It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what Paul Miller, A.K.A. DJ Spooky, does. You could say he’s strictly a writer since he’s written for The Wire and many other publications. In fact, he’s working on a magazine with some of his friends called Origin Magazine. So, maybe he’s a writer? Well, there’s also all the music he composes. So is he a composer? You can’t forget about all the multimedia art he creates. So, what exactly does DJ Spooky do? It’s hard to say. Whatever he does, he does it great.
DJ Spooky will be part of a Plains Art Museum exhibition that will focus on several of his works, including his new book, “Book of Ice,” his multimedia work, “Terra Nova” and his graphic art project entitled “Manifesto for a People’s Republic of Antarctica.” This project will run from Sept. 30 to Jan. 20, 2013. On Oct. 11, DJ Spooky will present a talk at NDSU’s Renaissance Hall. This talk will address his work, and also feature a multimedia performance showcasing his his iTunes app for composing. On Oct. 13, Spooky will be part of a hip-hop and graffiti performance that will include hip-hop DJ’s and performers like Ernest Rhodes, FM Beatbox and members of the Scratch Dungeon. For more info on these events, go to www.plainsart.org. For more information on DJ Spooky go to www.djspooky.com and for information on Origin Magazine go to www.originmagazine.com.
Spotlight: Your work is so diverse. Describe in your own words what you do?
Spooky: I like to call the Antarctica project a kind of “acoustic portrait.” The way I see it, sound is one of the most beautiful, and ambiguous places in our culture. I wanted to make a statement about climate change from the view point of DJ culture and graphic design.
Spotlight: Describe the work you’ve done in Antartica?
Spooky: Think of it as looking at the planet as a kind of huge record, a scratched, messed up and melting record…
Spotlight: How did you first become interested in working with Antartica?
Spooky: I took a studio and went to several of the main ice fields, and made a batch of graphic design works, and then made a group of music compositions to respond to the same phenomena. I am interested in Antarctica because I have a deep interest in environmental issues and human rights. Climate change affects us all. I guess when you really look at how rapidly the world is changing, you really have to face the fact that the “Anthropocene” era is simply a massive remix of the planet.
Spotlight: Talk a little bit about working in Antartica? The challenges? Rewards?
Spooky: Hmm… Challenges, rewards — I got to get away from cell phones for a while…
Spotlight: Talk about how technology is changing the way music is composed and the way we listen to music?
Spooky: Absolutely! I think that we really need to understand that the way we think about learning instruments, and the way the last several centuries have changed the way we think about literacy (reading music notation, etc.) it’s now all about music interfaces, and the way they change the essential ingredients of a song. It’s all about the lessons we take from selective but ubiquitous amnesia. We play records to remember, then dis-member songs. That’s what remixes are all about.
Spotlight: What do you have planned for your next project?
Spooky: Economics. Big Data.
Spotlight: Give us a little preview of what you’ll be talking about when you come to Fargo.
Spooky: My new book project “The Book of Ice” is all about composition as an art process. I never was planning on just doing music. I wanted to give people tools to explore the realm of sound in art. That’s what I’ll focus on – art, environment and digital tech.
Spotlight: Why is that message important and why should we pay attention to it?
Spooky: The only constant is change. Ignore that adage at your own peril…
*Spotlight: If you had one day left to live and you had to spend it in Fargo. What would you do?
Spooky: Go swimming in the South Pacific with sharks. Probably off the coast of Vanuatu.
Edited by Steph 9/19