Monday, November 29, 2010

FEATURED REMIX: Groundless by Jennifer Proctor

This remix by Jennifer Proctor illustrates how a critical remix can have something to say about media and raise our level of media literacy, without directly addressing any overt social or political target. The airplane disaster movie is the target here, and Jennifer draws our attention to the tropes and conventions of the genre using footage from several such disaster movies of the Sixties and Seventies. She maintains the rhythm and pacing of the original genre so that we can react in a similar way to their original audiences, seeing the footage in an appropriate context, while combining the most overused shots to intensify and make more conscious their purpose and meaning. In this way, we can come to a better understanding of how Hollywood manipulates our emotions to tell stories.

In Jennifer's own words, "It's really a piece about the formulae Hollywood uses in building suspense and conveying violence, which also draws upon one of the great American/human fears and a former phobia of my own: flying."

Watch to the end as the video finishes in a surprising and unusual way...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

FEATURED REMIX: I Yam What I Yam by Bryan Konefsky

Appropriation Alliance is pleased to spotlight Bryan Konefsky and his remix I Yam What I Yam.

"In 1929 monocular vision was not limited to the gaze of telescopes (Edwin Hubble) or movie cameras (Dziga Vertov). 1929 was also the year that the one-eyed, “strong to the finish” sailor named Popeye was first introduced to the United States as a comic strip character. And, even after 75 years and 234 movies, Popeye’s rebel yell for the common good, “I yam what I yam” still resonates with the hope and conviction of his visionary colleagues." - Bryan Konefsky (2005)
Appropriation Alliance finds this work particularly interesting in regards to Remix for its technical approach---the hybridization of theoretical discourse through the audio overlay and coinciding pop culture video montages. This is a style unique to the better known remix categories such as vidding or mashups. The apparent effort to combine the historical rhetoric and remixed visuals compels viewers on a different level of scholarly engagement.

Bryan Konefsky of Basement Films, Albuquerque is also a leading curator of Experiments in Cinema.

"Experiments in Cinema is an annual, Albuquerque-based festival that celebrates recent trends in international, cinematic experimentation and offers a variety of ways in which attendees might think about the history of media representation and participate in shaping future trends in cultural representation. To this end we are deeply invested in year-long outreach efforts where we travel our festival to schools around New Mexico to inspire a new generation of home grown filmmakers to create movies in ways we might never have imagined possible."

They are currently still accepting submissions until Dec. 1st and promote Remix as a viable genre for submissions. Click here for submission details!


Chevron Thinks We're Stupid, is a new counteractive campaign launched by the Rainforest Action Network and The Yes Men to counteract Chevron's new "We Agree" campaign.

Encouraging video and graphic Remix, they are seeking submissions from everyone in protest of Chevron's damage to the environment. You can check out the video and print spoofs they have received at their spoof website:

For more information, also see:
Chevron's $50 million ad campaign gets flushed

Thursday, November 11, 2010



[Click on the images above to view larger, or download the full-resolution HERE. ]

APPROPRIATION ALLIANCE is pleased to announce the first Critical Remix Festival call for submissions. The Critical Remix Festival is a juried film festival that will serve as the kick-off event for the 2011 year at Gallery 25 in Fresno, CA. The opening screening will take place on Thursday, January 6, 2011 from 5 PM to 10 PM. The gallery will host screenings on each of the following weekends until January 30, 2011.

