- Roundtable: Remix and Videographic Criticism
In place of a traditional set of book reviews, we offer a conversation among five scholars and remix practitioners on the interrelationships between videographic criticism and other evolving forms of video remix, including political remix and making fanvids. This conversation explores remix, broadly defined as the practice of appropriating, decontextualizing, and recontextualizing media content to create new meanings. While all the participants in this conversation work with and on remix under this broad definition, the contributors to this roundtable situate themselves within interrelated yet distinct communities of practice. The conversation thus demonstrates how “forms” of remix video are constantly proliferating and hybridizing, with parallels and contradictions developing within separate but related communities and aesthetic traditions. As much as we and the participants may strive to discuss specific categories of remix video to convey the breadth and diversity of this form of audiovisual argumentation, it is important to note from the outset that these categories will inevitably overlap and occupy different “genres” simultaneously. In other words, a “fanvid” (also known as a “vid”) might also be classified as a political remix video (or PRV), and vice versa, or it might even occupy both categories simultaneously, depending on who is doing the defining and for what purpose. Indeed, some terminology has shifted within communities, in part because of concerns about perception: some vidders arguably drop the prefix “fan” from the terms “fanvid” and “fanvidding” in part to avoid the perception that vidding is only [End Page 159] celebratory and emotional rather than critical and artistic. Moreover, the conversation references some modes of remix such as machinima (video-game remix) only in passing; we hope that future conversations will explore the interrelationships between an even wider diversity of remix forms and practices.
As Virginia Kuhn notes in her article “The Rhetoric of Remix,” although it is tempting to take a taxonomic approach to remix, efforts to generically “define and categorize video remix . . . ultimately prove limiting.”1 What we offer here is a fluid conversation that purposefully keeps these generic categories contested and/or flexible, thus embodying the rhetorical capacity of remix. We hope that this will inspire further discussion between scholars and practitioners working across the rich spectrum of remix production.
Thank you for taking part in this conversation. Let’s begin with some brief introductions. In addition to sharing your personal background and experience with remix culture, how do you utilize remix culture as a teacher, scholar, media critic, or artist?
As an independent fan scholar who works on East Asian transnational film and transcultural fan studies, I took a rather long, circuitous, and distinctly fannish route to get here: a high school music-class slideshow on the Beatles in the 1980s, a RealVideo Mulder/Krycek digital slideshow in the early 2000s, and eventually my first Hannibal (NBC, 2013–2015) fanvid in 2015, edited first with iMovie (and a handy Lynda.com tutorial) and, once I’d gotten a taste for it, Final Cut Pro. Since then, I’ve edited three videographic essays and a handful of fanvids that cumulatively have piqued my interest in the formal aspects of remix.2 Specifically, I’m intrigued by the ways images, audio, and even video creator subjectivities can be juxtaposed in videographic remix to realize something that I’m currently thinking of as similar to Eisenstein’s “tertium quid,” where composite meaning is communicated directly to the viewer through montage.3 I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts here, especially as a relative newcomer to remix culture!
I’m an independent remix video artist, video producer, media critic, and fair-use advocate. I also serve on the advisory board of New Media Rights, a nonprofit organization that provides legal aid for digital media makers. I’ve been remixing entertainment media for critical and educational purposes for about fifteen years now.4 Some of my most famous work juxtaposes various pop culture icons to [End Page 160] create new political narratives, as seen in “Buffy...