low frequency : high snr

Visualizations of remix culture

In Research on January 19, 2008 at 4:37 pm

I’m very excited about having finally managed to sort through the data and produce what I believe are some of the first visualizations of our contemporary remix culture. The data is from the ccMixter online community which is focused on music production and remixing. We have managed to plot all the links between source and derivative works in this community and have conducted a preliminary analysis at the Participatory Media Lab, with the aim to understand the structure and the dynamics of participative action, especially as relating to the collaborative production of digital media content.

One of the visualizations, consisting of all uploaded audio tracks that have been remixed and all remixes thereof, is shown below. I was very surprised by the structure, density and connectedness of the resulting network. I was expecting to see a more weakly connected set of “islands of common interest”, as defined by genre, friendships or location. Instead, before we even go into deeper analysis, the figure suggests that the creative reuse of cultural content (such as enabled by licenses like Creative Commons) leads to a very high degree of cross-pollination across authors and across works, forming a dense network of greatly enhanced collaboration and creativity through open sharing and reuse. We have posted a working paper and more cool hi-res visuals on the Participatory Media Lab wiki.

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