"There is nothing new under the sun" (Eccl. 1:9).
Paulina Johnson :: Week 4
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This week’s readings on intertextuality, dialogism, and appropriation made me think of a film I recently viewed: Snow White and the Huntsman. A modern, sci-fi take on a classic Disney film (remix!), Snow White and the Huntsman follows the original Disney storyline of Snow White, while incorporating elements of science fiction and fantasy stories outside of the romantic fairy tale genre. In order to achieve this, the film makes several allusions to works of literature and cinema that preceded it, such as Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter. The scene in which Snow White, played by Kristen Stewart, and her dwarfs and huntsmen are walking up the hill is reminiscent of a similar scene in Lord of the Rings. Additionally, the manner in which the evil queen, Ravenna, “sucks” the beauty out of young girls mimics the soul-sucking manner of the dementors in Harry Potter. Snow White later encounters creatures in the Haunted Forest that physically resemble dementors. Both Snow White and the Huntsman and Harry Potter include scenes with a white stag, symbolizing peace and knowledge and guidance from the past and those who came before their respective characters’ time.

dementor in Harry Potter
dementor in Harry Potter

stag patronus in Harry Potter
white deer in Huntsman adaptation

Chandler describes a certain kind of intertextuality as “particularly self-conscious…it credits its audience with the necessary experience to make sense of such allusions and offers them the pleasure of recognition”. This description can definitely be applied to this film, as when I was viewing it I personally had the experience of recognizing allusions such as these, based on my experience with the source material.

This adaptation of Snow White stays truer to the dark theme of the original piece by the Brothers Grimm. However, some authors have claimed that the film makes religious allusions as well, stating that the apple that poisons Snow White is similar to the apple that condemned Eve in the Garden of Eden. It was interesting to read Foucault’s idea that “the frontiers of a book are never clear-cut: beyond the title, the first lines and the last full stop, beyond its internal configuration and its autonomous form, it is caught up in a system of references to other books, other texts, other sentences: it is a node within a network” (Foucault 1974, 23). As agents of culture like ourselves, Foucault’s thesis comes to life as we are able to recognize and make these connections between texts.

Another point that stood out to me was Chandler’s claim that Bakhtin was not the first scholar to publish a book on the subject of the philosophy of language, but it was in fact a man named Valentin Voloshinov. It’s interesting to think of the idea that “authorship and plagiarism did not exist in the Middle Ages,” as it is starkly different from contemporary issues of copyright and intellectual property that we are facing (ie Apple v. Samsung). It is almost as if copyright law can stifle creativity and innovation within culture.

I couldn't help but think of the quote, originally from the Bible (Ecclesiastes 1:9) "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again, there is nothing new under the sun." What's even more interesting to note is that though William Shakespeare is often cited for this quote in one of his sonnets, it actually comes from the the text of the Bible. Even Shakespeare was not immune to remix!


Works referenced:
Chandler, Daniel. “Semiotics for Beginners.” http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/S4B/sem09.html

Nate Harrison, "The Pictures Generation, the Copyright Act of 1976, and the Reassertion of Authorship in Postmodernity," Art and Education Paper, June, 2012.


Week 4: Music Theory and Cultural Hybridity

Sara Anderson

I thought of the reading through the lens of musical expression. Music is always in response to something. It is never in a vacuum, and styles are constantly changing. The reason I associated the reading so strongly with music is that some of the terms from the reading are also musical terms. My favorite example of this is polyphony, multiple melody lines of equal importance playing simultaneously.

This context added depth to the definition in the Bakhtin reading - "many-voiced," incorporating many voices, styles, references, and assumptions not a speaker's "own". Polyphony is a very unique sound. Sometimes things may seem to harmonize, but no line exists simply to support another.

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Remix is another term that is inherently musical that has been applied to cultural hybridization. It seems important that remix includes pieces of other works in the making of a different product and doesn’t just take inspiration from them. It seems related to Yuri Lotman’s view of cultural generativity where the new repurposes old material. It is easy to see how this term carries over, since a recurring theme is the cycling of cultural material through different peoples appropriating myriad meanings all the while. Globalization is the process through which these things expand and can be appropriated by others.


