Beach Boys / Geto Boys Cory Arcangel(Single-channel video, 2004, 4:13 minutes, color, sound)

Continuing his investigation into the intersection of culture and technology in the context of the handmade, here Arcangel explores the "mash-up," in which music fans digitally merge two songs to create unexpected hybrids. Arcangel's experiment pushes this practice into the realm of absurdity, pairing wildly different tracks based on the similarity of their bands' names. Juxtaposing original performance footage of the Beach Boys (“Little Surfer Girl”) with a contemporary music video by the rap group Geto Boys (“6 Feet Deep”), Arcangel calls attention not only to divergent readings and identifications, but also to the qualities shared by this American pop cultural material.

Writes Arcangel: "I wanted 2 see if I could go for the trifecta of mash-ups. Meaning, the two bands had to have a common name, the video has to be interesting even with no prior knowledge of the 2 bands, + I couldn't cut the videos or the music to make them fit together, they had to be played next to each other,...Besides this, the music had to sound good..."

Beach Boys/Geto Boys is a single-channel video work, originally created for the Internet, which has been shown in a gallery as well as at screenings. “That was made for the Internet, because mash-ups are quite popular. I just made it to put on my Web site. I never thought it would work in the gallery, but it ended up getting the best response in my Team [Gallery] show, which was a complete surprise to me. Also, to have it get so popular in film festivals was a total surprise.”

Return to Cory Arcangel Case Study