DJ Spooky visits GVSU

GVL / Emily Frye
(From left to right) Jill Casid, Paul Miller (aka DJ Spooky), and Nayda Collazo-Llorens discusses the topic of sampling on Wednesday April 6, 2016.

Emily Frye

GVL / Emily Frye (From left to right) Jill Casid, Paul Miller (aka DJ Spooky), and Nayda Collazo-Llorens discusses the topic of sampling on Wednesday April 6, 2016.

Marissa LaPorte

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An experimental hip hop artist known as DJ Spooky hosted a public art dialogue and a classroom lecture at Grand Valley State University discussing his creative responses to urgent issues and modern technology’s influence on art culture.

Paul D’Shonne Miller, DJ Spooky, focuses on using his creativity to respond to social and economic issues through his artwork.

“As an artist whose work has been focused on interdisciplinary approaches to creating projects and solutions that don’t necessarily fit in the normal ‘box’—(or the) categories that we think about art—I always wanted to do a little bit of ground breaking,” Miller said.

Miller is a composer, writer and musician. His multimedia performances, recordings, art installations and writings include a variety of blended genres. His goal is to raise awareness about issues such as climate change, sustainability and the role of technology in society. His multimedia composition, book and installation, “The Book of Ice” acts as an example of the U.S.’s environmental distress. His free, open-source iPad app, DJ Mixer, has over 20 million downloads. The app gives users DJ tools to mix, scratch and add electronic effects to tracks from their own digital libraries.

“Art is usually right at the edge of what people can imagine,” Miller said. “It’s a place that shows you that idea of what people could be experiencing—things at the edge.”

Miller participated in a public art dialogue with Nadya Collazo-Llorens on April 6 in GVSU’s Loosemore Auditorium. During this dialogue, Miller discussed how the advances in technology relate to and influence his own artwork.

“The point of the event (was) to talk about sampling—remix, collage, appropriation—not only as a strategy for cultural production, and one that we both use in our practices, but also as our condition in the midst of the hyper-connected world we inhabit,” Collazo-Llorens said.

Miller visited GVSU’s Calder Art Center on April 7 to discuss with students how he uses the urgent issues around him for inspiration. Natalie Schunk, a freshman illustration major, attended DJ Spooky’s talk and said she was glad to have the opportunity to learn from him.

“As an artist he is very culturally aware and I think that’s something that is an important quality for an artist to have—to be able to relate what they put out there to their culture and the society they live in,” Schunk said. “I’ve been to other artists’ talks, but I think this one was different because he covers a broad spectrum. I’ve never seen an artist quite like him—that writes books as well as relates it to the music they make.”

For more information about DJ Spooky and his projects visit,