ps/o6 public education | school of echoes | pedagogy of the ear
Released as "Encuentro" (PR 2-01-011) mp3 album October 2006 on Public Record (Los Angeles, US).
Ultra-red | Encuentro
Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions / LACE
The workshop is open to the public for artists, community organizers, and anyone interested in strategizing around the intersection between critical art practice and political intervention.
In 1994, two AIDS activists working with the Hollywood-based needle exchange, Clean Needles Now, launched the sound-art collaboration Ultra-red. Half-jokingly taking their name from an auto-body shop in Silverlake, Ultra-red assumed as its starting place the specific possibilities for art and activism within the sound recording of social spaces. If, as Henri Lefebvre argued, space is the product of specific social practices, then how does sound contribute to the production of space both in its signification and political struggles? Do audio recordings of a social space yield more than simply documents of a time and place but actually a technology of spatial meaning? These questions would eventually assume the urgency of community development and organizing as the dual identities of Ultra-red's founders -- that of artists and organizers -- became the fundamental basis of the group's methodology and membership.
Over the span of it's first ten years of collaborations, Ultra-red shifted membership and traversed a variety of urban sound spaces as they formed new alliances. Ultra-red occupied such communities in struggle as public housing in East Los Angeles, resistance to the policing of gay male sexual spaces, migrant labor organizing, transgender activism, community development, global justice mobilizations and HIV/AIDS organizing. The increasing diversity of interventions and sound investigations, in terms of specific political and geographical sites, compelled Ultra-red to change its structural model in 2004. As outlined in its "Articles of Incorporation", Ultra-red remade itself as an aesthetic-political organization able to accommodate a variety of autonomous projects involving different teams each identified as Ultra-red.
Within its first year operating as an organization, Ultra-red launched three team-based projects. These include the US-based AIDS organizing project SILENT|LISTEN (Pablo Garcia, Eddie Peel, Dont Rhine and Robert Sember), the European migrant investigation BLOK70 (Rutvica Andrijisevic, Manuela Bojadzijev, Elliot Perkins and Dont Rhine) and the workshop-based collaboration with artists and community activists named ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION (Janna Graham, Dont Rhine and Leonardo Vilchis). Up until now, the particular analyses and methodologies to arise from these three projects have had little chance to enter into dialogue with each other as the only Ultra-red member to participate in all three is the organization's Information Secretary, Dont Rhine.
This conference, or "encuentro", on MILITANT SOUND INVESTIGATIONS attempts to stage precisely that dialogue, offering Ultra-red members the opportunity to share ideas among themselves and with Los Angeles-based allies of the organization. Presentations from members of Ultra-red will make manifest the various analyses around political subjectivity, the role of education in political organizing and the problematics of art in the context of organizing. Allies of Ultra-red will then be asked to respond to ideas raised in the initial round of presentations - challenging the perspectives of Ultra-red members. The daylong event will conclude with breakout discussions with audience members to further consider ideas and issues raised in the presentations.
9:30 - 10:00 COFFEE RECEPTION
10:00 - 10:45 INTRODUCTION
Dont Rhine, "A Short History of UR: Collaboration and Difference"
10:45 - 12:30 SESSION ONE: UR Member Presentations (30 minutes each)
[Sound Portraits mixed by Ultra-red's Eddie Peel introduce each speaker.]
Elizabeth Blaney, "Breaking Down Participatory Community Development" Leonardo Vilchis, "From Base Communities to Community as Base" Manuela Bojadzijev, "The Autonomy of Migration" Dont Rhine, "Aesthetics and an Art of Organizing"
12:30 - 13:00 DISCUSSION
13:00 - 14:00 LUNCH
14:00 - 16:00 SESSION TWO: UR Allies Respond (15 minutes each):
David Thorne (The Speculative Archive, Los Angeles) Susanne Lang (kein.org, Germany) Walt Senterfitt (Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project, Los Angeles) Emily Roysdon (LTTR, New York/Los Angeles) Jackie Leavitt (UCLA, School of Public Policy)
16:00 - 16:30 CONCLUSION AND EVALUATION
(Ultra-red members not in attendance for the "Encuentro," Pablo Garcia, Janna Graham, Elliot Perkins, and Robert Sember send their regards.)
Ultra-red would like to thank the following for making the "Encuentro" possible: Carol Stakenas, Karl Erickson, Bridget DuLong, Katy Robinson and all the dedicated folks at LACE, Union de Vecinos, Woodcraft Rangers, Kanak Attak, Ben Carrington and the University of Texas Austin, Art Metropole and FUSE Magazine. Dont Rhine would also like to offer special thanks to the following for their critical insight and solidarity: Mary Kelly, Jennifer Bolande, David Gere, and Cathy Opie.