have created; especially when it is used as a venue for a major event, that is, the Olympics. Thus, participatory culture in planning phase of the Water Cube can be explained through Henry Jenkins’ five characteristics of participatory culture.


However, these five key characteristics of participatory culture are not confined to just the planning phase as they are also relevant in the construction stage. Civic engagement is evident as the construction of the Water Cube involves the hands on involvement of local community workforce, as shown in the video. However, “low barriers to artistic expression” is absent as workers are merely building as they are told. As seen from the pictures in the video, constructing the Water Cube requires intense manual labour, workers would need strong support from one another during such creation. Again, “some type of informal mentorship” is seen during the construction phase as experienced workers pass along their knowledge to novice workers to ensure the job is done properly. As seen in the video, the local community workforce consists of mainly Chinese. To the Chinese, the Water Cube is a symbol of China’s pride and success. Thus, each worker believes that their contributions matter and subsequently, form a social connection with each other to ensure that the Water Cube brings out the China’s pride and success.


Last but not least, participatory culture is evident yet again when the Water Cube is host to the Beijing Olympics 2008. As seen from the video, participatory culture involves both the athletics and supporters. However, only some of key characteristics apply for this form of participatory culture. In terms of the athletics, artistic expression can be displayed through certain moves such as diving or water group formation, as seen in the video. Athletics would definitely believe that their contributions matter as it would lead to their desired outcome – that is, getting a gold medal. Team members would feel a degree of social connection, to ensure, for example, that their moves are synchronised (again, as shown in the water group formation in the video). In terms of the supporters, they would feel some degree of social connection with each other when they are cheering on the athletics, especially those from their home country. The social connection is built upon a common desire, which is, hoping the athletics win a gold medal which brings pride to their country. Civic engagement is evident in both the athletics and supporters as they are citizens from various countries.


Henry Jenkins (2002) goes on to identify the new participatory culture in his article ‘Interactive Audiences?: The ‘Collective Intelligence’ of Media Fans’ , in which he identifies three key characteristics. While the third is less relevant, the first and second are fundamentals to this video. By uploading the video to Blip TV, it requires the internet, both of which are considered “news tools and technologies”. As such, the media content (the video); can be archived, annotated, appropriated and recirculated. Moreover, since the video is under the share-alike Creative Commons licence, the recirculation of the media is brought to a higher level as other consumers are allowed to use the video contents for non-commercial purposes. During the production of this video, “a range of subcultures” such as Google, Blip TV and Yahoo, are used to find resources. However, these resources are restricted to those under Creative Commons licence. Nonetheless, these resources from the various subcultures help promote a “Do-It-Yourself” media production, which results in a video of the Water Cube.


The video itself is a form of digital communication. Firstly, it relies on the internet and web to be uploaded. Secondly, it communicates how the Water Cube is being constructed and who constructs it. It also communicates the “dematerialisation of the building”, by changing colours from blue to red, which help change moods (Gonchar, 2008, p. 150). It also communicates to “changes in the environment” around it by the input of the word “Welcome” when people are around and viewing it (Gonchar, 2008, p. 150). This video also communicates the uniqueness of the Water Cube design, its magnificence and grandeur for being able to be a host to the Olympics. The globe communicates to the viewers that being a host for the Olympics, the Water Cube fosters togetherness of diversities from all around the world.


From the construction to the usage of the Water Cube during the Beijing Olympics, various communities are shown. For example, the designing of the Water Cube consists of the Australian (Arup and PTW Architects) and Chinese (CCDI) community. Likewise, the construction of the Water Cube consists of the Chinese community (CSCEC). The supporters and athletics hail from different communities such as Japanese, Chinese, English and French – the list goes on.


