Remixing is defined as the act of rearranging, combining, editorializing, and adding originals to create something entirely new. It is said that today we live in the age of the remix – we are constantly borrowing, re-using and reutilising to make something new out of something old. To put this in perspective, 74 of the last 100 top grossing films were remakes, adaptations of sequels.
Remix, however, is not just about creativity for revenue. It is an intervention in cultural flow and cultural meaning, creating cultural ideologies. Remixes often hold political and social messages that find their way in to the public eye through new avenues. For example, the 1997 ‘Pauline Pantsdown’ videos created by Simon Hunt.
These videos were put together to criticise Pauline Hanson’s conservative political views. Hanson frequently voiced her opinions that there was too much ‘Asian’ migration, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were given too much money and unduly treated with special consideration, and has not held back voicing her stance against gay marriage, even today. This outraged many, and was a catalyst for Hunt to produce these videos.
‘Backdoor Man’ and ‘I Don’t Like It’ were both created using outtakes of Hanson’s speeches and compiling them together to create new sentences. However, for the song to act as a political critique it was integral that it be recognised it was not Hanson who made it. In other words, the remix needed to be identified as remix, rather than authentic for it to present its intended message.
This is only one example of a remix with a political motive, but in the ‘remix era’ they are everywhere. Remix culture showcases the shift in our engagement with information from consuming to creating. With this added control over the content we view, we are able to take existing things and give them new meaning – whether this is to produce a satyrical and political parody, or purely for creative enjoyment – is up to the creator.