DJ Spooky is friggin’ brilliant, let it be said. He kicked off Rhythm Science, a lecture last night on art history, philosophy, hiphop and remix culture, by invoking the gift economy. He handed out free mix CDs to everyone in the audience. He then proceded to pull out a personal stash of records that are obviously the tools of his trade and shared them with everyone in the audience. Not for keeps, but show and tell like, letting everyone fondle and caress each piece of vinyl before passing it on to his and her neighbor.
And then the lecture started. Here’s some notes I picked up along the way.
-the culture of copy
-the source code is human expression mediated by human interpretation
-the Beats of the 50’s gave birth to the beats of the 21st century
-discourse of the nation state
-Internet inheriting the remixing from the streets (the first network)
-the artist as font, moveable to different compositions
-Spooky is a French lit and philosophy major
-dialectics of sound
-streetlights as controls of the original network, the streets
-music is liquid architecture
-copyright as it is written and as it is lived is diverging
-electronic music is the folk music of the 21st century, everyone knows and plays each other’s music
-Birth of a Nation was the first film to play in the White House
And then there was the other reason he was here. This free lecture proceeds a $40 a head gig he’s doing this weekend at Yerba Buena in San Francisco. Spooky uses the 1915 silent KKK propaganda film The Birth of a Nation as source material for video on 3 giant screens and an accompanying composition he created. Too rich for my blood right now, but I’d love to hear report backs.
UPDATE: Some pix I took. Steve Rhodes has more.