ps/o3.d. thedebt(archivelog)
ps/o3 public housing | structural adjustments | re/developing the new urbanism

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Ballymun Soundscapes
Ballymun Regeneration Ltd
Resident Forums
Ballymun Womens Resource
Act I: Project, Temple Bar
Act II: BRYR, Ballymun
Kill Radio Broadcast
Union de Vecinos
Act III: UCLA Labor Centre
Act IV: Axis Ctr, Ballymun
Compositions made from SCPs
Production documents
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--
In February 2003, Los Angeles-based electronic musicians and sound artists Ultra-red began a year-long project in the Dublin Ireland council housing estate of Ballymun. Titled The Debt, the project was a series of collective reflections that brought together residents from the public housing communities of Ballymun in Dublin and East Los Angeles' own Pico Aliso. The purpose of these encounters was to compare and contrast experiences with regeneration of social housing. This twelve-disc archive compiles audio, textual and visual materials generated as part of The Debt. Given the dramatic changes in Ballymun, this archive is an echo of one moment in time and place, filtered through a specific exchange of experiences, ideas and questions. Given the paucity of materials in Ballymun detailing the history of community and social struggles, Ultra-red present this archive as a way of giving audition to what we have come to know as The Debt.


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Town Centre
Town Centre to WRC
Sandy Hill Gardens
Recco to Anna's Flat
School Yard
Coultry Spine Block
Coultry Road Regeneration
Office Anti-Social Behavior
Inside 6 Coultry Gardens
Top of Coultry Spine Block
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00:38:00
Through out the development of The Debt, Ultra-red were housed at 6 Coultry Gardens in Ballymun. Furnished by the commissioning agency, Breaking Ground, the house offered a base of operations in the middle of the 20,000 member community. The house, part of a tract slated for demolition, was surrounded by Ballymun's distinctive 15-storey towers and 8-storey spine blocks. It was a landscape due for profound changes that will eventually see all the flats torn down. The acoustic experience of Ballymun was a sensual thing sculpted daily by the competing forces of what has been, what will be and the din of machinery and labour executing that transformation. This was a subject of great fascination for us as we drifted through the landscape in both its geographical and social manifestation. These soundscapes are products of those wanderings.

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John Montague at Axis Ctr
Noel Martin at Axis Ctr
Eammon Fairley at BRL
Anne Keating at WRC
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10:57:01
11:43:00
The regeneration of Ballymun, one of the largest development projects in the EU, represents such a significant overall budget that per cent for arts money from the regeneration offered a unique opportunity for Ireland's art community. Rather than funneling money into a general fund, it was decided to found a separate public arts organisation to commission projects for the community of Ballymun. That organisation, Breaking Ground, set up a series of meetings for Ultra-red during the group's first visit. Given Ultra-red's history of opposing public housing regeneration, it was disquieting to have our first introduction to the community mediated by the perspectives of the Ballymun Regeneration Ltd. Well versed in regeneration ideology, Ultra-red were especially interested in the ways the BRL spokespeople deviated from an American context.

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Silogue Maint. Subcom
Vickie McElmigott
Coultry Gardens neighbors
Liz Johnson
DUR
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09:47:38
09:05:47
11:49:14
As Ultra-red became conversant in Ballymun's political structures, the group endeavoured to learn more about the role of the five Resident Forums. Composed of popularly elected resident-representatives, the Forums were initially set up to mediate between the five neighbourhoods of Ballymun and the City Council which maintains the estate. With the advent of regeneration, the Forums had become a mechanism of mediation between the BRL and residents. Some Forums functioned as the means of disseminating information from the BRL to residents. Other Forums adopted a more activist stance in relation to the BRL. These four recordings reflect Ultra-red encounters with members of four of the five Forums: Silogue Forum (track one), Poppintree Forum (track two), Coultry Forum (track three) and Shangan Forum (track four).

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St Pappins Ladies Club
Womens Studies Class at BRYR
Young Mothers Class at WRC
Conversation about visiting LA
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07:49:38
09:54:02
08:42:38
Early in the development of The Debt, Ultra-red determined to develop its project following the model of community organising. One implication of this approach was that the project should make an impact on ten per cent of the overall population of Ballymun. This meant outreach to 2,000 people. As outsiders to the community, working with limited time and resources, Ultra-red made decided to form an alliance with the Ballymun Women's Resource Centre as a way of reaching more people. These recordings are made from some of Ultra-red's encounters with social groups and programs organised by the WRC or who, in the case of the St. Pappins Club, utilise WRC facilities. Track four is from a conversation with women selected by Ultra-red to visit Los Angeles. These women include Michele Gifford (Youth Worker, WRC), Liz Johnson (Member, Shangan Forum), Anne Keating (Executive Director, WRC), and Sylvia Walsh (President, St. Pappins Club).

