We're Bombarded With Sound

Question: Is there a basic philosophy behind your work as a \r\nsound artist?
DJ Spooky: \r\nI’d say most of my work is just trying to make sense of the\r\ndisorienting and overloaded world that we inhabit.  We’re bombarded\r\nwith sound at every level.  Sound... if you look at bats you know that\r\nnavigate with sonar, they’re like you know they’re very precise.  They\r\ncan even see a bat head towards a building and swerve away, but you’ll\r\nsee a bird that doesn’t… you know smash right into a glass window. \r\nIt’s very funny.  I mean I don’t…  Anybody out there that has probably\r\nseen that is like oh, it’s terrible.  Like if you’re ever in a\r\nskyscraper and you see a bird just flies right into the side of\r\nwindow.  Whales, for example, also navigate with sound, but they’re now\r\nbeginning to be beached because the ocean is getting too noisy.  Weird\r\nthings like that.  I mean this is very real.  Like, if you look at the\r\nsatellites in the sky at night you know it’s an eerie sense of we’re… \r\nYou know we’re in a planet surrounded by certain kinds of frequencies\r\nand noise.  The earth’s magnetic sphere makes weird sounds.  The sun\r\nyou know the heart of our solar system makes noise.  Even interstellar\r\nphenomena like black holes.  You know people have studied them and a\r\nblack hole can emit sound in like the range of 20,000 octaves below B\r\nflat.  You know I mean that’s a lot…  That’s a very low tone.  So yeah,\r\nhow do I think of my environment and what happens with sound art?  I\r\nlove to play with the idea of elusive and intangible things.  That\r\ncould be psychological.  It could be perceptual.  It could be just the\r\nway your ears help you just navigate around.  Try this experiment,\r\nclosing your eyes and navigating with your ears.  It’s eerie because\r\nwalls, you can actually hear your footstep maybe bounce off of or you\r\ncan feel the vibration of your voice and help that… use that to\r\nnavigate. So sound art I’m always intrigued with how little we use of\r\nother senses and we just prioritize the eye and you just want to see\r\neverything and navigate.  You know the art world is similar.  Like I\r\nwish people would use their ears a lot more.

Recorded on April 8, 2010

"My work is just trying to make sense of the disorienting and overloaded world that we inhabit," says the DJ.

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