The theme for this inaugural festival is "War and Oil." The call for submissions is open to all artists working with the medium of Critical Remix (commonly found on YouTube and also known as Political Remix Video or media stylos). The remix must use found footage: for example, corporate advertising, Hollywood films, TV shows, archive footage of war, etc. The remix you submit must have been created after January 2009, and we especially encourage new work. Our sponsors and the Appropriation Alliance will serve as jurors for the festival, and are interested in seeing each artist's perspective on the themes of War and Oil*. An award of $1000 USD will be given to the remix artist the jury finds to be most deserving.
*To illustrate, here is a link to a Critical Remix Video on the theme of War and Oil created by Diran Lyons:

Submissions should be viewable on YouTube. The video should be 8 minutes or less. Please send the link to your video (one video per artist), along with your name, contact information, the official title of the work, and a brief statement (100 words) about the video to:

The deadline for submissions is: Monday, December 20, 2010 5:00PM PST. There is no entry fee; however we encourage a small donation to help us cover costs. You can donate through paypal at: and note ‘remix festival’ under the special notes section when you confirm your donation, or by sending a check written to ‘FCNV’ with ‘remix festival’ in the memo section to Fresno Center For Nonviolence, 1584 Van Ness, Fresno, CA 93728. All donations are tax-deductible and appreciated.

Artists will be notified of acceptance or decline no later than Tuesday, December 28, 2010. Individuals accepted will have their work shown at the event and posted on our site along with video from the opening. Additionally, remixers will be given permission to remix our festival and present it in a forum of their choice, needing only to notify us and let viewers know your event is a selection from the Appropriation Alliance Critical Remix Festival. Please note that your submission indicates your agreement to allow this to take place and for Appropriation Alliance to use images or excerpts from your remix for promotional purposes.

For more information on this open call for submissions, contact the Appropriation Alliance at

Saturday, November 6, 2010

FEATURED REMIX: Wanderland Mafia by Lindsay Scoggins

Appropriation Alliance is pleased to spotlight Lindsay Scoggins as the first Remix Artist to be featured and recognized under the Remix portion of the website.

Lindsay Scoggins is a BFA student from the University of South Florida with rising critical acclaim. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, in collaboration with HP and Intel, launched a recent exhibition titled YouTube Play: A Biennial of Creative Video. Out of 25 announced artist, selected from over 23,000 online video submissions and 91 countries, Lindsay Scoggins placed amongst the top 4 finalists. The announcement was made at a special celebratory event at the Guggenheim Museum, “YouTube Play. Live from the Guggenheim,” with a corresponding global live stream at

Marilyn Minter introduces the finalist Jury Selection in the following event excerpt:

Lindsay Scoggins' work selected, Wonderland Mafia, is featured in its entirety below, along with a corresponding statement from the artist herself:

"Wonderland Mafia is meant to illustrate a disjointed amalgamation of the media one encounters in adulthood versus childhood. Juxtaposition is presented between contrasting elements, referencing the phenomena of rapid textural encrustation in the world of new media. This marriage of appropriate content, both classical and modern, is intended to activate the viewer's associative memory, introducing personal reflection upon their collective media experience."
Lindsay Scoggins' Youtube Channel:

Friday, October 8, 2010

University of California & DMCA


Critical Writing by Desiree D'Alessandro

VENUE: Open Video Conference
Fashion Institute of Technology, NYC, NY
Oct 1 – 2, 2

Hello everyone!

My name is Desiree D'Alessandro. I am a Fine Art Masters student and Special Regents Fellow at University of California, Santa Barbara. I am thrilled to be here in New York and invited to present at this year's Open Video Conference among individuals like yourselves! Today I offer perspective as an academic, artist, and emergent activist and will give you further insight into what happened to me when I was charged with a first-time Digital Millennium Copyright Act violation at UCSB. Keeping in mind that the University offered me no institutional support or aid in defense, I am going to discuss the situation from a personal and activist perspective in regards to how many universities are stifling creativity and obstructing potential through network policing. So let us begin.

I come from a background of Digital Media practices and for the last year, I have taken a particular interest in Remix and YouTube. My online Remix portfolio ( demonstrates the critical and humorous nature of my practice and my history of exercising Fair-Use prior to the DMCA allegation. I am here to discuss how acquiring and utilizing copyrighted source materials for creating Remix Videos is deemed an “offense” by UCSB and partner campuses, that violates their Internet Terms of Services.

