Moms and Tiaras

This remix by Angelisa Candler re-combines selected clips from the TLC show “Toddlers and Tiaras” to shift the focus away from the children and onto their parents. By completely removing footage of the toddlers, Candler presents us with a re-imagined reality show called “Moms and Tiaras” that is critical of the questionable and sometimes deeply troubling behavior of the adults behind prepubescent beauty pageant contestants.

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The Usual Suspects: Black Men in Black Hoodies

This TV news supercut style remix was created by the Film/Code/Remix class at the Bay Area Video Coalition in December 2012.  This is what the students have to say about their mashup:

In this remix video we are trying to raise awareness about how the local nightly news talks about young black men. These type of vague yet ominous sounding suspect descriptions help reinforced preexisting negative social stereotypes of young black men as all being “dangerous”, “scary” or “criminals”. We found these local news clips by searching for the terms “black male” and “black hoodie” on the Internet Archive’s TV news database.

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Wouldn’t It Be Great if Everybody Had a Gun?

As the gun regulation debate heats up again in the United States I though this 2006 Anime Music Video (AMV) by wundergeek would make an appropriate post. Her remix combines footage from the 1998 Space Western TV series Trigun with the song “Let There Be Guns” by musical comedy group The Arrogant Worms. The over-the-top animation mashed up with deeply satirical lyrics is designed to mock opponents to gun control and those who actually advocate more fire arms in the hands of more people as a way to make the country “safe” from gun violence. Wundergeek’s remix answers the question “Wouldn’t It Be Great if Everybody Had a Gun?” with a definitive (and hilarious) NO!

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A.V.A.T.A.R. is biting remixed critique of Hollywood’s repeated use of the Might Whitey trope in which white heroes save oppressed and exotified people of color. Craig Saddlemire also created a highly critical mashup of Zack Snyder’s blockbuster film 300 which we have posted about before. He writes:

 Races) is 
the overplayed 
using James 
Avatar as 
its visual 
and accompanying 
spliced together 
at racism in our supposedly liberal popular 
well as 
deconstructing how whiteness and Other-ness is 
about humanitarian crises. This piece builds on our previous 
300 Epithets, 
used in the nationalist right-wing film, 300.

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A Brief History of Subversive Remix Video Before YouTube

In 2012 I put together this article and video collection for the Open Access journal Transformative Works and Cultures. The full piece entitled “A history of subversive remix video before YouTube: 30 political video mashups made between World War II and 2005″ is licensed under creative commons and can be viewed for free online via the TWC website.

I first began recording and remixing TV commercials back in 2003 as a response to the US lead invasion of Iraq. At the time I’d only seen a small handful of what are now commonly referred to as video mashups. I certainly had no idea that what I was doing on my computer was part of a long underground remix video tradition which can be traced back to almost  the very beginning of moving picture technology.

Over the past few years I’ve seen a number of great remix video collections but none that really focus on the dynamic pre-youtube history of the genre and none that include the obvious intersections with fannish vidding traditions (which date back to at least the mid 1970s). While my collection is not meant to be a complete genealogy, I do believe the works I chose are representative of the subversive remix video genre over the past 60 plus years.

For the purposes of creating this history I used five essential criteria to decide if a transformative video work fit into the political remix genre.

  1. Works appropriate mass media audiovisual source material without permission from copyright holders, and rely on the fair use doctrine (or fair dealing in the UK).
  2. Works comment on, deconstruct, or challenge media narratives, dominant myths, social norms, and traditional power structures—they can be either sympathetic to or antagonistic to their pop culture sources, sometimes both at the same time.
  3. Works transform the original messages embedded in the source material, as well as the source material itself.
  4. Works are intended for general audiences or do-it-yourself (DIY) communities rather than academic or high-art audiences, and thus tend to use familiar mass media formats such as trailers, television ads, music videos, and news segments as vehicles for the transformed messages.
  5. Works are DIY productions and rely on grassroots distribution methods such as VHS tape duplicating circles, underground screenings, and, eventually, self-hosted Web sites. Since its launch in November 2005 many subversive video makers now put their works on YouTube.