Week 4:Words Owned by Who?
Langford Wiggins

In this week's reading I was able to understand a word that brought understanding to the phrase "That's my word! I say that....how did they find out about that?" As mentioned in the reading and the key concept of the readings consider dialogism, intertextuality/intermediality, and appropriation as the underlying conditions for remix and cultural hybridity. When reading this story I thought of some colloquialisms of my childhood especially the phrase “deuces” as a means for saying goodbye.

Second, I thought of the deuces sign, holding up the index and middle finger. I also thought of another meaning of holding up those specific fingers. Peace.

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After holding up the “peace” sign, signifying universal peace and the hopeful end to violence worldwide, the image was remixed to mean goodbye in some cultures, creating the phrase deuces. I began using the phrase in High School and then recalled seeing it on the TV show One on One which used to air on UPN (2001-2006). Then more recent I heard the song Deuces by Chris Brown in the same context of leaving and saying goodbye.

However, if one thinks of another use for the word deuce, one may consider a deck of cards and the deuce of spades, clubs, hearts and diamonds. With this being said, one can conclude that words derive from many sources and have no one owner.

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With remixing and hybridity today the original contributor of some ideas, phrase or symbols are unclear and its hard to credit one for their use. Bringing into question, the idea of plagiarism and using one idea and concluding with another, for an entirely different purpose, as did Bouvard and Pecuchet in the creation of their museum.

Mikhail Bakhtin, Major Theory: Dialogism, Polyphony, Heteroglossia.
Douglas Crimp, "On the Museum's Ruins." (1993).

Week 4: Now Serving Mashed Music

Elizabeth-Burton Jones

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Mashed Music:

The mashup culture changed music forever, not just for the music companies that were producing mashups on a larger scale, but it also made music creativity tangible through Youtube. YouTube viewers can create their own mashups and then their viewers can copy that performance and practice it, hence the music keeps on giving.

A perfect place to witness the product of the music cycle, is in a local coffee shop. The coffee shop music scene creates a cool culture. Music is spliced and open for interpretation. I can remember being in high school when I performed at my first coffee shop. I became a part of this culture. In that room, in that space it felt as though music was free and open for everyone’s enjoyment. The most creative song renditions can be found at these coffee shops. The songs are very diverse. The music was relatively unjudged. I strayed away from this scene when I was in college, but I long to get back to the days of open mics and coffee with friends.
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Ingredients for Mashed Music:

When I think of dialogism as unconscientious, I think of how I arrange music. At music practice, I start to sing the desired piece of music. Suddenly one note lingers and causes me to think of a new song. Then I attempt to combine the new song with the song that I am already singing. Make sense? This normally takes a while to get everything right. I have done this for an a cappella medley and often when I am rehearsing with other musicians.

Kind of like this....... But it's really like this ^

I think of this combining as an art. Glee has definately played a key role in the culture of combining and mashing up songs.

A Pinch of Quotation:

Another interesting point is the idea of quoting. If an author does not exist, then are we really quoting? One example that I like to use involves one of my favorite singers, Ingrid Michaelson. She released a new song called Parachute. One day I tried to find the YouTube video for the new song and I was surprised to find another artist that did the exact same song with just a different twist. This freedom of expression is very interesting.


Other forms of quoting:

There are different acknowledgements made in different mediums. For instance, I find it very interesting when movies weave a song from an opera that has some connection to the plot. I learned this concept during my undergraduate studies and I think it is an interesting method of quoting. Another method could be in music videos. For instance, when Beyonce takes this scene from Sweet Charity. This direct and sometimes indirect form of quoting is very interesting and I would like to look into these ideas.

How can I form these ideas into a final project?

Works Cited:

Week 4: Dialogism, Intertextuality, Intermediality

Elisabet Diaz Sanmartin

The most famous aphorisms of the pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus, “Panta Rhei” which literally means, “everything flows” suggests that nothing lasts forever or remains immutable; however, within the flow, there is consistency. I found that the concept of intertextuality could be framed within this aphorism. Whether it is a renaissance painting, a documentary film or a fashion blog, any text manifestation could be understood as a still and concrete instant of this dynamic flow of texts.
Modern and Gothic Gargoyles

