Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Mashup Reading, Listening & Viewing

The projects presented tonight were wonderful, with a nice range from thoughtful, funny to serious. Well done. When thinking about mashups, think about post-colonial theory: empires imposed their cultures upon subjugated peoples, whose own likes, dislikes, desires and narratives were pushed aside. When those peoples wanted to respond, if they wanted to be heard, they had to speak the language of the empire and use the forms of the empire to critique, criticize, mock and admire. Thus you have Avishai Margalit writing sonnets, Wole Soyinka writing five-act plays and Chinua Achebe writing novels. Today, in America, big-budget Hollywood is an empire. So too is much of corporate culture, the recording industry, New York publishing and politics.

Think of mashups as a way of speaking back through a normally one-way channel, and yes, the language is movie trailers, ads, propoganda and telemarketing. Know however, that much of the art we love comes through these same channels, which means that homage and horror alike will be articulated in the same way.

Start with the Kleptones and Bootie. Don't miss John Denver's "Thank God I'm a Country Boy." Get used to hearing Dolly Parton remixed with Metallica as you read Horton Hears a Heart and view the mashpics at Worth 1000 like Art Ads. Check out cartography mash at Google Maps Mania and here's Giant's top ten Mashed Movie Trailers, though there are thousands of similar reedits on Youtube.

Let's blog this week about making wine from the grapes of appropriation, and do link to examples of success and failure.

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