Hack #5: Remix

This hack asks you to appropriate existing cultural material and remix it in a transformative way.* We seek “the beauty of second use” and a recovery of “undiscovered public knowledge.” Additionally, this hack challenges you to produce a “reflexive” remix that, as Eduardo Navas puts it, “challenges the aura of the original.”

Video and audio are likely source materials, but you should also consider images, text, code, games, or other works. Follow these rules in your remix:

  1. Your source material must come from at least three distinct time periods (for example, textual documents from the Civil War, film footage from the 1950s,  and video game music from the current decade)
  2. Your remix must incorporate at least four different sources from at least three different media types (video, images, sound, text, etc.)
  3. Your remix should be about something, other than itself. That is, it must speak to, explore, comment upon, or critique some enduring or contemporary cultural concern. The best remixes will be those that move beyond satire or parody.
  4. Your remix must break one of these rules, but only with deliberate and well-defended justification.


Archival film footage can be found in the Moving Image Section of the Internet Archives. Some useful places to start are: productions/collections by Coronet Instructional Films, the A/V Geeks, or the Prelinger Archives. Other archives to explore are:

Additional Requirements

  • Your remix must conclude with credits and sources for all texts, including the soundtrack; in the credits list title; author, artist, username, or news corporation; and URL (you can use shortened URLs from bit.ly)
  • Your remix must be released under a Creative Commons license
  • Your remix must be 3-5 minutes long; for non-time-based works, an analogous sense of duration must infuse the project

Fine (re)Print Details

  • Like the other hacks, you must include an Artist’s Statement (about 1,500 words). Consider your various source material and their historical contexts, and how the each source speaks to (or against) the other sources. Also consider the various rhetorical and editorial moves you make as you assemble the remix. What motivated your design decisions? And what was the overall effect you were aiming for? Also think through the argument your work either implicitly or explicitly makes about originality, creativity, and culture.
  • If your remix is video-based, upload it to YouTube or Vimeo. For other types of media remixes (sound, algorithmic), please see me. When you upload your remix, fill out the title field of the form. Your title should be meaningful and evocative, rather than strictly utilitarian.
  • If uploading on YouTube, include a 1-2 sentence description of the remix in the appropriate place on the upload form. Also state that the project was completed by you for DIG 401: Hacking, Remixing, and Design, at Davidson College, 2019. Include a statement that discusses how the work is created for a class and as a result falls under Fair Use Guidelines and within the exemptions to DMCA Section 1201 rules announced by the Library of Congress on July 26, 2010. Include a statement with URLs that point the viewer to information about the course (https://courses.digitaldavidson.net/dig401/) and assignment. Also mention the software you used to complete the remix.
  • Include a complete list of credits and sources here as well as in the video itself
  • Please use paragraphs and complete sentences
  • Add at least the following tags to your remix: remix, mashup, dig401, davidson college, as well as multiple tags that relate to your topic or sources
  • Make the video public and allow embedding and comments


I’ll approach your hack using the following criteria:

  • Unexpectedness (the extent to which the project defies expectations or produces surprising results or reactions)
  • Craft (the degree of style, technical virtuosity, and craftiness, as well as digital representation)
  • Intention (the sense of intentionality and deliberateness of the work)
  • Theme (the level of engagement with the concepts of remixing and mashups)
  • Argument (the degree to which your project is about something other than itself)

* This assignment borrows heavily, often word-for-word, from Dr. Bill Wolff’s Video Mashup Assignment at Rowan University.