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Friday, May 25, 2007

Thinking in meshworks, in nets that extend to other nets

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: Nettime.org and Djspooky.com November 20, 2005 The following is an interview with Carlo Simula for his book MILLESUONI. OMAGGIO A DELEUZE E GUATTARI (Cronopio Edizioni)
1) You’ve often referred in your interviews to how much contemporary philosophy has influenced your work. Foucault said “Un jour, peut-être, le siècle sera deleuzien”, how much and in which way Deleuze and Guattari influenced you? And what you feel is interesting in their work?
The idea of the “remix” is pretty trendy these days - as usual people tend to “script” over the multi-cultural links: the economics of “re-purposing,” “outsourcing” and above all, of living in an “experience economy” - these are things that fuel African American culture, and it’s active dissemination in all of the diaspora of Afro-Modernity. My take on Deleuze and Guattari is to apply a “logic of the particular” to the concept of contemporary art. Basically it’s to say that software has undermined all of the categories of previous production models, and in turn, molded the “computational models” of how “cultural capital,” as Pierre Bourdieu coined it, mirrors various kinds of production models in a world where “sampling” (mathematical and musical), has become the global language of urban youth culture. Eduoard Glissant, the Afro-Caribbean philosopher/linguist liked to call this “creolization” - I like to call it “the remix.” Philosophy is basically a reflective activity. It always requires a surface to bounce off of. We don’t exist in a cultural vacuum.

Basically I look at Deleuze/Guattari as two figures who act as translators of European philosophy and aesthetics into some kind of exit for people who are concerned with humanism. Think: Frantz Fanon wrote about this as a kind of update on Existentialism - the “gaze” that defines the world today is “brown” - but it is contained in a strange cadence. It’s a visual rhythm that extended the idea of philosophy into spectrums that have yet to be mapped out. European philosophy has usually been totally eurocentric for the last several centuries, and Deleuze and Guattari are the two philosophers who have taken the idea of philosophy past the limits of previous thinkers.
Aristotle created the idea of taxonomy for the West several thousand years ago. Deleuze and Guattari have taught us to move beyond the categories he defined, and have helped create tools for analyzing how complex out mediated lives have become. I think of their concepts like the “Abstract machine,” the “body without organs,” and the “immanent plane” of action/realization as almost beyond the categories of European philosophy. They are humanists who look for meaning beyond the norms. That’s where my music and their thoughts intersect.
Essentially, for me, music is a metaphor, a tool for reflection. We need to think of music as information, not simply as rhythms, but as codes for aesthetic translation between blurred categories that have slowly become more and more obsolete. For me, the Dj metaphor is about thinking around the concept of collage and its place in the everyday world of information, computational modelling, and conceptual art. All of them offer exits from the tired realms of Euro-centric philosophy into some kind of pan humanism. That’s why I like Deleuze and Guattari’s work.
Other figures from the European aesthetic realm like Ludwig Feuerbach (who promoted the idea of “humanism” in his works of the mid 19th century), Spinoza, and Giordano Bruno’s exploration of Semiotics are also influences, but the basic sense of “rhizomatic” thought - thinking in meshworks, in nets that extend to other nets - it’s the driving force of my music and art. I think it’s a great place to start thinking about a philosophy of “the remix.” The “remix” is about certain kinds of polyphony - it’s about making multiple rhythms work together, synchronized, cut, pasted, and collaged.
That’s the real “abstract machine” - cross reference that with James Brown, think Garrett A. Morgan (the African American inventor of the street light - the choreography on every street corner of the global megalopolis), think Duke Ellington with his “Afro-Eurasian Eclipse” jazz modernity, think Albert Murray’s essay “Spyglass Tree”, think Detroit’s underground forerunners, stuff like Drexciya… the list goes on. etc etc

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