• Syllabus

    rummaging through answers in the pages

    Remix Culture Fall 2012

    Professor Louisa Stein; email: louisas@middlebury.edu

    Class meetings: Tuesdays & Thursdays 11-12.15 AXINN 105; Screenings SDL 110 Tuesdays @ 7.40 

    go link (for moodle site): go/middremix 

    Course Description

    With the spread of digital technologies, remix has come to the forefront as a major form of artistic work and cultural and political commentary. In this course we will explore the history, cultural and legal impact, and creative logics of remix traditions. We will examine how digital technologies shape transformative creativity. Drawing on the work of theorists such as DJ Spooky and Lawrence Lessig, we will consider the creative and legal ramifications of remix logics. We will explore a range of remix works across media with a focus on video. Students will also produce remixes through individual and group work.

    Required Text:

    Jean Burgess and Joshua Green, Youtube: Online Video and Participatory Culture (New York: Polity, 2009).

    All other required readings available by link here at the course hub syllabus or download at the course moodle site. 

    Course Moodle:

    Class resources are all available at the course moodle site. All work will also be submitted through moodle, including youtube links to your remix video assignments. You can access the moodle site through your own course hub by going to go/hub, or through the go link: go/remix. 

    Readings & Inquiries (Due every Monday at 11PM)

    Each week, you have a selection of readings (or readings/at home short screenings) due. As part of the process of doing these readings, you will write up 250 word musings/questions (aka inquiries) for each reading. These inquiries will consist of concise questions that you pose of the reading, or that the reading inspires you to ask. Your inquiries may explore points you didn’t fully understand, examine associations prompted by the readings, or point to gaps you feel the readings have left unexplored. They should be substantive questions, not trivia or yes or no answers. Post your inquiries in the specified Moodle assignment area each week. I recommend writing up your questions in a word processing program before cutting and pasting to Moodle. We will explore selected inquiries in class, depending on the direction of the class discussion. The inquiries will be graded 1-10.

    Group Led Discussion

    In the first weeks of class, I will split you into groups for class-led presentations/discussions based on your interest in the following topics:

    • Video Mashup
    • Parody Mashup
    • Political Remix
    • Fan Vidding
    • Machinima
    • Remix Interfaces: YouTube, Tumblr, &…?
    • Remix Auteurs
    • AMV (Anime Music Video)
    • History of Music Remix
    • Contemporary Music Remix
    • Sports Video Mashups
    • Alternative Narratives
    • Other: … 

    Together, you will meet as a group (in person & virtually) and explore your topic online. You will come to class with key points and examples to share, as well as two to three discussion questions (which could be in reference to your examples). Please have a handout prepared for all of the members of class. Be sure to include all of your group members' names on the handout!

    Group presentation/discussion should last about a half an hour to forty five minutes.  I will assign presentation dates/times early in the semester

    Video Remix Assignments 

    Over the course of the semester, you will complete four remixes. You will upload all of these remixes to YouTube. It's up to you whether you want to post your videos as listed (so they're available publicly/via search) or unlisted (so they're only available to people with the link). Do think carefully about this choice before posting. If YouTube blocks your video, contact me and we’ll find a backup solution. Submit the link + your process commentary (see below) to moodle. Here are details for each of these assignments:

    1) Quick & Dirty Creative Commons Minute Remixes

    For your first remix, you'll be working with two sets of creative constraints:

    • All of your video and sound must be creative commons licensed. We will go over resources for creative commons video and audio resources in class, as well as how to download and import files into final cut.
    • Your remixes must be no more than a minute long.

    Other than that, follow the guidelines in the General Remix Guideline sheet, and have fun exploring the possibilities of remix with Final Cut!

    2) Respond/Remix

    For your second video remix assignment, you'll be creating a response video to a remix/mashup video on youtube of your choice. This means that the first part of this assignment is exploration--explore youtube to locate a video that inspires you to respond to it. You do not need to actually use the "video response" function on youtube; just include a link to the video you're responding to in your Process Commentary sheet. Some tips:

    • Think about how your video will function as a response both in terms of content and in terms of aesthetic choices.
    • You do not need to use only downloaded footage for this assignment; this would be a good opportunity to begin experimenting with working with DVD footage for higher quality imagery.
    • There is no strict length limit for this assignment, but follow the guidelines listed on the Remix Guidelines sheet (i.e. 2-3 minutes in length, average of 30 edits per minute...)

    3) Modal Remix

    • Choose a mode of video remix, and then work within the cultural expectations and codes of that mode (mashup, parody mashup, sports mashup, fanvid, political remix, alternative narrative, amv). Think about how your video responds to, builds on, and perhaps deviates from the norms of your chosen mode. 

    4) Intermodal Remix

    You will be submitting this final assignment twice—once as a polished draft for class feedback, and another as a finished draft for screening.

    For this assignment, you have a couple of options:

    • As for the modal remix, you can choose a mode of video remix and work within the cultural expectations and codes of that mode (mashup, parody mashup, fanvid, political remix, alternative narrative, sports mashup). But if you choose this first option, you must try a different mode than the one you chose for your previous assignment. 

    OR you can

    • choose two modes (listed above) and synthesize them for an intermodal mix. So, you can create a political parody mashup, an alternative narrative fanvid, etc. Think beyond the boundaries of the cultural categories to expand the possibilities of video remix.

    Again, follow the guidelines on the Remix Guidelines sheet. Use the highest quality source possible given your subject of choice.

