Mash-Ups & The Future

As the club scene has evolved, so too has the DJ’s role as a performer. The DJ has been a proponent of new art form: the digital mash-up, combining not only spoken word, poems, and music tracks, but now visuals are included as well, opening up the club scene to audio AND video mash-ups. The 21st century is a place that is constantly publishing new media on a day to day, second to second basis. The world is moving so fast now, so speed becomes important, to keep up to date on issues.

Recently, a group called Eclectic Method has become very popular. They call themselves video DJs, or audio-video remixers and they bring audio/video mixers,  DVD turntables, and a library of video clips to their DJ booths. There they can move and transition tracks from one sequence to the next. The videos they show connect the clubbers to one another, with immersive, digital engagement and improvised social commentary. Since we live in a society that is so quickly updated with news events, reports of natural disasters and crimes, the members of Eclectic Method have to constantly keep up with daily happenings so they can reach their audience effectively with the most new and relevant video material. Ten or twenty years ago, mash-up groups like Eclectic Method didn’t exist because the laws on digital piracy were so strict. But now the people that were once suing Eclectic Method are probably looking at them in admiration for their ability to form unique works of art by combining musical pieces from some of the top musicians and pop stars in the country. EM uses such a wide variety of film and incorporates it together in a visual appealing way. Some videos mimic a band performing in front of a group of people, only it is just a video of a person playing the guitar. What is also cool, is that EM mixes and plays the audio/video live, based on what the crowd is feeling that night. Again, EM has to always be on their toes.

EM is able to make comments about culture and what is happening in the world in a different way than traditional art does. One thing they do that is particularly interesting and new-age, is creating “supergroups” out of famous pop stars, presidents and characters on TV. Overall, EM sums up their practice as “it’s about communicating something to people that they wouldn’t necessarily have got, had they listened to it or watched it on their own.”

Here is a short documentary highlighting Eclectic Method:

Here is another example of their audio/video mash-ups about, what else, but the future:

Here is another audio mash-up with video clips meshed within it. I think this video is an example of the future of DJ-ing in the club/at school dances, giving people something to watch besides each other while they dance.

I think mashups may just blow up in the future! They could get really big. I expect this hyper-infused culture to grow and involve into something far more connected than people can anticipate now. I expect 3D animation to be available on Youtube, Vimeo and other online video networks. Perhaps, mash-ups will incorporate 3D animation! I also think more films like “Avatar” will be made, and with technology improving, maybe ordinary people in the future will be able to create their own Avatars and animated creatures to include in their mash-ups. On that note, since technology is improving so fast, I think more and more unprofessionals will be producing “professional” looking short videos to put on the web, simply because they will become easier to make with the new software that will come out in the future.

One can compare mash-ups to the web and how articles and free music sites are connected to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, broadcasting what you are looking at on the internet for all to see. Nowadays, with virtually any information one would ever want to know is available and easily “googled” on the internet. The world is becoming a highly co-depenent society, where people rely on  other people’s work to get inspiration and ideas, in order for artists to make new works of art. Nowadays, everything is a Remix. I believe this will only continue and get more prominent in the media as we get older.

With mash-ups, everything that was once separated into genres and outlets to view media, can be brought together via the internet. So now there is so much media convergence. I anticipate that this will continue in the future. In this world everything is quickly becoming one, and since all things are being available at one time via the internet and specific sites like Youtube, the world is steadily approaching this oneness.

In the future, just as they are now, mash-ups are a great way to fuse all aspects of society, and they are important because they bring issues together under one roof, that may need to be considered as a whole if we are to make the world a better place in the future. So I think that mash-ups have become “meta” or self-referential, and in fact some of them are the very definition of self-referential because they are made to comment on a issue in the media or critique a flawed character that has become popular on T.V. Video mash-ups have the ability to comment on other people’s posts, vlogs, films, and television shows, which can give the creators power in a way.

Mash-ups have always done a great job of mixing genres, like the old films with new television shows. I think mash-ups will continue to blend the unusual video clips and audio together into one short film, because then the mash-up can highlight larger issues, that perhaps the one film, by itself, cannot.

I don’t think people will every get bored with this genre. There is always new material to blend together with the editing software that is available. Mash-ups definitely have a future and they may in fact set the trend for other videos/films in the future. I think mash-ups, like any other web genre will have to evolve to stay interesting to the general public, but since so many video/audio sources are available to the general public for free now, it is uttterly impossible for the genre to die. When commenting on the latest popular Youtube video, and biggest Blockbuster film is a part of the publics daily conversations, online and face-to-face, I have no doubt that internet users will continue to use other people’s work to comment on any issue, funny instance at hand. Perhaps the genre will progress and soon Sundance Film Festival will have a mash-up category to show to the world. I do believe that more and more people are interested in making mash-ups, simply because using other people’s material is useful for educational purposes, but it also brings back the history of visual media. I think people’s fascination of the past has something to do with mash-ups being more popular for sure.

Ultimately though, the ability to blend multiple sources of art into one new work, will always be a talent and a skill, no matter if the correct software is available to all people. People will continuously work to improve their editing skill with the mash-up genre, and I think this is a vitally important part of what it means to be a part of the film and video producing world.

The mash-up assignment, similar to the one we did in class, will be so common that middle schoolers will be required to make their own video by using other people’s ‘stuff.’ They won’t even have to worry about taking out a camera! I still consider the mash-up as one of the most beautiful and yet complicated processes to making video, because one needs to smoothly incorporate your own work and perspective with that of another human beings. The connection between the two is the most amazing thing. I do not think this genre is going away anytime soon.