It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Mashup culture. I love the idea of taking disparate works of art and combining them to create something brand new. The further apart the original works, the more creativity needed to bring them together harmoniously. At their best, Mashups bring to light new elements of previously familiar works, forcing us to examine in more detail what we thought we already knew.
It’s also no secret the world is going through some very difficult times right now. Widescale personal communication and connectivity is bringing old traditions crashing headlong into the new at breakneck speeds, and the results are both unprecedented and violent. As I type, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Iran, and a half dozen other countries are creating new chapters in their history books, brought about largely by and through social media and global communications.
The above video, United We Rise by Peop1e, embodies this mashup ideology to present a new facet to what has become fairly familiar global politics. The primary video element is footage from the recent Egyptian revolution – personal and occasionally voyeuristic in its simplicity and access. For the audio, we hear Eddie Hazel’s single-take blues guitar solo from Funkadelic’s 1971 song Maggot Brain. And running through both the audio and video is Charlie Chaplin’s stirring climactic speech from his 1940 film The Great Dictator.
This is a new type of mashup for me, one created not for the sake of experimentation and art, but for better understanding and communication. The result is…visceral. Old media combined with new, utilizing social media and global communication to tell the stories of the modern world in a way that’s more easily understood and less easily ignored than the daily news cycle. Each of the elements is separately beautiful, but together they harmonize into a moving and emotional view of what the new history of the world could be if we want it to be.