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The Body As Mixer
When information is brushed against information the results are startling and effective. The perennial quest for involvement, fill-in, takes many forms.
— Marshall McLuhan, The Medium Is The Massage
The present and future of the cultural creator is one that can stand at the junction of two scenes. Not necessarily at the center of one.
I am reminded of, what previously came across as, a not too important line from the recent Dune movie — when Dr. Liet-Kynes says “I am accepted in both sietch and village”. This becomes more detrimental later in the movie, and allows for multiple pivotal events.
I’ve been attracted to the word “event” lately, as it creates clear temporal relationship between assets (objects, people, location, audio, etc) — all become the contextual ground that makes an “event”.
The upcoming pivotal events will find folks that can act as the mixer, unlocking the assets mentioned about that will open doors for further creation.
The event, which annuls what has held until now — the standing order — proves just as incalculable and abrupt as a natural disaster or act of God. It defies all calculation and prediction. When it occurs, an entirely new state of affairs begins. The event brings into play an outside, which breaks the subject open and wrests it from subjection. Events represent breaks and discontinuities; they open up new spaces for action.
— Byung-Chulhan, Psycho-Politics
The idea “the body as a mixer” is a framework to think of one’s self as that catalyst of events. By freely taking references from both sides of X, to affect change.
In DJ’ing we are taking two ideas together to make one moment. This goes out to the audience. A reaction is registered or not registered. We live in that loop. Or try to make the next moment one with more impact.
Nintendo talks about this philosophy as well when thinking about product design. Taking a technology from one arena → applying it to an idea around gameplay → and presenting that in a new package.
In a tweet from December, when this essay started subconsciously percolating, I shared how Virgil formed a life of creation as a mixer.
Perhaps for the daily young Brooklynite, dj metaphors can produce an eye-roll. When every other apartment is practicing for a houseparty set of 40 friends, it can border on ridiculousness.
But, dj’ing (at least for me) has created net new behaviors of how I move about the world. We know this to be true of all hardware, which is what makes me excited for how much hardware I see being produced by my peers.
In order to fill each deck, I have to mine references - reaching both into the past and as close to the present as possible. And in doing so, I come across rich histories I didn’t know existed. It reminds me the spawn point of this technology is rooted in Black history. Further defining what I bring to the club, office, and my home.
The beauty of the output → audio — is that it is all encompassing. It cannot be avoided as it is undeniable within the environment. The corporate dream of perfect distribution is achieved here. When done in community, the effects are immediately legible. Which loops us directly back to the idea of event production.
Understanding the unique combination that is your practice, is key in understanding what types of events you may want to produce → and subsequently what assets you are trying to free from its previous context → to manipulate/rethink/destroy/etc it while moving it into the future.
In “Understanding Media, the extensions of man”, McLuhan brings us through 500 pages of probes to bring home the new electric environment we find ourselves in — and of course, its consequences. Lines such as “Clothing: our extended skin”, highlight the overarching construct that the title lays out for us.
The Body As Mixer lives firmly within this extensionism framework, and for further reading I would suggest that book.
We are conduits, or at least we can be. Energy passing and being manipulated through us. We can add a signature to this energy. And in that motion, make entire waves come true.
I don’t do edits really, so excuse typos and things that don’t make sense.
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Live in the light