For our edition on Genes, DJ Robynn put together this special remix of songs collected from this month’s contributors.
The songs in this mix are:
- Translinear Light – Alice Coltrane
- The All of Everything – Sun Ra
- Roll and Tumble – DJ Krush
- Jeans – Quadron
- Melt! – Flying Lotus
- I’m Too Sexy – Right Said Fred
- Arey Ek Hai Anaar Yahan – Govinda, Alka Yagnik, Nikhil Vinay
- Sexy And I Know It – LMFAO
- It’s Tricky – Run DMC
- Pre-med – Bitesize
- That Spells DNA – Jonathan Coulton
- I Wanna Be Sedated – the Ramones
- Company IV – Philip Glass
The music in this mix was selected by this month’s contributors:
Alondra Nelson talked to EM about the sociocultural implications of genetic screening tests, touching on uses of genetic analysis in such varied settings as the early Black Panthers’ community-based genetic screening programs for sickle cell anemia, the criminal justice system, and popular TV shows like Finding Your Roots and Who Do You Think You Are. She also described the music that came to mind for her when thinking about her research:
Both Sun Ra and Alice Coltrane are making what you might call scientific music, but it’s also metaphysical music. Part of what’s so interesting to me as a researcher about contemporary genetics and what we think it means in society, is that it’s making claims about science or the scientific, but we’re also asking it to do some pretty significant metaphysical work. The work of Sun Ra and Alice Coltrane resonate with me in that regard. And Sun Ra also of course because there’s a lot of discord and cacophony in the work. Coltrane is a bit more melodic. Sun Ra, you have crashing, booming — depending on what your taste is, even difficult to hear – combinations and recombinations of sound. So I think that the Sun Ra pieces are also a manifestation of the discord in how we think about ourselves and our communities after the genome. But also discord with the hyperbole that does not render the full complexity of human experience and human societies.
Julia Serano described the ways in which cultural boundaries can be replicated in people’s (mis)understandings of biology (…):
Biology as it gets taught in school, you learn to put things into categories: These are dogs; these are cats. These are women; these are men. We learn to organize everything into these clear cut categories — but in biology, there really are no clear-cut categories. You can put dogs and cats into separate categories, and sometimes that’s useful, but they once shared a similar ancestor together. There is a lot of overlap between the types of genes they have, and their behaviors.
Certainly, the remarkable capacity of jeans to find a place within schemes of dress worldwide is testament to the powers of worldwide production and distribution networks that now bring jeans within the reach of so many. Equally important though are those material qualities of jeans that, in interaction with the wearer’s body, make jeans such a supple and appealing garment. What all of this entails for what jeans “mean” is complicated, though.
And thanks to Christopher Kelty for sharing Jonathan Coulton’s music.