I chose to edit my video using Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 as the functions are somewhat similar to Final Cut Express which I used during Year 3. Thus, I did not have to familiarise myself with another system. Additionally, I was able to edit from home, which enables the video to be accessed easily. If I had done it with Macintosh’s iMovie, I would not have been able to access and edit the video on my personal computer. The challenges I faced are the somewhat restricted amount of video resources available for download. Most of the videos fall under National Geographic (which did a documentary on the Water Cube). Obviously, it is unlikely that they are legitimately Creative Commons materials. The pictures used for my video are also somewhat unrelated, which raised some challenges during editing when trying to link them together into a coherent piece. Therefore, captions have to be used in order to facilitate understanding of the video. Also, pictures are somewhat inadequate as the Water Cube is relatively new, or the pictures are irrelevant to what I had in mind. Another challenge which I face is to edit a video of adequate length in order to demonstrate the ideas of participatory culture, community and communication, due to the lack of resources.  My initial plan of solely showing the construction of the Water Cube from scratch did not work out due to the lack of resources. Moreover, it would not feature the ideas of participatory culture, community and communication. Overall, it was a great editing experience as there are no qualms in using the editing software and I could view the video as and when I like.


Although the Water Cube is only a building, it has shown that it is capable of expressing the ideas of participatory culture, community and communication. These ideas are expressed through the external features, such as changing lights and its unique design; and internal features, from the designing stage till the day it is used during the Beijing Olympics 2008. Although these ideas have not been explicitly shown by the Water Cube, the video has helped exemplify them. With the help of technology (through Blip TV) and resources, these ideas are then brought forward and communicated to the world. However, as resources are limited, there is only so much that can be done. Perhaps as time goes by, resources for the Water Cube would increase. This would give a chance for the making of another video, which would be able to better exemplify the ideas of participatory culture, community and communication.

The Video [1:27]




Angus_mac_123, ‘CN-Peking-Swimming Center 2008-04-09.09.06’ (Picture), Flickr 2006, http://flickr.com/photos/52381548@N00/244901048/, CC by SA 2.0

Anton Hazewinkel, ‘Beijing, The Water Cube’ (Picture), Flickr 2007, http://www.flickr.com/photos/antonhazewinkel/1464073990/, CC by SA 2.0

Bryangeek, ‘Inside the Water Cube’ (Picture), Flickr 2008, http://flickr.com/photos/bryangeek/2814867438/, CC by SA 2.0

Djbulibasa, ‘Water Cube Beijing 2008 Olympic Games’ (Video), YouTube 2008, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcViWDXVLDE

FHKE, ‘Water Cube – National Aquatics Centre’ (Picture), Flickr 2007, http://flickr.com/photos/fhke/581703029/, CC by SA 2.0

Gonchar, Joann (2008), ‘Inside Beijing’s Big Box of Blue Bubbles’, Architectural Record, Vol. 196(7), p. 150

Grandar, ‘Olympic WaterCube light by Grandar’ (Audio), YouTube 2008, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHOQlFyK-bU

Grandar, ‘Olympic WaterCube light by Grandar’ (Video), YouTube 2008, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHOQlFyK-bU

Gwen, Amy, ‘Cleaning the Water Cube’ (Picture), Flickr 2008, http://flickr.com/photos/amygwen/2417125931/, CC by SA 2.0

Jenkins, Henry (2002), ‘Interactive Audiences?: The ‘Collective Intelligence’ of Media Fans’. http://web.mit.edu/cms/People/henry3/collective%20intelligence.html (accessed 29 October 2008)

 Jenkins, Henry (2006), ‘Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century.’ http://www.digitallearning.macfound.org/atf/cf/%7B7E45C7E0-A3E0-4B89-AC9C-E807E1B0AE4E%7D/JENKINS_WHITE_PAPER.PDF (accessed 29 October 2008).

Johan Koolwaaij, ‘Meeting in Enschede (Office)’ (Picture), Flickr 2007, http://flickr.com/photos/koolwaaij/638285296/, CC by SA 2.0

Karinga, ‘National Aquatics Center (aka water cube)’ (Picture), Flickr 2008, http://flickr.com/photos/karinga/2781550164/, CC by SA 2.0

Ligadier Truffuat, ‘WaterCube-BeijingOlympics’ (Picture), Flickr 2008, http://flickr.com/photos/29546096@N08/2794184125/, CC by SA 2.0

Midorisyu, ‘TV Olympic 02d. JPG’ (Picture), Flickr 2008, http://flickr.com/photos/midorisyu/2777438780/, CC by SA 2.0

Midorisyu, ‘TV Olympic 04d. JPG’ (Picture), Flickr 2008, http://flickr.com/photos/midorisyu/2776581295/, CC by SA 2.0

