DJ Spooky Administers An “Information Vaccine” Through #Curation

Mia Quagliarello / October 5, 2021

“The Latin term ‘cura’ means ‘concern’ or ‘study’ or figuring out different approaches to pulling together things. It also relates to healing, which I find kind of amusing, that the term ‘cure’ and ‘curator’ are tangentially associated. Like you’re healing by pulling together information.” — DJ Spooky

Paul Miller, aka DJ Spooky, is the ultimate creator: he’s a composer, a DJ, a multimedia artist, an editor, an author, and the curator of one of Flipboard’s most interesting magazines, “Semantic Infiltration.” He’s completely immersed in environmental and social issues and creates art to press those issues into the public consciousness. He’s also a Yale Artist in Residence and this week’s guest on our podcast.

I loved this chat because Paul seems to think deeply about everything — even his green tea selection — and his intellectual and artistic curiosity have no bounds. His sources and references themselves create a canon for the avant-garde artist and those who want to be.

Highlights, inspiration and key learnings:

  • Etymology of the word “curation”
  • How he thinks about curation
  • Living in a recommendation engine ecosystem 
  • The thinking behind “Semantic Infiltration” and his book, “Digital Fictions”
  • How he thinks about using trustworthy sources when writing a book
  • Turning data into art 
  • How we can be more intentional about our choices 
  • How curating music is different from curating content
  • His media diet and routine
  • Where other social platforms fit into his consumption/curation
  • On open source as the best way for humanity to move forward
  • How the evolution of his art has paralleled the evolution of tech
  • Where to start in his own catalog
  • On democracy and moving between worlds

Browse the accompanying Storyboard to get the episode itself, plus the writers, books, and artists he thinks you should check out, as well as other sources cited during the interview. 

And don’t forget to rate and subscribe to our podcast if you like what you hear. You can find “The Art of Curation” on Flipboard and wherever you listen to your podcasts: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Amazon Podcasts. A new episode drops every Tuesday!

— Mia Quagliarello is curating the curators in “The Art of Curation” podcast