What is Mashup?
The first mention of "mashups" that came to my attention was from the music world, where DJs, producers and musicians would combine pre-existing music releases to create a new blended composition. More recently, there was a rush to identify a new generation of web-based applications as "mashup" software: there was much discussion of "aggregrate feeds" or the combination of data from different sources achieved with the use of intelligent programs or "bots" which had advanced capabilities approaching the level of human understanding. This site will not devote much attention to web-based, or business application uses of the term "mashup", but will instead focus on how this concept (or process) is used in visual arts, music and literature. In the artistic realm "mashup" is a process of recombinant art, or "derived" art. Some may call it type of plagiarism which results from the impulse to create paired with a lack of imagination. Others will contend that this process of remixing source materials, whether they be "found sounds", music, text, video or other forms of visual art is a new way of understanding the media-rich environment of the 21st century - even that it may be an essential tool or weapon to combat the incessant bombardment of advertising and coercive messaging. Although mashup can take many forms and is known by many names, the process remains the same: elements of different source materials are mixed together (or "juxtaposed") in a way that either reveals a preiously hidden meaning or creates a new perspective (whether it be critical or aesthetic).
MASHMASHUP is produced by The Internet Annex
Examples of Literary Mashup
In literature studies and writer's workshops, mashup is beginning to grow in popularity as technique to unleash creativity by recontextualizing source materials. One educational project aims to create a new version of Shakespeare's King Lear by combining student reformulations of the original text into modern-day English:
Shaking Up Shakespeare Literary Mashup
A new Australian website, "ReMix My Lit" is devoted entirely to the practice of remixing literature, as explained in this blurb from their homepage:
"Remix is all about taking existing material and making something new out of it.
It's a familiar concept in music but extends to all creative content so why isn't
the literati getting amongst it? There's no reason why writers can't mix, match, push and pull content to create remixed works. And that's why remix my lit exists."
-from homepage of remixmylit.com
This article shows the sometime humorous results you can get from blending the texts of different authors:
When Shakespeare met Seuss: mashing up literature
Other interesting text-based mashups:
Articles and Blogs on the process of Mashup in New Media and the Web:
Featured Book Review: Mashed-up fiction makes it to the New York Times Best Seller list:
In PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES, postmodern author Seth Grahame-Smith reconfigures the classic Jane Austen romance novel to include brain-eating zombies. Is this a mere ploy to attract today's generation of video game addicted youth to great literature? Or does the original work benefit from being remixed thusly? Enquiring minds want to
know eat brains.
Other interesting Mashup resources:
rip! A Remix Manifesto:
This documentary by filmmaker Brett Gaylor digs deeps into the legal difficulties and artistic benefits of using the mashup (remix) process in music and multimendia. Using the framework of a "Remix Manifesto", the film relates the story of an ongoing cultural battle between mighty corporate copyright owners and a new breed of artists who "take the world's culture and transform it into something different". Read more: "...comsumers have become creators, making the folk art of the future..."
Makers by Cory Doctorow
Remix goes beyond the arts and into the realms of engineering and software development: Cory Doctorow tells the story of two "makers" (engineers, coders, artists all rolled into one) who possess an Open Source vision of breaking down corporate and copyright barriors through the ubiquitous free sharing of information and resources to magnify human potential and build a new post-scarcity Utopian society. A hopeful story of mashup engineering.
Detail of an automatic collage
generated by the
ROBOCOLLAGE application for
automatic text and image mashups.
Spring 2013 News:
Check out the new album from MINTSAUCE:
This newest production from Cut'n'Mix
creator C.P.Bryan is a genre-blending
musical mashup of styles including:
trip-hop, jazz and electronica.
Find out more from
MINTSAUCE Expansion Module Home.
Listen to MINTSAUCE @ bandcamp.com