The rhetoric of remix

Virginia Kuhn

Abstract


The affordances of digital technologies increase the available semiotic resources through which one may speak. In this context, video remix becomes a rich avenue for communication and expression in ways that have heretofore been the province of big media. Yet recent attempts to categorize remix are limiting, mainly as a result of their reliance on the visual arts and cinema theory as the gauge by which remix is measured. A more valuable view of remix is as a digital argument that works across the registers of sound, text, and image to make claims and provides evidence to support those claims. After exploring the roots of contemporary notions of orality, literacy, narrative and rhetoric, I turn to examples of marginalized, disparate artifacts that are already in danger of neglect in the burgeoning history of remix. In examining these pieces in terms of remix theory to date, a more expansive view is warranted. An approach based on digital argument is capable of accounting for the rhetorical strategies of the formal elements of remixes while still attending to the specificity of the discourse communities from which they arise. This effort intervenes in current conversations and sparks enhancement of its concepts to shape the mediascape.

Keywords


Digital argument; Fan vid; Fair use

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3983/twc.2012.0358

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