Okay, don't hit me! You may very well be original. Okay, no you're not -- but no one is. Feel better? Didn't think so.
But maybe being original or creative doesn't mean what you think it means. To celebrate 5 years of prosperity, resulting in over 2 million views on Vimeo, NYC-based filmmaker Kirby Ferguson's super popular video series "Everything is a Remix" is now available as one single piece, polished, reedited, and remastered, to "change the way you think about creativity, originality, and copyright."
Check it out below:
Video is no longer available: vimeo.com/139094998
Copy | Transform | Combine
Some people might see these as the basic tenets of biters and rip-off artists, but they're actually the "basic elements of creativity". "How can copying something, transforming it, and combining the elements be considered creative -- or maybe not creative, but original? Well, that's the main point that Ferguson is trying to get across is -- essentially the title of his series: everything -- everything is a remix.
Trying to be original is basically futile, not because people today aren't creative enough to be, but because everybody is influenced and inspired by everything. Sure, when I first watched Kill Bill I was like, "I've never seen anything like this ever before," and I was absolutely right -- but only because I hadn't seen The Searchers, Game of Death, or Lady Snowblood before. Does that make Kill Bill uncreative or unoriginal? Well, that's up to you to decide for yourself, but Ferguson would say that some of the greatest innovations and creations came from essentially copying (and then transforming and combining) other people's work.
I know that, as an artist, I get inspired by everything I see, hear, touch, smell, and taste. (Right after I watched Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles I immediately wanted to make a film exactly like it.) However, I know that, as an artist, I desperately want to be original. How do I do that when I get inspired by things that already exist? How do any of us do that?
The trick might be to redefine or, at the very least, understand, what it means to be original and creative.
As you embark on your next creative cinematic journey, perhaps you should keep these questions in the back of your mind: What would your art look like if you boldly and enthusiastically copied someone else's work, then transformed and combined it? How would it change? How would you change as an artist?