Chinese Grassroots Remix

Tonight, Henry Jenkins, the media scholar who coined the term “Transmedia”, came to our class to share with us his insights into many current fascinating media phenomena such as convergence culture, spreadable message, and empowered grass roots fan culture. Last fall I read in the L.A.Times about Dr. Jenkin’s coming to USC Annenberg school from MIT, and since then I have been craving a chance to listen to his lecture, so tonight was truly a great surprise!

After Dr. Jenkins left, Professor Williams continued the interesting discussion on the clash between pop-remix culture and the current regulatory system, and prompted us to think deeper about this topic. Seeing so many different interesting examples of pop-remixes tonight, and how the internet has empowered individuals to remix and create pop culture, I was reminded of a recent online photo remixing phenomenon in China: a street photo of a homeless person nicknamed Xili Ge (Brother Sharp) by Chinese netizens flooded many Chinese forums and message boards and attracted millions of viewers marveling at his vagabond style and worshiping his mix-and-match fashion sense. The photo eventually hit mainstream media and even fashion magazines. Fervid fans also remixed his image with many pop culture images and created a whole new Brother Sharp phenomenon on the Chinese internet.

Here comes our Brother Sharp:

For more about how this fanatical fandom helped Brother Sharp find his long lost family, check out this post by China Hush:

Xili Bro, the vagabond of mix-and-match, reunited with family after 10 years


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