Digital Storytelling Reading Responses

Is Cosplay really a remix? L&K Chapter 4 response

In chapter 4 of Lankshear and Knobel’s New Literacies text, the authors speak to the concept of digital remixes.  We are now shifting from exploring single literacies, to mixing (or remixing) multiple literacies to create digital stories.  This chapter explores different kinds of remixing and goes into detail regarding certain new remixes such as online fanfiction and anime music videos.

L&K define remixing as “taking cultural artifacts and combining and manipulating them into new kinds of creative blends and products” (p.95).  They go on to explain that digital remixing is not limited to music, but uses a wide variety of different digital and internet tools to tell stories.  One of the first digital remixes created by amateurs is called “Dark Side of the Rainbow”. This production took The Wizard of Oz movie and layered it with Pink Floyd’s album Dark Side of the Moon.  Although it originally wasn’t created using a computer, one can argue that it is still digital through the use of film and music.  This video can now be found easily on YouTube. Here’s some instructions on how to do it yourself if you’re interested; gathered from the internet archives.

Link Cosplay by White-Lulium Creative Commons license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/
Link Cosplay by White-Lulium Creative Commons license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/

The text goes on to identify how society, and mostly youth, are getting very creative with their remixing. One of the ways that L&K identify as remixing is Cosplay.  This is where I’m going to have to disagree with the authors.  Cosplaying does not meet their definition of remixing (cited above).  In Suzanne Scott’s article: “Cosplay Is Serious Business”: Gendering Material Fan Labor on Heroes of Cosplay the practice of Cosplay is defined as: “the practice of constructing costumes and props inspired by fictional characters and embodying those characters in real-world spaces such as fan conventions” (Cinema Journal, p.146).  She goes on to explain that Cosplay “typically presents itself  as a form of mimetic fan production”(ibid). In other words, cosplaying is a reproduction, not a remix.  People who Cosplay put significant time and effort into their costumes to try and as closely reproduce the original character’s image.  We must not confuse remixing with reproduction.

 

The rest of the chapter focuses on more noticeable remixes such as photoshopping and mashups.  Before reading this chapter I thought the word mashup as multiple images, media, or music mashed together in a non sequential way. I now know different.

I found the Anime Music Videos section of this chapter particularly interesting.  After reading this chapter I went and looked up some Anime Music Videos. My husband noticed and I explained to him what I read in the chapter.  We have been watching an episode of “Naruto” every night since (one of his favorite Animes). So you can say that Lankshear and Knoble have inspired me to watch more Anime.

I’m not sure I’ll ever change my mind about Cosplay and remixing.  I guess L&K and I will just have to agree to disagree on that one.


 

References:

Lankshear, C. & Knobel, M. (2011). New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning. New York: Open University Press.

Scott, S. (2015). ” Cosplay Is Serious Business”: Gendering Material Fan Labor on Heroes of Cosplay. Cinema Journal, 54(3), 146-154.

 

About Lisa

5 comments

  1. I agree that cosplay is not exactly a remix. It’s more imitation. I suppose you could say it is a remix of identity, perhaps. But even then, to me, it seems like a bit of a stretch. If someone were to combine two characters together and cosplay as that hybrid creation, maybe that could be considered a remix, but I am unaware if that is the goal of cosplay. Is it more about accuracy in your imitation than creativity?

  2. Hi Lisa,

    I would consider who or what individuals are cosplaying and how they are cosplaying. For example if you are cosplaying a character with no lore or characteristics then what attributes do you imitate. From my understanding cosplayers will take on what and how they believe their character should act. Even if a character does come with a backstory then at times cosplayers may take on the character and add on attributes they believe are fitting. This is how I see cosplay as a remix because cosplayers are not only imitating but also adding on what they believe.

  3. Hi Lisa-
    I agree with you about cosplay that it is difficult to picture it as a remix. It seems more like acting like a particular character. Maybe if they mixed multiple characters (or themes) into their own unique character it would be more like the other remix types that they mention in the chapter. I feel like I understand the purpose of the other types of remixing categories and mashups much more clearly.

  4. Interesting take on the chapter. I didn’t really know what cosplay was until very recently. I went to Vegas and they were having a huge video game festival and ran into a number of interesting characters. I guess looking back at it it seemed fairly normal to see something like that in Vegas. About a month ago they had that same festival in Denver. I see your point with the difference between remixing and reproduction. Would you consider it remixing if they were making up their own character from a video game? Or better yet, if a person blended together two characters and made a costume for that?

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