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.



“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.”