The original premise of this project
was to create a reference resource for audio mash-ups as presented
in a full mix with an annotatable timeline. (The abstract for the
original proposal can be viewed on the resources
page by clicking the image of the graffiti DJ at the top of the
page.) In the process of attempting to mash-up audio myself, I realized
it was far more challenging than I'd originally anticipated. However,
through that process it also became evident that merely providing
tools for an essentially passive experience would not only not
be interesting, it would fail to implicate the user beyond banal
theory. It then seemed far more useful to provide the theory, along
with downloadable audio files, pairing suggestions and software
trials or freeware which would then enable the users themselves
to interact in playful ways which I could never anticipate. This
seemed a process closer to the true intent of sharing trails via
the memex. Equally important, it seemed a better way to drive the
theory home with first-hand hands-on experience backing the concepts.
Also, by offering options for some tools and content, this helped
to lever the user into participatory mode, much like the 'Happenings'
of Kaprow, and to engender a clear launching point to move on to
ideas more in line with the user's own associative patterning.
In many ways I lost sight of my original research material and
dove down a path of postmodernist thinking, using Vannevar Bush's
article "As We May Think" as a model for proposing a shift
in perception via chance operators and the interplay of mixed audio
files. I drew upon all the essential works I'd originally researched,
but as I myself got deeper into the process of thinking about what
implications mash-ups carried in a critical context, I began to
depart from some of my resource material and instead embrace more
material which dealt with sense perceptions and cognition in relation
to media and objects.
"The Dreamachine makes visible the fundamental
dynamic order present in the physiology of the brain. Recent research
into the structure of brain rhythms suggests that it is in a state
of relaxation of thought that new relationships can be seen."
- Brion Gysin -
In this sense, my very own interaction with the research and subject
material brought me into a state of 'mash-up awareness' in which
I began to sense interplay between numerous social structures, political
messages, and other mediated acts. This awareness caused me to shift
my thinking and to adopt a role of mashing-up theoretical constructs,
pop iconography and anthropological and psychological contemplations.
I became interested in the juxtapositions of cut-up theorists (Gysin,
Burroughs, P-Orridge), mash-up artists (Lockarm, Dsico, Richard
X), and philosophers concerned with the anthropological implications
related to the rise in mediated awareness (Virilio, Bey, Kamper).
At the apex of these ideas, the optimism of war-era scientists turned
egalitarian strategists (Bush, Engelbart) who had a penchant for
the archive and the interactive communication thread, focused my
considerations on the area of shared chance operations and the need
for human consciousness to critique, evaluate and order information
according to associative patterning.
While my original idea of offering content for user interplay,
annotation and resource scouring didn't change, I found myself retooling
all of the ideas I'd originally proposed in a much more formal context
than I'd originally intended. As a result I found it necessary to
pepper the site content with elements of tongue-in-cheek humor;
this was essential in order to keep the new direction of proposing
a playful state of awareness free of the dry, plodding academia
which causes so many ideas to suffer with their own sluggishness.
"A record if it is to be useful to science,
must be continuously extended, it must be stored, and above all
it must be consulted. . . ." - Vannevar Bush -
I chose to transition Hyper-Mash into a site dedicated more to
being a starting point for ideas to grow rather than an endpoint
where visitors find themselves halted by conclusions. It seemed
more powerful to me, in the overall core context of the original
proposal, to make the site a lay-over point where visitors could
pick up some tools and wares, some suggestions for techniques and
examples of results, and move along into a sphere comfortable to
individual associative patterning in order to experiment. If the
impetus was there to pursue actualizing any of the ideas into mash-ups
- or simply feedback - then the forum exists to encourage that without
suffering the pomposity of being a destination point for investigative
In the end, for me, there are two powerful themes to carry away
from the content, the theoretical implications, and the applied
1) We cannot lose sight of what we're doing in an interactive age.
Producing inventive material simply because the tools allow us to
simply isn't enough. That's banal. We must keep in mind that the
acceptance of banality which causes us to fail to reflect on social,
political or behavioral intent within an object is the same acceptance
of banality which prevents us from speaking out against obvious
evils committed in our world. And that can be dangerous. "It
conditions the return to the house's state of siege, to the cadaver-like
inertia of the interactive dwelling, this residential cell that
has left the extension of the habitat behind it and whose most important
piece of furniture is the seat, the ergonomic armchair of the handicapped's
motor, and - who knows? - the bed, a canopy bed for the infirm voyeur,
a divan for being dreamt of without dreaming . . ."
(Paul Virilio) Many shifts are necessary
in order to prevent this, but at the core is a need to shift perception
in a way which invites chance, and in fact relies upon
it, so that the conversation between elements becomes significant
socially in relation to problem-solving and idea generation.
2) Creating objects and sharing them is not enough. All of life
should become a process of juxtaposing, and remixing in a real-time
state of conscious awareness, especially at a time when new information
travels faster than original thinking. This process is fun, and
should be viewed as a celebratory extension of human cognition.
Behavioral mash-ups, perceptory mash-ups, object mash-ups, contain
the power to reshape awareness in totality. As infophilic tendencies
increase, as they must, there must be a clear, directed place in
order to view the surrounding world as sharing more similarity than
difference, more enjoining than distancing, and more playfulness
than aggression in the myriad patterns of associating as we may
"Art is brief, Life is long. We should
try to be prepared to drift, to nomadize, to slip out of all nets,
to never settle down, to live through many arts, to make our lives
better than our art, to make art our boast rather than our excuse."
- Hakim Bey -