Friday, May 25, 2007

The idea of collage drives my mixes

Deleuze/Guattari: Remix Culture, Paul D. Miller Interviews Carlo Simula in Music, Theory, Album/CD/DVD Covers, Remix Culture, Interview, Hip Hop, History, DJ Culture, Criticism Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007 Trackback Image source: Dusty Groove Text source: and November 20, 2005 The following is an interview with Carlo Simula for his book MILLESUONI. OMAGGIO A DELEUZE E GUATTARI (Cronopio Edizioni)
2) I see many analogies between your work and Deleuze and Guattari’s, especially when they talk about the “concept” as a way to define the world, defining it as an “event.” The production of a concept is therefore the way philosophy builds the understanding of the real world. It seems to me that in Rhythm Science you talk a lot about sampling and the figure of the DJ as a manipulator of images, sounds, technologies used to create, exactly, “concepts.” What do you think about it?
One of my favorite books of the last several years, African Philosophy: An Anthology edited by Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze, explores this kind of thing: how do we re-map the scripted territories of Eurocentric thought to create new tools, new ways of thinking about the multi-plex scenario any idealist will find at the end of any investigation of philosophy in the 21st century.
  • For Deleuze and Guattari, and for me, the idea is always an “event” - it presupposes a kind of frame of reference that closes one action and starts another - they overlap and blur.
  • For me “sampling” is the same thing: thought event, sound event. Computers generate algorithms that create tableaux of continuous uncertainty - the screen is not a locked space.
  • My work asks about how the networks of creativity that we have inherited from the “bricks and mortar” world of the 20th century, have imploded, evolved and accelerated the “im-material” networks of the frequencies, fiber optic networks, and mathematically driven world of the 21st century. That’s the real “dematerialization of the art object” - it becomes patterns meshed, working between the spaces of pre-scripted behavior.

My book Rhythm Science looked at foundations of contemporary thinking from the viewpoint of “how do we make art out of patterns of culture?” It was meant to ask more questions, not offer answers to contexts that are continually changing. The landscape of contemporary digital media is undefined. Anything that tells you it is “defined” is pretty much making a false observation. The undefined defined?

Heraclitus said something like this years ago - dj culture tells us it has become the way we organize information in a media ecology of unstable subjectivity. My take on this is basically “pro-active” - for me, music is all about creating tools for thinking - about giving people systems to organize information outside of the European categories of “rationality” and “universal subjectivity” that drove the Enlightenment. That is what I learned from them. Abstraction is the ultimate weapon. Multiculturalism is the ultimate destabilizing category because, like sampling, it can absorb anything. It defies limits, and posits “the subject” as an imploded category - one that is, and always has been, basically a construct.

What other constructs - the nation state, the idea of the “self” etc - are linked to this category that is slowly being pulled apart by the centrifugal forces of digital media? Deleuze and Guattari give us tools to think about this kind of stuff - they posit these as fictions holding together other fictions. The mirror is held up to another mirror, and we can see an infinite corridor in either direction. I kind of want to break the mirror. Warhol’s “From A to B and Back Again” drifted as word dust through the fiber optic cables and satellite transmissions of a world of invisible meshworks. Stuff like that.

3) Among other things the cd inside the book Rhythm Science is a concentrated “improvisation” of the Subrosa archive, a label which more than others promoted a certain genre of music connected to art.. It reminded me, with the proper differences, John Oswald’s “Greyfolded”, where he ends up building a version of Grateful Dead’s “Dark Star” from hundreds of live versions. Thoughts?
The “fold” is about involution - it’s about taking multiple perspectives on an event - just like the “break” in hip-hop, it’s the break beat, the broken fragment of time recorded on the sample that gives the “flow” of discourse its meaning in this context. In dj culture, you create structure from sequences. My style is the sound track to urban sprawl. It’s my way to look at compositional strategy in the era of digital media.
My favorite photographer, Etienne Jules Maret’s “stop motion photography” alludes to this kind of thing. The fragment is greater than the interpretation of Deleuze and Guattari was about, and if you look at John Cage’s idea of “indeterminancy” and it’s relationship to turntables - the concept fits solidly. Composers have been using the “fold” for many centuries - the main issue is that they haven’t had the tools to describe the process. D&G gave us those tools - I guess I look more to stuff like Grand Master Flash’s “Adventures on the Wheels of Steel,” Steinski and Double D’s “Hip-hop Lessons” than John Oswald, but we’re both driven by the same concept. The idea of collage drives my mixes - that’s the point.
Contemporary art - art that explores the economies of scale that software allows us to explore - points to the idea of the “input-output” schemata that Delueze and Guattari talked about with their concept of the body without organs. I think it’s a good analogy. I really want to set music up as a platform - I want to make sure to remind people, that yes, I’m an artist… It’s really weird how much people are set against the idea of existing in multiple contexts. Mono-reality… something like that. It’s boring. Again, the D & G connection about multiple situations occurring simultaneously - reflects the “post post modern” scenario - it’s not about “deconstruction,” but reconstruction - of building a new vision of how we can live and think in the info ecology we’ve built for ourselves. And so on, and so on, and so on…

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