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Remix and Remediation: The Art of Form and Style

The primary goal of this course is to teach students the tools and vocabulary needed to critically engage with and write about cultural objects in our contemporary media age. The class will focus both on “big picture” questions relating to the ways in which new forms of media and technology may significantly alter fundamental aspects of human experience, as well as on more local and formal concerns relating to the signifying practices of different types of media.

Our class will specifically focus on ideas of Remix and Remediation. In popular terms, a Remix alters elements of a song to create something new while still retaining aspects of the original. Likewise, a Remediation changes form or method of transmission, but often attempts to stay true to a narrative or argument. Yet, how does a Kanye song change when remixed in response to a Taylor Swift moment? What influence does Google have in algorithmix composition of poetry? How has 140 characters, Snapchat filters, and concepts of “un-friending” altered the way we communicate and compose? And how is technology changing the way audiences understand and access various forms of information, in turn facilitating new forms of authorship and commentary? Working with various print, digital, aural, visual, and experiential texts, the class will analyze how remixing and remediation alter both form and content, working through changes in production, circulation, and reception. Beginning with basic principles of rhetorical analysis, the course will address methods of argument and organization in various types of media, tracing the role of author, audience, form, and style. Building on this foundation, students will then work to understand how form and style both centralize and

de-center media, acting as a driving force of production embedded in a specific culture, content, and context. Ideas of transition and adaptation will challenge interpretations of the ‘creative’ and ‘original’ as students remix and remediate classic works as well as their own ‘new’ media. Students will not only write critically about our objects of study, but will also have the opportunity to produce original work.

That said, this is still a writing class, and to that end much time will be spent during class periods covering different aspects of writing, and you will be expected to heavily revise and polish all major writing assignments prior to submission. To facilitate improvement, peer review sessions will be held in class and I will set up times to meet with each of you to discuss your writing individually.

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