Archive for the ‘DJ Spooky’ Category

Remix, Solitude

December 16, 2007

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There’s audience? no audience.

Voices in the head, Remix, Solitude

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(photo of a DJ by kirstiecat )

I give myself up to language

May 2, 2007

“I give myself up to language, anon, in a gift economy”, ecko4inc

I give myself up to language

Erasure Heads, part#2

(Click to enlarge)

Language, a reversed panopticon. In the heart of the desert one stands circled with guardian Words. Their gaze. All it needs to see them is to take one step outside yourself; the whole path lasts no longer than one step.

The Death of the Author; the Birth of the Voice

February 10, 2007

In my post DJ Spooky’s Remix Simulacrum I questioned the concept of an “authentic voice” in general, and the concept of a “remix” in particular:

“Given that the human history of ideas, progress, art, etc. is the history of remix, i.e. the unexpected association of different, seemingly unrelated memes, should “remix” be classified as an authentic voice or an unauthentic one?”

That post ended with only questions. I might have now a sort of an answer, which will be based on literary criticism, specifically on Roland Barthes “The Death of the Author”, as well as on our memory, or rather on our capacity to… forget.

In “The Death of the Author” (1967) Barthes states that “the writer can only imitate a gesture forever anterior, never original”. Any text, therefore, be it an “original” or a “remix” is deemed to be the reincarnation of older texts. Let’s forget, than, the illusion of authenticity [, or of truth, or of reality etc.] – there’s no such thing.

Here’s an excerpt from Barthes:

“We know that a text does not consist of a line of words, releasing a single “theological” meaning (the “message” of the Author-God), but is a space of many dimensions, in which are wedded and contested various kinds of writing, no one of which is original: the text is a tissue of citations, resulting from the thousand sources of culture. Like Bouvard and Pecuchet, those eternal copyists, both sublime and comical and whose profound absurdity precisely designates the truth of writing, the writer can only imitate a gesture forever anterior, never original”.

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Yet I’d like to suggest a distinction between the authenticity of the text and the authenticity of the voice (leaving aside concepts of author, writer, speaker etc.). Indeed, the text is essentially unauthentic; the author is being dead, and the reader is, righteously, the new meaning-provider. Yet from all this destruction, I think that something new is born: the voice.

The Voice

Barthes continues the above quoted text with what can be understood as a minor observation on his part, but a one that I think is key to understanding the essence and the role of the authentic voice – that which tells an essentially unauthentic story:

“his [the writer, the dead author, the layman speaker] only power is to combine the different kinds of writing, to oppose some by others, so as never to sustain himself by just one of them”.

I’d like to interpret this last sentence as suggesting that authentic voices are those associating old texts in a certain way in a certain time for a certain society. And even if the last sentence from Barthes doesn’t say that, I’d still like to stick to this idea, and to maintain that this role of the authentic voice is of an extreme importance.

The authentic voice is that which reminds us of old, forgotten texts. What I’ll say now is not original, but it’s important: the past contains many answers for us, mostly in the form of unanswered questions (yes, I noticed the paradox). Faulkner has this saying that the past is never dead and that it is not even past. This insight, I think, is critical for our survival, for our progress. The right old question [or text in its broadest meaning] brought up in the right moment in the right context can change things. What Barthes cannot take from the dead author is his choice of the texts and of the moment and context of their reincarnation.

In other words, the role of the authentic voice is to bring up, to remind, in a certain point in time, some old texts so that the “reader” will start his/her process of creating meaning – actual, relevant meaning – around them. The authentic voice is the catalyst, the trigger of the whole process.

Remember (for future use): a society that cannot forget is a society that cannot remember.

DJ Spooky’s Remix Simulacrum

February 4, 2007

“Today, the voice you speak with may not be your own”, DJ Spooky

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I thought this sentence was clear. But then, after thinking about it for a while, I concluded that it eludes me. I have several possible meanings with much more unanswered questions about its potential semantics.

