DJ Spooky lecture

My report. It is very Glen-centric and for that I apologise. If anyone wants to know something specific, then just ask.

Ok.

Blurb:

“This lecture/multi-media presentation by philosopher, DJ and multimedia artist, Paul D. Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky, focuses on how DJ culture has evolved out of the same technologies that are used for digital media and art.”

We rocked up late. That sucked. I had been out in Parra to the research centre when I got the call. So I had to go home and change out of my uni duds, they weren’t too socially acceptable beyond the behind-my-computer. Traffic was a bunch of shit getting out there. There was a crash on Parra Rd or something.

Which is ironic because the first point I heard DJ Spooky, a.k.a. Paul Miller, make related to the African-American inventor of the traffic light, George Morgan. Spooky argued that just as Morgan invented a way to control the movement of material bodies, his work involves the deconstruction of movement and surfaces commonly known as sound and video. His main points related to the film/installation/performance — “Rebirth of a Nation” (extract) — that is part of the Sydney Festival. His practice explores the deconstruction of cultural memory inhabiting the media archive. Cultural memory is controlled and conventionally constructed through the control of sound and image ‘movement’. He reworks sound (‘DJing’) and video (‘VJing’) movement to produce alternative historical narratives.

He argues that we are part of the “I-Pod Generation” where it is not a question of belonging with a self-same association of identity (my words, not his) and popular culture is defined by the selection and organisation of disparate data. He is interested in how people make meaning from this process. Hmm, a bit like my Blogtalk paper… at least I wrote it before seeing Spooky so I can safely say my paper contains my ideas, but I bought his book and it has a wicked quotable quote that is just too perfect not to include. Anyway, he went to great lengths to demonstrate this ‘selecta popular culture’ to the audience. My favourite bit of the lecture was the clip he played of deconstructed kung-fu flicks reorganised into what Miller called his “Kung-Fu Breakbeat.” T’was sick.

The lecture was definitely aimed at a broad audience. He continually made concessions for that fact he wasn’t in DJ mode for fear of fans coming to his lecture to see him Spooky-it-up. For those that hadn’t read a lot of the Frenchies and their theories I guess the lecture would’ve been an eye opener and he was definitely speaking to these people. Plus everyone got free CDs. Ferkin rad!

I got to ask the second last question during question time. I had made a tactical decision to ask him a pointed question about Deleuze and he had mentioned Deleuze and ATP in his lecture. It was a bit of a bastard thing to do, because it was not the sort of question you would expect from an audience in a free lecture. However, surely he must have realised that some people in western Sydney would know he taught at the elite European Graduate School (OMG! I wanna go there…) and would come to see him speak for that? My mate definitely went for the DJ Spooky side of things, but he has read some of my Manuel DeLanda books and we have often talked about Deleuze and stuff so he was hip to that beat… Yeah, so my question related to my Blogtalk paper as I could immediately fathom some overlap:

Glen: Ahhh, that last track sampled AC/DC’s “Who Made Who.” [Spooky nods] So, anyway, to ask a bit of a nerd question… You mentioned Deleuze in your lecture. I have a question relating to your artistic practice and Deleuze’s book “The Logic of Sense”. It seems to me that you play with the ‘sense’ of the media in your work. ‘Sense’ being the boundary between ‘propositions’ and ‘bodies’, what Deleuze calls the ‘event’ or his version of the ‘event’, the ‘incorporeal event’. And my question is, how do you think your work relates to Deleuze’s conception of ‘sense’?

Miller: OK, for those in the audience who are not philosophy majors…

His answer was basically a very brief introduction of who Deleuze was with a few phrases thrown in. It was not a simple question and I probably should have phrased it a bit differently, plus he was speaking to a crowd that were not made up of people who have a hard-on for Deleuze. I also wanted to ask him how his work related to Henri Lefebvre’s Rhythmanalysis, but, alas, no time…

Anyway, I have his book, and it is an interesting read. I will write up more about it when I finish it. (First I have to finish Ballard’s _Crash_, bloody hell…). I got him to sign it ;).
I told him, “That was cool, man.” (trying to be a cool man).
He was like, “Thanks, man.”
And I asked him, “So what is it like teaching at the European Graduate School?”
He replied, “It’s cool.”
Cool…

Going through the archives

I have been doing some old fashioned research over the last couple of days, reading the NSW State Library’s collection of Australian Van Wheels and Street Machine. It is for my thesis and my Panel Van paper for the conference down in Canberra. There is some classic stuff in the old mags. How things have changed… I shall write more after I have written up my paper which shouldn’t take too long as it is all falling into place.

CONSUME!

Ok.

Buy the latest Autosalon magazine.

“They’ve been on the run from Swedish police for five years. Their identities are hidden by monikers like Mr A or Mr X. We are of course, talking of the world’s most infamous street racers, the ones responsible for the controversial Getaway in Stockholm series. Glen Fuller flew halfway around the world to infiltrate their underground society and bring you this world exclusive.” (43)

Yeah baby! Yeah!

