Remixing And Reexamining 'Birth Of A Nation'
D.W. Griffith’s 1915 film Birth of a Nation is widely regarded as a landmark of cinema history. It’s also deeply and disturbingly racist. So, why would an avant-garde hip-hop artist want to revive the film and bring it to the attention of a modern audience?
When Paul “DJ Spooky” Miller first reimagined Griffiths’ film in 2004, he said he wanted to examine how “exploitation and political corruption still haunt the world. He performed the work, thinking that would be it — that his creation would fade into obscurity. Then, in 2020, incidents of racial injustice spurred protests across the country. A year later, extremists stormed Capitol Hill, largely prompted by then-President Trump's allegations of election fraud. And so it happens that the themes of Miller's Rebirth of a Nation are almost more relevant today than they were when he first performed it nearly 20 years ago. Miller is among our guest this Friday at 11 a.m. to talk about the vexing relationship between mass entertainment and systemic injustice.
Airdate: Friday, Feb. 11 at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. MST.
DJ Spooky will perform Rebirth of a Nation at Kingsbury Hall on Thursday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. For more information on the event and to learn how to purchase tickets, click here.
- Chris Lippard is a professor of film and media studies at the University of Utah.
- Paul Miller, AKA DJ Spooky, is a composer, DJ, multimedia artist and writer.