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Paul D. Miller, aka DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid: Ice Music


Summary Note

For his book and exhibition titled Ice Music, Miller worked through materials from his journeys to the Antarctic and Arctic to contemplate humanity’s relationship with the natural world. Materials include graphics from The Books of Ice, copies of four original scores, the Ice Music CD, press, photographs, posters, and personal gear.

Biographical Note

Paul D. Miller, also most famously known as ‘DJ Spooky, That Subliminal Kid’, which is his stage name and self-constructed persona, is an experimental and electronic hip-hop musician, conceptual artist, and writer. He was born in 1970 in Washington DC but has been based in New York City for many years. He is the son of one of Howard University's former Deans of Law who died when he was only three, and a mother who was in charge of a fabric shop of international repute. Paul Miller then spent the main part of his childhood in Washington DC’s nurturing bohemia. Paul Miller is a Professor at the European Graduate School (EGS) where he teaches Music Mediated Art. DJ Spooky is known amongst other things for his electronic experimentations in music known as both “illbient” and “trip hop.” His first album, Dead Dreamer, was released in 1996 and he has since then released over a dozen albums.

Miller, as DJ Spooky, has collaborated with drummer Dave Lombardo of thrash metal band Slayer; singer, songwriter and guitarist Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth; Chuck D of Public Enemy fame; rapper Kool Keith; Towa Tei, formerly of Deee-Lite; Vernon Reid of Living Colour; The Coup; artists Yoko Ono and Shepard Fairey and many others. Miller is currently featured on Syfy Channel’s Let’s Imagine Greater web series, and has performed around the world from France to Japan to Mexico City. In 2010, DJ Spooky became one of the first DJ's to create an iPhone app, called DJ Mixer, which has been downloaded over 1 million times.

Paul Miller has written for Slate.com, Index Magazine, Parkett, The Source, The Wire, Paper Magazine, The Village Voice, Artforum, and Aperture in addition to being co-Publisher of A Gathering of the Tribes. He was also the first Editor-At-Large of "Artbyte: The Magazine of Digital Arts," and of Nest Magazine. Miller is currently a contributing editor to C-Theory and the Executive Editor of Origin Magazine, which focuses on the intersection of art, yoga and new ideas (www.originmagazine.com).

Scope and Content

DJ Spooky's multimedia performance piece Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica, the basis for Ice Music, was commissioned by BAM for the 2009 Next Wave Festival; the Hopkins Center for the Arts/Dartmouth College; UCSB Arts & Lectures; Melbourne International Arts Festival; and the Festival dei 2 Mondi in Spoleto, Italy. Miller toured the Antarctic Peninsula in 2007/08 on a cruise aboard a Russian icebreaker, and then participated in the 2010 Cape Farewell trip to Svalbard, trips that provided source material for his musical compositions. The project incorporates what Miller likes to call "acoustic portraits of ice" into its compositional structure, and it references the first symphony written about Antarctica in 1948, by British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. With video projections and a score composed by DJ Spooky, performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble in the United States, and Alter Ego Ensemble in Europe, Australia and beyond, "Terra Nova: Sinfornia Antarctica" is a portrait of a rapidly transforming continent.

For his book and exhibition titled Ice Music, Miller worked through music, photographs and film stills from his journeys to the Antarctic and Arctic, along with original artworks, and re-appropriated archival materials, to contemplate humanity’s relationship with the natural world. Based on his publication The Book of Ice—part fictional manifesto, part history, and part science book—his exhibition at the Museum combined video footage of past performances with graphics and dynamic data visualizations related to climate change in the Earth’s Polar Regions.

In partnership with the Holland Project, the Museum presented “Paul D. Miller, aka DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid, the musical genius behind Ice Music” at its 2011 A+E Conference with his series of symphonic compositions and electronic quartets that interpreted the environments of the Arctic and Antarctic. Miller’s sonic soundscapes were accompanied by Reno Philharmonic musicians, led by Dustin Budish, performing live. A CD release of original material from Miller’s conference performance with a Reno Philharmonic string quartet is part of the archive.

Materials include graphics from The Books of Ice, copies of four original scores composed by Paul Miller, DVD of Syfy Channel clips, the CD Ice Music, press, photographs, and pieces of personal gear used in the Polar Regions.


The archive "Paul D. Miller, aka DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid: Ice Music" is organized into four folders.

Inclusive Dates


Bulk Dates


Quantity / Extent

1 cubic feet



Related Archive Collections

  • CAE1042: Lita Albuquerque: Stellar Axis, Antarctica
  • CAE1103: Joan Myers: Wondrous Cold, An Antarctic Journey
  • CAE1107: Stephen Eastaugh: Antarctic Work
  • CAE1112: Simon Balm: Stellar Axis, Antarctica
  • CAE1116: Chris Drury: Antarctica
  • CAE1117: William L. Fox: Terra Antarctica
  • CAE1202: David Rosenthal: Paintings from the North and South Polar Regions
  • CAE1218: Jean de Pomereu: Antarctic Photographs
  • CAE1219: Stuart Klipper: The Antarctic, From the Circle to the Pole
  • CAE1307: Chris Kannen: An Antarctic Extended Season
  • CAE1605: Anna McKee: 68,000 Years of Ice
  • CAE1602: Cape Farewell
  • CAE1806: Bruce Licher: Stamping Antarctica
  • CAE1910: Helen Glazer: Walking in Antarctica

Related Publications

Miller, Paul D. Sound Unbound. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008.

Miller, Paul D. The Book of Ice. Brooklyn, NY: Mark Batty Publisher, 2011.

Container Listing:

  • CAE Box 6

    • Folder 1 Artist Information and Press 2011-2012
    • Folder 2 Historic Photos, Reprinted 2011
    • Folder 3 Travel Ephemera 2007-2008
    • Folder 4 Music Scores, Digital Media, and Graphics 2011

Additional Materials

    CAE Flat File F7 Oversized Items

    • 4#26 Data Landscape Photographs (13 of 15)
    • 4#27 Data Landscape Photographs (14 of 15)
    • 4#28 Data Landscape Photographs (15 of 15)
    • 4#29 Poster Manifesto 01
    • 4#30 Poster Manifesto 02
    • 4#31 Poster Manifesto Arrows 04
    • 4#32 Poster Manifesto 04
    • 4#33 Poster Manifesto 05
    • 4#34 Poster Manifesto Arabic
    • 4#35 Poster Manifesto Greek
    • 4#36 Poster Manifesto Hebrew
    • 4#37 Poster Terranova Arrows 02b
    • 4#38 Poster Manifesto Japanese
    • 4#39 Poster Terranova Arrows 05
    • 4#40 Poster Terranova Plane