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A Tribute To The Remix (In Comic Sans)

Project update  (1 of 3)                                                                                                                                      

Open Education Practice Unit

Tribute in comic sans, wave warped 

Copyright Issues in University?                                                                                                                                                      

 ... It's a joke

My premise for the OEP project task will begin with an analysis of the remix.

In most cases a remix is not confrontational, it’s a tribute of fandom, an admission that the first product is so good that it can be dressed up in a seemingly endless number of variants and still maintain its excellence.

In a learning institute however, the use of 'remix' tools has dramatic effects upon a students practice and presents difficulties within assessment concerning copyright and intellectual property rights. Creative intent when a student works with appropriated media, can and often be misleading and misconstrued.


Raising awareness over the issues of originality and intellectual property within art and design education.

My rational to this project has arisen due to current observations and shifts within a students learning experience. Observations I have witnessed, although not exclusive to my department only (Graphics) and more than likely institute wide to some degree, are as follow -


1. Students are copying more than ever before

2. The internet allows for this kind of practice, and democratises the act of image making 

3. There seems to be no rules, but actually there are, students and teachers need to become aware of these rules as they are being infringed through ordinary creative pursuit in academies on a daily basis

4. Digital tools make it easy to sample and access material at an unprecedented rate

(Artist John Baldassari, had exactly the same apprehension towards the influx of zines he witnessed in the late 60's. and the affects it was having on the working methods of students at California School of the Arts.)

How to raise the issues that students face when copying and why it is a practice that we need to address sensitively.

Below are examples of students work, evidencing the degree of closeness to the original through online references found post assessment.

example 01

example 02

example 03


This type of activity from students is not anything out of the ordinary, I don't know if students are doing it more often than before or if lecturers, through access to tools that can check for authenticity, plagiarism and knock offs have just become more aware of it? Either way its indicative of our unprecedented access to media and information through the present digital revolution.

Nowadays anybody can mix anything and distribute instantly, music,  videos, photos - You don't need expensive tools, you don't need a distributor, you don't even need skills.


The ability to share, to like, to friend, all are acts of digital transaction which has helped democratize creativity. 

The right to express and exchange and 'remix' culture content is back in the public domain.

The Read Write culture resolutely leave its (or possibly someone else's) mark!


So we now have a generation of kids who have grown up violating the law. We have a generation of art and design students who readily appropriate what is available and then get in trouble for doing so.

A recent survey by the market research firm NPD Group indicated, “more than two- thirds of all the music students acquired was obtained illegally.



My method will utilise creating an online resource accessible to my students and open to the public, demonstrating the proliferation of sampled material within the creative industries and the alternative, more stainable, more responsible approach to going about this. The resource will be split into examples, classifications of remix technique throughout history and creative commons attributes to consider during creation and public dissemination.


1. It is going to be online because this is where most students go to for research and inspiration. 

2. It will leverage the use of image uploading from an email account or dropbox solution, this will allow flexibility of use. 

3. It is expected that examples provided will include found imagery resourced online, but also a growing collection of works as evidenced within the department and from the student community. 

4. All uploads will be anonymous, with no bias towards or against the originator or the appropriating artist/designer.

5. Alongside the image repository, I will also provide clear instructions teaching students how to attribute the relevant copyright to their work. 

6. I also want to ensure that students who do copy, will not fall in to the act of violating any I.P. laws themselves. This will be done through providing relevant and up to date articles, text and online resources.


The project (working title - Tribute) will attempt to define and demystify what constitutes an original and what constitutes a remixed design.

Remixing is as old as folk art

These techniques, collecting a material, combining it, transforming it, are the same ones you will find people use throughout all forms of creation.



Online resources will evidence the act of sharing and the act of learning through sharing throughout the ages.

Historically examining the notion of 'ritual' and the way oral cultures and secular societies successfully and openly transmit information along a lineage from generation to generation.

Applying ordinary thought to existing materials




According to Kirby Ferguson in his TED talk 'everything is a remix'.

The act of copying, combining and transforming is what constitutes a remix.


Students often face creative issues when making work with this kind of approach, predominantly to do with being misinformed, or not even informed at all. The majority of works assessed that infringe on copyright issues fall into one of two camps  - 

1. When they used other peoples designs they didn't attribute to the original artist.

2. When they copied, they didn't modify their own versions enough to claim they were original.

If we consider the evolution of rap for example, rap is the music form from which the remix as we know it today originated, with artists in the early 80's sampling funk hits, extracting and manipulating the beats for their own tracks.

Rap clearly makes associations with its original song and makes no allusions to being the original creator.


The Sugarhill gang, were a manufactured band put together by former soul/disco singer Sylvia Robinson.

The backing track, Chic's Good Times, was replayed by an in-house band. Infamously, Big Bank Hank rapped lyrics written by Cold Crush Brothers' MC Grandmaster Caz, his borrowing so blatant that he even spells out Caz's name in the song. 

New sound. Same old rules
James Victore 

James Victore is a designer who works in New York State. He was recently asked to redesign motivational posters for the NYC probationary centers, thirty three of them were situated around the state and they were a mess..

James Victore was bought in to change all of this, he created faux real motivational posters, directly copying originals, but in some way re-representing them and making them his own. They were faux real, faux real because they are fake motivational posters, but real because they were really trying to make motivational posters that work.


Vision because eagles have great vision there are no shortcuts

Meaning do not go through this process unchanged because you'll still be a fuck up.



Teamwork with Jets

Ask for help.



Footprints in the sand -  Desiderata 

Changed to improve yourself, change the world, start here, start small.



So to reprise, my method will present  an online resource where different approaches to copying and combining creative content can be understood and open this up to learners and educators as part of a communities in practice.

What will follow in my next post, will be my concerns regarding issues, impact, future plans and an investigation into two strands of more successful copying methods -

Infinite Versioning and Progressive Versioning


Average: 3 (1 vote)
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cfollows's picture

Finally got around to reading your post, really interesting look forward to reading more. Sounds like a big task in hand, if you haven't seen already I rate these two recordings: - there are links also to the full recording.




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This Work, A Tribute To The Remix (In Comic Sans), by jaygo bloom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales license.