DJ Spooky is visiting WC fellow
CHESTERTOWN — Starting Wednesday, Nov. 2, Washington College will welcome internationally acclaimed recording artist DJ Spooky for three days at various locations around the college.
Paul D. Miller, who works under the name DJ Spooky, the Subliminal Kid, carries many titles, not only DJ, but musician, artist, philosopher and activist.
“An artist can be anything,” Miller said in an Oct. 20 phone interview. “I started creating art through sound art, but art can be created in multiple contexts. Music is the easiest for people to get.”
Miller is primarily known as a DJ who achieved fame during the late 1990s into the early 2000s. His collaborations include various big names, including Yoko Ono and Metallica.
But, if you ask Miller, music is not about the fame, but more of what good can come from notoriety.
“I have a strange, accidental career,” Miller said. “Music is fun. And it is my way of reaching people.”
Think DJ and you will probably conjure up images of turntables, large headphones and sweaty people in a crowded room bouncing along to a beat. Think DJ Spooky and you are more likely to find a full orchestra meshed harmoniously with a synthetic beat while a screen projects images of melting icecaps in Antarctica.
“Half the battle is getting people to pay attention. There’s a lot of basic ignorance happening right now,” Miller said. “Music provides emotional logic for people. Music helps people to respond to the issues, and give people information they might not know to look for.”
Miller’s name is attached to various credits that bring about awareness of environmental issues and racial relations. In 2004, he was commissioned by the Lincoln Center Festival to remix the controversial film, “Birth of a Nation,” directed in 1915 by D.W. Griffith.
It is fitting then that DJ Spooky will visit Chestertown under the title Frederick Douglass Visiting Fellow, having gained attention of the college’s C.V. Starr Center For The Study Of The American Experience.
“DJ Spooky came first to the attention of Starr Center director Adam Goodheart. We went to an NPR taping where the ‘the American History Guys’ discussed his remix treatment of D.W. Griffith’s ‘The Birth of a Nation’ film,” Michael Buckley, program manager of the Starr Center wrote in an email Tuesday. “It was there that we experienced firsthand DJ Spooky’s multifarious interests and concerns about the Ameri- can experience. His ability to see the world and ‘remix’ it through fresh eyes, and to ask his audiences to re-consider, for example, nature and history and art, is something that we can all learn from and be entertained by.”
He will begin his three-day stay on the Shore with a “multimedia talk and musical performance,” according to the college’s website, at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 2 in Decker Theatre, Gibson Theatre for the Arts.
His “Rebirth of a Nation” remix of Griffith’s film will be screened at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 3 in Decker Theatre, followed by a question and answer session with Miller.
In 2009, the Brooklyn Academy of Music commissioned him to create a multimedia performance piece for the Next Wave Festival. The piece was “Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica,” which took Miller to Antarctica to see the icecaps. The results of that trip will be on display from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Friday at SANDBOX Gallery, 107 Cross St.
To define Miller as a DJ would be to limit his experience and work. Miller is an artist first, of all the titles he holds. National Geographic named Miller its 2014 “Emerging Explorer,” which is described by Miller’s publicist as “an honor recognizing visionaries at the forefront of global problem solving.”
Beginning Nov. 2, DJ Spooky will be the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience’s Frederick Douglass Visiting Fellow at Washington College for three days. During his time he will display his multimedia and multi-genre artwork at both the college and SANDBOX.