In 2013, I created these speculative prototypes to explore some ideas around mashup as a tool for serendipitous discovery of historic works of literary value as well as for uncovering political content and rhetoric from the past. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to hear a weird cacophony of the worlds great wordsmiths or lyricist waxing poetic over the highly iconic or historically notable subject matter of your photo, just as you are about to photograph it? Not really? Okay, fair enough... but I have – and these quick explorations were the seeds for the Media Causes application.
This system would use geo-tracking and image recognition to identify when you are about to shoot a photo of something like the Brooklyn Bridge or maybe a historic public park that your legislature plans to sell to developers. Once the image is identified, it aggregates and mashes up bits of literature or music that map to the subject matter.
The bit of audio is less like music or spoken word and more like an overlapping radio frequency. The goal is to serendipitously expose users to literature and music that they may not have encountered before, while making an interesting image that they can share or save. The typographic artifact that is left behind serves as a reference and entry point into the original long form text and audio. When the user touches an excerpt (indicated by color), the original text that the excerpt belongs to is displayed next to the mash up with links back to the sources and author.
The type creates a virtual graffiti over the image as individual users collectively leave a mark over time — digital traces. The document that is made has the potential to become anything from personal ephemera to a shareable political statement, depending on the users intent.
In the case above, the intent is to use the image for propaganda and circulation over social media channels.