    Video Remix Process Commentary (due with remixes to moodle) 

    With each video, you will write an approximately 500 word commentary about the process and outcome of your remix. Below I have written up some prompts to help guide your writing. Some of the prompts will vary slightly each week depending on the specific assignment. You must always include a paragraph discussing the feedback you received from your beta and how you responded to that feedback. 

    Here are general questions to consider for each process commentary:

    • How did the material of class inform your creative choices, and how did the creative process transform your understanding of class material?
    • What were your goals with this remix?
    • Do you feel your remix succeeded with these goals?
    • Favorite moment & why? (Include timestamp)
    • Moment you would change & why? (Include timestamp)
    • Thoughts on the process of making this video? Challenges expected and unexpected along the way?
    • What did you learn (technically and conceptually) through the process of making this video?

    In addition, for each assignment I will list questions specific to that assignment’s focus. These can be found on moodle.

    Beta Partnerships

    In this class, in addition to creating individual remixes, you'll be involved in the cooperative/collective process of beta-ing. This term and practice emerges from fan culture, though of course it has parallels in academia. Basically, your role as beta is to provide honest and thoughtful constructive feedback on remix drafts to your partner. For the first assignment, I will assign beta partnerships. For the remaining assignments, you may choose your beta partner or you can let me know if you'd like me to match you up with someone. 

    For some reading on betas from within the vidding community, see here and here.

    Please use the beta worksheet (available on moodle) and hand it in to me after you've both completed your remixes, either in hard copy or uploaded with your remix submission. 

    Extra Credit

    Twitter: Either create a new twitter account or use an already existing one to participate in ongoing class-related discussion, using the hashtag #middremix – tweet any thoughts you have while reading, connections you see beyond class, links to remixes you discover. Continue conversations with each other by using @ handles (for example, you can always tweet directly to me @les) but be sure to also include the #middremix hashtag. 

    Moodle Forums: You can also participate in discussions on moodle in the forums, sharing remixes you discover, asking (and answering!) tech questions, responding to screenings and class discussions.

    Mid Term Close Analysis Essay

    For this essay, choose either a mode of remix, a movement in remix (perhaps a particular moment in the history of a given mode, or a moment of transition), or an individual video remixer/auteur, and look closely at two to three relevant remix videos, situating them within cultural context and our theoretical investigations over the semester. You should draw substantively on three readings from the class to frame your analysis. Via email or in an in person meeting, first propose your topic to me, and then run your chosen class readings by me, so that we can discuss any adjustments that need to be made. 

     This paper should 7-8 pages in length, double spaced, with twelve point font. Please be sure to proofread and to cite with MLA formatting. Cite all video and online sources as well as your class readings.


    Attendance and Participation

     Attendance and participation in screenings and discussions are a vital part of this class. More than 4 unexcused absences will result in an F for the class.  In accordance with Middlebury policy, if you are sick and need to miss one class, emailing me with warning in advance is sufficient. However, extended absences require formal explanation in order to be excused.

    Academic Honesty Policy:

    You must cite all your sources, video, audio, and written. Plagiarizing in any form from any source will not be tolerated, in accordance with the Middlebury College Honor Code (College Handbook, Chapter V). All papers and projects must include the Honor Code statements along with your name (as digital signature) in order to be graded. Plagiarism and academic dishonesty will result in a grade of F for the course. Further disciplinary action may also be taken. If you have questions regarding what constitutes plagiarizing, or if you are unsure about how to reference material found on the Internet, please speak with me.  

    Week by Week Outline

    PART 1: Remix, Ownership, and the Creative Commons

    Sept 11&13 introduction

    Sept 18&20 contexts & concepts

    PART 2 Respond/Remix

    **September 24: Assignment 1 (CC Minute Remixes) Due**

    Sept 25&27 remix as rhetoric

    Oct 02&04 remix as intervention

    Oct 09&11 intro to vidding with a special guest

    OCT 9 Special Visit: Francesca Coppa “Handmade Multiculturalism”

    PART 3 Vidding & Evolving Modes of Video Remix

    **OCT 15 Respond/Remix Videos Due**

    Note updated due date. Respond/Remix Video & Commentary due Thursday Oct 18th by 11PM.

    OCT 16 (midterm Recess)/18 remix modes & communities

    OCT 23/25 focus on music

    OCT 29 Mid-Term Close Analysis Essay Due

    OCT 30/NOV 1 gender/sexuality critique in remix authorship

    NOV 6/8 spreadable remix

    PART 4 Remix Synthesis

    **Nov 16 at 11PM Modal Remixes Due**

    NOV 13/15 Remix Auteurs (Thanksgiving Break on Wed/Thur)

    NOV 20/22 Self-Authorship through Remix

    • Readings TBA

    **Extended deadline: Nov 30th 11PM Intermodal Remix Rough Drafts Due uploaded to youtube/moodle**

    NOV 27/29 Remix as Way of (Seeing) Life

    DEC 4/6 Teaching and Learning through Remix

    Time to finish projects and to revise, rethink, reopen, and remix.

    **Dec 12th Intermodal Remix Final Version Due**

    Grading Breakdown

    Remix Projects & Process Worksheets (including beta notes)


    Reading Inquiries


    Midterm Close Analysis Paper (6-8p)


    Group Presentations


    Attendance & Participation


    Extra Credit

    Twitter Participation #middremix


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