DJ Spooky
Birth of a Nation
Friday, 9/9/2005
posted by Gavin Shettler
Wow, that was incredible! Mesmerizing. Such sensory over load. Paul D. Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky, takes us on an audio and visual tour of this silent film classic, Birth of a Nation. “The first movie ever viewed in the White House,” Miller tells us before his performance. Everything is live: Miller composes and improvises both music and video through a bank of wires and monitors, as a tryptic of video screens whirl the night mares of The Civil War and Reconstruction behind him. The film is cut and spliced, some times drifting into nonlinear patterns. But don’t worry, DJ Spooky is in total control. With haunting beats and eery mixes, Miller pounds the audience with racist images of Clansmen on horses and statements like “I wanted to marry a white woman.” Through out the film, Miller also employs iconography. First, of semi chip circuits continually growing, becoming complete. The machine of slavery and racism is growing, thriving, even today. Another reoccurring image is of a dancer, continually taking a bow, continually ending, yet the dance is inescapable. It goes on and on.
DJ Spooky hits us hard with the lessons of the foundations that this nation has been built on–the machine that was honed by greed and selfishness. Its result is the racism that still infects our country today. DJ Spooky is one of the great artists of our time. Pushing the ideas of musical composition, club dance and video, video art and performance. Spooky is not afraid to bare his teeth and produce work with real depth and relevance. Particularly to our lily white city. Hypnotic and engaging, DJ Spooky is not to be missed, except by the two girls sitting next to me (I think they thought they were going to a dance party).