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Interview with Dj Spooky, Haus der Kunst, München

Dj Spooky

Felicia Herrschaft: Paul D. Miller alias Dj Spooky Today you started your conversation - you were (he is eating an apple) (laughing) talking about social sculptures. How do you think is it possible to come from the hiphop-culture into this kind of social sculpture thinking?


Spooky: Well, it is to me a lot of what is going on with the artworld right now, you have to understand a kind of (apple crunching sounds) exceptionalism around how people live in networks and so what Utopia Station is doing is a kind of thinking about the possibility of another world almost it is like an art-piece where you are in a bubble like an autonomous space. What I am doing with my music is thinking about it as fragments and shareware you know, being able to exchange with people and so what I presented the other night: I was working with these german jazz musicians sampling them, they were playing and I was taking the digital version of that and I was doing a digital version of what I think jazz is you know, so today when I was talking that is another project I am doing with Chuck D. He is rhyming and sent me his words over the internet . and I sample that and make music around it.


Felicia Herrschaft: What are you doing with the sample on the internet?


Spooky:He sent me files of his voice.


Felicia Herrschaft:How would you say... because Chuck D as a Communicationdesigner, is really thinking very specifically about the political situation of the black african culture in?


Spooky:I think he is even more about humanism – I think Chuck D is

Felicia Herrschaft: humanism? Ok universal


Spooky: Chuck D is...


Felicia Herrschaft: universal codes, what he is doing in music? somehow hiphop-culture is more a social process coming, developing an expressing new voice. What is the relation between people form the streets getting a new expressive and situated knowledge from the streets and this kind of aesthetic discourse on communication and art?



Spooky: Right, this is why for me music is always part. It is a vocabularly that everyone speaks. You can understand music it doesn’t matter if you are dutch, german, french, spanish you hear a rhythms, the rhythm has a certain cadence and pattern and I think that is an important thing to think about - I have my book that came out it is called rhythm science aheh and I exploded these kinds of ideas .- basically it is thinking about making art out of patterns of culture so it doesn’t matter if it is the street or the academy or an outerspace or an internet - it is the patterns of meaning that you put together these fragments that’s gives ah you know - life – so to me it is not about the distinction between the class of the people high and low because networks go through every culture and the (…)poor people together from radical different backgrounds which is what and again this is what this utopia station is going on it is always different (…) it is very well you have Rem Koolhaas Eduard Glissant and me as a dj in the same building (laughing)



Felicia Herrschaft: How did you become an artist? I think you are more thinking in art-structures than being a dj maybe?


Spooky: no - a dj, again, the whole idea is multiplicity -- I operate in mulituple theatres and music is one scene, the artworld one scene, literature is one scene and I move between all them so I dj in Clubs too, also all the time no problem I do artprojects no problem I mean I am working a lot so what (laughing)but ah some (…)are gratifying and it makes just in one thing just in one scene?


Felicia Herrschaft: Have you read this book from Kodwo Eschun?


Spooky: He is a friend of mine -


Felicia Herrschaft: ok - what do you think about this idea of slavery memory and thinking on the sea coming up out of the music from the sea because of the experience of slavery in the eighteen and ninetheen a.s.o.century?


Spooky: Yeah Kodwo is a great guy he is an old friend of mine uuum and I think it is an important step to think about these ideas in a literary context and music is a different kind of literature – so what him and me are talking about is a kind of notion of media, literacy and sampling and playing with this kind of memories and how you remember a fragment to the media (more singing) and recordings around. But Kodwos time was this idea this black atlantic or the black experience of the migration is how people carry this patterns with them from Africa through the world and how the influence electronic music and dj culture. I am talking more in my book rhythm science about how these cultures of rhythm and electronic music now absorbe a lot of the avant-garde from the last century the futurist the realist art in even in the notion of marginal architecture you think about rhythm and you know structures boom boom boom. You can take anything and create a pattern out of it.


