Launch of the Public Domain Remix contest in France

The Public Domain Remix is ​​a contest organized by the Open Knowledge Foundation and Wikimedia France, which aims to give a new life to the public domain by encouraging the creative remix of works that are no longer protected by copyright law. The objective is to promote the public domain by showing what can actually be done with these works.

PD remix

The competition aims to encourage the use and reuse of public domain works while promoting transmediality: Rather than maintaining the same medium, the public will be encouraged to move from one medium to another (eg, remixing a literary work into music, a photograph into sculpture, etc.). As such, the Public Domain Remix is ​​divided into five categories: Arts, Literature, Music, Video and Hardware.

To celebrate the begining of the contest, a special event was organized during the OuiShare Festival, at the Cabaret Sauvage in Paris, on Saturday, May 4th 2013.

Several artists had been invited to present their work and explain their artistic approach around the notion of remix. These artists intervened as mediators between the works and the public, who was invited to remix the public domain, either by working individually or by contributing to the creation of a collaborative work. By means of specific workshops, each artist encouraged the public to remix these works in an innovative and creative way, while sharing their own skills and ideas, presenting the tools that can be used to remix certain types of works, and explaining to the public how to use these tools.

#####Literary workshop (Olivier Vilaspasa)

A collaborative workshop was organised to help people randomly make a prediction about the future on a particular issue. Taking content from the the book “Treaty of political economy” (1841) of the economist Jean-Baptiste, the public was invited to cut sentences into pieces to create a pool of subjects, verbs, adjectives and adverbs.

The audience could then ask a question (which was hidden) and the answer was given to them by randomly drawing out words from the pool. Each participant left with a cut & paste set of Questions and Answers arranged on a page specifically prepared for this prediction.

#####Technical workshop (Primavera De Filippi)

Materials were provided to the public (such as books, paintings and illustrations in the public domain, cassettes or CDs of songs which are in the public domain, videos, etc.) as well as tools (glue, scisors, pliers, hammers, screws, bolts, drills, etc.) to allow the public to remix the work.
The purpose of the workshop was to encourage the public to create new works using public domain works as raw material (in the true sense of term). Many collages were made​​, and several sculptures were created, stories have been illustrated with 3 dimensional characters, books have been turned into pirate boats … everything in a wonderful atmosphere of fantasy and chaos.

#####Poetic & musical workshop ( David Christoffel )

As a response to a reading of A discourse on method by Descartes, the public was invited to read aloud and record on the fly the words excerpts from a selection of texts in the public domain related to question of rethoric in speech. The set of readings, words and thoughts collected and produced by the public has then been remixed into music, giving rise to a sort of musical interchange with the public domain.

#####Musical Workshop  (JL’z Team Factory)

Starting with a soundtrack recorded in 1914 (Favorite airs from The Mikado by Edison Light Opera Company), the public was invited to explore and select fragments thereof. These sound samples were then crushed and distorted with the functions proposed by the open-source software Audacity. They were then duplicated, re-ordered, stacked together or looped throughout the song, creating a new melody and harmony, a new rhythm giving a new life to the music.

#####VJ workshop: audiovisual performance (Laurent Carlier)

The VJ workshop invited the public to work around the notion of contribution, development and self-empowerment,  blurring the lines between taking and giving in a collective process, to reach a consensus between collective autonomy and individual self.
The goal of the workshop was to produce a series of audiovisual performances, to give new life to visual and sound archives, through a process of common-sense and self-expression: an experimental process of immediate exchange and intersected media (merging public contributions with public domain presentations) to create new performances in a single movement.

Arctic Gymnopédie by Les Dupont

#####Get Involved!

If you have not been able to join us at this event, you can still participate to the contest until December 31st 2013 by sending pictures of your work on the following website: Prizes will be awarded to reward the best works in each of the five competition categories: visual arts, literature, music, video, and hardware.

The Open Knowledge Foundation will aim to organise more Public Domain Remix competitions in other countries and is looking for local partner organisations. Are you interested? Get in touch!