ASTWR Ep. 20: Manufactured Noise

Manufactured Noise: The deep structure of music, politics and climate change

This episode with Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky, aka That Subliminal Kid!) is an interesting one! Focused on Paulʻs recent project The Book of Ice and the related album Of Ice and Water take us on a journey from hip-hop to environmental degradation, through the recent US presidential election and down the rabbit hole that is the human psyche.

As the window of time for this conversation was shorter than most we had to focus on a specific project, in this case the Book of Ice and the album Paul created by merging the sounds of ice in Antarctica with hip-hop and electronica. However, Paulʻs career and his talents are expansive. He lives and works in New York but travels the globe performing and working with a variety creative partners and institutions. His written work has appeared in The Village Voice, The Source, Artforum, Raygun, Rap Pages, Paper Magazine, and a host of other periodicals. Miller's first collection of essays, Rhythm Science, was published by MIT Press in April 2004, and was included in several year-end lists of the best books of 2004, including the Guardian (UK) and Publishers Weekly. Miller's work as a media artist has appeared in a wide variety of contexts such as the Whitney Biennial; The Venice Biennial for Architecture (year 2000); and The Venice Biennial of Art 2007 (Africa Pavilion) to name a few.

Other examples of his innovative multi-media projects is Nauru ElegiesThe work synthesizes music, video, animation, and a live Internet feed of the island's GPS coordinates and economic data. Nauru, a small island in the South Pacific, has been extensively mined for phosphate, and has attempted to become a center for offshore banking. Miller's work highlights the struggle of a  remote culture facing both the global economy and environmental collapse. He is also founder of the nonprofit Vanuatu Pacifica Foundation and is establishing a sustainable, carbon-negative retreat to draw artists from around the globe to explore cultural connections through art. Finally, he has created a mixer app -  DJ Spooky DJ Mixer - which is free, open-source and has been downloaded more than 15 million times. This app gives users the tools to mix tracks from their own digital music libraries. As well, Paul makes all of his own compositions open source, copyright free, and re-mixable.

The following are additional resources to connect with Paul and his recent work from Antarctica and National Geographic.


Naiʻa Lewis