[ISEA2002] Artist Statement: DJ I, Robot Sound System – Rockin’ steady in the dot JP

Artist Statement

Late 1999, we were bumping to some Turentine in our lab in Troy, NY, we’re reading “Player Piano” by Kurt, no favorite, but his heart was in the right place; he’d just read Wiener and was feeling not himself. Kurt was all, machines trained to replace people. Which is against the new economy, right? IT creates jobs (we love what it’s IT, kind of like THEM) thus prosperity, but Vomegut’s all, people didn’t want to be replaced, they didn’t want skills and experiences they owned replaced, once they’re automatic, boom, smoke, gone. So Kurt shows these machinists in Troy, where we were machining in the lab, talking engineers replacing machinists with machines. So we’re all: “the intelligence attributed to machines hinges on the cultural invisibility of the human skills which accompany them … If such machines look intelligent because we do not concentrate on where their work is done, then we need to think harder about the work which produces values and who performs it.” [Schaeffer] Cut in at 1877, a patent for “aplate, diaphragm, or other flexible body capable of being vibrated by the human voice or other sounds, in conjunction with a material capable of registering the movements of such vibrating body by embossing or indenting or altering such material, in such a manner that such register marks will be sufficient to cause a second vibratingplate or body to be set in motion by them and thus reproduce the motions of the first vibrating body.” [Edison] Later, 1977, the Technics SL1200mk2 is redesigned with pitch control. That’s it, Official History of Turntables. The people, in boogeydown, that’s another history. They took the delicate and made it delicious. They made the apparatus appetizing. Now some busters trying to make DJ digital. No one’s listening. You can’t vibrate what isn’t there. Player piano, scratching slicing. We’ll win the DMC competition biting deepBlue style by 2005. Gottagetupandbesomebody. Use Troy gimmicks – proportional integral derivatives, metal cutting lasers, n485 networking. Make machine skills manifest. 3 months we hack, we code, we bite. We hack, lathe, cut. It spins, it jitters, it cuts. A player DJ, straight outta Troy: IT plays it. It becomes “internationally known.”

Grandmaster Flash
Concentrate on who produces the values. 50 years of computer music that’s command, control, not much communication. Our access is random, but our signal path analog and our destiny manifest. Try biting that.

  • ┬áThe DJ I, Robot Sound System (MIT Media Lab) was founded in 1999 with a manifest destiny: The replacement of inferior, undependable human DJs with a superior, mechatronic system. Its engineers, to date, have been: Girroir, Sudol, Pickard, Csikizentmihalyi. Its features are countless. Its subroutines are skilled. Its opponents have been silenced.