This week, the 2012 EMP Pop Conference hits New York City. They write:

“What do you get when roughly 300 academics, journalists, and musicians gather to talk about music and the urban jungle?… The participants will explore sounds of the city–the reverberations of people gathered en masse. . .Presenters will pay particular attention to what urban environments have meant for race, gender, and sexuality”

The talks are free and open to the public, but advanced registration is strongly encouraged, and today is your last day to do that… Many, many fascinating talks are scheduled.

I present at 4pm on Friday, in conversation with the brilliant Jayna Brown. I’ll unveil my Sufi Plug Ins project — free music / software / tools based on nonwestern & poetic notions of sound in interaction with alternative interfaces. It’s easiest if you come see them in action. But then there is Julius Eastman! And Berber Auto-Tune! And a brand-new video to debut! And how it all relates to the roundtable’s stated topic of “The Time and Space of Alternative Sonic Blackness,” with professors Daphne Brooks, Tavia Nyong’o, Brown, and more.

PS: the week/end will conclude with a quick & dirty Mudd Up Book Clubb meeting on Sunday. Short story edition, details soon.


feature avatars

Timeblind on Avatar vs Nirgendwo in Afrika:

Anyway, in case you haven’t seen Avatar, its about a white (American!) dude that goes native and becomes their most awesome leader and achieves an improbable, lo-tech victory (but with soul power! and the animals help them!). Awesome battle sequence ! Good vs. Evil, get it ?

In the real world you live in a complicated global capital network that sometimes deliberately but mostly inadvertiantly leverages injustices so that your locality can exist with the wealth and convienience it enjoys. You cannot opt out. You can’t just choose the right items on the Health Food store shelf.

You can use your influence to convince specific companies to change behavior and you can make the best decision when you personally have a decision to make. Don’t just say “fuck it”.

That’s the resources issue. The other issue is racial and cultural understanding. Most of the people who see Avatar will not be White Americans. But we get it, its supposed to be a character you can relate to.

I saw Avatar on it’s opening night here in New York. At first I wasn’t going to write about it, but in retrospect I should have, for reasons Dan Visel mentions here, referencing the Economist piece I upped yesterday, emphasis mine:

A lot of people wanted to talk about Avatar, and there’s a fair amount to discuss there: how pretty it is, how it works as mass spectacle, the film’s deeply muddled politics, how ecology and religion are connected. What stands out to me is how rarely this happens any more. .. The sheer ubiquity of Avatar changed how it could be discussed: something so big can cut across our individual interest groups, enabling broader conversations.

But the inevitable question arises: what does it mean if the only cultural object that everyone can talk about costs $300 million?


i’m sick. this post is pure cut&paste. i’ll be participating in lively talk @ Harvard this Thursday followed by a special edition Beat Research, relaxed tagteam session w/ Boston bredren DJ Flack & Wayne&Wax. BOTH EVENTS ARE FREE. ////

Dubai: The Post-Critical Landscape?” with NEGAR AZIMI,
Sert Gallery, 3rd floor, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard U., 24 Quincy St, Cambridge, MA. 617.495.3251 for info.

7:30 pm
drinks and dinner

In recent years, Dubai has been posited as a spectacularized, almost virtual landscape whose rapid expansion has made it impossible to grasp, much less critique. Rhetoric about Dubai has rendered it “post-critical” and “post-ideological;” beyond critical theory’s capacity to adequately engage. Negar Azimi, Jace Clayton, and Joseph Grima will offer strategies for dismantling this disabling rhetoric, using their work in and about Dubai to consider the currency of the “post-critical” and “post-ideological” in Dubai and within the contemporary critical landscape more broadly.

Azimi, senior editor of the Middle Eastern arts and culture magazine Bidoun, will discuss Bidoun’s reconceptualization of the glossy magazine as a site for criticality. Clayton, a sound artist, DJ, and critic who often writes about and works with North African and Middle Eastern music, will consider sampling and remixing as artistic strategies within and outside of DJ culture. Grima, the director of Storefront for Art and Architecture, will contrast Storefront’s interventions in consumerist SoHo with the myriad difficulties Storefront has faced trying to establish an outpost in Dubai.

(after this chat, we relocate & turn up the music. Never trust a critic who can’t dance!!!)

April 3rd
with DJ /Rupture

Our old friend DJ /Rupture will be in town and was looking for a low- key space to play some of his favorite musical treats including some of the choice Cumbia tracks that he has been collecting lately.

He, Wayne and Flack will chillin while tag teaming on the decks (and Laptop) throughout the night.

@ The Enormous Room, 567 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA
9pm to 1am, 21 plus, Free