Paul D. Miller
Path Is Prologue
521 W 21st Street
NEW YORK—The Paula Cooper Gallery is pleased to present Path Is Prologue, an exhibition based on Paul D. Miller’s multimedia performance piece DJ Spooky’s Rebirth of a Nation. The exhibition will comprise a 3-minute video, a selection of film stills, as well as a separate body of work of peace propaganda prints. The works will be on view from May 26 through June 18, 2004 at 521 West 21st Street.
For DJ Spooky’s Rebirth of a Nation, Miller mixed digitally manipulated footage from D.W. Griffith’s landmark 1915 film Birth of a Nation with images from Bill T. Jones’s 1990 Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and composed new music performed by the Seattle Chamber Players. Regarding the original Griffith movie, Miller says: “In our era of the hyper-edited collages of TV, radio, and Internet cut-culture, Griffith’s vision—even at its most horrifyingly racist—is a parable of modernity unmatched in contemporary history.” Collaging high-tech audio and video, Miller’s Rebirth of a Nation is a DJ’s take on Griffith’s film and an update of the fragmentary “cut-up” technique that Griffith’s film popularized. Bringing DJ and VJ culture to new critical realms, Miller’s film remix investigates, “how America’s myths migrate through the culture’s operating system,” addressing both Birth of a Nation’s racist content and its cinematic virtuosity.
Rebirth of a Nation, the video, will be presented as a single channel projection with music from Miller’s Underwater Session 2004 remix and MonoMi Kami a 2004 remix featuring Mariko Mori. Miller’s film stills isolate key moments of the movie, revealing the layering technique he used to foreground the film’s unsettling juxtapositions. In Senator, for instance, the Senator and his servant are framed by oval and triangular shapes culled from prison diagrams, while in Lincoln Blur, the President and the First Lady are seen through a grid reminiscent of early TV programs.
Path is Prologue will be held in conjunction with Miller’s performances of his multimedia work DJ Spooky’s Rebirth of a Nation. The world premiere will take place mid-May at the Vienna Festival and travel to the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, SC, the Lincoln Center Festival, NYC, and other venues throughout the coming year. Miller will mix audio and video on-site during each screening of the film, making each performance a unique experience. The DVD of Rebirth of a Nation will be released later this year.
Paul D. Miller is a conceptual artist, writer and musician working in New York City. Also known under the pseudonym “DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid,” Miller launched his career with the release of a series of groundbreaking records including Songs of a Dreamer (Asphodel, 1996) and Optometry (Thirsty Ear, 2002). In March 2004, Miller released Riddim Clash on the Play Label with Twilight Circus Dub Sound System. In the past few months, he has played at festivals in France and Mexico, performed a DJ concerto in Oakland, and participated in the Microsoft International DJ Summit. Miller’s first book of contemporary criticism and theory, Rhythm Science, was recently released by MIT Press and will be available for purchase at the gallery and at 192 Books, along with a selection of CDs. A book release event will be held on May 8th at 192 Books.