Course 3

Are your ideas ever your ideas?

Photo Credit: Pictures by Pascal Lemaître in Wissen – Was ist das?

Reading about remix creativity and remix culture over the past two weeks opened my eyes in regards to the endless possibilities to create these days. The possibilities have always been there and people have always been influenced by others like Brain Lamb writes in Dr. Mashup; or, Why Educators Should Learn to stop Worrying and Love the Remix.

Elements of reuse have always been present in creative work, even though the borrowing may have been framed in terms of “tradition,” or “influence.” Artistic and scholarly works build on the work of others.

But over the past years creation got another dimension due to the immense development of technology. Following few definitions of remix:

“Remix”, in the sense the competition intended, means a creative work that builds upon the creative work of others. … It means using the work of others in a way that it is transformative, or critical. (The “Imbecile” and “Moron” Responds: On the freedom of Remix Creators)

Remix Defined points out three different levels of remixing and creating in the context of music but I think it is transferable to other areas as well.

  1. The first remix is extended, that is a longer version of the original song.

  2. The second remix is selective; it consists of adding or subtracting material from the original song.

  3. The third remix is reflexive; it allegorizes and extends the aesthetic of sampling, where the remixed version challenges the aura of the original and claims autonomy even when it carries the name of the original; material is added or deleted, …

The author describes even a step further and calls it regenerative remix. Remixes are remixed again; it’s a second and anew mix of something existing already as well as constantly updated and changed by the community; “meaning there are designed to change according to data flow.” The article mentions Wikipedia and YouTube as examples of that regenerative remixing.

The article “Everything is a Remix” got me to the thinking that everything is about ideas.

Copy, transform and combine. It’s who we are, it’s how we live, and of course, it’s how we create. Our new ideas evolve from the old ones.

At this point I see a connection to speak with my grade 1/2 students about remixing and creating something new. Often a student comes to me and complains: “Student x copied me.” In that case I try to get the students together and try to explain to them that get copied also means that somebody liked the idea. Of course I also try to point out that it would have been better and fairer if student x asked to use the idea. My experience is that students are fine with this way of thinking.
Next time I could go a little bit further. The following book inspires me to philosophize and to ask children about ideas and where they are coming from.

Was ist WissenOscar Brenifier: Wissen – Was ist das?  (in English: Knowlege – What is it?)

One part is about ideas and it asks fantastic questions which could be a great opportunity to develop a different awareness.  Here are some questions:

  •  Are your ideas yours?
  • Do you have to search for the ideas in your mind or do they come by themselves?
  • Do you decide by yourself what ideas you keep?
  • Did you change the ideas you have?
  • Where do the ideas come from which you read in a book?
  • Is there a world of ideas?
  • Did the ideas always exist?
  • Do you people have to think so the ideas can exist?
  • What would be a world without ideas?
  • Why do you have ideas if you can’t share them?
  • Did you understand your ideas if you can’t make them understandable for others?
  • Do we all use the same words to express our ideas?
  • Can we have an idea without having words for it?

One reply on “Are your ideas ever your ideas?”


Thanks for sharing this post. I particularly liked you explanation about the students copying from each other and the discussion that followed it.

The various questions posed by Oscar Brenifier that you shared has made me think about the conversations that we have in class regarding knowledge.

This being my favourite!
– Why do you have ideas if you can’t share them?



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