Remix Videos utilize a wide array of appropriated source material to reconstruct and recontextualize new messages. Obviously, in order to gather the sources to make this product, I did what any digitally savvy artist in the 21st century would do. I turned to the Internet and torrent applications. However, I awoke one morning to discover that my Internet had been disconnected and my new default homepage read in giant-block letters: "THIS DEVICE HAS BEEN BLOCKED DUE TO A DMCA VIOLATION."

I immediately contacted my campus DMCA agent to articulate my creative practice in order to appeal the accusation, clear the air, and lift the ban that I felt was wrongfully placed on my computer. However, to my surprise, the conversations that developed turned into a hostile bureaucratic nightmare.

I explained my history of generating Remix Videos and my reasons for downloading content as source materials in exercising Fair Use. I was informed this did not matter. When I told them I had numerous faculty members ready to write letters of support and attest for the legitimacy of my work, I was still informed it did not matter. In the eyes of the UC System, I was stock-guilty and there was no opportunity for justification.

UC does not individually examine DMCA complaints on a case-by-case basis. No! Instead, the University adopts a policy of collective punishment without exception. Understandably, a majority of allegations lead to legitimate illegal infringing instances, but the fact stands that there IS a chance that the utilization of such sources could lead to Fair Use for educational purposes and commentary on culture, which is protected by copyright law. Through this collective University ban, the opportunity for appropriation for critical and creative expression is being withheld from me and other practitioners hoping to engage in the contemporary discourse of Remix.

Needless to say I disapprove of this form of collective punishment, this one-size-fits-all penalty, and that Universities are so quick to turn on their students for fear of liability pursuits. As I continued to contend the situation, I was informed that no exceptions will be made, and any further resistance would potentially lead to serious repercussions, hefty lawyer fees, and even charges. Ultimately, as I lack the funds to continue this refutal, I had to accept the first-time offense penalty, which entails residential Internet ban for 30 days and my forced signature on a Notice of Copyright Infringement. Second and Third offense consequences include an Internet ban for 1 year or indefinitely, and jeopardized housing status and academic enrollment status at UC.

These varying threatening and intimidation tactics used by the University staff in order to silence my protest, in effect worked...... but only initially. Because in response, I created a counter-attack Remix with screenings on campus, and now I am here in New York, on this stage, and sharing my story with you today. YES! It is my hope where the University silenced and threatened me, this platform and public venue provides the megaphone for my protest to be heard louder than ever---and most importantly, in the company of those who seek change and reform.

We should be enabled to engage in Remix culture and exercise these practices without permission, and more respect to the creators should be acknowledged to neutralize the imbalance of power in the current unjust system. We are a culture deeply enrooted with pop culture references and audio-visual literacy, and critical responses today re-examine these references in ways that exceed words, in perhaps more pointed and pertinent modes of conveyance. This is our new method for speaking---for speaking OUT!

And I am sure this element of Activism is why many of you are present here today. Open Video and access to digital sources is vital for opportunities of expression and the proliferation of today's user-generated culture. We must continue our protest of the current legal hindrances, oppressive bans, and creative obstructions. We must be advocates for legal reform to reflect the current social standard and promote Open Video and digital access, for this will in turn apply a counterweight against these pressures that Universities are receiving because their endowment is under threat if they do not concede.

While I have shared with you today the story of what happened to me and the UC system response for DMCA allegations, it is my hope that this process and what it is now will not be the same in the future. We need an active avocation for what our future views toward digital culture SHOULD be and what access to that culture means in order to bring about change.

For what are the implications of a future without this revolt and reform? What are the implications of a society which continues to treat creators as criminals? That does not respect the works or discourses generated through forms of creative expression?

We are in a critical moment in society and in history, and we are united by our ambitions for reform in the name of progress. Free media equals free speech and Open Video is essential for us to articulate our voices in the 21st century.

These are the themes that Byron Russell and I promote through our organization Appropriation Alliance. Please feel free to talk with us, get more information, and pick up our call for Critical Remixes and Critical Writings on this subject of Open Video.