The art installation, Crown Fountain at the Millennium Park in Chicago, devised by the sculptor and painter Jaume Plensa, is a great example of Barthes’ statement “a multidimensional space where a variety of writings clash and blend” (Chandler 2). Sculpture, media and high technology mix to create an interactive, artistic and unique space. Two gigantic totems, consisting of 42-foot glass cobbles towers, are displayed one in front of the other delimiting a shallow pool. A loop of images of the faces of Chicago citizens is projected in these towers and the spectator has the impression that the water comes from their mouths. There is a fourth element fundamental in this installation: the audience, who is not only the “decoder” of the artwork but also one of the elements that interplays with the space, the water and the images.
Plensa confessed that was very excited when the Crown family commissioned the work, he was “captivated by the chance to co-opt an ancient, historical symbol, a fountain - a meeting place where once people…celebrated their common humanity” (Plensa’s web). Plensa has been portraying ancient myths and reflecting human history throughout his art. His intention is to provide the artwork with a philosophical connotation inviting the spectator to self-reflection about the human condition. In Madison Square Park, in New York City, he exhibits Echo, a 44-foot sculpture that depicts Zeus’s Nymph who was punished to repeat the voice of others constantly. Plensa declared in The New York Times that “Echo” could serve as a meditation about how humans are constantly repeating other people’s words. (Kino) Plensa’s work can also be seen as spiritual artwork and we can associate the elements of the Crown Fountain with past civilization’s symbols of the divine. We can recognize in the big towers, reminiscences of the menhirs of the Megalithic Era, and also in the faces projected there an evolution of previous sacred sculptures such as the Moais of Eastern Island or the Olmec heads in Mexico. Moreover, the fact that the water of the fountain comes from the mouth of each citizen emulates the Gothic gargoyles from where the water is conducted.Heads.jpg
At Crown Fountain, Plensa aimed to make what he named “art totale” combining multidisciplinary arts in one design (Kino). The installation is highly conceptual because it values the concept of the artwork more than the virtuosity of the artists. In fact, to create Crown Fountain, architects, engineers and filmmakers among others surrounded Plensa. The display of the artwork is an important feature of the installation because it enhances the concept of a public fountain, a public space where citizens interact and dialogue. Plensa places the meaning of Crown Fountain in this dialogue and interaction. One tower is raised in front of the other; the images projected are in a conversation with each other and with the spectators who also participate actively by playing with the water, or passively by watching the scene. This dialogue flows inside the different elements in a loop that never ends.

Works Cited
Chandler, Daniel. Semiotics for Beginers April, 2003. http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/S4B/sem09.html

Jaume Plensa. The crown Fountain, Selection of projects in Public Spaces. http://jaumeplensa.com/

Kino, Carol. Monuments: “The poetry of Dreams”. New York Times. May , 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/08/arts/design/jaume-plensa-and-monumental-figurative-sculptures.html?pagewanted=all

Sagorika Sen : Bollywood inspired

When I read about Dialogism appropriation & intertextuality this week as well as the several examples that talked about these philosophies, I thought about the recent Bollywood/Indian movie I saw here at Washington DC. The name of this movie is "Barfi" and is set to be India’s official entry into the Oscars for the Foreign film category and is literally the talk of the town.
Unfortunately this movie has received some criticism for lifting some scenes from several hollywood as well as older Indian films. For instance take a look at the following scene.

." The Adventurer"

In his essay "Intertextuality Revisited : Dialogues & Negotiations in media studies " Gunhild Agger talks about Jurij M Lotman and his book "Universe of the mind" where Lotman touches upon the cultural memory. He says that "constant exposure in any culture to foreign texts or any sort of inter cultural exchange often raises questions of National identity especially in the context of contemporary society"(1). Lotman's cultural change model in summation says that at first foreign texts are percieved as strange, then they undergo a restructuration in terms of the domestic characteristics of that country, soon these "imported texts" are considered better off in their new surroundings than where they came from. Gradually these "texts" are entirely dissolved in the domestic culture & undergo transformations thus re exporting the now transformed texts to other areas.

I feel like this cultural model holds absolutely true to the Indian film industry.
Below is a poster from the popular Hollywood film "Memento" and it's inspired bollywood version.ghajini-memento_2.jpg

Below is " When Harry met Sally" and "hum-tum which means "me & you"
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This of course does not end here. Bollywood is constantly re inventing pre existing hollywood genres or coming up with a suitable version for indian audiences. Lately it is the culture of "hip hop" that has been inspiring several indian Musicians. Below is a song sung by Akon for a recent bollywood movie. Snoop Dogg, Kylie Minogue, Lady Gaga are some recent bollywood collaborations.

