This workbook contains five categories of protocols for collectively performed listening procedures composed and studied by the international sound art collective, Ultra-red. Scanning the workbook readers will notice that the categories are not equivalent in status. For example, the category of fieldwork protocols marks a phase in a politically committed sound inquiry; what Ultra-red has termed, militant sound investigation. While fieldwork occurs as part of an overall strategy, sound walks and listening sessions can prove as generative in the early phases of collective reflection as when a group moves from refection to critical analysis.
Ils ont la fâcheuse habitude d’utiliser des sites fort peu recommandables pour diffuser certains de leurs travaux (facebook, myspace), mais le bon goût de mettre leurs archives sonores sur le site Public Record, qui se définit de la manière suivante
sound political art, and the sound of our politics
In an increasingly conservative climate within electronic music and the audio arts, Public Record remains committed to releasing projects that do more than make political claims or represent political ideas. Like the Ultra-red organization itself, Public Record provides a space for exchange between artists and audiences of art directly engaging the political.
The German art critic Walter Benjamin once rebuked the Surrealists, demanding that artists who assume the mantle of revolutionaries would do better engaging actual political struggles than promoting their individual artistic careers. Benjamin challenges artists to pursue sustained and committed relationships with social movements.
Conversely, simply listening to political movements poses its own inadequacies. Convention and territorialism inflict many political organizers producing tendencies that result in stagnation. Leadership too often becomes a claim to power rather than a participatory process.
On trouve notamment sur Public Record leurs enquêtes collectives sur la guerre contre les pauvres (souvent un peu trop abstrait ou, paradoxalement, arty à mes oreilles : on pourrait attendre autre chose sur le sujet, mais il faut dire que la contrainte formelle d’une minute encourage l’abstraction)
Ultra-red asks fifteen artists and activists to come up with a one-minute audio recording in response to the question: What is the sound of the war on the poor? The results range from field recordings, re-appropriated sounds, mini-symphonies and spoken rants.
Par exemple, dans l’enquête n°1 : Adern X (Pistoia)