To conclude my presentation, I would like to screen a remix I made just recently for this conference. It depicts an agent from RIAA & MPAA that crashes a meeting & gets kicked out by Open Video & Fair Use representatives. I hope you enjoy it.

Thank you everyone and I look forward to speaking with you more personally!

Sunday, September 26, 2010


...Coming soon!

Interested in having us feature and review your work? Contact us at:

Donate & Support Appropriation Alliance!

Appropriation Alliance is always seeking additional support and sponsorship in order to expand our reach and generate a community of support for creative and critical endeavors.

Currently, we are proud to have the following active sponsors:

Peace Fresno
Fresno Center For Nonviolence
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom - Fresno
Iraq Veterans Against War

If interested in becoming a sponsor, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Additionally, we are also accepting donations through PayPal. The non-profit Fresno Center for Nonviolence has graciously volunteered to be our organization's Fiscal Agent to Receive these donations. Go to and note ‘Appropriation Alliance’ under the Special Notes/Instructions section when you confirm your donation. You can also donate through Postal Mail by sending a check written out to ‘FCNV’ with ‘Appropriation Alliance’ in the memo section to:

Fresno Center For Nonviolence
1584 Van Ness
Fresno, CA 93728.


IT’S CRITICAL! Ethical Foundations for Critical Remix Practice and Theory


Critical Writing by Diran Lyons & Byron Russell
VENUE: Open Video Conference
Fashion Institute of Technology, NYC, NY
Oct 1 – 2, 2


Thank You! I come here to speak to you today about the ethical foundations of Critical Remix, one aspect of which is ‘The Creative Lie’, a subject near and dear to my colleague, Diran Lyons, who wrote that portion of the paper. I will address the need to define Critical Remix as a free speech issue: Free Speech equals Free Media. By examining how we define this work and its boundaries, I will address how we might frame remix so that future artists can rely on these principles as a foundation for their right to create.

Since we have already fought these battles many times before in the history of art, I think it's peculiar that we find ourselves fighting yet again for the rights of artists to create using the material they see in the world around them. Duchamp, Rauschenberg, Warhol, Richard Prince, Jeff Koons. This discussion has already taken place! But the powers that be are relentless in their efforts to control, and so these same rights are again under attack. This time, let us think broadly with our definition of remix so that the next time someone remixes a 3D hologram or future medium, s/he won’t have to do this all over again. After all, there are already artists, such as Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung, whose work exists in the margins of what we might consider Critical Remix.

Critical Remix, meaning: all work which reuses digital media to critique media and society. Political Remix Video, or PRV, is probably the most common term and quite descriptive, but ‘political’ fails to communicate the basic nature of the work as a critique of media and a critique of society as reflected in media. All remix is political when we consider it in light of copyright issues, or when we accept Thomas Mann’s proposition that "everything is politics." But if ‘political’ means politicians, laws, and the affairs of the state, then quite a few of the best remixes are not political. Moreover, the word ‘political’ tends to inject a flavor of partisanship and single-mindedness that overshadows other amazing qualities of this work.
Eric Faden offers us both ‘Critical Media’ and ‘Media Stylo’ as alternatives. ‘Stylo’ is French for ‘pen,’ and by extension ‘critique,’ making ‘Media Stylo’ oddly suggest the act of writing, as opposed to digital media. On the other hand, ‘Critical Media’ suffers from ambiguity in its use of the term ‘media,’ perhaps explaining Eric’s need for two separate expressions.

Instead, consider Critical Remix, which is both inclusive and specific. ‘Critical’ because the work is critique, ‘critical’ for its criticizing perspective, and ‘critical’ because it is necessary. ‘Remix’: a recombination of existing and created elements, some of which may include video, audio, animation, graphics, or other components. By examining our terminology and defining boundaries, we can further refine our understanding of Critical Remix and its potential in a way that everyone can understand and appreciate. Gaining the appreciation of a broader public will solidify Critical Remix as relevant to both public discourse and fine art.

