The Mashup Class

It was Richard Florida – author, professor and researcher, that coined the phrase “The Creative Class.” A concept that identifies the essential elements required for urban revitalization: Technology, Talent and Tolerance – The three Ts.

Cities must invest in technology, nurture talent and be tolerant or accepting of diversity for creative people to come live, work and play. The growth and prosperity of a city is dependent on these attributes because they attract a unique group of people – The Creative Class. This concept fascinated me for the past six or seven years, it occupied many of my thoughts and influenced many of my actions during a time when I moved from Detroit to Boston to Cleveland.

Another concept that I’ve been following for the past few years is The Creator Class. Another set of three words enriched with alliteration: Creators, Communities and Companies – The three Cs. This concept was devised by Piers Fawkes of PSFK, it analyzes the intersection of these areas and how they affect culture.

Members of this community leverage digital distribution, thrive in niches, market via networking and collaborate. I found this concept particularly interesting when looking at the world of advertising, due to the creation of new agencies like Victors & Spoils, co: and Made by Many, and also open innovation groups like The PurpleList or Behance Network. However, it was another kind of Creator that attracted my attention and ignited my curiosity over the past few years: The mashup artist. People like Banksy, Poster Boy and Girl Talk, who blurred the lines of creation by mashing original and borrowed works to a point where the originator was indistinguishable and remixed everything, even culture.

I am anxious for more artists to use multidisciplinary tools and harness the power of technology to remix our world and mashup production, consumption and distribution. And it’s happening now, you are the artist and consumer.

Press Pause Play

Press Pause Play is a documentary that introduces the creatives at the frontier of production, the technical enablers of collaboration and distribution, the artists, the pop stars, the film makers, the business men, the visionaries and the ones left behind. Itʼs a story from the smallest molecule to the largest corporation. Itʼs a snapshot of today, but at the same time predictions of a near future.

A new generation of global creators and artists are emerging, equipped with other points of reference and tools. The teachers are not certified schools anymore – itʼs web sites, discussion forums and a “learn by doing”-mentality. We see the children of a digital age, unspoiled or uneducated depending on who you ask. Collaboration over hierarchy, digital over analog – a change in the way we produce, distribute and consume creative works. Press Pause Play is an amazing documentary that will inspire any creator or mashup artist.

Collaborate and Remix Life

Walking on Eggshells: Borrowing Culture in the Remix Age is a documentary about appropriation, creative influence, re-use and intellectual property in the remix age. It is a conversation among various musicians, visual artists, writers and lawyers.

Remix Everything

Remixing utilizes the techniques of copying, transformation and combining; with all creations infused with inspiration from another work. Everything is a Remix is a four-party documentary. At this moment, only three have been published:

The Future of Art & Ideas

This video from the New York Public Library features Larry Lessig, founder of Creative Commons and author of “Remix,” Shepard Fairey, artist and founder of OBEY, and Steven Johnson, author of “The Invention of Air.” This panel answers the question, “what is the future for art and ideas in an age when practically anything can be copied, pasted, downloaded, sampled, and re-imagined?”

The Mashup Class

After researching all of the sources above as well as many other reference materials, several key elements or trends were revealed. The idea that a breed of individuals exist that thrive in remixing and mashing up culture – The Mashup Class. And this is not limited to street art or music, it extends to the arts, business, technology and beyond. This culture has innate motivations and identifiable behaviors:

  1. Collaboration – Many people think that mash-up art is created by stealing, but it is actually the greatest collaboration between artist and the beholder. Collaboration is an action where creative inspiration adapts and evolves to create something new.
  2. Community – This is naturally created during collaboration, but also when the creator pays homage to those that inspired them
  3. Culture – Inherent in this practice is the association to pop-culture and act of borrowing cultural references as need to inspire or express. Cultural and historical references are your canvass and influencers are your inspiration and instruments. Crowdsource – Inspiration is not pulled from one, but many sources. Crowdsourcing is not always a visible action, but can be covert
  4. Openess – Transparency is not necessary, everything can be reverse engineered, whether purposely made available or not
  5. Defiance – In order to be innovative and creative, you must, at times, break the rules. And also, be willing to pay for the consequences
  6. Transform – According to copyright laws, the extent to which a work is deemed transformative will determine if the work is fair use. However, the expression and interpretation of art is native to the individual, the means by which language is translated or transformed from one to another. Originality is not a goal, plagiarism is not a fear, and authorship becomes unknown as the line between author and orignator is blurred.
  7. Instrumental – Technology has created an endless number of new tools and instruments for artists to use.
  8. Craft – Often the craft is learned through the process and individuals are self-made. Just as experise in the craft increases over time, so does respect for the craft
  9. Share – The old distribution model is dead, sharing works digitally is the new methodology for exposing others to your works
  10. Create – Be prolific and continue to remix and be creative