Museums are responsible for preserving art history, but sometimes the white-walled structures can become as much of a tomb as a safe-haven. However, this October, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is about to infuse art's past with some live action present with residency program "The Met Reframed," which is, in effect, remixing the museum. Who better than to kick off the remix of one of the most established cultural houses in the world than a philosopher DJ?
Paul Miller, aka DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid is no average DJ. His followers dub his style "trip hop" or "illbient," combining hip hop beats with the experimental invasion of electronic, jazz and dub-step influence. He grabbed his adopted stage name, That Subliminal Kid, from William Burroughs' "Nova Express," a novel made entirely of snippets cut-up and repasted with an acid-jazz rhythm... a written remix. His record of remixes ranges from Steve Reich to Wu-Tang Clan, unfastening iconic works from their previous genres and setting them in flux. Aside from DJing, Miller studied French philosophy and literature in college, wrote science fiction novels and currently serves as a Professor of Music Mediated Art at the European Graduate School.
Miller will serve as the first artist in residence at "The Met Reframed," re-animating the artworks housed in the museum through five performances, three conversations, a gallery tour and two workshops. "We’ll be playing with this idea of playfulness in its own right," Miller said of his residency in the press release. "And above all thinking about applying this notion of musicality to the physical space of the museum...reframing the idea of what a museum does to art." Using the Met's materials as samples, Miller will attempt to illuminate new understandings of historical artworks, incorporating a fresh dialogue between artists, curators and visitors.
This residency comes at an especially relevant time, somewhat in harmony with Jeffrey Deitch's "Fire in the Disco" exhibition at LA's MOCA. The controversial curator is collaborating with LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy for the show, called "a joke" by John Baldessari. Both shows highlight the nexus of art and music and incorporate unexpected DJs into the mix, but we have a feeling Miller's experimental chops will bear some more weight than MOCA's glittery disco fever.
Check out the Met's website to see a listing of the events scheduled for Miller's residency. Highlight events include "Madame Freedom" -- the first Korean film made after the Korean War, an audience-participatory performance in the museum's Great Hall where guests join Spooky in mixing a soundtrack for a giant listening party, and "Of Water and Ice," a music/video exploration of the composition of ice and water, exploring our relationship to the vanishing arctic poles.
Check out some photographs of Miller in his new habitat below, and let us know your thoughts in the comments section.