It is, of course, my interview with ‘Mr A’ the executive producer of the Getaway in Sockholm film series.

Get it!

Dang!

Cruising Country

This event is being organised in part by one of the members of the panel I organised for the CSAA conference, Ursula Frederick. I certainly want to go, but I think I will have to negotiate it with my supervisors. The paper I want to give will be part of my introductory chapter that introduces Australian modified-car culture. What I won’t be talking about is the second shift that has occurred because of the rise in popularity of the ‘import’ and the IT industry boom/bubble/bust and the reconfigurations of masculinity, labour, class, etc that have resulted. I am not sure about the Australian identity stuff either, that is a bit out of my comfort zone. I am sooo open to ideas, so if anyone can think of any Australian studies or whatever readings, let me know.

Draft abstract:

From the Beach to the Burbs: Panel Vans, Street Machines and Australian Identity

The panel van is masculine icon of Australian culture. The first panel van, an EH Holden, was produced in 1953 for tradesmen as a utility vehicle, but in the 1970s the panel van became something else when customised by young men. To capitalise on the popularity of the panel van enthusiasm the ‘big three’ Detroit-based car manufacturers, Ford, Chrysler and GM Holden released the Sundowner, the Drifter and the Sandman respectively.

Over the last two decades there has been a shift in modified-car culture that mirrors a shift in Australian identity. Previously, the panel van has been described as an interstitial site between indoors and outdoors, youth and adult, and freedom and responsibility (Fiske 1983). At beaches and drive-ins where panel vans parked they became an event-space of sex and sociality. The back of a panel van folded domestic space into the space and freedoms of automobility. The event-space of modified-car enthusiasts has shifted from the back of a panel van to the streets of cruisers. The ritualised practice of cruising potentialises the automobilised space of the street and carpark so it becomes an event-space where the incorporeal event of ‘nothing’ happens (cf. Corrigan 1976).

The turning point can be located in the early 1980s. One of Australia’s most popular panel van enthusiast publications Australian Van Wheels became Street Machine & Van Wheels in 1981. In 1982, ‘Van Wheels’ was dropped from the title and the magazine became Street Machine. It shall be argued the rise in popularity of the street machine culture in the early 1980s signals a shift in Australian identity from the dominance of the nature/culture divide represented by the beach to the socially mobile/static divide represented by suburban streets.

—- —- —-

Below is the call for papers:

Cruising Country : A symposium and film event exploring the powers of
wheels, roads and screens in non-urban Australia

26-28 May 2005

Centre for Cross-Cultural Research, The Australian National University,
Canberra

Since the early 20th century, motor vehicles of all descriptions have been
central characters in the settlement, governance and representation of non-urban
Australia. They are objects of desire and exchange, actors in subsistence,
ceremonial and market economies and sites of deep projective identification.
Represented in paintings, films, novels, music, ethnography, ceremony and other
cultural media, vehicles communicate closely with the aesthetic spirits of
modernity and its discontents. Vehicles add velocity to landscape’s powers,
compressing distance and reframing senses of place. Containing, carrying and
connecting people, knowledge, visions and voices, motor cars are deeply
phenomenological spaces.

Cruising Country invites speakers to explore these and other conjunctures
of Australian automobility, intercultural exchange, power and social
transformation through a series of presentations, panel discussions and film
screenings. We are inviting abstracts of no more than 300 words, outlining your
proposed topic, approach, and the forms/media in which you intend to present
your work.

Proposals for discussion panels are also welcome.

Deadline for abstracts: 1 February 2005Email your abstract to:
ursula.frederick@anu.edu.au and/or lisa.stefanoff@nyu.edu

I love papers that demand a 20 minute spell check…

Approximately 16, 770 words and 48 pages later the Getaway in Stockholm interview with Mr A is finally transcribed.

Link to their website.

Mr A was an awesome interview participant. Very useful for my thesis, maybe not in terms of actual content, but certainly for ideas on questions for others. The interview may be useful for a paper on the comparative street racing scenes in Australia and Sweden. Perhaps a simple paper that explores the various legal, political and social forces that shape the space of the street race as much as the actual cars and street racers do.

I met Tom O’Dell in Sweden and mentioned something about a paper to him. So I will send off the transcript and see what he says. Here is his uni home page. He wrote part of his PhD thesis on the Swedish raggare (greasers) – car dudes who participated in a subculture based around American cars. As O’Dell writes in one of his essays, the aesthetic of American cars during the ‘streamlining’ era offended Swedish conceptions of modernity. In other words, the raggare were a Swedish-style, spectacular subculture.

Some or most of the raw interview with Mr A will appear in the next issue of the Australasian Autosalon Magazine.