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The New Memory Palace

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By Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky

“Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine.”

– Alan Turing’s biopic, The Imitation Game, 2014

A lot of things have changed in the last 20 years. A lot of things haven’t. We’ve moved from the tyranny of physical media to the seemingly unlimited possibilities of total digital immersion. We’ve moved from a top down, mega corporate dominated media, to a hyper-fragmented multiverse where any kind of information is accessible within reason (and sometimes without!). The fundamental issue that “memory” and how it responds to the digital etherealization of all aspects of the information economy we inhabit conditions everything we do in this 21st-century culture of post-, post-, post-everything contemporary America. Whether it’s the legions of people who walk the streets with Bluetooth enabled earbuds that allow them to ignore the physical reality of the world around them, or the Pokémon Go hordes playing the world’s largest video game as it’s overlaid on stuff that happens “IRL” (In Real Life) that layer digital role playing over the world: diagnosis is pending. But the fundamental fact is clear: digital archives are more important than ever and how we engage and access the archival material of the past, shapes and molds the way we experience the present and future. Playing with the Archive is a kind of digital analytics of the subconscious impulse to collage. It’s also really fun.

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DJ Spooky announced as Artist in Residence at Stanford University

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Every year, Brown seek new ways to connect research with leading media innovators, and we are happy to announce that we named DJ Spooky, aka That Subliminal Kid, Paul D. Miller, as the Brown Distinguished Media Innovator for 2017. DJ Spooky’s work ranges from creating the first DJ app to producing an impactful DVD anthology about the “Pioneers of African American Cinema”. According to a New York Times review, “there has never been a more significant video release than Pioneers of African-American Cinema.

The prolific innovator and artist also created 13 music albums and is about to release a fourteenth. Called “Phantom Dancehall”, it is an intense mix of hip hop, Jamaican ska and dancehall culture. Paul D. Miller will engage in Brown-related collaborations all year, and his residency will culminate in a week-long series of lectures, workshops and performances at Stanford University starting April 10, 2017.

DJ Spooky’s lectures are part of the new Brown Institute Lecture series at Stanford, which we launch with Internet pioneer and founder of archive.org Brewster Kahle on October 11, 2016.

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ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE: BAYREUTH ACADEMY OF ADVANCED STUDIES

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Richard Wagner’s (1813-1883) operas and conceptual writings remain some of the most influential works of the last two centuries. With their complexity, abstract harmonies and deeply elaborate use of leitmotifs, Wagner set the tone for how we think about composition and multiple interpretations of set design, architecture, and the complete use of music to create a virtual tableau for 21st century digital media. It’s been argued that he is essentially the first multimedia composer.

Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies, the innovative research structure at the University of Bayreuth, have invited Paul D. Miller to explore some of the deep structural relationships between Wagner’s concepts and the tensions between his work as a composer and theoretician and the long standing controversy surrounding his career.

PIONEERS OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN CINEMA

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Landmarks of early African-American film, remastered in HD from archive elements, digitally restored, loaded with bonus content. Created by Kino Lorber.

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“This very special collection illuminates one of the most fascinating and unjustly neglected corners of American movie history.” Martin Scorsese on Pioneers of African American cinema.

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Heart of a Forest

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Artist Statement:

For Heart of a Forest I wanted to explore how to remix some of the ways we think about traditional forms of music versus digital interpretation of nature. Is a landscape a portrait? Is a composition a portrait? These are questions left lingering over the entire project. Thoreau once went to the forests of New England to write his seminal works. He wrote of the experience “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to confront only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” I think that we need music to catalyze how we can rethink our relationship to Nature, and I am inspired by Thoreau and the collision of data, sound, and new ways to think of the absence of “origins” – no one owns the forest and the sounds that it inspires. It’s all a mirror of what is possible in our hyper interconnected world. Like the roots of the trees underneath the forest. It is all connected, and we all contribute to the elements that make it evolve. All is connected.

THE VANUATU PACIFICA FOUNDATION and TANNA CENTER FOR THE ARTS

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Vanuatu is a four-hour flight from Sydney. For centuries, the Naihné People of Tanna have lived on this island in Vanuatu’s southern-most province, Tafea.

In late 2009, their leadership invited Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky) to form an artists retreat within their remote eastern territory.

In early 2011, Vanuatu Pacifica Foundation will begin building Tanna Center for the Arts in this beautiful and isolated part of the island. The artists retreat will function as a carbon negative, culturally supportive demonstration model, incorporating a digital media lab and island-restorative education center to aid the goals expressed by the people of this tropical paradise.

VPF and TANNA

The Secret Song

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The Album and DVD by DJ Spooky
on Thirsty Ear

SPECIAL GUESTS INCLUDE THURSTON MOORE OF SONIC YOUTH, THE JUNGLE BROTHERS, SUSSAN DEYHIM, THE COUP, ROB SWIFT (THE XECUTIONERS), SPOKEN WORD EMCEE MIKE LADD, AND MANY OTHERS

The Secret Song– isnʼt really an album: itʼs a manifesto about the place of history in our modern collaged, scrambled, sampla-delic to the core, mega info overloaded digital culture. With references stretching from Thorstein Veblenʼs “Theory of the Leisure Class” and John Maynard Keynes classic in the field of economics “The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money” over to hip hopʼs relationship to psychoanalysis and a la Edward Bernayʼs concept of the “manufacture of consent” – DJ Spookyʼs new album is a groundbreaking meditation on hip hop and electronic musics relationship to philosophy, economics,
//LISTEN TO THE ALBUM ON
AOL MUSIC (SPINNER)
and the science of sound in a world where the steady drumbeat of the financial meltdown has made music the last refuge of young people with less and less time and money. DJ Spookyʼs peer group of artists like DJ Krush, DJ Shadow, Cut Chemist, RJD2, DJ Logic, Amon Tobin, and Coldcut have all played with the idea of concept albums. With “The Secret Song” DJ Spooky looks to bands like Nine Inch Nails, and Radiohead for inspiration. As DJ Spooky likes to say “people – it’s ALL about economics.” Dig?

//MORE ABOUT THE SECRET SONG
//ALL MUSIC REVIEW
//ALL ABOUT JAZZ REVIEW
//HIP HOP DX REVIEW
//WALL STREET JOURNAL: SPOOKY ECONOMICS