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Meta-Semiotics (Awesome Youtube Composition)

[via - where you may also find the full lyrics]

This piece of recombinant awesomesness is just beautiful - and, importantly I think, NOT A REMIX.

See, recombinant compositions began as remixes, this is true. But increasingly I have come to think that recombinance is not the same as remixing and this is a lovely example of why.

This composition - and it is a composition - is created from fragments of culture, but is not a remix of any of the pieces.

It is rather something new, created from existing pieces.

[Of course, every new piece of culture is created from others, because culture is inherently recombinant.]

The difference, as I've said before, lies in the level of complexity - the signs being deployed have previously been deployed, and that deployment is being incorporated into the composition.

This is what's known as meta-semotics: a secondary sign, where such is considered to be of a different quality than the meaning of a word in language. The reference of the one [secondary] sign is to another [primary] sign.

[You can argue, of course, that words are in some ways the same, that every word has the weight of all its uses built into its cultural meaning, but nevermind that for now.]

The power of using cultural units that have been deployed before comes from their density - they already have a large number of hypertextual meanings associated to them, which can then be leveraged, acknowledged, pushed back against, in the composition. 

The title - The Golden Age of Video - that author Ricardo Autobahn gives his pieces alludes to these allusions.

So recombinance lets you say a lot with a little.