I like fandom, I really do. It gets a bad rap because when it’s bad, it’s really bad. I don’t think about it too much, but I’ve done fan art before. It just didn’t occur to me at the time. A couple years ago, back in my youth (and by youth, I mean sophomore year of college), I loved to leave graffiti on other peoples’ facebook walls. Graffiti was an application that would allow the recipient to play back the drawing as the drawer drew it. I was fascinated by this. However, as I continued to do graffiti, I started having problems coming up with drawable ideas.
Then I rewatched Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and a dazzling new idea occurred to me- I could illustrate screenshots from that movie. At this point, I had no tablet. I, however, had quite a bit of patience.
Thus, this following graffiti was drawn for a friend:
That was so much fun, I drew others. I eventually began using quotes and non-screenshots.
I even did some for other movies.
I loved doing Wild Wild West because the quotes were just so silly.
The Matrix was also a good place to look for quotes:
Since Heath Ledger died, I felt it also pertinent to use quotes from A Knight’s Tale.
For ninth grade English, one of the books we had to read was Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie. I highly recommend it- it was a beautiful book. That’s not my point. Right. Okay, so there was a part of the book that talked about the Sea of Stories. There were fish within this sea and they ate stories and reworked them while digesting them, and they came out with entirely new stories out of the components of the old.
This, to me, is the essence of mash-up. You take two or more concepts, narratives, stories, and you mix them together and make something new. Because of the associations we have with the components, their own meanings take on new aspects in light of the remixing.
However, I have to admit: if one of the components is from an obscure story or source, the message loses some of the force. For instance, if nobody knew about Requiem for a Dream, part of Collegehumor’s remix of the York Peppermint Patty commercial would lose some clout. Since it is a recognizable source, it creates a very strong remix. Check it out:
So, where does the limit of mash-up occur? What constitutes a mash-up, rather than just a rote parroting? Is a music video really a mashup? There’s a bit of a blurred line there, IMO.
When I was younger, I LOVED AMVs (Anime Music Videos). Fans of a specific anime would put clips to music. Sometimes a lot of thought went into these AMVs, sometimes not. It was often difficult to tell. However, it was fun to look at and sometimes the video would skew my perspective of the song. I have purchased music based off of those music videos.
[On a side note- I just drank an energy drink and now I'm getting really hyper, but I'm writing this during class so I can't do anything about it and I moved away from this page and now WordPress is telling me that it can't perform that action, but Goddammit, I'm not Hal, so it better not spazz out and OW FEEDBACK. JIM GROOM, AUGH.]
Let’s look at some AMVs. Or music videos in general. Yeah, let’s do that.
Chibi sent me a link to this. It is amazing and I love how they got the mouths to match the lyrics. I would consider this a mashup given the amount of thought put into it. Not to mention, the meanings of the components are skewed by the mixing of the two.
Let’s take a look at System of a Down’s Chop Suey mixed with Final Fantasy Advent Children. That’s been done so many times, the videos on Youtube are probably countless. However, some of them are definitely stronger than others. I have a special place in my heart for this example since one such video sent to me by my brother started my high school AMV kick and introduced me to System of a Down all in one blow. The combination is excellent due to the frenetic pacing of parts of the song and parts of the movie.
First, one that isn’t terrible strong. It’s a series of clips set to the song. The author didn’t seem to put a lot of thought into the timing and placement of the clips, so it doesn’t feel like a remix.
Now, take a look at this one. Despite some really weird transitions between widescreen and fullscreen, the author of the video makes some really good choices about the timing, editing the speed of the clips, and other things.
This next video may not be appropriate for all viewers. Remember Avenue Q? Well, some bright person put The Internet is For Porn to Disney clips. This is the result.
Now, Chibi, Mauve, and I agree that this is a mash-up. It definitely changes our perspective on its components by the comparison within the mix. I think it’s much stronger near the end.
Speaking of Disney, have you heard Nick Pitera? He has a bunch of videos on Youtube where he sings Disney songs. Mauve says that his others videos are just plain covers, but this following video is a mash-up. Thoughts?
Okay, so after a couple weeks of looking for this video, I have found it. In hindsight, it should not have taken me this long. It represents everything I love about music remixes. I despise some of the songs that are in it, but they actually ADD to the remix as a whole. Check it out:
Collegehumor is where I tend to find good remixes of songs. Here’s another one.
But we’ve also got parodies like This here Anakin Guy by Weird Al and Frodo Don’t Wear the Ring by Flight of the Conchords. Could you count them as mash ups? I think they are, but it’s a loose interpretation of the term mash-up perhaps.