America has always been Bollywood's great obsession. In fact internationally Bollywood has mostly collaborated only with American artists. This is also extremely interesting since our colonial ties are with England and not America. This "cultural transfer" can be attributed to the pervasive nature of American media in the forms of movies, sitcoms and news channels.

Lauren Jones
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One of the main reasons Arrested Development is such a fantastic show, and soon to be fantastic feature film, is because of its memorable characters and, above all, its strength in story.

Throughout its three season run on television, Arrested Development remained true to its origins. Indeed, from start to finish, this show was constantly referring to past comedic elements and themes so as to fully create the world of the Bluths. In doing so, the writers permeated a kind of ‘Bluth Culture’ which persistently reinvented itself, and solidified itself, through the recycling of plotlines and inside jokes.

In his studies on Dialogism, Polyphony and Heteroglossia, Mikhail Bakhtin describes dialogism in the sense that it includes "every level of of expression from live conversational dialogue to complex cultural expression" and that it is "an ongoing chain of statements and responses, repetitions and quotations where new statements presuppose earlier statements and expect a future response." In essence, dialogue is cyclical: it derives from previous conversation and prepares for future conversations. It is an infinite loop in which we constantly create and reevaluate the culture in which we live in. Arrested Development is a perfect example of dialogism and the way in which we use words to build/grow from the environment in which we derive/produce.

For example, in Arrested Development' s first season we meet the Bluth's family matriarch Lucille, her youngest son Byron "Buster" and Buster's will-be "girlfriend", also named Lucille.
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Lucille and Buster Bluth have an openly awkward/dependent relationship that is consistently being referenced throughout the shows three seasons. In the first season, in an act of defiance and in an effort to find love, Buster begins canoodling with his mother's friend and neighbor, Lucille (Lucille II) Austero. Their romance flounders but Buster's life is yet to be rid of Lucille's. In yet another act of defiance, after his mother signs him up for the army, Buster takes a dip in the ocean (which Lucille Bluth has always forbade) and has his hand bitten off by a loose seal. In essence, with the use of wordplay and excellent writing, it just gets funnier and funnier every time the cast visits and reinvents an old classic.

Another example would be the Bluth's love for ridiculing the sanest member of the family, Michael Bluth, and, in-so-doing, calling him a chicken...


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...wish granted! Everybody watch the fourth season on Netflix!! Huzzah!

Works Cited:
Mikhail Bakhtin, Major Theory: //Dialogism, Polyphony, Heteroglossia//.

Arrested Development Main Cast:

Lucille and Buster Bluth photo:

Buster and Lucille Austero:

Loose Seal:

Obama/Arrested Development:


Week 4: Intertextuality associations
Meggie Schmidt

Daniel Chandler’s “Semiotics for Beginners” goes into depth on the relationship been text and image. The two are used in a complementary manner to enhance the understanding and create a memory by association. In Chandler’s concluding paragraph, “Texts are instrumental not only in the construction of other texts but in the construction of experiences” (Chandler 10). In my opinion, this sentence really encapsulates and consolidates the Intertextuality idea. People claim to know things by what they read. One example that comes to mind when thinking about this relationship between text and image is the Harry Potter book series by J.K. Rowling. The first book came out in 1997. Its popularity prompted the movie series, with the first movie premiering in 2001. A direct relationship between image and text was created. The main characters, Harry, Hermione, and Ron, instantly became the face of the book series. Through this association, automatic identification was created. When thinking about the book series, the faces of the characters and the scenes from the movies instantly come to mind.

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Intertextuality in the context of linearity, is exemplified in the television series “Lost.” This series premiered in 2004 and ended in 2010. The series begins in seasons 1 and 2 with flashbacks into the characters lives, before the plane crashed onto the island, to help the viewers understand the characters. During season 3, the series starts to show flash-forwards into the characters lives once they have been rescued and are off the island. The most interesting aspect about this show comes in season 6 when the series starts to create a sideways plot. Within the sideways plot there are two separates realities. One reality is the other storyline, if the plane didn’t crash on the mysterious island, while the other reality is the characters back on the island trying to understand why they were placed on the island. The realities overlap creating clues in each one for the viewer to discover and piece together. Some of the characters lives differ dramatically while others slightly deviate from their current lives. This type of writing helps the viewers to further understand the characters. The viewer is left to ponder what these flash sideways clips could represent and the ultimate meaning behind them.