Midorisyu, ‘TV Olympic 10d. JPG’ (Picture), Flickr 2008, http://flickr.com/photos/midorisyu/2777439902/, CC by SA 2.0

Midorisyu, ‘TV Olympic 14d. JPG’ (Picture), Flickr 2008, http://flickr.com/photos/midorisyu/2777440638/, CC by SA 2.0

PhotoBobil, ‘InthePool’ (Picture), Flickr 2008, http://flickr.com/photos/15174316@N02/2818791907/, CC by SA 2.0

Star_trooper, ‘Water Cube, Beijing Olympics Games’ (Picture), Flickr 2008, http://www.flickr.com/photos/star_trooper/2791289460/, CC by SA 2.0

Ulubaer, ‘Watercube national swimming centre Beijing 2008’ (Video), YouTube 2008, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBZ43aGPyC8&feature=related

Xiaming, ‘Watercube Test Event (pool 13)’ (Picture), Flickr 2008, http://flickr.com/photos/xiaming/2287054209/, CC by SA 2.0

Xiaming, ‘Water Cube under construction [4]’ (Picture), Flickr 2006, http://flickr.com/photos/xiaming/131026197/, CC by SA 2.0


a_remix? – Chris


The remix project that I have undertaken is designed to investigate various notions of community, participation, the relationship between producers and users of content and the effects of digital technology on all of these. Over the course of the project I have compiled raw material from three primary sources – original art (used with explicit permission) from artist Michael “Ziksaur” Allen, music (again used with explicit permission) from The Large Hadron Collective and various photographs sourced from the photo sharing website flickr, released through the Creative Commons system. Using these to create a video, I have effected a fundamental change on the original pieces, through re-contextualisation and remediation, or otherwise put, fundamentally remixed them.

Michael Allen is primarily an illustrator, whose work I have adapted here for several reasons. Partly because his visual style suits and ambience for which I was aiming, but more importantly because he is himself a remix artist, in that he superimposes plain line drawings on photographs taken by photographers that aren’t himself. This idea of remixing a remix is one idealized in academia, notably by Lawrence Lessig, and practiced in pop culture, notably by musician Girl Talk. (Johnsen, Christensen, Moltke. goodcopybadcopy, 2007) Furthermore, my remixing of his original works extends to re-mediating them – namely, through animation of his static drawings. Again, this represents a fundamental change in the way his creations are consumed. This recontextualisation extends beyond this remediation however. The original drawings are an unconnected album, whose only real point of connection is a love/loss dichotomy. Some are even found as artwork to CD jackets, completely separate from any others. My work has, however, attached a linear narrative to these otherwise unconnected points. It has also changed the themes from love/loss to community and participation, contrasted with isolation. Finally, Michael is a resident of Sydney, and we exchanged materials using the digital technologies of the Internet.
It is with a similar mindset that I chose the work of the Large Hadron Collective to form the soundscape for my project, the LHC being a group of musicians who encourage remixing of each other’s work, as well as large-scale collaboration. Furthermore, the LHC typically produces ambient music designed to complement ideas of space and, unsurprisingly, particle science. The result of my work on two LHC tracks is a less ambient, more percussive sound. This was achieved using nothing other than sounds already existing in the original pieces, with minimal modulation. Finally, the backgrounds, sourced from flickr demonstrate further attention to the facilitating nature of the Internet, for content distribution.

As can be seen, I have approached this project attempting to articulate various aspects of participatory culture before even beginning my own work. All content has been distributed using the Internet, in the form of jpeg images and mp3 sound files, highlighting the idea that despite my work, the original content remains intact and discrete. My choice of content, particularly the work of Michael Allen is representative of a desire to show the depth possible with second or third generation remixes. That is, content that has already been shown in multiple contexts.

The primary themes of the animation are as follows: a rejection of the producer/consumer dichotomy as the only means by which content is distributed; the value of participation in creation of an environment; the increase in quality of life when engaged in a community and; the ease of distribution of data without loss in this new world. These are all important aspects of participatory culture, as defined by J.D Lasica in the online introduction to his book Darknet (Lasica, J. 2005.) This new form of participatory culture is facilitated largely through the ease of distribution and reproduction afforded by the Internet.

