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Dead Simple: Marshall Mcluhan and the Art of the Record

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Artist Statement:
“During the 1960s, I think, people forgot what emotions were supposed to be. And I don’t think they’ve ever remembered.”
~ Andy Warhol

Mcluhan wrote his stunningly prescient monumental work, one of twelve books and hundreds of articles, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, in 1964. He followed up with “The Medium is The Massage: An Inventory of Effects” in 1967. The record you hear arrived after that, but it embodied the same ideas. The baseline subject that would preoccupy almost all of McLuhan’s career was the task of understanding the effects of technology as it contextualized popular culture, and how this in turn affected human beings and their relations with one another in communities. For him, everything was connected. Because he was one of the first to sound the idea that electronic media and pop culture were eerily interconnected, McLuhan gained the status of a cult hero and “high priest of pop-culture”.

Sound Portrait: Glenn O’Brien

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Dialog with Paul D. Miller/DJ Spooky

Glenn O’Brien has been an elemental force in Downtown NY for decades. From the time when he was Editor of Interview Magazine under Andy Warhol over to the seminal batch of zany after hours DIY TV shows “TV Party” that featured downtown mainstays like Debbie Harry, David Byrne, Jean Michel Basquiat and others, he combined the prototype for Saturday Nite Live with Reality TV in a way that still has people combing YouTube for gems from the show. O’Brien has shown over the years an enduring ability to understand the currents of “Downtown” in all its manifestations.

Origin Magazine caught up with him to talk about some of his current ideas.

MADAME FREEDOM (자유부인 – Jayu buin)

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In 2007 Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky was commissioned by Art Center Nabi in Seoul, Korea and the Korean American Film Festival in New York to re-score this classic film with a 21st century soundtrack. In March 2011 Miller worked with renowned Korean violinists Eugene Park, Sean Lee, and experimental cellist Okkyung Lee to create a new string quartet score based on Miller’s compositions for Madame Freedom that was edited live using his innovative iPad/iPhone mixing software.

Madame Freedom was one of the defining films of the “Golden Era” of Korean cinema in the 1950’s. It was based on a serialized novel that itself was an adaptation of Jung Bi-suk’s controversial 1954 novel, Madame Freedom, which was serialized in Seoul Newspaper throughout most of the post-war Korean late 1950’s. Madame Freedom, along with Kim ki-young’s 1960 smash hit film “The Housemaid,” was considered to be highly technological for its era with innovative use of camera angles, a soundtrack involving live bands and orchestras, and above all, the use of record players! In the history of Korean cinema, such films led to the immense popularity of Korean cinema throughout contemporary Asia. One could argue that Madame Freedom is the DNA of the genre known as “hallyu” 한류 or 한국드라마 or “Korean drama.” Most critics would say that Madame Freedom is the first Korean film to utilize crane shots and sound in many novel ways – record players are heard through walls, lighting in clubs is extended into dance scenes while the crane moves through the audience, etc