Chandler, Daniel. “Semiotics for Beginnings: Intertextuality.” 10 April 2003. http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/S4B/sem09.html





Stevie Chancellor

DJs and Authorship : Intertextuality and Appropriation
One of the items discussed this week that I am really interested in is the changing notion of authorship in postmodern music and remix culture. This issue in particular is interesting to me for a few reasons: sometimes I am contracted to do work for hire and I am very interested in the social understanding of intellectual property law. This question of authorship, therefore, is very interesting to me.

This week’s readings discussed the notion of intertextuality and appropriation in the remix age. Mikhail Bakhtin was one of the first theorists to discuss the notion of intertextuality when he noted that expressions and words draw on a reference to the speaker’s current historical and cultural condition. He reaffirms this later when he ways that “a word…is interindividual. Everything that is said, expressed, is located outside the soul of the speaker and does not belong only to him” (95). It is impossible to isolate one’s self from the cultural and historical surroundings. In fact, humans necessarily do this to every piece of work they create!

Authors in this sense are not inventors; authors are curators of culture who put together a sampling from their cultural and social toolbox to say something. If authors are curators then, how do we credit them with the creative ability to uniquely construct a new work from pieces that others have also built? Moreover, should a responsible author give credit where he or she can track the samples he takes, or is this behavior expected? Lethem’s essay “The Ecstasy of Influence” suggests that this sampling is a creative necessity, but of attribution? That is a more difficult cultural and legal question!

external image Early%20DJ.jpgPart of the modern enjoyment of remix music is the ability to identify the tracks the author puts together. Remix music “…credits its audience with the necessary experience to make sense of such allusions and offers them the pleasure of recognition...It appeals to the pleasures of critical detachment rather than of emotional involvement.” (Chandler) I’d argue that when I’m listening to a well-DJed mix or watching The Simpsons that I am tickled to see references to other works that I know. It enhances the listening experience to expand out of the traditional expectations of a self-contained work.

These discussions lead me to discussing the evolution of the modern DJ. DJs in the 1950s were “human jukeboxes” who changed between songs and spoke to the audience. The rise of nightclubs in the 1960s and 1970s as well as the explosion of the hip-hop and electronic music scenes changed the nature of DJs to push them to mix music together. Now, DJing is much more of an art that takes the careful mixing of tracks to maintain a beat on the floor that people can dance to. Crowds expect and value DJs as creators of music, not just providers.

One DJ that I have had the pleasure of seeing live was Girl Talk. Every show is different and, while he may reach for the same songs, each show sounds unique. I remember being on the floor and the first track he brought on was Spice Girls “Wannabe” mixed with a deep electronic beat. It was awesome and got the crowd of mostly college students fired up with a reference to one of the most pervasive pop bands of the 90s. I have included one of Girl Talk’s songs as a reference.

I am left with many questions now. How does Girl Talk responsibly credit his sources? Is Girl Talk the author of “Here’s the Thing” or do we credit the over 20 samples he pulls into this song? I find it hard to believe that he licenses EVERYTHING he uses!

Works Cited
Chandler, Daniel. Semiotics for Beginers April, 2003. http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/S4B/sem09.html

Mikhail Bakhtin, Major Theory: //Dialogism, Polyphony, Heteroglossia//.

Arielle Orem- Week 4 Wiki
The theories of Intertextuality/Intermediality and dialogism can be demonstrated by examining graffiti art. By examining the graffiti as a semiological artifact, we can identify the unique codes upon which it is created, the artist’s knowledge of past graffiti works by other artists, and an awareness that the creation is temporal and will be removed/remixed by artists in the future.

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Graffiti art is typically painted using aerosol cans. It appears most frequently in outdoor public spaces. The style of “brushstroke” is often similar, using outlined letters and vibrant colors. “Traditionally” words were used as symbols rather than pictures, though this is changing. A brief look at how styles of graffiti have developed implies a shared history of the genre among artists who participate in its creation. Consider the images above; notice the progression from simple outlined letters as symbols, the inclusion of color fills and shading, and finally the inclusion of a portrait. The final image is perhaps the strongest example of the awareness among artists of works by others as it references the work by popular artist Shepard Fairey.