Sunday, February 26, 2012

West Village Remix Culture

Lawrence Lessig, a Law Professor at Harvard and basically the most vocal critic of our antiquated trademark laws,  introduced a concept awhile back called the remix culture. Borrowing from computer terms, he stated the ideal culture is one of "Read/Write" access, where people are free to borrow (or remix) a given piece of art in order to create something completely new.

His term came to mind when I saw a theme of remixed graffiti near my West Village apartment. The images were remixed to create something entirely new.

I have no idea what compelled someone to reference the 1991 Phoebe Cates movie outside my apartment on 12th street, but I digress. The truly fascinating thing is that someone came along and tweaked the image to create something entirely new. The red pen is a nice touch.

Walking a little east and then north on Hudson revealed an entire row of the Kate Moss Supreme ads that are about as ubiquitous right now in downtown Manhattan as a MacBook Pro in a West Village coffee shop. I'm mildly obsessed with the ads since the 38 year old Kate still looks like the coolest woman on the planet. Cigarette in hand, her trademark leopard print coat and completely disaffected look. I'm in love.

Someone though, decided to change the ads up a bit, and the whole theme caught on with everyone else. What was once an image of hipster chic has been recreated as something ironic and parodic.

With just an addition of a sticker the Moss image has gone from chic to ironic and now to menacing.

Back towards Greenwich Street, the ad was in various states of decay. Some natural.

And some intentional.

I know it's an economic term, but I think it can be applied to aesthetics too. This is what creative destruction is all about.