Governments, corporations, and media outlets work in the service of the rich and powerful to shape our perceptions to their ends. Critical Remix subverts this propaganda by empowering individuals with limited resources to speak in the language of the original message, recontextualizing it to shed light on the misleading or false messages contained within. And while corporations may someday tire of targeting teens for downloading songs or remixing movies in tribute, they will always target people who aim to derail the corporate agenda. We must protect the ability of remixers to create their art by building the ethical foundation for their work now, and protect future remixers whose work will exist in forms we have yet to imagine.

This freedom is needed especially for those whose ideas are controversial or unpopular. History shows that new ideas tend to be difficult to listen to or accept, even when they reflect reality. How are we to recognize the herald of our evolution if we silence the voices of dissent? Thomas Mann also said, “Opinions cannot survive if one has no chance to fight for them.” Indeed, one can feel the passion of a Critical Remixer through the clear message and strong point of view that energizes his or her work. At times they seem drawn to controversy, ironically polemical in light of the fundamental goal of remix to dismantle hegemony of discourse. But this is just a natural result of their dedication and willingness to fight for their beliefs. We need people like this for their creative energy and dedication.

Founding Fathers like Benjamin Franklin were passionately involved in publishing, and made certain that the First Amendment spoke clearly of the broad need for freedom of speech and press. While these rights may still exist in a literal sense, they mysteriously do not apply to digital media. Artists are forced to break the law to collect material for a legal purpose. Why do DMCA and fair use doctrines seem to take precedence over First Amendment principles? I encourage you to hear my colleague, Desiree D’Alessandro speak about her experiences with this issue tomorrow in the auditorium at noon.

The legal intersection of copyrighted content, fair use, and remix demand great attention, but an equally significant ethical issue concerns the truth value of Critical Remix. The detractor of Critical Remix is concerned not with whether this type of speech is permissible but whether it ultimately contains any cultural value. Detractors of Remix allege, correctly, that this type of work intentionally obfuscates the original contexts of the component parts that comprise it. They claim, also correctly, that taking video clips out of context is by definition an act of deliberate misrepresentation. Where we peel away from each other is the idea that such deception is an offense sufficient to dismiss Critical Remix outright as propaganda. Their argument is, if the truth as a remix artist sees it cannot be supported by material which is faithful to its original context, but instead requires ripping it out of context, then it has no truth value. Five lies edited together do not the truth make.

But, consider the treatment of Shirley Sherrod, a casualty of propaganda. As with Jeremiah Wright's sermons, a brief excerpt from Sherrod's speech is shown on Fox News, and the knives come out. She is fired as a result and the White House apologizes for her seemingly offensive statements. But, just a few more seconds of video show the context and meaning of her speech are the opposite of what was conveyed in the sound bite. This is a hold up at knife point of a person's entire life at the hands of Fox News. It's one thing to play with sharp objects. It's another to leave them out where kids can get at them and another thing still to hope they do.

Now... Such criticisms, pointed as they may be (pun intended), are misdirected when applied to Critical Remix. It is here that an aesthetics of deception, as developed by Friedrich Nietzsche, remains incredibly relevant to discussions on media theory and contemporary representation. Nietzsche contends that illusion is a defining characteristic of representational artworks, and it is through this illusory sphere – ‘The Creative Lie’ – that consequent truth claims emerge with which we can form new understandings. He says that art "treats illusion as illusion...," "speaking the truth quite generally in the form of lies," and he goes on to address this apparent riddle by saying that within the context of art, illusions "do not actually deceive us, but awaken belief by means of surfaces."

