Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Larry Lessig and the Revival of Read Write Culture

I was simply astonished watching this Larry Lessig TED Talk. Not only do Lessig's ideas coincide with my own, but the issues he raises are almost exactly the same as I have raised in several essays on this blog.


Lessig:

"In my view, the most significant thing to recognize about what the Internet is doing is the opportunity to revive the Read Write culture . . ."


"The shift from a readerly culture which privileges paid, professional journalists to a writerly culture in which anyone can post their opinion and discuss a topic has been underway for some time now."

Lessig:

"Digital technology is the opportunity for the revival [of Read Write culture] . . ."


"To me, the proliferation of artistic expression, the videos on YouTube, the online novels, the loads of bad poetry, cannot be equated with a loss or diminishment of culture but instead a replenishment of it."

Lessig:

"User-generated content, spreading in business in extraordinary ways like these, celebrates amateur culture--by which I don't mean amateurish culture--I mean culture where people produce for the love of what they're doing and not for the money. I mean the culture that your kids are producing all the time."


"'More artists, more culture,' I say--even if the great majority of those artists are naive and unskilled. The individual acts of creativity, that's what's important, and with more people creating, I see the phenomenon of mass amateurism as a boon."

Lessig:

"Remix is not piracy . . . I'm talking about people taking and recreating, using other people's content, using digital technology, to say things differently."

From my essay, "What is Contemporary Art?":

"We are living in the age of the re-mix; where the creative act of re-mixing and combining styles and vignettes claims an originality of its own. This may be scary to some, but to others it means unfettered creative freedom."

We need, according to Lessig, two types of changes:

"First, artists and creators choose that their work be made available more freely; for example, for non-commercial, amateur use but not for commercial use."

"And second, we need the businesses that are building out this Read Write culture to embrace this opportunity expressly--to enable it--so that this ecology of free content or freer content can grow on a neutral platform . . . so that more free can compete with less free . . ."

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2 comments:

AndyEWilliams said...

As a writer I've of course been aware of recent studies suggesting that readership of literature is in steep decline: http://bit.ly/FiYgA But reflecting on my own reading habits I've realized it's not a decline in reading but a shift towards content on the media of the internet. I agree with Larry that the internet is leading towards a more lively and participatory culture than we have ever had before and that this shift may actually be a good thing. But it also likely means that writers will have to cater to the internet.

Lethe said...

@Andy

Writers already are catering to the Internet . . . one example of this is the publishing industry. The publishing industry used to market authors and sell their books; now the marketing is on the writer's shoulders; authors are expected to have websites, blogs, twitter accounts, Facebook pages, and the publishing house doesn't do any of that.

Increasingly, writers and all artists for that matter, are representing themselves more, and marketing themselves more via the Internet.

Lethe