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Rhythm Science

by Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid

“Once you get into the flow of things,
you’re always haunted by the way that things could have turned out.
This outcome, that conclusion. You get my drift.
The uncertainty is what holds the story together,
and that’s what I’m going to talk about.”

The conceptual artist Paul Miller, also known as DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid, delivers a manifesto for rhythm science–the creation of art from the flow of patterns in sound and culture, “the changing same.”

Taking the DJ’s mix as template, he describes how the artist, navigating the innumerable ways to arrange the mix of cultural ideas and objects that bombard us, uses technology and art to create something new and expressive and endlessly variable. Technology provides the method and model; information on the web, like the elements of a mix, doesn’t stay in one place. And technology is the medium, bridging the artist’s consciousness and the outside world.

Winner of American Institute of Graphic Arts Book of the Year Award.



“Paul D. Miller – aka DJ Spooky, that Subliminal Kid – is an underground treasure. An African-American cultural theorist-cum-musician, his Rhythm Science (Mediaworks) is a sharp, sweetly designed little number, a manifesto for his way of looking at the world. Tracing connections between Duchamp, Debussy, the Wu Tang Clan and the everyday creativity he saw growing up in Washington DC, he shows how art and idealism can activate each other in this era of sampling and ‘multiplex consciousness’. In its range of reference and its fruitful speculations, it reminds me of our own Kodwo Eshun’s groundbreaking More Brilliant Than the Sun (Quartet) of a few years back.”
Diran Adebayo, Writer

“Once again, Paul Miller has pushed the sonic arts and sciences to a new level, and in the process re-mastered literary form. I guarantee, this book will mess with your head, but in a funky way.”
–Robin D.G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination

“DJ Spooky and COMA, together sampling provocative thoughts and creative graphic design, have made Rhythm Science a fascinating addition to today’s book culture.”
Bernard Tschumi, Dean, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and
Preservation, Columbia University

“We’ve ended the century of broadcast culture — when manufacturers produced the culture we consume. In this brilliant and beautiful book, Paul Miller gives us the rhythm of sampled culture — culture created by those who can remix, and by technologies that enable anyone to remix. Rhythm Science is science; it is art; it is the story of how freedom would build better science and art. Dark, with bright flashes, in tempo, with syncopation, it is a companion to the next stage, if we’re allowed that next stage despite law that would keep us locked in the past.”
–Lawrence Lessig, Stanford Law School, author of The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World

“In Rhythm Science Miller remixes sounds and ideas with equal dexterity.
A new vibe for a new world.”
–John Akomfrah, film director

“It wouldn’t much surprise me if DJ Spooky invigorates the intellectual world someday as Professor Spooky or even Chancellor Spooky.”
–Bruce Sterling, author of The Hacker Crackdown and Tomorrow Now: Envisioning
the Next Fifty Years

“Paul Miller has got the brilliant negro thang down cold. This is a meditation on music and self in which Paul plays with words much the way DJ Spooky plays with sound.”
— Touré, author of The Portable Promised Land

“Miller’s insights as a practicing and successful DJ are fresh and unpretentious.”
Publisher’s Weekly

Rhythm Science is a small book that makes a huge leap for the culture of
the now. It’s software for your head. Upgrade your grey matter.””
Roy Christopher, SLAP