To make this idea more concrete, recall Rene Magritte's painting of a pipe, humorously informing us that what is depicted on the surface is not an actual pipe, but stands as a painterly illusion of the object in order to raise larger critical questions about representation and the shortcomings of language. Cinema is likewise not ‘real,’ but rather fashions an allegorical vehicle to larger ideas. Similarly, Remix embraces the primacy of illusion so characteristic of art, using it to clarify and contribute to political discourse.

For instance, consider the trailer for ‘Terrorizing Dissent’, a strong example of Critical Remix. We see John McCain on national television accepting the Republican nomination for President. While he speaks about a "freer, safer, more prosperous world," we see concurrent shots of protestors being gassed outside. As the speech continues, the two scenes are slowly integrated, culminating in an image of John McCain at the podium in front of the chaos outside. The composite is rough, obviously not original footage, and yet his words and the juxtaposition of images and sounds create a holistic context that is closer to the truth of the situation than the staged performance broadcast on television.

Understood in this light, the truth claims of Critical Remix are founded on ‘The Creative Lie’ and do not qualify as propaganda. In examples of the strongest work within the genre, the voices of both dissent and criticism are present through a pastiche of clearly unrelated clips. The viewer is not duped by these crafted relationships, but willingly suspends disbelief long enough to engage the artist's rebuttal or further explication of a critical issue. Critical Remix thus repudiates the ideologies embedded within the source, providing a corrective lens to the manipulative memes and postures of powerful institutions
‘The Creative Lie’ and free speech equals free media are just two examples of what makes this work important. There are other important aspects of this work that remain to be articulated. But we will never know what we might learn from remix if we fail to protect it.

What can we do to further promote it? We can reclaim the creative freedoms that have served us so well in the past and secure the rights of the individual to engage in public discourse. We can speak out for this work, claiming a place for Critical Remix by viewing, discussing, creating, and encouraging these artists. For my part, I am pleased to announce the ‘Appropriation Alliance Critical Remix Festival’ on the theme of Oil and War, offering a grand prize of $1000. You can find our call for entry, the full text of this paper, and a place to submit your critical writing on remix by picking up one of these cards and visiting our website, Thank you!

SCREENING & DISCUSSION: Oil and Water Remixes

Critical Writing by Desiree D'Alessandro & Diran Lyons

VENUE: Oil + Water: The Case of Santa Barbara and Southern California Conference
Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, University of California, Santa Barbara.
April 8 – 10, 2010
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

DesireƩ D'Alessandro: Hi everyone! How are you? (Audience responds). Good! My name is Desiree D'Alessandro. I am a Fine Art Masters student here at UCSB, and this is my colleague, Diran Lyons. He is also a former UCSB Art Department graduate, as you can see... (D'Alessandro gestures toward Lyons, who is sporting UCSB apparel). Apparently proud of it! (Audience laughs). We're very excited to be here today and gathered with professionals of such a prestigious stature; all of which are well-informed and very skilled. We're excited to engage in this discussion about oil and water through a historical and a contemporary lens that spans local, national, and global networks. Working within the realm of digital media, Lyons and I have curated a small selection of works that we have generated and wish to share with you today. We are also going to be screening a work by Jonathan McIntosh, who is also a major proponent in the realm of Political Remix Video. A certain aspect that we really wish to emphasize today is PRV's accessibility. Anyone with Internet access can view these works and hopefully engage in the commentary and public discourse that is generated through the viral and public platform of YouTube. Without further adieu, I invite Lyons to present us with the context that surrounds these works and how they relate to activism. He will also share with us how his works have recently received acclaim on Thank you.