Then, we’ve got to ask ourselves, “What about people who write covers of songs? If they put lyrics to a previously lyric-less song is that a mash-up or is it just a parroting of the same theme?” Since I like inclusiveness, I would consider Kate Covington’s cover of Roses of May (originally by Nobuo Uematsu for Final Fantasy IX) as a mash-up. She adds extra meaning to a song that already has ties to some cultural source (a videogame).
Here’s a violin cover of Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, played by Joe Edmonds. Excellent!
But does this add meaning or another layer to the original song? It’s a cool arrangement, sure, but should it be included with remix culture? I’m inclined to agree with Mauve when she says that it’s pretty, but it’s not really remix.
Since I can’t draw any overarching conclusions about remix culture, here are some videos we found in the course of this discussion:
Muse versus Lady Gaga? How does it work so well?!?
I was horribly confused. “Did you not come from the Silver Well?”
She shook her head and said with a strange glint in her eyes, “That was the Sacred Well. The Silver Well leads to the other side of the world.”
I asked her, “How do you know this?”
“The bird sang it to me.”
She took me by the hand and we began to walk. The armor was silent now, like the woods. My sister bounced and giggled, sometimes letting go of my hand to pick a sweetly-scented flower. After a bit of walking and gathering, she began to weave a net out of the long stems, tied together like the daisy chains of her true childhood.
Her wild song, hummed under her breath, grew louder and louder as we walked. I finally realized that my sister had not been humming. The sharp music took on a cadence of a dance and it surrounded us like water.
We had reached a clearing. Silver birds sat, ornament-like on the trees around us. They sang a song of such clarity and beauty, a song of knowledge that I wept at, for I could not understand the language. My sister sat down and watched them, rapt. Her hands were the only things that moved, continuing to weave her net of flowers. I cannot say how long we stayed there, distracted from our quest as we listened to the most beautiful sound I have ever heard.
With a piercing WRAAAACK, a discordant cry that set my teeth on edge, a huge black bird swept down amongst them. The silver birds kept singing, but tried to move out of the way. It snatched up one, who made a single sound of distress before being eaten alive. It went for another one, a courageous fellow who had attempted to knock it off the branch while it had dealt with the other. This one too disappeared down the cavernous gullet. The beating of its wings made the black bird’s chest ripple as it set upon a third.
My sister yelled something and jumped to her feet- we humans are so very slow when it comes to reacting. She threw up her net and I leaped forward to help her. Between us, we captured the black bird and hauled it to the ground. Once it knew it had been caught, it stopped fighting.
She tied the net closed around it with deft little hands while I watched, my revulsion at the creature making my mouth sour.
when the leaves became spotted red, i had to go
signs, signs, were they all my that my life was comprised of?
maggie tried to force me to drink the waters of lethe, but i stopped her and she spoke no more
fevered, seeing constellations in the growth of desert flowers, i climbed to the top of the mountain
twos and threes, searching for answers from the peak
maybe we’d be closer to Him
maybe we’d be beyond heavy air
my head grew fuzzier
dehydration, the madness of disease
when i thought myself well, i had already forgotten what i left beneath the mountain
julius, lizzy, leon, and i all sat with some people who didn’t introduce themselves
they said that names were signs of dirty civilization, signs of a ephemeral and pretentious existence
thousands of bats, bugs, birds fled the forest as we watched absently
it was beneath us, lords of mountaintops so high that i cannot remember ever being warm, not even when i lay with the others to bask in the sunlight
when the nameless elders died suddenly, having contracted my former symptoms, we were jolted out of our comfort and discomfort into something new
we had no shovels and the ground was too tough for hands, so we put them in the Sanctuary and pulled the building down atop them
leon died as we wandered down the mountain like lost sheep, another victim of the disease
lizzy fell and broke her ankle
i carried her the rest of the way, though i was still weak from my so-recent illness
we reached sea level and moved along a river to a town
the town was deserted, so we followed the road to a city
it was like the skin of a snake after molting,
hollow and transparent,
lizzy made a sound like a lamed bird and i felt something i had not felt since before i fell sick
we wandered through homes where the televisions fuzzed and shhhhhed
house sparrows had found their way into an apartment complex and flew between geometric rafters
julius got sick and we sat next to him in an unfamiliar home
a residence that bore the marks of child residents; pink bedroom, drawings on the refrigerator of flowers and the family dog
when our friend got better, we moved on. i could not for the life of me remember how to drive a car, but we found a wagon and my companions sat in it and thanked me for not leaving them alone
they held hands when they thought i couldn’t see
they smiled at each other when they thought i wouldn’t notice
i did, but remembered that i had somebody and had lost her
it wormed at the edges of my consciousness right before sleep
did it bother me that she was probably dead? that what we had was a fleeting dream?
i tried to drown thought in work, dragging my companions in a red wagon behind me
muscles sprouted in my limbs, wiry sinew
i came to be a hunter, a gatherer, a leader, and a mute
my tongue, once so occupied in asking questions and giving answers, would no longer work for me
thus, i found that i could not answer the call we heard in the crater
nor express my wonder at the sight
not cry out in surprise
when the one who’d offered me water in sickness came climbing up to meet us
she has joined us, but will not address me
i hold out hope, though
I thought I had been giving enough time to each subtitle. Now that I’ve watched it away from the Mac, I find that I needed to give each subtitle another couple seconds. Sorry. I got better about putting shorter captions later in the video, but I need to work on it.
