Creativity Bytes: A Brief Guide To Video Mash-Ups
Here’s a quick reference guide that will seek to explain the trends, terms, and movements of the brave new media world of art and technology. So you can skim, digest, and be a pseudo-expert next time you’re cornered at a Speed Show exhibition in your local cybercafe. Because, hey, life is short and art long. This week: Video mash-ups.
So, what are video mash-ups?
Ah the video mash-up—the cornerstone of repurposed, recursive internet video culture. The mash-up involves editing together disparate videos to form a collaborative, transformative work derived from a whole variety of moving image formats: TV shows, films, film trailers, animations, adverts, infomercials, commercials, music videos, home videos, memes. If it moves, if can be recut.
Where did it come from?
The history of the folk art known as remix culture has been explored by Kirby Ferguson in his ongoing series Everything is a Remix. Ferguson chronicles how it started in music, explicitly with the birth of hip-hop sampling, and seeped into all aspects of the entrainment industry and beyond, where ideas and reference points are now regurgitated in an endless cycle. But the mash-up video is a peculiar thing. Back in 2003 multimedia filmmaker Virgil Widrich made Fast Film (above), an early kind of mash-up that tells the story of an abducted woman using footage from other films, while simultaneously telling the history of cinema from the silent film era to the modern. It used “65,000 individual images from 300 films, folded them into paper objects, arranged them in complex tableaux, and then brought them to life with an animation camera in a two-year production process.” But now, thanks to the relative cheapness of home-editing software, the process of video editing has been democratized and mash-ups are a mainstay of the creative internet. It has given birth to micro-sampling artists like Pogo and Kutiman, along with the supercut, trailer mash-ups, and transformative storytelling. Even whole feature films have used the mash-up as a narrative technique, like Spencer Halpin’s documentary about video game violence Moral Kombat, where talking heads are spliced into the game environments they’re talking about. Every aspect of our media-soaked culture is being remixed, chopped up, and reformed to make statements about politics, culture, or just for the megalulz.
This week you’re really digging…
Remix artist Jonathan McIntosh’s Donald Duck Meets Glenn Beck in Right Wing Radio Duck which hacks vintage Walt Disney with the Fox News channel’s resident quack. And more Disney remixing with Pogo’s Alice, which intricately reformats Alice in Wonderland into choral harmonies.
In the endless sea of information that is the web, the art of the mash-up allows for the wealth of data to be consumed in a manner fitting to the non-linear and sporadic way in which it’s presented. It’s a mirror of this virtual schizophrenic consumption, the semantic vernacular of the web. And as copyright laws fail to catch it up, it continues unabated.
Describe yourself as…
Edit, sample, mash up, splice, fragment, derivative, transform, remix, free culture.
Jonathan McIntosh’s Donald Duck Meets Glenn Beck in Right Wing Radio Duck
From copy to paste.
Appropriate to create.
To recap: Video mash-ups are the jumbled cultural flip book, the digital blender, of a fragmented web.
Next week: Video art.