What is a Remix?

last updated: 18.08.08

A remix is a new thing made from existing things.

The word remix has its roots in the disco/hip-hop scene, but it's a long standing practice that can be found in all areas of culture and society; new ideas are built on the foundations of previous knowledge. Read more here.

Remixing is a central part of the Pool project. We're making it easier to do in a number of ways.

• Attribution
• Creative Commons licensing
• Allowing downloads


All Pool items can be associated with other items by using the 'this is related to' field. This can be set when you first upload a work, or edited later. Just start typing in the field and suggestions of other items will be displayed in a drop-down list. You can click on one to select it. You can also make references to works outside the Pool as well.
By attributing a new work to an existing one, cultural connections can be made explicit and knowledge extended. Under restrictive rights frameworks, remixing as a cultural practice has been carried out largely 'under the radar'. This gives it an edge, perhaps, but also limits its impact.

Creative Commons licensing

Pool is using CC as a way for contributors to flexibly manage the rights of their works. This includes a clear permissions path for remixing (or not), set by the contributor and immediately visible to remixers. Works that can be remixed will display the following text: 'This work is licensed under a Creative Commons BY/BY-NC/BY-SA/BY-NC-SA/public domain licence.' If one of those licences are not present, then you may download the work, but not alter it in any way.

When you upload your contribution, you'll be asked to choose how you want to manage its rights and if you'll allow other people to remix it. We hope that you do allow re-use by attribution, because this kind of collaborative creation can generate compelling, multi-voiced media. Easy accrediting of authorship is one of the reasons that CC is favoured by many in the creative community.

Read more about it in our help section here.

Allowing downloads

Unlike many commercial social media sites, Pool aims to facilitate the exchange of ideas and media peer to peer, so we are allowing downloads.

When you look at a video in the Pool, you're seeing a smaller version of the original. This is a compressed, lower quality 'flash' preview file that can be streamed to your computer in real time (depending on your connection).

But if you want to work with this file some more you will want the full version. You can download this as explained in our help section here.
All audio on Pool is pretty much full quality already, as mp3 files.

Still images, like video, are displayed as smaller previews. They are not so downgraded as the videos, but you should consider downloading the better quality version.

Don't forget that you can remix text. A good example is this absurdist poem generated from this film essay.

Ultimately if you're really getting into reworking some Pool material we encourage you to contact the contributor – they'll probably be excited to hear from you. They'll be able to provide you with the best quality uncompressed original file and, who knows, this could be the start of a great collaboration!

You can watch a short video of John from Pool talking about his example remix here.

• Further reading

This article is just a brief introduction to this topic, if you would like to follow up with some further reading here are some links to some more in-depth discussions on the theory and politics of remixing, as well as some interesting technical work being done on collaborative creativity platforms.

Nick Diakopoulos has a number of well written articles here

Community Annotation and Remix: a Research Platform and Pilot Deployment

Remixing citizenship uses the idea of remix as a way of talking about social progress