Ultra-red’s three-part “Practice Sessions” video introduces the basics of the sound art collective’s practice. Adopting the conventions of an instructional video, the video walks viewers through the steps in what the collective calls, militant sound research.
When we think of art and politics, we tend to think of images. Likewise, political speech plays a crucial role in how movements communicate their critique and demands. At the same time, communication is as much a matter of listening as of speaking. In many emancipatory political histories, political education gives a great deal of attention to how people in struggle listen to each other, to spaces and events, to experiences of oppression and liberation, to silence, and how we listen to resonances of commonality and contradiction. A militant sound investigation offers organizers, cultural workers, and community people an accessible process for practicing listening and developing collectivity within the context of ongoing and long-term struggle.
The three videos in Ultra-red’s “Practice Sessions” guide viewers through the different stages of the sound research process. The first video examines how a research team organizes itself and develops a question that guides their inquiry. The second video walks viewers through the process of making audio recordings that catalyze the collective reflections of community members. The third video addresses putting together a listening session that generates new ideas and questions for the next stage of research. Each video includes two instructional modules and an appendix. The appendices offer viewers some of the theoretical basis for the ideas presented in the video as well as give background about Ultra-red and how we have used militant sound research over the years.
Ultra-red’s “Practice Sessions” videos have been produced by Ultra-red members based in Los Angeles and in New York including Robert Sember, Dont Rhine, Walt Senterfitt, and Leonardo Vilchis. The production also involved contributions from a number of talented individuals from our local activist and creative communities.
To help groups further explore their own uses of militant sound inquiry, Ultra-red has provided a user’s manual to accompany the video.
View the manual below or download the PDF here
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Founded by two Los Angeles AIDS activists in 1994, the sound art collective Ultra-red today has teams of sound researchers working in Berlin, New York, Los Angeles, and several cities in the UK. The twelve members of Ultra-red come from a variety of backgrounds as organizers, educators, and artists. Each of us has long-term engagements with social movements including housing justice, anti-racism and the struggles of migration, HIV/AIDS justice, sexual and gender rights, and the preferential option for the poor. Ultra-red has worked with a wide range of community groups, students, and cultural workers developing sound art investigations within and alongside political struggles. In recent years, the collective has launched the School of Echoes initiative for learning and experimenting with organizing and popular education. In 2014 and 2015, Ultra-red will commemorate our twentieth anniversary with a series of public events, exhibitions, and publications reflecting on what we have learned as well as how our practice can better serve the local contexts where we work and internationally.
Produced, written, and directed by Ultra-red
Director of Photography — Hans Kuzmich
Assistant Cameraperson — Christine Haroutounian
Editor — Daniel Kim
On-camera researchers — Ryku Bella, Enyce Chanel Smith, Christine Haroutounian, Cayetano Juarez, Heather M. O’Brien, Christina Sanchez, and Jonathan Takahashi
Thanks to Robert Crouch, Shoghig Halajian, Carol Stakenas, and LACE.
Special thanks to Reach LA, School of Echoes Los Angeles, Union de Vecinos, and Vogue’ology.
Practice Sessions: Ultra-red is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Additional support for Practice Sessions has been generously provided by the James Irvine Foundation and City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.