Art From the Middle of Nowhere
Image: Paul D. Miller, NORTH/SOUTH (loop), 2008

Paul D. Miller, the artist, remix theorist, and DJ parenthetically known as DJ Spooky, is among the latest flood of artists to take interest in Antarctica. Representing the world's highest, driest, and coldest desert, the often misunderstood continent lured some of the film medium's earliest documentarians who were in search of something new and continues to entice new media artists concerned about its disappearance. Those who are liberal in their use of the word "remix" might say that this long-contested territory is now being remixed. In a sad twist of irony, the continent with no permanent residents has fallen victim to the environmental effects of global human pollution. Paul Miller's work grows out of DJ culture and a love of music, but has in recent years been concerned with the evolving relationship between media and culture. In 2004 he remixed Birth of a Nation, D. W. Griffith's white supremacist feature film that nonetheless propelled cinema as an art form. In his new North/South installation, the artist responds to material ranging from filmic narratives about polar expeditions to John Cage's Imaginary Landscape #1 (1938)--which he cites as the first-ever turntable composition--to tell his own story about Antarctica. The work exhibited is presented as an acoustic interpretation of the continent's place in international politics, and the "Great Game" of national interests as states claim territory and define their identity. A timely topic, considering Russia planted a flag in the North Pole's seabed to claim the natural resources underneath it. The show opens tonight at New York's Robert Miller Gallery. - Marisa Olson

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