paul miller/dj spooky lecture
posted by laura becker
so…i remember that last year when i wrote my first posting for the blog i had just watched monstersquad and i was thinking about the themes of water running throughout the festival. and it was pouring at the time. well now we’re dealing with the effects of katrina, and though i’m not going to try to connect too many distant thoughts, it did come to mind as i listened to dj spooky’s lecture. but i’ll get back to that.
paul miller, aka etc., was an interesting first event for me for this year’s TBA. i didn’t join the throngs of people last night for streb (i don’t do throngs very well) so i didn’t pick up on that festival-forcefield-surge i can tell is floating in the air around the people who were there.  my introduction, in the quasi-corporate/academic setting of the w+k atrium was just fine though.  i’m still the art history nerd with my notepad trying to catch every quotable phrase i hear and hoping that i will eventually write the most interesting comments of cultural criticism. and paul didn’t disappoint. he is very clearly informed in cinema and music history and eloquently describes his processes and passions. but i have a feeling that all his references to his work – words being visual metaphors, sampling as social sculpture, and using media as his palette – will resonate more for me as i get deeper into the festival.  it seems like if this festival winds up having a theme for me, it may be simply the performance versions of mixed media and the tension of the live and the recorded performance. that certainly wound up being part of the description of a lot of the events i wound up picking, and i didn’t realize it until i listed them all together. although these days it’s probably impossible for something not to be mixed media.


anyway, the one thought i did have during the lecture that i suspect may be unique to this morning (since i don’t plan to actually see his performance tonight or tomorrow like most normal people who go to lectures for a sneak peek) was about paul’s description of race representation in the media, and this was why katrina came to my mind. i’ve been getting pretty depressed and even a little paranoid hearing about the trouble related to race relations in towns (that it seems are full of completely prejudiced people) who have taken in evacuees and never had to think about this before, and even more, i’ve just been horrified by the disparate treatment by the government and the media for the different races and classes that katrina has devastated. even if kanye west’s recent declaration that “bush does not care about black people” isn’t technically true, that perception is all that matters. paul did a fair share of bush bashing (and of course i loved every second of it) and his performance and re-mix of birth of a nation will also reveal our awful history that we’re still dooming ourselves to repeat. i’m not sure i really have a point to this, but i just love this serious thinking and the fact that at this seriously shitty time, when shit just keeps happening every day and more and more to people i care about, that i can know for the next ten days i’ll be doing most of my serious thinking about the seriously good things i’m seeing at TBA.