The video begins with a disembodied hand holding a spray-can. It paints a bleak picture of urban decay, in black and white, then a low quality outline drawing of a person sitting down within this. A brighter, more well-defined person moves into view and takes the spray-can away, before moving up to the line drawing person. She breaks open another spray-can, that has until now been a part of the background, or the environment in which these people find themselves. She dips her hand into the paint that issues forth from this, and uses it to draw the sitting person. He then comes alive, to take the question mark from her face, and throw it into the can. It explodes with colour, and washes away leaving a river of paint, on which the people can now sail away. Thus far we see the disembodied hand/spray-can representative of a producer, disconnected from its consumers. The producer is also the entity that holds the power in this situation, as it has created the (cultural) environment in which the consumer finds himself, a reference to the history of litigation to protect the status quo used by the producers of dominant culture at the time. (Doctorow, 2008, pp. 3-27.) In this case, the consumer and the product are the same thing. And, good though this product may be, as it matches its environment very well, it is improved (given bolder lines, brighter contrast, and brought to life) when it is adjusted by its peer (the woman who also has bold lines, a white body and the ability to move). With his newfound empowerment, the man immediately takes the opportunity to interact with the woman, by remixing her, that is, removing the question mark from her face. This question mark is emblematic of the anonymous nature of the Internet, as well as the current situation in which user generated content is at the fringe of society, and many of its proponents are simply anonymous people in a sea of other contributors. Indeed, an idealised notion of this user generated content movement is that people are making things for themselves, and the notion of a superstar becoming well known to many is not necessarily the main aim. (Discussion, iGeneration Honours group, 2008) In engaging with the woman, and remixing her he has made her known to him, and the audience. The man has also by now blown open the paint can, casting colour everywhere. He has now remixed the environment given to him by the original producer, and arguably made it better. The people, having empowered each other now leave and begin to engage with the world at large.

They first encounter a man sitting alone and looking downcast. Upon sailing up to them the man looks over to them, and gives a copy of his face to the man in the boat. He then smiles, and the couple sail off. The main themes of this scene are again, the value of the remix – the original man is now a third generation remix, his appearance coming from three different sources. Keen eyed viewers will notice that the face given to the man in the boat is different from the face of the man on the bench. It is to be assumed that the face itself has undergone a remix, so it is better suited to the new man, rather than being an unadaptable production line stamped entity – a relic of the producer/consumer dichotomy. Secondly is the sense of community fostered by participation – the man they discover sitting on the bench is sad and lonely, and when given an opportunity to engage with his community (of white outline people) he becomes happy. These themes are again explored in the third scene, in which the couple come across a giant, again without a face, who takes a face from them and puts it on himself. The face is again remixed to suit the giant who is using it. The face is now a third generation remix, and can be thought of as a cultural meme propagating itself throughout society, adapting itself as necessary. Obviously it is a useful piece of information, as everybody begins without it (except the lonely man, who seeds it) yet by the end everybody has it, and has wanted it. The people here are arranged in what can be described as a peer-to-peer network, with information flowing between people as nodes. (Jensen, 2003, Chapter 1) This situation is one that is mutually beneficial to all involved, even if they do not necessarily contribute the network in the same way. The lonely man shares his face, and receives companionship in return. The giant is given a face by the boatists, and in return throws them to where they wish to go, something they couldn’t otherwise achieve.
The final scene again looks into the relationship between peers and their environment. When the piano is struck by the two people, the music changes; they are in effect playing it, and at the same time changing the harmony of the scene, or changing the climate in which they are. Beside the credit roll is a final image of the couple, this time seen to be sharing legs and feet, and looking the happiest they have yet. They are symbolically and literally entwined and together, and it is through their travels throughout the world creating each other that they have become this way. It indicates the fundamental interconnectedness of people, and how this can be brought out through participation in the exchange of ideas, for a mutual gain.
Choosing Flash animation for this project was done because of the suitability of the medium for adapting my chosen source materials – hand drawn pictures and photographs, particularly with the attempt of bringing them to life. Thematically, Flash was a good choice because it is a wholly digital tool, and defines itself as such. (Adobe Advertisement) In portraying the value of digital technology, using a technology other than digital to create this portrayal could be construed as insincere. It is not without its drawbacks however – some animation frames definitely skip and jump about in a way that is distracting to the eye, and continuity between the static images and their animated counterparts is at times sloppy. This was not an anticipated problem. Similarly, it was somewhat difficult to mix the sound with the video in a satisfactory manner. My original intention was for notes of to be struck as the characters jumped on the piano keys, but the timing of this proved too difficult, and I settled instead for a simple harmonic shift. However, these problems are negligible compared with the benefits of the medium, particularly when such a fundamental reworking and remediation of the source material is necessary to my aims for this project. I believe I have remixed these works in a meaningful manner, both in terms of medium and in terms of context. Whilst remaining recognisably similar to the work of the original authors, these artworks are transformed through my efforts.

