The Remix Culture: A study on remixing practices and audiences in the digital society
The concept of remix culture originated in Lawrence Lessig’s Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy (2008). Here, he distinguishes what he calls “Read Only” culture, or RO-culture from “Read Write” culture, or RW-culture. He defines RO culture as a society where creative works – from now on referred to as tokens – are predominantly read, whereas RW culture goes beyond mere consumption and stretches out into creation and recreation. We wish to further draw attention on the key issues that can be derived from his exposition on RO and RW culture. Mainly, his dichotomy raises questions concerning three key issues. Firstly, accessibility is involved: the introduction of digital technologies at the end of the past century signified the end to these limitations as they introduced an enabling atmosphere for amateur-generated content to thrive. Secondly, the RO/RW dichotomy invokes questions on literacy as well: the importance of remix culture lies not in the quality of the content it produces, but in the educational value it holds for its practitioners. Therefore, our research aims at emphasizing the remixing practices of the audience, rather than the texts resulting from it. Finally, we wish to address the question of participation. Due to the increasing accessibility of digital technologies and the production and distribution of cultural artefacts, opportunities for audiences to participate and engage in communities have increased greatly. We aim to answer the following research questions: what exactly is remix culture, and what constitutes its practices? Are these practices prevalent in contemporary digital natives? And if so, how are they different from their predecessors’ practices? What are the recurrent practices in contemporary digital natives’ communities? How do these practices relate to their ideological views on appropriation, transformation, recreation and fair use? What are the participatory dynamics and opportunities resulting from the prevalence of the remix culture? The first research question relates to conceptualization and is both important and necessary to formulate operational concepts indicative to our core theoretical framework. Secondly, to gain insight into the prevalence of remix practices we aim to perform a comparative large-scale, quantitative survey. Based on these results, we will then follow up by performing qualitative focus groups to identify these remix practices and audiences’ motives to engage in these practices. Finally, we propose to scrutinize specific and notorious cases of thriving remix culture to further support the argumentation of this research project.