Diran Lyons: Thank you, Desiree. To put things tersely, Political Remix Video does have an activist tendency---to follow the keynote address that we just heard---in that it is primarily interested in directing the viewer's imagination toward topical politics and current critical issues like oil. For example, I'm going to very briefly screen a video by Jonathan McIntosh---it's about a minute long. By tweaking a handful of subtle moments within a Chevron commercial that aired a few years ago, McIntosh is able to cast a critical shadow upon the oil company and reframe the entire message of said commercial. He does this by replacing certain clips with other existing footage from different contexts, thereby allowing the viewer to see some of the irresponsible behavior Chevron has committed as a result of its global meandering and reckless pursuit of capital. By swapping in the new clips, McIntosh creates a visual narrative that corrects the claims of the commercial's narrator. After this remix, I will move on to some of the atrocities Chevron has committed specifically in Ecuador over the past thirty years, as they should assume responsibility for these when their purchase of Texaco took place in 2001. So, I would like to now screen the following works that focus on Chevron: The Power of Chevron's Human Energy from 2008, by Jonathan McIntosh, and Chevron's 8 Steps (Ricardo Reis Veiga Remix), a remix that I made this year.

Lyons: Again, the first video was by Jonathan McIntosh, and as you can see, it was obviously very critical of Chevron. In this case, Political Remix is valuable not in its capability to embody a rigor as comprehensive as some of the presentations we've seen today, but in terms of its ability to rapidly disseminate information into the public discourse. It can direct our attention toward some of the more comprehensive literature and those types of arguments, all in a quick, audiovisual format. Before handing things back to Desiree, I'll screen my work Jake Gyllenhaal Challenges the Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and after the screening I'll briefly offer some reflection on it. Here, I think PRV is extremely valuable because it is able to grab, for example, household names like Jake Gyllenhaal and reinsert these into the political discussion. Both of the films that are remixed in the following video--Donnie Darko and Jarhead--have absolutely nothing to do with the new point of view that the remixed video espouses. But recontextualizing these films by integrating them with other video materials allows me to say something completely different than the original sources, and the final result is a video critical of both the source material and the President's foreign policies. That is the critique. That is the interest.

Lyons: That was Jake Gyllenhaal Challenges the Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and like most Political Remix Video, it is very reliant on what Friedrich Nietzsche might call the Creative Lie. It's an artistic strategy which uses illusion and deception intentionally, but in such a way that the viewer is not really duped by it. Through this artistic gesture, we're able to suggest deeper deductions on specific issues. In this case, the video imagines--as Nietzsche might say--a "people of the future" who would readily assert fortified postures against ideological positions that they find disagreeable, confidently challenging power structures with passion and without fear. Remix forcefully fosters this sort of attitude and environment. And finally, I think it is really good for exposure to place such works not only on places like YouTube, but also to screen them in competitive public festivals, that way they have a broader reach and can get on places like Internet Movie Database. And, for example, can go up thirteen thousand percent in popularity (using a laser pointer, Lyons circles a screen shot of the popularity gauge that reveals the remix work up by over 13,000%). I don't understand this number, but I was very happy when I saw it! (Audience laughs). The film reached #1 on for five weeks, and as a result it generated further interest in this type of work.

D'Alessandro: To continue with the final screening of our presentation, notice there is a shift in tone between the remix that you just saw, and the remix in which we are about to present. Additionally, there's also a shift in political topic and subject, where the former remix addresses issues on oil, this one is going to address issues on water conservation and sustainability. The remix also continues to develop this conversation of reconfiguring source material to present an alternative truth, or as Nietzsche would assert, a Creative Lie. The juxtaposition of humor and criticality in the following work potentially amplifies its accessibility to viewers who can engage in the agenda behind the message and also enjoy the mash-up for what it is. This remix is one that I have made recently, and is titled World Water Shortage vs. Golf Course Consumption.

D'Alessandro: So I decided to address issues on water and hyrdopolitics when I encountered a national fact that California is one of the leading golf course-congested states in the US. I began to speculate on what this means in terms of water commoditization in the face of the proliferation of such a spectacle. Through remix, I felt that this investigation merited the utilization of a wider array of source footage to recontextualize and create an environmental message to boost the accessibility of the work---to juxtapose the difference in the way the topic is handled in the news vs. mainstream media commercials, and treat each cut as a continuous conceptual stream across a variety of media dissemination platforms. The resulting critical yet humorous narrative ultimately promotes the utilization of water in a more judicious sense and advocates my disapproval of maneuvers to convert this critical world resource into a profitable commodity. All the works we have screened today are grounded in progressive postures that challenge power structures through innovative audiovisual material, addressing political institutions, corporations, and environment crises that directly correspond with this year's IHC theme: Oil and Water.

