Memes, GIFs, and remix culture

Compact appropriation in everyday digital life 1

Authored by: Eckart Voigts

The Routledge Companion To Adaptation

Print publication date:  April  2018
Online publication date:  April  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138915404
eBook ISBN: 9781315690254
Adobe ISBN:


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Translations, adaptations, appropriations, and remakes transform, change, and vary existing cultural material. So do other forms of ‘chronological’ or ‘genealogical’ intertextuality or intermediality or interarts in a diachronic perspective, such as allusions, parodies, pastiches, imitations, rewritings, mashups, remixes, samples, prequels, sequels, and – in the arts – montage, collage, and assemblage. Illegal intertextuality is called plagiarism or fake – for artistic purposes, we speak of fake art. Originality, it seems, is an innovative form of transforming existing material. Culture is produced via a reshaping of existing culture. We might address these cultural processes by using verb-derived nouns (adapting, transforming, remaking, remixing) in a sense quite distinct from the nouns denoting a rather more specific genre (adaptation, transformation, remake, remix). Whenever the synchronic dimension needs to be highlighted, researchers prefer the term transmediality. In sum, we might speak of the poly-processes of artistic production, all of them adaptive, derivative, and appropriative in character.

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