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. Miller constructed his Dj Spooky persona
("spooky" from the eerie sounds of hip-hop, techno, ambient,
and the other music that he plays) as a conceptual art project,
but then came to see it as the opportunity for "coding a generative
syntax for new languages of creativity." For example: "Start
with the inspiration of George Herriman's Krazy Kat comic strip.
Make a track invoking his absurd landscapes. . .What do tons and
tons of air pressure moving in the atmosphere sound like? Make music
that acts a metaphor for that kind of immersion or density."
Or, for an online "remix" of two works by Marcel Duchamp:
"I took a lot of his material written on music and flipped
it into a DJ mix of his visual material--with him rhyming!"
Tracing the genealogy of rhythm science, Miller cites sources and
influences as varied as Ralph Waldo Emerson ("all minds quote"),
Grandmaster Flash, W. E. B Dubois, James Joyce, and Eminem. "The
story unfolds while the fragments coalesce," he writes.
has been chosen as one of the 50 best designed books by the AIGA,
as part of "AIGA 50 Books/50 Covers" competition. 900
entries have been reviewed.
Afrika Bambaataa, Dj Spooky, and Grandmaster Flash
Dj Spooky and Grand Mixer DST
||This is a review of Paul D. Miller's Rhythm
Science by London's Kodwo Eshun in Osmosis, the magazine
that accompanies London's renowned Blacktronica club nite. Additional
contributors include David Adjaye, Ekow Eshun, and Charlie Dark.
Eshun's first book More Brilliant than the Sun
came out in 1994 on Quartet Books.
Rhythm Science makes the UK Guardian Observer's
list of Books of the Year!
"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,
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
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
"Miller's insights as a practicing and successful DJ are fresh
-- 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
Rhythm Science is available now at MIT
Also available at Amazon.com
Institutional inquiries and sales:
In the United States, contact Erika Valenti at MIT Sales: firstname.lastname@example.org
In Europe/Uk, Africa, the middle East and India: email@example.com
In Asia, Australia, Canada: firstname.lastname@example.org
Special thanks to the
European Graduate School
Media and Communication Studies Program
for their continued support.
Syllabus for Media Sounds Class