Memory – Research

While looking into my mixtape idea I looked into ways of physically creating the tape and also looked into getting primary research so the tape had the context that I wanted it to have. Here is the message I posted on Facebook and Twitter.

“Okay i’ve got a idea for a short project but it really needs some input :) If you’d like to help me out, all I want at the moment is a message telling me ONE song that’s either important to you or you feel relates to you in some way and a short explanation as to why. (could be an experience, a memory or how you view yourself, whatever so long as it’s personal to you) I will then be creating a mixtape the old fashioned way with the songs I get (or a selection if i have too many) :) I may ask you to appear in the film for a few mins if you are in the area and will hopefully have a listening party if i get this done on time :) cheers to anyone that can/will help”

I was extremely happy with the responses I got to this post, although not all were from people on the course or even in the local area or even country, I got a lot of responses that I could put onto the mixtape (and later online playlist) and each gave their own reasons for why they chose their songs. I split the tape into two sides showing more positive and ‘negative’ songs or reasons to help with the flow, this is signalled on the online playlist by john cage’s 4:33 as an online alternative to turn tape over. I will post a good number of these songs and responses. All persons involved shall remain anonymous unless they appear in the final video.

  • Helena by mcr” “listened to it a lot after my grandad died so just became really important”
  • Someone’s watching over me – by hilary duff <– not the greatest of singers, but the lyrics meant alot to me when my mum passed away last year. So much that i decided to recite the words as part of a speech at her funeral .. The title of the song itself says alot – Someones watching over me – it allowed me to believe that even though she’s no longer physically here anymore, she’ll always be looking out for me :) The song gave me strength and helped me during my grieving process and even to this day, whenever i am missing my mum, listening to this song gives me hope :) xxx”
  • “The song that means the most to me is Fade To Black by Metallica. It’s the song that was playing when I first kissed my girlfriend, it’s the song that I’d like to be played at my funeral/service/whatever, its the song that made me realize my best friend is as good as my brother.”
  • Northern lights by Atli órvarsson Its from an original score from a film and in the film this womans daughter is kidnapped my reason why i love it so much It makes me appreciate having people in my life that care about me its been played like 161 times on my itunes”
  • “A song that means a lot to me is by pretty lights – finally moving remix It reminds me of some really good memories from over the year and reminds me of some people who mean a lot to me… Whenever I hear this song it automatically makes me smile and takes me back to some awesome times I shared with people!! Especially when the vocals kick in…”
  • Robert Plant and Jimmy Page – Wonderful one reminds me of the first time i visited london and when i fell in love there”
  • [John Lennon-How?] reason because i feel it describes feeling i have quite often word for for word. Like it could have been written about me, or its me singing it”
  • fairground by simply red is one of my alltime favourite songs, it reminds me of being a young child because my mum used to always play it, i guess it makes me think how much my mum means to me in a way, we didnt really have much growing up, but she always used to play the best music!”
  • “It’s two songs for me really. One is ‘Hey Jude’ by The Beatles.
    It is the song my father’s friends played on his grave soon after he died (almost 5 years ago). He used to be a sound technician, so music meant a lot to him, and of course to me. So soon after his death, his friends contacted us to ask if they can bring a cassette player to the cemetery and play the song. Apparently, they had been talking a few years back, and my dad had said he wanted this song on his grave. It was a very emotional, very sad, but at the same time, very beautiful moment. Especially the last part of the song – the never ending ‘Na-na-na-nananana, nananana, hey Jude…”
    It made me think: which song do I want people to listen to when I die? Turns out, it’s ‘Crystal Clear’ from Mike Oldfield’s album ‘The Songs of Distant Earth‘. It is pretty much my favourite album in the world, and this track has the deepest meaning to me. I have been listening to Mike Oldfield since I was 4-5 years old (I’m 23 now), and this album has been with me through happiness and sadness, through good and bad moments… I still listen to it at least once every month, it always takes me to a relaxed and beautiful place where everything is nice and balanced. It really has a healing power to me.
    I guess death is my biggest motivation to live. Not because I’m afraid of death – I’m past that already. I just want to feel like my life is ‘worth living’ – so when I grow old I can happily turn back and think ‘Yes, I had a good and meaningful life’. And so when the people around me celebrate my life after I die, they can be happy I was part of their lives.”
There are further examples but you will see those in the final piece which you can expect to see and read about in the next couple of days. I also decided to look into whether this idea would have a decent audience, the primary research so far had certinanly suggested their was an interest in this product, however there is the argument that becuase it was just my friends, they may have been showing interest to keep me happy, I found this to be a valid criticism so looked further into similar ideas be it, my idealistic standpoint on musical formats, and the actual product/video itself.
I looked into ‘Collective Memory’ A phrase first coined by sociologist Maurice Halbwachs. This a term that refers to the shared pool of infomation which informs our culture and ‘history’ that is not covered by personal genes or experience. Pop Culture relies on Collective Memory for it to function and this video would not be able to function without this. The entire setup of the interview is down to audience expectations because of collective memory and what they have seen before. I aimed for the piece to feel familiar to the viewer as this familairty makes the viewer feel comftable and understand what’s going on due to these ‘rules’ that they are used to seeing in interviews.
So collective memory can form a number of tropes and rules we see not only in this style of film but all media, collective memory helps inform us of this even if we have never seen the main content before. for example many people are aware that there is a lightsaber in star wars even if they have never seen the film. it helps inform us of historical events that we have no memory of and helps personify those that we were around for (where were you when 9/11 happened? for example) in my case i’m getting individuals to share personal memories to form a collective memory through talk and a physical object, the aim is to get everyone involved to feel like they were a part of a shared experience similar to going to a concert, although this has the consequence of possibly deindividulising the characters in the piece as socioligsts such as Phillip Zambardo have theorized.
As a user of twitter I often find the trending topics list to be an interesting (and honestly often depressing) look into what people are thinking about and what is popular. the last few days I have seen a number of TT’s relating to memory including amemoryyoucantforget, #themwasthedays, #backintheday, #MusicMemories and the number one trending topic ever according to Whatthetrend.com #nowplaying, #np. All of these topics contained people giving away information that I could have very easily used for this mixtape, I didn’t because I feel it would have taken away the personal touch of this product (at the very least in my own eyes even if no-one else would notice the difference) but what they did help me with was my idea that maybe this idea could go beyond my video,

