One of the central ideas that Jonathan Savage and I discuss in a book to be published in 2015, is that originality conceived as the ability of someone to produce something ‘new’ and innovative, is a distraction from the actual way that culture is created. Instead, creativity is more usefully understood as a social and collaborative process enhanced by recent innovations in networked communication technologies.
Nothing comes from nothing … We live in a world where stuff is made by combining and recombining cultural resources in an open-ended process of remix. In other words, all creative culture emerges from processes of plagiarism and literary debt. We do, actually, stand on the shoulders of giants. Here’s that argument made in a visually engaging way by Drew Christie in an animated opinion piece originally published in the New York Times in 2012.
And here’s what Drew Christie said about making the film:
In creating this Op-Doc animation, I copied well-known images and photographs, retraced innumerable drawings, then photocopied them as a way to underscore the un-originality of the entire process. (Un-originality — or, maybe, excessive originality — being very much in the news this week, as students of the creative process and Bob Dylan buffs are well aware.) My film is chock-full of unlabeled images that make cultural, artistic and literary references. Additionally, the two main characters are modeled to look like the Russian filmmakers Andrei Tarkovsky and Sergei Eisenstein. I hope this piece is at least unoriginal in an original way or perhaps even originally unoriginal.