Primary Sources:
Allen, M. a_mixtape? (2007) [picture] Used with explicit permission from the author.
Allen, M. Also Newish (2007) [picture] Used with explicit permission from the author.
Allen, M mixtape_september_2006 (2006) [picture] Used with explicit permission from the author.
Allen, M. Real Old (2004) [picture] Used with explicit permission from the author.
Allen, M. Real Old, Again, Again (2003) [picture] Used with explicit permission from the author.
Allen, M. St James Park, London (2004) [picture] Used with explicit permission from the author.
Allen, M. [untitled] (2008) [picture] Used with explicit permission from the author.
Allen, M. ZiksauR (2008) [picture] Used with explicit permission from the author.

Quirk, J. Europa (2008) Used with explicit permission from the author.
Quirk, J. it’s time to go home (2008) Used with explicit permission from the author.
*These audio tracks have since been made available at www.myspace.com/thelargehadroncollective

Alley Piano – BrianWarren. Uploaded September 18 2008
http://flickr.com/photos/vistamonster/2868180078/ (CC AT NC SA)
Urban Decay – stop.down. Uploaded September 13 2007
http://flickr.com/photos/stopdown/1376260505/ (CC AT)
Mountain Creek Lake Sunrise-3 – MelRick. Uploaded August 30 2008
http://flickr.com/photos/melrick/2811818730/ (CC AT NC SA)
Rock in the River – DanielJames. Uploaded May 21 2007
http://flickr.com/photos/revjim/507568161/ (CC AT NC SA)

*CC = Licensed under the Creative Commons
AT = Attribute
NC = For Non-Commercial Use only.
SA = Share Alike

Secondary Sources
Doctorow, Corey (2008) Content. San Francisco: Tachyon.
goodcopybadcopy (2007), dir. Andres Johnsen, Henrik Moltke, Ralf Christensen, prod. Rosforth
Jensen, Scott (2003) The P2P Revolution. http://www.nonesuch.org/p2prevolution.pdf First accessed Sept. 21 2008.
Lasica, J. D. (2005) Darknet http://www.darknet.com/2005/05/darknet_miniboo.html First Accessed July 27 2008.
Lessig, Lawrence (2004) Free Culture. New York: Penguin.

In addition comments by the members of the iGeneration Honours group 2008, both in the course blog (http://igeneration.edublogs.org) and in personal discussions have been of invaluable assistance.

Final Seminar: Participatory Culture Then, Now and Tomorrow


Your core reading/viewing:

[X] Axel Bruns. "Produsage: Towards a Broader Framework for User-Led Content Creation." Paper presented at Creativity & Cognition conference, Washington D.C., USA, 13-15 June 2007.  Also see the interview of Axel Bruns recently conduct by Henry Jenkins: Part I; Part II.

[X] Jane McGonigal, ‘Saving the World Through Game Design’ [20 minute video presentation], 2008 New Yorker Conference, 28 May 2008. And once you’ve thought about the video, please visit the latest socially ‘game’ McGonigal and her colleagues are running, Superstruct.  Explore the artifacts on the Superstruct pages, delve into the material created and edited by players (allow yourselves at least thirty minutes to really look at Superstruct).

[X] Cory Doctorow, ‘Giving it Away’ and ‘World of Democracycraft’ in Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future, Tachyon Publications, 2008, pp. 71-75 and 201-206 respectively. (There are plenty of different formats of the whole book available online – feel free to read as much as you like, but please at the very least read the two very short essays I’ve suggested.)

