Last week saw the launch of Mixel, a free iPad app that lies at the intersection of image-saturated meme culture, open-source licensing and the viral essence of social media. Users draw on a library of crowdsourced and stock imagery, which can be cropped and manipulated to create digital collages.
The rub, as they say: each and every creation is completely and absolutely public for posterity's sake, featured in a gallery that allows for further manipulation. In other words, Mixel preserves the source files, so anyone who views an image can just as easily remix it as he or she sees fit. The limited features facilitate a particularly fast-and-loose type of creativity, taking the radical deskilling afforded by the availability of image-editing software to their logical conclusion.
After five years as the design director of NYTimes.com, founder Khoi Vinh left his last gig in July of last year to dedicate his time to Mixel. In a sense, he's created the ultimate social media platform, representing both the social aspect of sharing (and cross-indexing) images and media itself—the source material as well as the collage format&mash;in equal measure. It's an apt metaphor for the remix as a quintessential postmodern mode of expression... at least Mixel has the bandwidth for video collages, lest the Internet implode.
Peter Kafka of All Things D has a nice video interview with Vinh introducing and demoing the app.