Mashed out of my mind…

A mashed-up party in Second Life

I am humbled by how much people seemed to enjoy my mashup unartistry delivered in Second Life yesterday (though that reaction was hardly unanimous). And while I’m a little embarrassed by the heaps of praise offered up by Alan Levine, I’ll link to it anyway since it accurately documents just how much he and Rachel Smith brought to making the experience happen. I just love how the NMC and its community can be counted on to embrace a hearty dose of weirdness.

I have always been somewhat at a loss when it comes to Second Life. And for the first part of the session, listening to the pre-recorded audio, watching my avatar move according to a pre-programmed DJ animation while other avatars sat in that odd impassive Second Life way… well, it was an anxious, bordering on alienating sensation. But as the others began to get up and move, to dance, to throw in silly comments, something like real party energy began to gather. This experience has taught me that there is great potential in this corner of the digital domain to infuse collective experience with a sense of theatre, and opens up possibilities that would be very difficult to attempt in a physical space.

Audio from the session:.

Download: Confessions of a Mashup Un-Artist (57.5 Mb MP3, 25:06)

I got hit by some ill-health while preparing this, so when I listen to the file most of what I hear are the things I meant to add, a couple big-time bonehead editing errors… I should also note that while I sampled from dozens of sources, a huge portion of the presentation was drawn from two uber-sources, both of which are vastly superior to what I assembled. If you enjoyed the session, or even if you didn’t, I highly recommend:

* DJ Food’s Raiding the 20th Century, a one hour blast through the history of audio mashups, absolutely stunning in its breadth and depth.

* Marshall McLuhan’s late 1960’s audio version of The Medium is The Massage. I hadn’t listened to this in some time, and was especially struck by the paramount importance of a new education to society’s ability to respond to media’s challenges. And maybe it’s just me, but I was also surprised by how many of McLuhan’s assertions on learning are being echoed by my favorite edubloggers some forty years on.

Update: A few people have asked that I supply additional citations for the sampled clips. While the following list is not comprehensive, I do at least want to link to the spoken word segments that I feature in the piece:

* The first half of the presentation is largely hacked out of the DJ Food piece referenced above. In addition, there is a long segment from The Copywrong Show, an episode from Negativland’s Over the Edge Radio show, originally broadcast in October 91.

* The DJ who says he respects copyright in theory, but not in fact, is Steinski, from the aforementioned DJ Food track.

* There is a segment on the visuality of sound mixing by Jason Forrest (AKA Donna Summer). It is drawn from a 2003 interview with CBC’s Brave New Waves. The interview is no longer online, but is referred to in Forrest’s Wikipedia entry.

In the second half (after my own mic break):

* Jonathan Letham was interviewed on Open Source Radio, February 2, 2007.

* Thomas Pettitt describes the “Gutenberg Parenthesis” and considers the effects on sampling and remixing on judging student work. The talk is here… that link also points to the introduction by David Thorburn, who is also sampled.

* I sampled from David Wiley’s Openness, Localization, and the Future of Learning Objects – which I seem to do every presentation I do…

* And then I finished off with a big whack of the McLuhan material linked above.

About Brian

I am a Strategist and Discoordinator with UBC's Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. My main blogging space is Abject Learning, and I sporadically update a short bio with publications and presentations over there as well...
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2 Responses to Mashed out of my mind…

  1. God darn it! I missed this. Its significant Blamb.. its great. It takes it up a notch.. I wanna see it in real life now! Promise me a chillout room at the next Northern Voice with you mastering this, and I’m there with bells on..

    Good to see you keeping the dream alive!! The dude who didn’t get it… well, its good you linked to that, the comment was interesting, and highlighted the chasm between us who know the roots of this and those that don’t. I should have been there! I wish I was.

    It will be so great in real life

  2. Brian says:

    Leigh, as Alan mentioned in his post, you and David Wiley (and I should have added, Gardner Campbell) were namechecked in the Q&A section as the people who have inspired me to think about the “teacher as DJ” metaphor, which resonates on a number of levels for me personally.

    And your audio for the “Networked Learning” extravaganza was a real inspiration. So you were a double-influence.

    I have done live mixing in presentations before… but would love to do it in collaboration with you some time. And obviously, the idea of you at NV (or meeting you anywhere else, for that matter) has me squirming with delight.

    Keep on rockin’ in the free (and open) world!

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