Below I’ve embedded the YouTube playlist I put together including all 30 remixes from my article. I’ll do my best to keep them all online and fight the inevitable tide of bogus content ID matching takedowns.

Please make sure to check out the full TWC journal article for an overview of the subgenre and descriptions of each video in the collection.

One last thing: Martin Leduc of Carleton University in Ottawa Canada also wrote an interesting article inTransformative Works and Cultures about how my own political remix video work has changed over the last decade or so. Make sure you check out his article which is titled The two-source illusion: How vidding practices changed Jonathan McIntosh’s political remix videos

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“Set Me Free” starring the Women of Mad Men

Political Remix Video’s Elisa Kreisinger teamed up with Marc Faletti to create a music based remix starring the women of the highly acclaimed TV series Mad Men.  Kreisinger and Faletti took the 1966 Motown hit, “You Keep Me Hanging On” and overlaid it with short clips of Peggy, Joan, Betty and other female characters from the show so they could along with the Supremes.

The remixers have replaced the musical verses with a collection of scenes throughout Mad Men’s first four seasons to illustrate the struggles women face on the show and the small ways they try to resist their subordination within this male dominated world.  Visually, the remix moves and flows along with the music, in and out of multiple splitscreens illustrating women in various work, personal and domestic scenarios. Kreisinger said of the choice to use splitscreens:

“By framing the female characters from Mad Men in a series of boxes, we wanted to illustrate how the show, and by extension, society, isolates and marginalizes womens’ voices within pop culture narratives.”

Mad Men is a show about wealthy, white, straight men set in the 1960s world of advertising.  Women’s roles on the show have become increasingly more relevant to the main story arc but ultimately Mad Men still revolves around its male anti-heroes.  Set Me Free rewrites the male focused Mad Men universe and brings the stories and struggles of women to the forefront.

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What is Vidding? A Video Overview by Here’s Luck

Vidder Here’s Luck gives a fantastic overview of this transformative remix video practice. She also talks about some of the history, technology and fair use challenges inherent in vid making. If you are unfamiliar with vidding as a remix video genre then this clip is a must watch!

You can see vids created by Here’s Luck via her website. Check out for more information on the history of vidding.

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Corporate Advertising Wants Your Soul

In this remix, reminiscent of some older EBN videos,  borrows fragments from hundreds of corporate TV commercials to illustrate the song “We want your soul” by English DJ Adam Freeland. It’s noteworthy that  also manages to avoid the “blame the people” trope (which some political mashup artists fall into) by having the perspective of the remix be that of a manipulative corporate propaganda machine repeating the montra “we want your soul”. The MrMondialisation  features a number of french-language videos critical of consumerism which remix advertising.

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A Political Remix Video About Political Remix Video

Earlier this year the Spain based group EMBED, together with the European Cultural Foundation and the Doc Next Network put out an open call for international Political Remix Video works. They created this short trailer announcement for the project by re-remixing a handful of famous remix videos combined with our very own definition for Political Remix Video featured on our about page. The deadline is Christmas day 2011 so if you are planning on submitting there are still three weeks left to make something cool! More info can be found on their website. (Bases en español)

Our definition:

Political Remix Video (PRV) is a genre of transformative DIY media production whereby creators critique power structures, deconstruct social myths and challenge dominate media messages through re-cutting and re-framing fragments of mainstream media and the popular culture.

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The Pale Blue Dot Remixed

Remix artist Torrey Meeks uses a split-screen technique to combine footage from the Tunisian and Egyptian pro-democracy revolutions with time laps video set to Carl Sagan’s voice reading a famous passage from his 1994 book Earth – The Pale Blue DotThe resulting powerful mashup adds a moving new layer of context to Sagan’s words which were originally inspired by a photograph of planet Earth taken in 1990 by the Voyager 1 spacecraft as it left our solar system.

Here is another remixed take on Sagan’s words by David Fu who inserts a wide variety of iconic Hollywood movie scenes to illustrate the second half of the narration (the movie clips begin at around the 2:00 mark).

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