Posted by: txtincorporated | July 18, 2008

Paul D. Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid

People who know me personally are universally aware of what my sweetheart does. For some reason Astrid’s my MFDN (Most Frequently Dropped Name). So it’s always an extraordinary pleasure to be able to point to a piece of my work on her Web site.

Paul D. Miller is a conceptual and performance artist who uses digitally sampled and remixed sound and video as his medium. That is to say, he’s a DJ.  It is not to say that Paul is another guy with an egg crate full of records at a party.  Rather, DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid, with all due respect to William S. Burroughs, extends the concept of cut-up out from the printed and pictorial surface into the dimension of time using not only the most advanced technology available but the fattest cultural archive as well.  

From 1980s punk band Crass’s technically virtuosic, reel-to-reel collage of Reagan and Thatcher clips into a telephone (telefaux?) conversation in which his majesty justifies to hers a U.S. nuclear strike against the U.K.; to the brazenly unedifying and immortally hilarious Ron and Nancy drug tape; to the Danger Mouse mashup of early Beatles footage with Jay-Z’s hip hop anthem Encore:  in the last 30 years the collage has moved from the pictorial into the audial, cinematic, even the architectural and sculptural with a force not seen in nearly 100 years.

DJ Spooky takes up this standard with the playful panache of an artist born to surf the juggernaut of commercial culture that is, in Fife Dog’s terminology, “the 2000 decade”. As it happens, Spooky plays a pretty rockin party, too.

Something you may not know about the DJ:  he just got back from Antarctica.  

Recording ice.  

Now it’s a film, and he’s remixing it live for Adobe execs in San Jose, at opera festivals in Italy and possibly somewhere near you next.  Roll over, Al Gore.  He’s also just published his second book on MIT Press.  I sat down with Paul on behalf of PowerHouse Projects for their new artist interview series, PowerHouse Presents.  Let’s check it out!