DJ Spooky is vis­it­ing WC fel­low

Kent County News - - OPINION - By LEANN SCHENKE lschenke@thekent­coun­tynews.com

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.”

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

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.

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