At the heart of culture lies creative recursion: re-applying creative practices to artifacts resulting from previous creative practices. Remix culture could then be defined as processes of creative recursion that make this recursion as such recognizably visible. This is what makes a remix reflexive, as is explained by Eduardo Navas over at

[remix] allegorizes and extends the aesthetic of sampling, where the remixed version challenges the aura of the original and claims autonomy even when it carries the name of the original; material is added or deleted, but the original tracks are largely left intact to be recognizable.

As a result, works of remix communicate always and simultaneously on at least two levels: the asthetics of the remix as a new work and its status as a remix, referencing the remixed works. A nice example of the communicative power of remixing as recognizable creative recursion is provided by the most recent election campaign of the Pirate Party of Lower Saxony in Germany. To communicate ‘piracy’ as a brand, the pirate party creatively ‘pirated’ prominent brands.  Find below several of the respective campaign posters, all of which can be found on the campaign portal (“idea copiers”; some of the translations are taken from Torrentfreak):

The tenderest temptation since parties were invented.

We may not have Alps in Lower Saxony, but we want to ensure that students continue to know that cows are not purple.

I’m Voting It

Although we don’t sell fast food, by working together we can quickly make grassroots decisions.

The slogan

We don’t produce any cars, but we still want seamless mobility in Lower Saxony.

Discover your polling station

We build no Swedish furniture, but we still want to learn from the Scandinavian countries for our social policies.

Save the Elections!

Even though we don’t save endangered species on the oceans, we nevertheless value sustainable and reasonable environmental policies. (The German word for election “Wahl” is very similar to the German word for whale “Wal”)

Citizens would go voting

We don’t sell cat food, but we want to strive to ensure that every citizen can consume what they want.

Vote what connects

We don’t offer a hotline, but we know how important it is to have nationwide infrastructure and keep the Internet in users’ hands.

Voting is wicked!

We believe that products must be affordable, but we won’t be stingy with regard to workers and sensible investments. 

What is so impressive in these and other examples of creatively remixing brands is that the message would work even without knowing the brand alluded to. But the brand reference substantially strengthens the communicative power both by emphasizing the creativity inherent in any remix and by providing the additional subtext in line with the overall Pirate Party frame: copying can be creative.

How successful this strategy will be at the polls remains to be seen. The Lower Saxony state election is scheduled to be held on 20 January 2013.