Before I go off and say something “bad” about DJ Spooky, it must be said that he is the guy who turned me on to Amiri Baraka’s “Black Dada Nihilismus”—a spoken word piece that became a very creative Spooky remix that I am still unable to get (again) in MP3 format. This introduction to Amiri Baraka is very important to me. Sadly, no matter how many times I say what was important to me, my assumption is that DJ Spooky, being a “sensitive” American artist would be, “tuned out” to any critique coming from me—since it is clear that the value of my critique is not worth the paper most will not print this Blog post on…
Yes, DJ Spooky is not just an artist—he makes it editorially clear that he is a conceptual artist. And this means to me that the concept of Amiri Barka’s spoken word revived and updated for the “youth market” is a great idea from a great dude. So now, according to “Spooky ice,” the concept of DJ Spooky in Antarctica is also supposed to be great. These are the conceptual nuggets that I am supposed to grasp:
“I’m going offline for a while ’cause I’m shooting a film in Antarctica for the next couple of weeks. If you have a moment, check out the trailer for the film I’m going to shoot there: every sound in the film will be made from the sound of ice (environmental, geological, magnetic, atmospheric etc). I’m bringing a mini-studio with me to edit, shoot, and score the film. It headlines Sundance’s Digital Film section this January.”
None of the concepts embedded in the ice above pique my interest. It must be because I am Black—therefore “limited.” So here are some more embedded devices:
- Anything described as a “large scale multimedia performance work” depends on the word “multimedia” being “cutting edge” and interesting—unless, of course, this is “established” curatorial jargon designed to speak to a rarified world of gallery owners.
- The trailer at djspooky.com does not have every sound “made from the sound of ice” unless this is a veiled racial epithet. At least the sound of whales under ice should have been used in “creative” ways.
- “The Antarctic Suite follows Miller’s highly acclaimed performance work DJ Spooky’s ‘Rebirth of a Nation’” means that going to Antarctica is “proof” that DJ Spooky is not “limited” or “mired” in the “political muck” of “racial issues.” This is technique made famous by actors who are trying to avoid getting typecast. But for people often unwillingly described as “black actors” there is a fine line between being typecast and racially stereotyped. I will assume that Paul D. Miller is actually and genuinely interested in freezing his ass off in Antarctica because it would be quite an extreme move just to prove some shit to people.
- From the artist’s statement we read, “As the only uninhabited continent, Antarctica has no government and belongs to no country.” So you could call going to Antarctica ‘a Black thang’—because this is how far a brother has to go to get away from Indo-European style of government colonizing the world over… However, any rudimentary view at a map of Antarctica will reveal the various “claims” made by European governments. So my attempt to see it as ‘a Black thang’ has to drop—but hey, dude, it’s a “human thing”… Can’t I just see something more “universal”?
- Djspooky.com still does not have a news feed. This is just frickin’ annoying. But when a brother is working his ass off to go to Antarctica such technical minutiae surely is tertiary. And, by the mufukkin’ way, what the hell is going on with Blacktronica.com and Afrofuturism.net? Both of these “futuristic” sites seem abandoned in the past. This really disappoints me because my assumption is that Black people with advanced academic degrees presenting their organization online are really supposed to be kickin’ ass online.