Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State

Multimedia artist Paul D. Miller to sync music and climate change in ‘Arctic Rhythms’ March 23

Paul D. Miller—better known in hip-hop music, literary and art circles as DJ Spooky—has traveled to the ends of the Earth to collect data representing climate change for use in his sonic soundscapes. The 2014 National Geographic Emerging Explorer will host his resulting “Arctic Rhythms” multimedia presentation at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 23, in Penn State’s Eisenhower Auditorium.

A Penn State School of Music graduate student quartet (violinists Gabriella Stout and Michael Divino, violist John Roxburgh and cellist Liu Pai) will accompany Miller. The program will feature climate change-related data juxtaposed with hip-hop, classical and electronic music plus digital video and images from Miller’s travels throughout the Polar regions.

Purchase tickets, which are $28 for an adult, $12 for a University Park student, and $18 for a person 18 and younger. A grant from the University Park Allocation Committee makes Penn State student prices possible.

In 2007, 2008 and 2014, Miller traveled to the North and South poles to record the changing climate conditions. His expeditions resulted in “The Book of Ice,” a 2013 album “Of Water and Ice” and his most recent volume of music, “Arctic Rhythms”—the inspiration for the Penn State performance.

Hear a Center for the Performing Arts podcast conversation with Miller.

Read a Center for the Performing Arts feature article about how Miller and a Penn State professor are connecting science and sound.

Miller is a groundbreaking DJ turntablist, experimental filmmaker, composer, author, artist, lecturer and cultural pioneer. He is the executive editor of Origin Magazine, a humanitarian lifestyle publication, and has written best-selling titles for MIT Press. His DJ Mixer iPad app has been downloaded more than 12 million times. His digital works have been featured in galleries and art events worldwide, including The Andy Warhol Museum, the Venice Biennial for Architecture and the Whitney Biennial. In 2012–13, he was the first artist-in-residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

He has produced and composed work for Yoko Ono, Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and a variety of award-winning films. The multimedia artist also has collaborated with avant-garde composer Iannis Xenakis, minimalist musician Steve Reich, Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo, iconic rapper Chuck D and Ballet Austin Artistic Director Stephen Mills.

In 2015, Miller worked with Kronos Quartet to record a soundtrack for “Rebirth of a Nation.” The film, commissioned in 2004 by Lincoln Center Festival, Spoleto Festival USA, Wiener Festwochen and The Paris Autumn Festival, is Miller’s revised and remixed take on D. W. Griffith’s divisive 1915 silent film “The Birth of a Nation.”

“No one is more responsible for propagating and embodying the idea of the DJ as ‘artist’ than DJ Spooky, whose ambitious, elaborate, often hypnotic soundscapes have been notable as much for their eclectic imagination as for their postmodern intellectualism,” wrote a Chicago Tribune reviewer.

Watch a preview of “Arctic Rhythms.”

Artistic Viewpoints, an informal moderated discussion featuring Miller, is offered in Eisenhower one hour before the concert and is free for ticket holders. Artistic Viewpoints regularly fills to capacity, so seating is available on a first-arrival basis.

Sandra Zaremba and Richard Brown sponsor the performance. Sidney and Helen S. Friedman Endowment and William E. McTurk Endowment provide additional support.

The Polar Center at Penn State—which fosters understanding, awareness and appreciation of the Polar Regions through outreach, education and research—is a program partner.

Find more information about the “Arctic Rhythms” presentation and related engagement events.