[X] Tama Leaver, ‘Building Open Education Resources From the Bottom Up’ [18 minute video], Tama Leaver dot Net, 23 September 2008.

Axel Bruns’ notion of ‘produsage’, where the concepts of producer and consumer collide in a world on increasing user-generated content creation, in some important ways updates or extends the idea of participatory culture discussed in the early weeks of this course.  Bruns’ essay gives us a sense of the heightened role users play in the creating content, but it is also aware of the limitations of such an idea (something often forgotten as the selected examples of participatory culture and collective intelligence are continually rehashed).

In contrast, the video from Jane McGonigal gives a far more optimistic take on the world, where the participatory culture surrounding socially meaningful games can act as the perfect focus on collective intelligence.  More to the point, the latest socially-aware gaming experience from McGonigal and her colleagues is being played right now, so looking at Superstruct will, hopefully, let us see how well these ideals are working in this world of meaningful play.

Finally, Cory Doctorow’s two short essays (and other writing in Content) return to two key questions in relation to digital communication: ‘How can copyright be meaningfully situated within an informatic economy, especially in relation to older media forms [such as books]?’ ; and ‘How will the social fabric of virtual worlds be governed?’. Also worth considering is the fact that the book Content is itself released under a Creative Commons license.

Questions to Consider:

[1] Is Bruns’ model of ‘produsage’ a more accurate and realistic version of participatory culture as it operates today (and tomorrow)?  How well does the idea of produsage reflect aspects of your own life, and what role do you think produsage has in our increasingly digital communities?  How well does produsage describe the examples of participatory culture examined throughout this unit?

[2] How well does Superstruct work as an example of collective intelligence in the real world?  Are socially-responsible games good learning tools?  Is so, are they still fun (or do you think they’d be fun)?  Where is the boundary between play, learning and activism in Superstruct?  (Do you think this style of meaningful gaming would be useful to investigate other political or social issues?)

[3] Returning to the question of copyright, looking at Doctorow’s example and the unit overall, is there a future for copyright in the era of digital communication, and if so, how do you think it should operate?

[4] After watching Tama’s video, how do you feel about Open Educational Resources and your role as participating in their creation via this course?

[5] Finally, how have your own ideas about participatory culture and digital communication changed since the beginning of this unit?  What surprised you the most?  What worries you?  What makes you hopeful and optimistic about our digital future?

The Last Blog Comments

As well as making your last comment or two about the topics raised in this seminar, can I ask everyone to please make one additional reflective comment detailing your thoughts about this unit overall: did it work as a coherent unit for you? What was most interesting or enjoyable? What didn’t work as well? Any suggestions about things that should be changed?

And that’s the final seminar done.  Now you’ve just got your remix projects to complete – and to post to the blog – and that’s your iGeneration experience done (at least in the formal sense)! 🙂

[Image ‘Wake up!’ by Eddi 07, CC BY]

Pools of peer to peer pirates pillage products.

Before getting too into this, if anyone is a little unclear on what exactly peer-to-peer (p2p) is and how it works, I’d recommend having a little look and the wikipedia pages on “file sharing” and “peer to peer” just as a little touch up kind of thing. The pages give a little bit of background knowledge about the characteristics of this kind of network, which is helpful and constitutes a fair amount of what I’m looking to talk about. If you’re quite knowledgeable then feel free to skip this stage.

A peer to peer network is inherently suited to the exchange of information or files between its users. It encourages its members to share content with the rest of the group, and, unlike a regular client/server system, is made better through more participation from its members. And so, members of such networks use this functionality to share content with each other on a large scale, and within this, share content illegally. That is, distribute illegal copies of songs, television programmes, and/or film to each other with no regard for the copyright laws that may pertain. While reading these works below, keep in the back of your mind the above paragraph. Also, consider these questions:

1. Do p2p networks encourage peer creation of content in any major sort of way?

2. How can p2p networks be considered a more participatory medium for exchange of information than say, broadcast, or even client/server systems.

3. What are your thoughts on the argument that p2p and piracy can serve as free advertising for artists?

4. How can this means of distribution help existing communities to communicate?

5. Have you ever used a p2p network and if so, have you felt like you were participating in it, in a meaningful or positive way?

