damonpackwood

Electronic Music Culture: A Reflection of the Growing Tech Age

In Culture, Technology on November 29, 2012 at 12:53 am


I’ve been excited with the reading we’ve done in my graduate school classes as I mentioned in an earlier piece because I’ve been presented with some amazing ideas of the future and its possibilities. I’ve also been very frustrated with the fact that everyone we read is white and male.

When considering what the future could look like, all of its endless potentials I find it truly disappointing that the loudest voices in multimedia are all the same. We’re talking about the world here. The world consists of so much diversity and I think it is vital that we are including that diversity in our scholarly work. Further, the demographics of the country is changing as evidence by this last election. I wonder just how relevant some of these ideas are. If technology is changing rapidly whose to say our views of the world isn’t changing right with it? With the growing success of women, and the growing significance of Latinos and the LGBTQ community (let alone the first re-elected African American President of the United States) is it not vital that we include the unique perspectives they have on our views of the worlds future?

I don’t see me in our reading. Not just me as an individual but also my experiences living in the Bay Area where I’m surrounded by diversity. Two months ago I was moved by this provocative statement by Marshall McLuhan’s:

… “the Negro and the Indian are under tremendous social and economic pressure to go in the opposite direction: to detribalize and specialize, to tear out their tribal roots when the rest of society is rediscovering theirs. Long held in a totally subordinate socioeconomic position, they are now impelled to acquire literacy as a prerequisite to employment in the old mechanical service environment of hardware, rather than adapt themselves to the new tribal environment of software, or electric information, as the middle-class white young are doing.”

This statement immediately made sense to me. African Americans, Native Americans (i.e., many Latinos) are clearly behind in technological literacy, the literacy of the future, although they are arguably best suited for it. As McLuhan states further on in his famous Playboy magazine interview, they were born ahead of their time. So, I ask myself almost everyday: “In what ways are African American people being forward thinkers in this bourgeoning technological age?”  If we are, in fact, tuned into this what are we doing that isn’t being recognized?

I’m still asking these questions, but in the interest of this post these ruminations that I’ve been having inspired me to cut together the video above. I’ve become fascinated with the digital filmmaking of both Alan Spearman (a white dude from Memphis with an incredible eye for capturing Black people), and Khalil Joseph, the electronic music of Flying Lotus and how all of this connects somehow with the blending of dance styles (b boying, turfing, cruncking, and flexing) that we’ve seen all over the world.

I’ll let the clip speak for itself, but as you can see I do see this as something we are doing that isn’t being recognized as a significant contribution to the growing technological age. What that is and how significant it is is something that I’m still exploring but I was very pleased with the video and wanted to share it.

The dancing clip are mostly taken from YAK Films and there’s some other footage from YouTube. The rest is mine. Enjoy.

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