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Project Arts Centre Pt 1
Project Arts Centre Pt 2
Project Arts Centre Pt 3
Project Arts Centre Pt 4
Project Arts Centre Pt 5
Project Arts Centre Pt 6
Project Arts Centre Pt 7
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The public manifestation of Ultra-red's The Debt took the form of five performances, or Acts. The first two Acts took place over a weekend in June in Dublin. Both events featured dialogues on the regeneration of public housing. The first Act occurred on Saturday, June 28, 2003, in a dialogue that brought together representatives from the Ballymun Women's Resource Center and three residents from the Los Angeles housing organization, Union de Vecinos. Located in the Project Art Center in Dublin's Temple Bar district, the event was titled, "Peripheral Vision: Community at the Urban Margins, Ballymun, Dublin and Pico Aliso, Los Angeles." The three residents from Los Angeles were Carmen and Walter Mendoza and Candice Monay. Representing the WRC were its Executive Director Anne Keating and Mandy Murphy.

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BRYR Centre Pt 1
BRYR Centre Pt 2
BRYR Centre Pt 3
BRYR Centre Pt 4
BRYR Centre Pt 5
BRYR Centre Pt 6
BRYR Centre Pt 7
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For Act II, Ultra-red convened the second of two public dialogues comparing experiences with regeneration in Ballymun, Ireland and Pico Aliso, Los Angeles. Hosted at the Ballymun Regional Youth Resource Centre or BRYR on Sunday, June 29, 2003, this event was titled "Leading Voices: The Legacy of Leadership in Public Housing Community, Ballymun, Dublin and Pico Aliso, Los Angeles." The round table discussion featured comments by Pico Aliso residents Carmen and Walter Mendoza and Candice Monay. From Ballymun we heard comments from Liz Johnson, John Dunne and Annie Krene (from the St. Pappin's Ladies Club).

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Kill Radio 0912 Pt 1
Kill Radio 0912 Pt 2
Kill Radio 0912 Pt 3
Kill Radio 0912 Pt 4
Kill Radio 0912 Pt 5
Kill Radio 0912 Pt 6
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Over the course of nine weeks each Friday afternoon from August 8 to October 3, Ultra-red presented a one-hour radio broadcast as part of The Debt. Aired on the Los Angeles-based internet radio channel KillRadio.org, these broadcasts offered a weekly review of interviews, site recordings and electronic music produced from the Ultra-red's visits in Ballymun. On Friday, September 12, 2003, a special live broadcast was presented featuring five women from Ballymun who had come to Los Angeles as part of the collaboration between Ultra-red and the Ballymun Women's Resource Center. Interviewed by Ultra-red members Dont Rhine and Elizabeth Blaney, the five guests from Ireland were Anne Keating (Executive Director, BWRC), Niamh McGuire (Board member BWRC), Michele Gifford (Youth worker, BWRC), Sylvia Walsh (President, St. Pappins Ladies Club), and Janice Broe (Member, St. Pappins Ladies Club).

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Chayo
Carmen M
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Manuela
Candice
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A high point of the five Dubliners' visit to Los Angeles in September 2003 was to at last tour the Pico Aliso housing projects in East Los Angeles. After months of hearing about the community from Ultra-red, the women could finally visit with Pico Aliso residents and experience the neighbourhood themselves. While much smaller than the sprawling community of Ballymun, the public housing of Pico Aliso appeared to the women plagued by enormous problems, not the least of which was an adversarial housing authority that cared little for preserving existing social relations and community integrity. These themes were repeated several times during their visits with five members of the Union de Vecinos, the resident-activist group founded to advocate for fair and democratic housing policy in Los Angeles.

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UCLA Labor Centre Pt 1
UCLA Labor Centre Pt 2
UCLA Labor Centre Pt 3
UCLA Labor Centre Pt 4
UCLA Labor Centre Pt 5
UCLA Labor Centre Pt 6
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21:09:68
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For Act III, Ultra-red staged a performance conversation on Public Housing in Los Angeles and Dublin Ireland. Joining the group on stage were Ultra-red's five guests from Dublin Ireland: Anne Keating (Executive Director, Ballymun Womens Resource Center), Niamh McGuire (Board member BWRC), Michele Gifford (Youth worker, BWRC), Sylvia Walsh (President, St. Pappins Ladies Club), and Janice Broe (Member, St. Pappins Ladies Club). Held at the UCLA Downtown Labor Center on Friday, September 12, 2003 at 6PM, audience members included Los Angeles housing activists, artists, and friends of Ultra-red. The performance was also the first time most of the Irish women heard Ultra-red's mix of live voice processing, site recordings and electronic music. Functioning much like a dress rehearsal, the performance gave the women a chance to work out publicly their reflections on Los Angeles housing in comparison to Ballymun.