It’s done. I’d apologize for the jerky transitions and the lack of conclusion/introduction, but I didn’t want to make it any longer than it had to be.
For your pains, here is “What prevents me from speaking the truth with a Rhoetosaurus?”
i did this. i am a monster. no better than the things i set loose
oh god, oh god, they’re in the stairwell. i can hear their nails scrabbling against the concrete and wood. it sounds like death.
di water. electrical current, something of alchemy, something of chemistry. we weren’t exactly sure what we were doing, but it was important. more important than any of us. not carol, who had discovered the cure for cancer, not damien, who had gone to the middle east and helped people. they were good, [procreating] good people.
i am going to vomit. there’s no hell horrible enough for a [procreator] like me.
we had safety measures. we had containment units within containment units. and those were surrounded by yet more barriers and blockades. we had nothing but the best in mind. alarms seemed unnecessary. the military was only marginally interested. they were the contingency plan. none of this was supposed to happen.
the spooks warned us to leave off, of course. they have a [procreating] sixth sense about these things. we continued on. it was going to be our holy grail, our masterpiece. magnum opus.
i wasn’t there when the thing happened. i was busy watching the latest crichton movie. i was going to ask this chick on a second date (that’s what i told myself).
it never happened. the high alarm sounded and i hightailed it out of there. i knew what it meant, even if i didn’t actively admit it to myself or anyone else. i left them behind and holed myself up in the tallest building i could find.
from there, i saw everything. the mass murder when it started, the exodus of survivors to the docks, which was only more murder when they found that they were out there too, in torpor. waiting. waiting. oh, god. they’re waiting for me too. i’m running out of food.
i have a camera. ihave a [procreating] camera with high zoom. i can see the deaths of others from afar, but this new perspective is not a comfort.
they’re coming. all i can think of is that i should have asked that chick on a second date. even if the world ended in the next minute, at least i would have had that hope. am i the last one left? alive, i mean?
they told us that this would happen. hints in movies, in comic books, in popular culture… they let us know what was coming and we laughed it off. that which was to serve as warning became jejune, banal, ignored.
we went on with our lives, working, eating, sleeping, [procreating], ants on a [procreating] hill, hauling our [bottoms] out of bed at the crack of dawn while we hurtled towards a future we would have laughed at.
the scientists were busy, the leaders too. they had contingency plans for everything. we had entered the safest [procreating] era the world had ever seen.
nobody was happy, but god[expletive] we were safe.
scientists and leaders, they had alarms for everything. alarms to tell us when we were to be disinfected, alarms to tell us when to get on the trains, alarms to get out of buildings, into buildings, to warn us of threats to our mental and physical health.
and the high alarm. no real purpose existed for it when it was built. kids called it, you’ll get a real kick outta this, kids called it the “get on your knees and find god” alarm.
goycafy. y means yahweh, if you were wondering, since goycafg is a [female dog] to say.
one day the alarm went off. trucks of all kinds rumbled past my door. the wife and kids prayed.
i followed the trucks until i heard the gurgling of millions of throats. i couldn’t go further. i ran, ran back to my house like a mother[procreating] coward. we latched the gate, bolted the door, closed the shutters, did everything we could.
we could keep them out, but we had locked ourselves in. three weeks in and martha could not stand it. she was the first to give in to the cabin fever. she would stand over the stove, looking at the wood we’d taken from the kitchen table to blockade the windows as though she could see right through it. she liked to sing, you know, before the goycafy.
now she muttered. i listened to her for a little bit, but i could feel her words wind like little worms into my chest.
i couldn’t think like that. it wasn’t fair to the kids.
i woke up on a tuesday (i think) and she wasn’t in bed.
she’d gone out to meet them. i heard movement downstairs.
it was by the grace of some higher power (or maybe a continued cruelty) that we survived. not a bite amongst us. we eluded those [illegitimate boy children].
decision to be made. house compromised, we stole through field and out to the docks. we’re heading to the ocean.
only chance now. corpses don’t move over water, i hear.