September 24, 2009

Leisure Academy: The Art of Appropriation

Appropriation emerged out of the modern art scene sometime in the early 20th century, today it exists most obviously in the world of DJ mash-up music and fan-made Youtube parody trailers. But is appropriation art? Is it kitsch? Can it be both? Or is it just post-modern garbage? ...well, I say who cares as long as its entertaining! And I'm sure everyone who has attended one of mash-up artist Girl Talk's popular live shows would agree. But for the sake of...academia...let's take a look at some of my favorite recent appropriations...

The Curious Case of Forest Gump

Now I don't know if you would call this a mash-up....but it does have something critical to say about the creators of Benjamin Button. ...and it's definitely entertaining...but is it art?

Buffy Vs. Edward

As a Joss Whedon fan and fan of things that are just good in general, I really enjoy this mash-up. The creator has taken two popular teen vampire entertainments and combined them in a way that highlights the pro-feminist vision of Buffy mixed with the antiquated gender roles of Twilight and becomes a commentary on two apposing views of gender roles today.

Girl Talk - Feed the Animals

I don't think this video is official, but the music is the important part (although the visuals do add to the experience). I don't have much to say about this other than, it's clearly awesome dance party music. And it's something totally new comprised of things that other people already created.

....So let's just record scratch and cut to the chase here. I guess my conclusion is that mash-ups and appropriation are most definitely art...and it's awesome. Which is why when things like this guy getting sued for millions for mashing up Sgt. Pepper and Pet Sounds, and not selling it I might add, infuriates me! How dare they prevent art from happening! The guy is not even selling his musical mash-up, just putting it out there for people to enjoy, corporate bullshit! BAH! At least Girl Talk is an inspiration to mash-up artists everywhere, he sells his mash-ups and no one sues him because he's so well regarded in the music community and just great at what he does.

Anyway...why did I write a post about appropriation? Well I recently tried my hand at mash-up music..and I must say..I'm proud of myself on this one. And you are just going to have to visit my Myspace artist's page to find out what it's all about, let's just say I would probably get sued by the largest, most powerful entertainment corporation in the world if I sold this. Just call me DJ Browntown...I'm available for hire...please.

Oh, BTW, more shameless self promotion, this was not my first attempt at appropriated internet glory. Youtube recently restored the audio for my mash-up fan trailer that re-imagines Miyazaki's Totoro as a horror film. Enjoy!

Leisure on!


  1. Just listened to your latest track and I really liked it! I thought it was an improvement on your first too, with the tracks transitioning better into one another. Good stuff. At your next party, you should have a DJ Browntown jam session haha.

  2. ...its definitely in the works.