Teresa Rizzo and Dustin W. Edwards have written articles on rhetorical emergence, as supported in the realms of television and remix culture. Both articles discuss assemblage or, the “building [of] a new text by compiling, aggregating, and juxtaposing a combination of already existing texts” (Edwards 47) and apply the concept to their arguments. Both articles work in unison to interpret modern-day rhetorical devices.

Teresa Rizzo discusses the idea of television and its shift as a closed system, a very strict and restricted structure, to an open system, one that is diverse and massively accessible. In her article “Television Assemblages.” She argues that television, which was once a binary system, has changed to a multiplatform construction that can be controlled and accessed much more frequently and, almost, at any time and any place.

Television, first popularized in the 1950s, was first restricted to one television set per household on a one-to-one basis. It was an event. It adhered to a strict programming schedule and its audience had to adjust their schedules in order to watch a program. Families would gather around the television set at a certain time and watch a show together as a unit. Still, there was little to no audience interaction.

Rizzo interprets this structure as being binary, with no audience participation. She uses the term, “reciprocal determination,” to explain this structure:

The concept of reciprocal determination is important for challenging the centrality of broadcast television and the idea of television and television culture as something with a fixed and stable structure based on fixed roles, binaries and hierarchies such as production/consumption, producer/audience, industry/consumer and even technologies/text. (Rizzo 19)

This idea began to shift, however. Some forty years later, television began to offer DVR (digital video recorder) services such as TiVo and audience involvement began to increase. At this point, viewers were able to record shows and other programs and watch them at their own convenience. Less than ten years later, online streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu allow the audience to stream thousands of television shows and movies on virtually any device, at any time, and almost any place.

Rizzo recounts the assemblage theory, as first theorized by the likes of Gilles Deleuze, Bruno Latour and Manuel DeLanda. It argues that the social is a closed system “with a fixed set of parts that constantly relate to each other in a predicable way” (Rizzo 7). The social, however, does not interact with any other outside structures (participation). It is also stable and unchanging. With the introduction of online streaming, the assemblage theory begins to crumble. Rizzo refutes this claim by explaining the rhizomatic assemblage:

This paper privileges rhizomatic assemblage because it best describes the dynamic, interactive qualities and functions of multiplatform television. A stratified assemblage is based on a fixed structure with relatively homogeneous parts and is frequently called a molar assemblage. (Rizzo 9)

Dustin W. Edwards’ article “Framing Remix Rhetorically: Toward a Typology of Transformative Work” discusses the recent “remix” culture and how its use can be useful and transformative in a rhetorical sense. He argues that remix is not a blatant attempt of plagiarism, but rather an imitation device used to create one’s own interpretation of a work, rather than using it without one’s own work.

In comparison to Teresa Rizzo’s article, Edwards argues that remix has the ability to “show the rhetorical potential of transforming already-existing materials into new texts for new audiences” (Edwards 42). This argument can be applied to the transformation of television from traditional analogue to a multiplatform structure. Edwards also discusses assemblage, as Rizzo does in her article as well, stating that it is “the most widely recognized method of remix” (Edwards 47).

In addition, Dustin W. Edwards also talks about three other supporting ideals of remix: reappropriation, redistribution, and genre play. All of these rhetorical choices can support Rizzo’s article. Television is being reappropriated by challenging the ideas of how and when programs and shows can be accessed. Because online streaming is taking over the audience’s idea of television and how it can be accessed and viewed, it is being redistributed across multiple platforms (Netflix on an iPhone, Hulu on a laptop computer, etc.). Lastly, because television and the way the viewer can watch certain shows and movies is being repurposed, it also can be considered as a subsection of genre play.

In conclusion, Teresa Rizzo and Dustin W. Edwards both bring up interesting and intriguing points about modern-day rhetoric. From the shift from analogue television to digital, multiplatform online streaming, television’s structure has shifted greatly, disrupting the way an audience views programs. On the other hand, remix culture is not just viewed as cheap intimation, but rather as a way to intimating and reinterpret a text.

Works Cited

Rizzo, Teresa. “FJC-177: Television Assemblages.” The Fibreculture Journal: Digital Media + Networks + Transdisciplinary Journal. 24 (2015). Web. 23 February 2016.

Edwards, Dustin W. “Framing Remix Rhetorically: Toward a Typology of Transformative Work.” ScienceDirect. Volume 39. (2015): 41-54. Web. 23 February 2016.

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