Remixes and Mashups

My Remix/Mashup for ED 677

 


Reflection on my Remix/Mashup

Before I completed a couple of readings on remixes and mashups, I already had an idea in my head about what they were. If you had asked me to define each of these terms, I would have said that remixes take an existing artifact and present it in a new way. Mashups take multiple artifacts and combine them into one artifact. The readings I completed supported my simple distinction. For example, Gil (2017) described that “a ‘mashup’ combines services from different websites into a single website.” According to the Wikipedia mashup article that focuses specifically on education, remixes have two or more data sources. Remixes re-create an artifact in a way not originally intended by the user. So, in my mind, in the most basic sense, this is how remixes and mashups differ.

So what do they have in common? The key to both remixes and mashups is the evolution of an artifact’s meaning. Murray (2015) describes that, “artists have consistently challenged the idea that meaning ascribed to objects is permanently fixed. All cultural artifacts are open to re-appropriation. As with much else, technology has made this process easier and more visible.” The tools we have available now make it easier to assign new meanings to existing artifacts to create remixes; combining old artifacts together with different meanings to create mashups. With both remixes and mashups, we can use existing content as a springboard for new ideas and new content. We can create with old creations.

I think the animation I created for this assignment is somewhere between a remix and a mashup. It’s a remix in the sense that I took a lot of my own work and presented it in a new way; it’s a mashup in that I took all of the semester’s work and condensed it down into a 2 minute animation. Rather than being a commentary or a parody or an artistic process, I envision it more as a curation or chronological display. This adds meaning to the pre-existing artifacts because it puts them together in one place where they were previously disparate.

Reflection on the Process

Even though this video ended up being less than 2 minutes long, it took me a really long time to create! I wanted to have the opportunity to be brief and to really drill down to the heart of each of the past semester’s assignment. I wanted to create a mashup of the content and ideas that I will remember and take with me after the end of this semester. Consequently, deciding what content to include and how to present it was a fairly time-consuming process.

Moovly was also a new tool for me, so it took a little while to learn it. I initially tried Video Scribe (which was used by a student in the 2016 cohort), but decided it was a little too complicated for my purposes and the learning curve a little too steep. Moovly allowed me to create my moving infographic and ended up being a great tool for what I had in mind.

The reason I wanted to create what I would call an “animated infographic” was twofold: (1) I hadn’t had a chance to use an animation tool yet this semester, so I wanted to pick a technology that would challenge me, and (2) I wanted to challenge myself to tell a “brief” story instead of my usual long story. I always have a hard time being concise, but the participatory storytelling project in particular really reminded me of this particular tendency. So I chose a different approach to storytelling (brevity) than I have used in previous assignments. My story, then, is a story of small epiphanies. Each assignment gave me at least one “a-ha!” moment, and I think that in the future, it will be useful to me to have all of these discoveries curated into this brief chronological display.

References

Gil, P. (2017, April 21). What exactly is an internet mashup? Lifewire. Retrieved from https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-an-internet-mashup-2483413

Mashup (education). Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mashup_(education)

Murray, B. (2015, March 22). Remixing culture and why the art of mashup matters. Tech Crunch. Retrieved from https://techcrunch.com/2015/03/22/from-artistic-to-technological-mash-up/

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1 Comment

  1. I like the fact that you struggled a bit with the differences and similarities between remixes and mashups. I have the same sense about the differences–remixes (at least nominally) take a single source and repurpose it for a different meaning. What’s critical here is the definition of “source.” Perhaps my favorite remix is this one that reappears every Christmas and never fails to make me chuckle. But does it come from a single source? It’s created from multiple episodes of Star Trek, so is that one source (the Star Trek series) or multiple sources? The strict definition of either might rest on that very fuzzy distinction.

    I use that as an example to make a point, and that is that these artifacts are whatever we make of them. We’re simply doing what storytellers have always done–building on what has come before and adding what we can to it. Musicians are fond of saying that there are only three songs out there and that all the rest are variations on them. Particularly in a cultural context, that holds largely true. It’s rare that something comes along out of the blue without going through a series of culturally-induced adaptations and reinterpretations. So, that’s what we do with storytelling. We take our experiences and observations and add our own spin.

    I used Moovly in the dark past, but it has clearly evolved to a much more useful and attractive tool since those early days. I need to take another look. Your mashup (remix?) is beautifully rendered and it flows like a good narrative should. Conceptually it’s somewhat like Kevin’s reflection on the semester—I like your description of it revealing a series of small epiphanies— but it is distinctly different in personality and execution. Each is a thoughtful reflection on the semester and the distinctions strike me as why storytelling in our own words is such an important undertaking. Thank you for a perfect wrap up to an exemplary semester. A glance back at your blog/portfolio should be a very rewarding experience.

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