Meanings

It can refer to the pessimistic Baudrillardian Integral Reality theory, in which anything is a simulacrum, a fake, including our “self”, our voice.
[OR]
It can be understood as an optimistic, web2.0 share-all style, in which the right to remix and to appropriate others’ voices goes mainstream.

Questions

– What is “My” voice? What guarantees the authenticity of a certain “Voice”?
– Remix: Given that the human history of ideas, progress, art, etc. is the history of Remix, i.e. the unexpected association of different, seemingly unrelated memes, should “remix” be classified as an authentic voice or an unauthentic one?
– What is different “Today”? Until Today, what kind of voice have we used – our own or others’?
– What is “Today” – where does it point to?

The sequel to this post is The Death of the Author; the Birth of the Voice.

A Spooky TAZ in Burroughs’ FoucaulPticon

January 16, 2007

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DJ Spooky’s Rhythm Science has this track where the voice of William S. Burroughs is remixed. Obviously, the choice of text is significant. Here’s it:

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To achieve independence from alien domination and to consolidate revolutionary gains, five steps are necessary:

Space 1: Proclaim a new era and set up a new calendar

Space 2: Replace alien language

Space 3: Destroy or neutralize alien gods

Space 4: Destroy alien machinery of government and control

Space 5: Take land and wealth from individual aliens.

Reminder: State’s control is space-oriented.

So now we got Foucault, linked to Bey, who’s linked to Laswell and also to Burroughs, who’s linked to DJ Spooky, who’s remixing Laswell as well as Burroughs, and not any text of Burroughs, but rather a next-step-text, an how-to text that goes with the spirit of them all.

Bill Laswell’s Undocument

January 1, 2007

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Photo by Michael Hoefner

If you look for it, you find it.

DJ Spooky that subliminal kid, was the first musician I encountered (over the virtualosphere) whose music is derived from deep philosophical strucutres. I first read DJ Spooky’s essays, then I listened to his music. DJ Spooky is a great philosophical mediator.

This is to say that I had my initiation. While searching for Hakim Bey, I stumbled upon a joint venture between Bey and Laswell (Chaos from T.A.Z). Then I checked out Laswell to whom I listened in those great acne days but not in the last decade or so, and I found this artwork named undocument.

Now, if you follow my other blogs, you know my sympathy to Dave Winer’s language tweaks, i.e. uncoference. The un- prefix has become, through Winer, a way to describe the matter and its anti-matter in a single word: it is a conference, but it is not what you would expect from a conference (it is a deconstructioned word).

And here’s what Laswell is saying about the music in undocument:

Realizations achieved in Bill Laswell’s domain are decontextualized and prepared for release into the world of chaos and chance. […]

These are source materials for the creation of modern music. Assimilate them, reprocess them, recombine them – the original intent of the sounds on this CD-ROM will disintegrate, as new meanings – your meanings – emerge intact.

It is fantastic: a form-less music; pure content kept in autonomous zones, to which anyone can apply a meaning. And still, like most of the paradoxial truisms, this formless matter is packed (i.e. subject to a form) in an undocument, which is and at the same time is not a documentation of all those matters. Probably, the meaning of undocument is that the packaging nevertheless keeps the autonomic nature of its embeddded content.

You can listen to a great sample, named dance at the bottom of this page.

The Ontology of DJ Spooky

December 4, 2006

“Philip K. Dick, Samuel Delaney, all these science fiction writers were engaging with trying to figure out how to think outside the box. The tragedy is that there is no outside the box. You’re just in another box, in another box…”, DJ Spooky’s Remixing the Matrix

You’re just in another box, in another box.
You’re just in another box, in another box.
You’re just in another box, in another box.
You’re just in another box, in another box.

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Click the image to get to DJ Spooky’s collected Essays

Also, I find the following DJ Spooky’s observation a sort of an answer to those worries raised in earlier posts:

“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”

DJ Spooky, Rhythm Science