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Axis Centre Pt 1
Axis Centre Pt 2
Axis Centre Pt 3
Axis Centre Pt 4
Axis Centre Pt 5
Axis Centre Pt 6
Axis Centre Pt 7
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On Saturday, October 11 at the Axis Art Centre in Ballymun, Ultra-red presented its fourth Act. Billed as "An evening of reflection and strategy in sound," the event was in keeping with Ultra-red's tradition of social housing performances that combine experimental electronics, video projection and community celebration. Split between Ultra-red and the Ballymun Women's Resource Center, the evening began with a reception in celebration of the St. Pappin's Ladies Club. This was followed by a performance reuniting Ultra-red with the five women who traveled to Los Angeles in Act III (see Archives 7, 8 and 9). Then came a presentation of work commissioned by the WRC inspired by the site-recordings of Ultra-red. The WRC commissioned local Dublin artists, David Frew and Chris Nash to develop a sound piece in collaboration with a group of teen girls. This project was facilitated by Michele Gifford, a youth worker with the WRC and participant in The Debt. The evening concluded with local punk band, The Clams and a fortuitous coincidence of DJ-ed music and birthday partying in the AXIS pub.

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Value Form of Participation
The Debt (Themes)
Beneath the Green
Temporary Amenities
Against a Natural History of Wind
Return (Beyond the Pale)
Interior Designs
One Door Down
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In subsequent months following their last visit to Dublin, Ultra-red revisited the soundscapes from Ballymun. Reflecting on the ten soundscapes, processing the sounds, articulating electro-acoustic technique with the source recordings, and composing tracks, accompanied a larger process of evaluation. That evaluation has been a challenge and initiated a much larger transformation for Ultra-red itself. According to the group's objectives, The Debt produced less than successful results. Yet, on the level of researching the psycho-acoustic geography of a community destined for radical and largely unknown changes, The Debt sounds a clear warning: in Ballymun, there is no blueprint for dignity, no master plan for an experience of community.

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Original Proposal
Worksheet 1
Worksheet 2
Worksheet 3
Worksheet 4
Worksheet 5
Worksheet 6
ACT 1 and 2 Poster
ACT 3 / The Debt Radio Flyer
ACT 3 / UCLA Performance Flyer
ACT 3 Visit to LA Diary
ACT 4 Flyer
ACT 4 Performance Program
Essay
Archive Index
From the original proposal draft made in November 2002 to the completion of the post-production in January 2004, the development of The Debt journeyed through many stages, phases, acts and tactics: In some respects, this is an archive of artists encountering the limits of site-specificity as a practice when knowledge itself refuses a change of soil. It's a highly problematic notion given the histories of the US in its current imperial phase and Irish post-colonialism. Further complicating such an evaluation is the history of exploitation in the art's relationship to communities of struggle. When an artist's political objectives fail, can something of value be recovered when it is those objectives that give the artist her or his legitimacy in a community defined by struggle? These questions and many others can be charted in this archive of development and promotion materials generated through-out the course of The Debt.

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John Montague Interview at Axis Centre
Noel Martin Interview at Axis Centre
Town Center; K. Wheelan at School; Eammon Fairley Interview at BRL
Silogue Maint. Subcom Meeting, Interview with Doyles
Anne Keating Interview at BWRC
Afternoon at Ana's and Austin's
6 Coultry Gardens House Meeting with Neighbors
St. Pappins Ladies Club Meeting at BWRC
Walking Around Ballymun; Pre-teens Girls Club BWRC
In Park w/ Active Living; A. Doyle, V. Mooney, N. Dunne Interview BWRC
T. Greene & M. Burke Interview at 6 Coultry Gardens; Night at The Penthouse
Women's Studies Class Meeting at BRYR
Vickie McElmigott Interview at Ballymun Animal Resource Assocation
Young Mother's Class BWRC; Liz Johnson Interview
Mick and Jackie at Youth Club; Donnacha Hurly Interview at Axis Centre
Derek Farrell Interview at DCC Office; Ballymun Gaelic Athletic Association
J. Dunne Interview; H. Walsh Interview
St. Pappins Ladies Club Meeting
Creche at BWRC; Anne Keating Meets Union de Vecinos at BWRC
Project Arts Centre in Temple Bar
BRYR Centre in Ballymun
St. Pappins Ladies Club Meeting at BWRC
St. Pappins Ladies Club Meeting at BWRC
Conversation about visiting LA at BWRC
Walking Around Ballymun
Ballymun Residents Visit with Union de Vecinos in LA
Kill Radio Broadcast with Ballymun Residents
UCLA Downtown Labor Centre in LA
Kill Radio Broadcast Ultra-red Discussion About BWRC Visit
Axis Arts Centre