Paul Miller on Sat, 5 Jul 2008 16:35:16 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> MIT Press - Sound Unbound: Digital Media, Contemporary Sound Art

Hey y'all - here's some material:

Sound Unbound, an Anthology edited by Paul D. Miller aka Dj Spooky
MIT Press 2008

> Sound Unbound is an anthology of writings about contemporary art and  
> digital media that I put together for MIT Press this year. The book  
> just came out and has quickly become one of MIT Press's top selling  
> books. It has essays and interviews with people as diverse as Brian  
> Eno, Steve Reich, Chuck D, Pierre Boulez, Saul Williams, Jonathan  
> Lethem, Bruce Sterling, Daphne Keller (the Senior Legal Counsel to  
> Google), and even some occasional Nettime and Sarai Reader  
> contributors like Naeem Mohaimen, or Erik Davis and Ken Jordan. The  
> basic idea of the"Sound Unbound" was to break down the boundaries  
> that the conventional artworld has set up towards - gasp - multi- 
> cultural digital media. The central concept was to figure out a way  
> to get people out of the deeply Eurocentric discourse around digital  
> media and contemporary art, and to build a bridge between a dynamic  
> and multi-cultural contemporary art practice and multimedia theory.  
> One could argue that the book is a manifesto for a kind of  
> fragmentation - contemporary media is rife with what some like to  
> call the 'logic of addition'. Sampling, collage based narratives,  
> and the basic sense of "urban youth culture" and its cousin, web  
> browsing, are two epiphenomena that go with things like ipods,  
> mobile phones, webcams, laptops, satellite television, "web 2.0":  
> The dj mix grows like wild plants without deep roots (rhizomes) in  
> the spaces between older forms of mass media (newspapers, film,  
> radio and television).
In the world of Sound Unbound, "normal" media outlets like Fox News,  
NBC, CNN etc compete with Arab satellite channels, bloggers and civil  
journalism, hypes emerge online, Youtube and Twitter turn everybody  
into a media producer. But deeply rooted trees are not that easily  
overgrown. The media have become individualized, fragmented - and at  
the same time, specialized and opened up. That's what the book is  
about. It's 36 essays and interviews about the culture of paradox we  
inhabit now from the view point of artists, writers,  activists, and  
cultural producers that I think are pushing the envelope in both the  
normal "artworld" and contemporary digital media.

Here's a remix of the introduction to the audio companion to the book.  
It's based on research into Sub Rosa Record's archive. The audio  
companion has rare material from Allen Ginsberg, James Joyce, Iggy  
Pop, Jean Cocteau, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Gertrude Stein, Antonin Artaud,  
Kurt Schwitters, Carsten Nicolai, Liam Gillick, Trilok Gurtu, Bora  
Youn, and others. The small fragment I've included here was written  
when I was in Antarctica earlier this year shooting a film about the  
sound of ice.
> Check it out!
> Sound Unbound: edited by Paul D. Miller aka Dj Spooky
> MIT Press 2008
> Sound Unbound Audio Companion: Excerpts and Allegories from the Sub  
> Rosa Archives.
> There’s an old Latin phrase: “Ad acta” that I like to think about  
> when I think about Dj mix culture. When you translate it, it simply  
> means "to the archives." For the Romans, it was a way of saying that  
> values change – simply put, it means that something isn't true  
> anymore but once was. ”Form and function, fact and fiction: In an  
> era where there are more websites than human beings,… In an era  
> where humanity makes more information every year than almost all  
> previous eras combined… In an era where there is more information  
> than almost every star in the sky (if we bothered to count), music  
> means something different than it used to - it plays a different  
> role in our culture of fiber optic cables, wireless networks, and  
> satellite transmissions, than it’s more remote presence in history  
> before the advent of recorded media. Today, for me, music isn’t  
> music – it’s information. The material in this mix is an audio  
> companion to the anthology I edited with MIT Press of the same name.  
> It’s  a summary of several years of work that looks at music as one  
> of the most immaterial of artforms. For me music and art are  
> inseparable – they are mirrors of one another. Software has changed  
> the way the we think about creativity – it’s reconfigured how we  
> even think of human presence.
> The material on this “Sound Unbound” mix is an audio essay that  
> links artists as diverse as Marcel Duchamp, Vladimir Mayakovsky,  
> Antonin Artaud and Allen Ginsberg. It also foregrounds some issues  
> that I think the 21st century really needs to understand – art isn’t  
> about objects anymore. Art is a continuous investigation into  
> humanity’s place in the world, it gives us hope and tells us simply,  
> that another world is possible, I hope you listen to the mix and  
> think about it as another kind of text. A text that asks a simple,  
> yet deceptively complex question: where does the 20th century end  
> and the 21st century begin? Where do we draw the line between art  
> and objects, art and artifacts?  The jazz musician Eric Dolphy once  
> infamously said “when you hear music, after its over, it’s gone, in  
> the air. You can never capture it again.” In the era of ubiquitous  
> computing the new vision of music is about omnipresence – the music  
> is everywhere. You just have to find it. I guess I’d say, like  
> Gothe, the “architecture is frozen music.” “Sound Unbound” reverse  
> engineers that statement to de-thaw the process.  It asks: What  
> happens when music is liquid architecture? In these post modern  
> times, we’re faced with a kind of cultural landscape where almost  
> all aspects of meaning have come from a view point based on  
> relativity.  “Ad acta:” I think of that phrase from thousands of  
> years ago, and wonder: what happens when you make all those old  
> records come to life again? Maybe that style of mixing is the  
> ultimate example of continuous renewal that Dj mix culture points  
> to. It says simply, that we always re-create and re-affirm human  
> life by playing with memory and time and space. That’s what sampling  
> is about. Alot of research went into the mix for this project, and I  
> hope the whimsical and somewhat paradoxical connections I draw with  
> the mix lead the listener to new meanings from old. Enjoy!!!
> Paul D. Miller, Antarctic Peninsula/New York 2008

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