Remix and Semiosphere: Empirical investigations into crossmedia innovations by the AV-industry’s SMEs in Europe’s North
This paper will work on two levels. It will, firstly, discuss the potential of theoretical integration among the as yet disciplinarily distant theoretical approaches that, despite the distance, are connected by putting an emphasis on the remix phenomena in culture as having constituent role in cultural and societal evolution. Secondly, in the light of the theoretical discussion the paper will discuss few empirically studied recent examples from Northern Europe – how AV-industry’s micro-companies have innovated their output by applying some of the principles of “remix cinema”, “crossmedia production” or “transmedia storytelling”.
The theoretical discussion will focus on the potential of ‘cultural semiotics’ (Yuri Lotman, et al.) to interpret the form innovation and long term evolution in cultures as facilitated by dialogic practices in cultures. These dialogues are seen to result in the remixes of existing genres and forms that, once realized and poetically significant, constitute effectively cultural discontinuities that innovate the cultural domain in terms of meaning making or meaning communication. Yuri Lotman’s theory of the semiosphere is well known for its ability to focus on the dynamic processes in the culture as well as for being able to connect culture’s microdynamics on the level of its individual texts and their mechanics of meaning making to the macro-developments on the levels of either national cultures or, for instance, global media culture. This particular ability of explaining the mechanics of textual innovation and evolution at different ‘levels’ could be understood as a valuable complementary approach to Lawrence Lessig’s normative approach to the contemporary “remix culture”. Lessig discusses regulative ways to enable ’free’ grassroots creativity in the network era, so that, eventually, facilitate more innovations in creative and cultural industries. Lotman at the same time analyses what are the semiotic and poetic dynamics that effectively constitute such cultural innovations. I propose that both of these approaches could meet in and contribute to the ’cultural science’ approach currently developed by scholars of the Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation of Queensland University of Technology. This approach puts a special emphasis on understanding how the network-mediated relationships among people and enterprises facilitate cultural innovations that can subsequently bring about change for the societies.
The empirical part of the paper will, first, introduce the First Motion initiative, funded by the EU Baltic Sea Region Programme, that focuses on improving the regulative conditions for the AV-industry’s SMEs to start producing audio-visual content for the new media platforms, to differentiate their content output and/or to start experimenting with various forms of transmedia narratives. The rest of the paper focuses on the select ‘crossmedia productions’ (from Germany, Denmark, Latvia and Estonia) that were funded by the initiative. Based on the qualitative interviews with the producers of these projects the paper discusses the challenges they had to meet in the process as well as the creative methods that helped them to arrive at their innovative solutions or forms of meaning making.
Name: Indrek Ibrus
Affiliation: Tallinn University Baltic Film and Media School
Bio statement: Lecturer, convenor of Crossmedia Production MA programme