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Pod Mobs
Jamais Cascio, 30 May 05

Audio commentaries were just made to be hacked.

The rise of easily-distributed digital audio files and inexpensive portable players has made possible a world of homemade, underground alternative audio commentaries to use as substitutes for or adjuncts to the "official" versions found in museums and on DVDs. The New York Times notes the growing popularity of "remix MoMA," an alternative set of commentaries available at Art Mobs; these renegade tracks are provided by art students and instructors from the NY region, and have a style (and perspective) one is unlikely to find in the commentaries provided by the museum.

The homemade commentary concept isn't limited to museums. MP3 walking tours are becoming increasingly commonplace, giving tourists a peek into a city's culture not always available in the popularized accounts (and, incidentally, helping the visitors blend in with commonplace MP3 player headsets). And alternative DVD commentaries, while not giving the insider's perspective that one gets from hearing the writer or director talk about a movie or TV show, can give a wide range of critical opinions, observations about larger cultural connections, or even sarcastic humor of the MST3K variety.

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