DJ Parasite: An [au]/[o]-tophonographic Sound Track
by David Darius Jiri Sander Scheidt

[run time: 10:35]


• DJ Azul (featuring: Fragments of his life, Faithless, Chet Baker, Anne Carson, Nina Simone and the freesound project)

• Me (among others I will tell you how I bought a bag and some T-shirts in an endeavour to strengthen my djness and give you a glimpse at the beginnings of my career as a turntablist. You will hear how my mother nearly broke the needle of my record player with her voice and why my father’s electronic equipment was not helpful for fighting against this example of parental injustice.)

And in a special appearance:

• Joe Cocker, John the Baptist, and my radio recorder performing eleven seconds of the title song: “Unchain (my) voice”

Artist's notes:

“DJ Parasite” is an audio performance that is part of a larger creative project examining the possibilities of performing subjectivity in writing and in sound productions. In my work I try to create a sensuous alternative to what I perceive to be the violent exclusions inherent in traditional forms of autobiography as well as in scientific publications on the human voice. In an endeavour to counter the powerful illusion of an “essential, original, coherent autobiographical self” (Smith 17) that could be expressed via the anatomically preconceived voice organ of the voice producer, I demonstrate the complexities and uncertainties involved in my investigation into the question: how to perform a subjective voice that is continuously created in and constrained by the settings in which it takes place?

My role as “DJ Parasite” serves to implement the theory of performativity in its deconstructive senses (see for instance Derrida (1988 [1972]) and Butler (1993, 1999 [1990]). In putting on a collection of variously digitally altered recordings of “my” voice, drawing on diverse textual sources (e.g. “my own” creative writing, song lyrics, sound effects etc.) when creating my multiple selves, I position the act of “parasitical citation” as a commonplace communication activity. By presenting the parasite as a necessary part in the performance of subjectivity I initiate a process of rethinking its reputation and its name. Instead of repeating the well-known Austinian tragedy that features the pathogenic deviant who etiolates the ordinary, I suggest a scenario of “commensalism” as a different way of understanding the workings of performativity. According to this notion, the ubiquitous condition of “eating at the same (linguistic) table” provides us, following Butler, with the “critical resource[s] in the struggle to rearticulate the very terms of symbolic legitimacy and intelligibility” (“Bodies” 3).

Through referring to my work not only as “auto-phonography” but above all as “oto-phonography” I refocus the activity of listening beyond innocent consuming towards producing and inscribing (see for instance Barthes). Instead of offering a necessarily oversimplifying matrix for the capture and analysis of those unruly voices—e.g. in my motor cortex or voice box, or in the air as wobbling air molecules, or in the ears or auditory cortices of the listeners, or in the texts I used as my hosts for my allegedly necrotrophic pleasures, and thus in the hands, brains or hearts of their authors, etc.—I prefer to confront you and me with the following perversion: Nobody can tell us who we are. We can only make it up ourselves.

Works Cited

Baker, Chet. “Born to be Blue.” Baby Breeze. LP. Verve Records, 1964.

Barthes, Roland. Image Music Text. Trans. Stephen Heath. London: Fontana Paperbacks, 1977.

Butler, Judith. Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex”. New York: Routledge, 1993.

---. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge, 1999.

Carson, Anne. Autobiography of Red. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998.

Cocker, Joe. “Unchain my heart.” Unchain My Heart. LP. Capitol Records, 1987.

CyberiaLainKittyKat. “Yamaha Voice Double.wav.” 11 February 2007. Retrieved 15 June 2007.

Derrida, Jacques. Limited Inc. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1988.

Faithless. “Liontamer.” Outrospective. Arista (Sony BMG), 2003.

Parker, Andrew, and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, eds. Performativity and Performance. London: Routledge, 1995.

Pink Floyd. The Wall. EMI, 1994.

The Rolling Stones. “Sympathy for the Devil.” Beggars Banquet. LP. ABKCO, 1968.

Simone, Nina. “Wild is the wind.” Wild is the Wind. LP. Philips Records, 1966.

sleep. “dist_guitar_triplet.wav.” 21 April 2005. Retrieved 15 June 2007.

Smith, Sidonie. “Performativity, Autobiographical Practice, Resistance.” Auto/Biography Studies, 10.1 (1995): 17-33.

-zin-. “fat_beat_8_157bpm.wav.” 11 March 2007. Retrieved 15 June 2007.

about David D. J. Sander Scheidt

David Scheidt is a doctoral student in the School of Communication, Arts and Critical Enquiry at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. His research focuses on a creative examination of performances of subjectivity in writing and in sound performances with a special interest in notions of “voice” and “gender”.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License..