Felicia Herrschaft: And what do you think about the conversation in the Utopia Station do you think this fit together having this conversations and this sculptures in your concert you said music can be a sculpture why do we need a sculpture this thinking on sculptures if we are in social processes, waht is the reason for it?


Spooky: I think it gives people a sense of context there is a very intriguing tension between content and context - and so what I am doing is creating a bridge between thinking about music not just as a surface but something as the inner structure you are in it you know at every level every angle. that’s why we had me away from everyone and each musician sending me a stream and I was like creating a collaging and cutting it and sending it back out to the speakers so it is a sculpture but as a network - me being a note or a link than being a note and a link - connecting it. Sculptures perhaps are a little bit of an old world right now may be the more 21th century way to think is networks.


Felicia Herrschaft: You saw this Rem Koolhaas exhibition on the new picture of Europe. What do you think is the new picture of Europe?


Spooky: I think it is really important that he as an architect has created again another intention tension between context and content and in fact his book is called content which is funny - but – and it is all collaged you know same kind of thing, but it is extremely rare that you would have such a visionary forth going on in architecture usually they try to become very specific and you know he got a very good vision of so much of what is going on I really enjoy the show.


Felicia Herrschaft: Thank you very much





(We were together for ten minutes in the exhibition of Rem Koolhaas, a famous architect, half an hour ago, discussing if it is good or not, how Koolhaas did collages on the identity of Europe. Another artist, Martha Rosler, was shocked by this huge and expensive exhibition. Rem Koolhass came in and Spooky said quickly how he enjoyed the show and walked away. Martha Rosler also walked away without saying anything. I wasn’t able to do this and had in this second the very embarassing position of disturbing the talks Koolhass had with his workers and assistant, by asking for an interview.)





Rem Koolhaas

Interview with Rem Koolhaas, Haus der Kunst, München

Felicia Herrschaft: Yes, what kind of a new picture of Europe is developed in this exhibition?


Rem Koolhaas: it is not really a new picture but it is an explicit picture. In the past fifty years we have seen the construction of the European Union but äh and all that process has been very successful in terms of transforming Europe. It has been a kind of largely hidden and very disgreet (?) And all that initially worked very well. I think that part of the current dissatisfaction with Europe and with this apparent overdose of regulation and its bureaucracy this has to do with the fact that there is no explicit narrative and no explicit story and no explicit manifesta of Europe. And so what we try to do in this project is to really describe the history of Europe of the past fifty years. Show how heroic and radical the whole effort has been, how it is beginning to have an enormous effect on the world in terms of offering an alternative way of exercising power not by guns or arms, but by regulations and so and were we also trying to develop a number of scenarios into the future and turkey the connection with turkey is only one fragment of such a scenario of what the alternative effect on Europe could be. So basically there is nothing new about it but all we are doing is to make it visible.


Felicia Herrschaft: So why is it important for this new picture of Europe to have this flag with the different identities?


Rem Koolhaas: It is not so much important that – it is not a new flag but it’s a different way of representing Europe. Basically many of the Nations that are joining Europe have a fear that by joining, so many of the few inhabitants have a fear by joining Europe their own identity is taken away and that somehow the whole situation is becoming more homogenous and what we wanted to show is, you can be European and entirely retain your own character and that instead of taken something away the idea of European gives you an additional space to define your own identity. So it is basically a real insurance that nothing is taken away and that you can be and remain yourself, so to speak.


Felicia Herrschaft: You present the European Union as a result this kind of picture and that is may be the connection to the African Union?


Rem Koolhaas: No but - ja what we all – what we are saying is the idea of unifying a number different countries in a new way and connecting them through a kind of idea of sharing regulations and agreeing about regulations. That is an inspiring model and that for instance is the African Union a direct outcome of that inspiration and is actually a kind of very important and hopeful organisation for Africa.


Felicia Herrschaft: but very powerless in this moment.


Rem Koolhaas: Yes but Europe was powerless too and that is the Beauty of this history. It started in a very improvised way as a constant improvisation, it had many revearsals but still it shift and so now I go there…