Remix in writing has very different expressions, and is grounded in very different legal, philosophical and creative materialisms, in Western and Chinese cultures. The infringement of authors’ Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) in China is not only an irritant for Chinese-Western commercial and legal relations. It also points to different formations of the creative and legal domains across global space, and serves to introduce notions of creativity and originality that are largely unfamiliar in the West. Calligraphy, as a pictorial and material mode of writing, comprises a practice of Chinese remix in which the apprentice traces the lines of the master’s work: repetition of Yun 韵 (‘composed body movements’) stimulates the expression of Qing 情 (‘feelings’). What appears from a distance to be slavish imitation actually involves a philosophy of learning (or more precisely, of ‘unlearnt learning’) that, bypassing plagiarism’s traps, effectively ‘remixes remix’ as a creative model no longer dependent on the familiar Western rationales for the legitimacy of remix as appropriation, homage and/or pastiche. To see this though, one has to deploy a Taoist rather than a Confucian framework in the analysis of calligraphic practices. The case of Kathy Acker, allied with the work of Gilles Deleuze, reveals a largely invisible lineage of Taoist-influenced remix in Western creative writing. In this way, calligraphy emerges as a model of remix relevant to all forms of writing—for all writing is material, whether calligraphic or not. Further, as Acker shows, the materiality of writing constantly replenishes its remixing with cultural elements that may not be otherwise visible.
Field of Research
190104 Visual Cultures
Socio Economic Objective
970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society
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