How Re-mixes And Mash-Ups Were Part Of The Reformation

steve_byrnes_featured.jpg

Going under the category of 'stuff everyone has seen but Steve', here's a piece that, if you haven't seen it, you will find fascinating—a little documentary on mash-ups called 'Everything is a Remix'.

Much of what we do as Christians is a remix. The word of God interacts with our lives as we live out the legacy and mission given by Christ. We benefit both consciously and unconsciously from those who have gone before as their ideas mix with others to bring about new unions of thought, new technologies, new perceptions and new art.

As an example, the one invention mentioned in the remix documentary that caught my eye, the first printing press, invented in 1440 by Johannes Gutenberg, was a mash-up of several technologies:

  • Paper, invented around 1800 B.C.
  • Ink, invented around 180 B.C.
  • The screw press, invented  1 A.D.
  • Movable type, invented 1040 A.D.

Without this clever marriage of ideas, there would be no Reformation as we know it.

Of course, being mostly educators, we are partial to the story of how these happy (or unhappy) joinings appear on the planet and the names and dates and contributions are very important to us. We like to be a little more conscious about these things for their own sake, but also to feed the imagination and build new, beautiful things with those rediscovered building blocks.

Also, knowing the stories can help us to avoid repeating a whole bunch of already failed experiments and project our present direction along trajectories and paths already traveled.

This documentary points to the issues around the idea of intellectual property and all the laws that have aimed to reward those who work hard to research and build, while allowing the use of those new ideas as they become the furniture of the culture. A lot of weight to bear for this short remix documentary, but it bears up well, in my opinion.

The world is really struggling with issues of intellectual property and fair use and has been for quite a while. We Christians live in two kingdoms at once, and living in the 'left hand' Kingdom of this world means that we have to interact and struggle with it too.

Enjoy the documentary.