Memory and music are always heavily disscused topics on twitter

I spoke to Ross about my idea last week and he mentioned about Moonpig.com he mentioned that that site had taken an old fashioned item in the form of the greeting card and brought it into the 21st century by using the power of the internet. it’s interesting that the greetings card is still very popular when facebook (especially with it’s easy reminders) and email are so popular in this day and age. Now people may say that it’s obvious as to why that is, it’s because a greetings card is much more personal and shows care and importance to people, but my argument is that I could say the same about physical music collection, I could go on a long time about arguments between the download culture and those that choose to buy CD or Vinyl. but i’ll ignore those for this piece as I could go on for days. The argument for this piece was that the cassette mixtape shown a level of dedication to make, going beyond the actual process though the tapes limits also brought out better thoughts as you are limited to what you can have on a tape because of it’s limited storage.
I had an idea that this sort of  process of making a physical mixtape COULD have a role in the 21st century, Services like Sharemyplaylist.com show that there is still the market of sharing playlists online but I think making this into a ‘gift’ could work in the modern age. I could imagine a service where people make their own ‘mixtape’ for a small cost similar to making a compliation on iTunes and then gift it up for someone else as a birthday presnet or a valentines gift for example, the recipient would then get a physical cassette which could be played if the recipent desired and an online version to download and play on their computer or iPod. This tape and online playlist’s covers would also be desgined by the original user. I feel that this is a way to bring tech from the old into the present day by making it a personal gift for others. This mixtape I created was made by getting in a number of different sources so could be seen as a massive sampler for this idea and the final video will show my idea around the cover designs.
Here is the link to the spotify playlist with all of the songs on, although this does not have the reasons mentioned inside of the playlist i’d appreciate any feelings and feedback you have. project mixtape
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