Lyons: This concludes our presentation, and we thank you for viewing our selection of works.

D'Alessandro: Yes, we look forward to your questions in the panel discussion. Thank you!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Appropriation Alliance Introduction

Welcome to the Appropriation Alliance website! This organization and the people behind it are dedicated to the emergence of Critical Remix as a new art form. This site will host an online journal, provide links to resources, cover newsworthy events and highlight the best new works in the world of Critical Remix. We encourage this new form as a tool of personal expression perfectly suited to the media-driven world in which we live.

The Internet has created an illusion of multipolarity in our media. Yet, the vast majority of content is owned and delivered through video by a handful of organizations on behalf of powerful economic interests. These corporations and political figures count on ownership of the ‘airways’ to allow their propaganda to go unchallenged by the populace. By creating an alternate universe wholly divorced from history or context, organizations like BP manufacture an identity completely removed from reality, one in which they can reinvent themselves as a business that goes, “Beyond Petroleum. ”

Critical Remix can undo the spell by taking that same polished, controlled message and putting it into a more useful, truthful context, one which can illuminate context and history, retaining a sense of humor along the way.

Critical Remix is in truth a kind of reporting, comparing statements in a manner similar to a writer who contrasts quotes from a politician within an article. Unfortunately, those who engage in this practice remain on the periphery, ignored by news organizations and accused of piracy. Such attacks could not be further from the truth.

After all, Critical Remixes are obvious confections created from existing media which announce, even scream their identity as Remix. The same cannot be said for mass media, be it in the form of advertising, news delivery or political discourse. The assumption of truth is at the heart of the propaganda power of media, and this assumption is the very antithesis of Critical Remix.

To advance this form of expression through dialogue, to explain how Critical Remix is different from propaganda, and to shed light on the ways that media outlets try to limit or control remix, are essential reasons for the creation of the Appropriation Alliance. Join us in dialogue to help recapture freedom of expression, and stand with us in defiance of those who would gag the voices of dissent. Since no one person or perspective can be enough, we call out for many voices to raise a chorus against the drone of the media masters.

Contribute and add your voice to the chorus!

Sunday, June 20, 2010


The Appropriation Alliance is an organization created to support the use of ‘critical remix’ as a tool for individuals who wish to use media to comment on media. The powerful in government, business and religion use media to create and control our understanding of society, politics and world events. For this reason, we feel that people need to be able to comment on, criticize or place in historical context the video and other forms of communication that these entities create.
The Appropriation Alliance is developing a website that will be used as a public resource for the community. The website will host a forum for discussion and criticism of remix, document the publishing of new works, provide a record of existing works in the genre, and provide general guidance to artists navigating the complicated legal issues surrounding the use of public domain and copywritten works.

Byron Russell
( was born and raised in Oakland, California. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art from Pomona College in 1994, his Master of Fine Arts from The Peter Stark Producing Program at the USC Cinema School in 2000. He currently serves as an adjunct instructor at Fresno City College teaching such courses as Digital Video Production, Video Techniques, Flash Animation, Three Dimensional Animation, Three Dimensional Design, Desktop Publishing, Art Appreciation and Storyboarding.
Byron first got involved with Political Remix when he attended a show in January of 2010 put on by Diran Lyons where he also met Jonathan McIntosh and Desiree Alessandro. He was sufficiently moved by the work to curate a collection of political remix into the 2010 Rogue Festival in Fresno, California in March 2010. Byron felt passionately enough about political remix to become an advocate for the form and to found the Appropriation Alliance to push the medium forward.
In addition to this work, Byron is a sculptor, video artist, animator and lover of nature.