6. Is the internet based type of piracy much different from earlier types – copying cassettes for instance.

7. Are internet based networks much different from “real world” types – ‘zine publishing for instance.


Johan Pouwelse The BitTorrent P2P file-sharing system

Baptiste Pretre Attacks on Peer to Peer Networks (*For this one, the important bits are the Introduction, Chapters 2 and 3 and the Final Conclusion. There are some interesting bits and pieces distributed throughout, but a large part of it is technical things that aren’t really of interest. Even some parts of the important bits aren’t of much use to us, so don’t worry if something isn’t quite getting through.)

Scott Jensen The P2P revolution (The second section of this has a fair amount of technical stuff that doesn’t really matter, so is skippable.)

Eric A. Taub Off New York Streets, Film Piracy Is Online

Dan, writing in the New Media Research Studio Internet Piracy and the Delicious Aroma of Waffles

To reiterate, there is a lot of technical stuff in some of the sources which isn’t necessary for our purposes.

Finally, I’d like to draw a hypothetical situation for you all to consider with all the above in mind:

There is a(n illegal) p2p network of which you are a member. What characteristics does it have? For instance, is it capable of keeping your location and identity secure? Is it large and anonymous, or small and private? Are you concerned with people leeching off the network and not contributing? Do you want good download speeds? Are you concerned by companies deliberately inserting bad data to the network?

YouTube – a new Hollywood?

Youtube. An innocent act of frustration which led to the activation of the URL youtube.com in February 2005. Since then, the amount of users has exploded in such a phenomenal rate. YouTube’s extremely easy-to-use features have caused netizens (citizens of the internet) flocking to it when there are about 200 other destinations such as Blip.tv.

As YouTube is orientated towards user-generated content, one person’s account can add up to more than nine years’ worth of stuff. This caused YouTube’s losses to be pegged at $20 million a year. Where is YouTube going to gain its revenue from?

With YouTube, people have found means and ways to upload their creative works such as remixes of music and videos. This has led to serious copyright issues with big companies such as Viacom. However, some companies have decided to drop the copyright issues and gain revenues through ads, How successful do you think these ads are?

Lastly, would YouTube cease to exist if a ‘Next Big Thing’ dominates the internet? Or is YouTube truly the future?


Professor Henry Jenkins, “What Happened Before YouTube (Part 1)”, Cultural Science site (25-28th June, 2008), http://cultural-science.org/creatingvaluehenry1.html (accessed 22/09/08) [14 mins]

Professor Henry Jenkins, “What Happened Before YouTube (Part 3)”, Culture Science site (25-28th June, 2008), http://cultural-science.org/creatingvaluehenry3.html (accessed 22/09/08) [13 mins]

Henry Jenkins & John Hartley, “Is YouTube truly the future?”, The Sydney Morning Herald site, http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/is-youtube-truly-the-future/
(accessed 19/09/08)

Breen, J.C, “YouTube or YouLose: Can YouTube survive a copyright Infringement Lawsuit?” Texas Intellectual Property Law, Vol. 16, No. 1, 2007, pp. 152-181

Brian Stelter 2008, “Now Playing on YouTube: Clips With Ads on the Side” [Business/Financial Desk]. New York Times, August 16, Late Edition (east Coast). http://www.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.uwa.edu.au/ (accessed September 22, 2008).

Stephen Hutcheon, “YouTube’s Lonelygirl15 outed as a phoney “ , The Sydney Morning Herald site (September 11, 2006), http://www.smh.com.au/news/web/lonelygirl15-branded-a-phoney/
(accessed 18/09/08)


1) Would you consider as a form of database or more towards a social networking site?

2) How does YouTube help to facilitate fan culture? Does it bring participatory culture to a higher level?

3) With copyright laws in place, how are creators at a disadvantage when remixing movies/music? What can be done or has been done (or has anything been even done) to ensure fair use?

4) Do you think YouTube has been abused? For example, using it as a commodity for commercial purposes?

5) Does YouTube blur the boundaries of the various communities? For example, political, educational, fan culture etc. If so, how?

6) Does YouTube have a future?