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Featured Artist: Misshapen Features

2009-06-20 06:25:41        Posted by: ikat381        Category: Remix Culture

The official Misshapen Features website has gone down, but I was happy discover that they haven’t disappeared altogether. They’re best known for the epic “Starlords” video, which mashes up two of the planet’s biggest corporate fantasy franchises: Star Wars vs Lord of the Rings. The first half of the movie skilfully combines parallels between the two sources in the tradition of other internet trailer mashups, but the payoff in the second half resembles no remix you’ve ever seen before.

Misshapen Features takes special care in choosing which sets of footage they mash together, always searching for novel similarities between sources that play on our imaginations and explore peculiarities of our mass commercial culture. They build a miniature love movie starring two stars of fake reality (Lonley Girl meets Borat). They experiment with mixing two effects-saturated comicbook movies for boys (300 Days of Night). One on their mashups deliberately takes one of the most sampled songs of all time (It's Just Begun by The Jimmy Castor Bunch) and plays it in its entirety alongside remixed video footage (the effect is impressive, but that didn’t stop youtube’s copyright bots from recently stripping the video’s soundtrack).

The videos are entertaining but you can detect their critical edge. You may come away from them feeling there’s lots of things wrong and strange about a culture where a handful of companies show the same content to millions of viewers simultaneously. If you don’t know what to do about it, maybe Misshapefeatures’ work will convince you that part of the solution involves taking this footage and remixing it for yourself.

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