Lawrence Lessig would be proud. Last May, communications professor David Gilbert and his students at New York's Marymount Manhattan College produced unofficial, guerrilla-style audio guides for the Museum of Modern Art. But unlike MoMA's banal, textbook audio dissertations, the student-created audio tours featured such disparate content as irony-laden commentary by hip New York academics and tracks from student DJs, who sampled and remixed everything from "symphonic themes to vintage 1950's television ads to speed-metal licks and wafts of ambient trance," all inspired by various MoMA works. The audio guides are available as podcasts on the project's website Art Mob, allowing anyone with a portable MP3 player to download the content and tour the museum. According to Gilbert, this project democratizes the museum-going experience, demonstrating that anyone is capable of "remixing" the content of any medium—be it TV, radio, or, in this case, an art museum.
Locally, the Orange County Museum of Art is one of the first museums in the country to harness podcasting technology as part of its educational programming. OCMA's podcast for its current exhibit "John Waters: Change of Life" is their best yet—the tour is introduced by the inimitable Hairspray starlet Ricki Lake and is followed by the man for whom the exhibit's named, John Waters. In 33 short audio tracks, Waters explains the impetus for his work and its (non)relationship to his filmic oeuvre. What could be more divine than Waters pontificating on such photographs as Return to Sender or Twelve Assholes and a Dirty Foot?
Download the John Waters: Change of Life podcast at www.ocma.net. Listen to it at the Orange County Museum of Art, 850 San Clemente Drive, Newport Beach, (949) 759-1122. Call for hours. Through Jan. 15. $8-$10.