On alternate Saturdays in the months of April and May 2009, the nine members of the sound art collective Ultra-red convened the Raven Row Sessions of their 'School of Echoes' project. Sixteen participants from different political and local contexts entered into these analytic, pedagogical and recording sessions in order to explore how sound, composition and organized listening might contribute to collective analysis and action.
The protocols for the fives Sessions – facilitated under the headings of Silence, Thematic Investigation, Sound Object, Sound Walk, and Organised Listening – guided participants and Ultra-red through acts of deep listening, dialogue, and site-specific encounters. Across these actions the group experienced and reflected upon ways of being together. The protocols were informed by Ultra-red's many investigations into the political conditions of the AIDS crisis, social housing, the struggles of migration, and anti-racism and incorporate lessons from a range of radical traditions, including Paulo Freire's thematic investigation, popular education, militant inquiry and others. Participants inflected, challenged and re-worked these protocols according to their own commitments.
Raven Row Sessions participants
Ana Laura Lopez de la Torre
Founded fifteen years ago in Los Angeles, Ultra-red conduct Militant Sound Investigations alongside social justice movements where sound is both the medium and the site of the investigation. While the image serves as the foundation for much of our understanding of activist art, Ultra-red turn the focus to the ear: the sound of communities organising themselves, the acoustics of spaces of dissent, the demands and desires in our voices and in our silences, and the echoes of historical memories of struggle. These investigations take the form of audio recordings, art exhibitions, performances, or simple walking tours. The nine members of Ultra-red work with organisations such as Rural Racism Project (Devon, UK), the autonomous community development organisation Union de Vecinos (Los Angeles), the German anti-racist network Kanak Attak, Community HIV/AIDS Mobilisation Project (New York/Los Angeles), and Woodcraft Rangers which facilitates education programmes in sixty-one schools in Los Angeles County.