The Building Blocks of Culture
James Grimmelmann, July 7th, 2004
As a tie-in to Spider-Man 2, Spite Your Face created a short movie of Spidey battling Doc Ock, done entirely with Legos. It’s a cracking good little romp, and it made me think of some of the other great Lego remixes I’ve seen, such as 2001: A Lego Odyssey and Monty Python Lego. Legos have become one of the great physical media for animation, from Michel Gonrdy’s innovative music video for the White Stripes’ “Fell in Love with a Girl” to entire communities of Lego animators.
Why is that? Perhaps because Lego is the original remix toy. A Lego set isn’t some finished plaything: it comes in pieces, and you get to build it yourself. And then, once you’ve built the model, you can unbuild it and put it back together in your own way. You can make mash-ups in which Harry Potter Lego characters meet Star Wars Lego characters at a car wash.
Think of Creative Commons as Lego for culture, helping the building blocks of creativity snap together in neat new ways.