Everything is a Remix: the iPhone edition

iPhones (iPhone 5, graphite gold iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C)

The Everything is a Remix video series by New York-based filmmaker Kirby Ferguson plays on the remix culture and its key mantra that everything around us is a remix of previously made stuff and that all original material builds off of and remixes previously existing material.

The four-part video series and the companion website covers songs that remain the same, explores the remix techniques involved in producing films, details how innovations truly happen and criticizes the laws that fail to recognize the derivative nature of creativity.

The fifth one (not part of the series, it’s a standalone video) is about the iPhone. Go ahead and hit the More link to watch it now, you know you want to…

Though the clip makes an argument that can be hardly proven, it certainly give us some nice food for thought.

In a nutshell, Kirby is saying that Steve Jobs and his team at Apple didn’t really invent Multi-Touch on mobile devices. Instead, Apple took the technology that’s been available for years, improved it vastly and shrunken it to fit inside mobile devices.

The video also does a great job explaining how real-world objects influenced the choices Apple made during the original iPhone development – hello, skeuomorphism!

Before you jump straight for the comments without bothering to watch the entire clip, keep in mind that Kirby does not accuse Apple of plagiarism – quite the contrary, he credits the firm for engineering a device that everyone’s trying to copy wholesale.

Here we go.

I’m really curious as to what your comments will be after watching the video.

His next series, This is Not a Conspiracy Theory, is launching soon (get notified here).

Here are the previous four remixes.

I’m liking his description for the System Failure video:

Our system of law doesn’t acknowledge the derivative nature of creativity. Instead, ideas are regarded as property, as unique and original lots with distinct boundaries.

But ideas aren’t so tidy. They’re layered, they’re interwoven, they’re tangled. And when the system conflicts with the reality… the system starts to fail.

The part about ideas sounds like something Jony Ive would say.

Of course, you don’t necessarily have to share the remix culture’s values. After all, if all inventions are influenced by prior art, copyright laws would be totally unnecessary.


Is everything we create really a remix?