ps/o7 public citizen | surveying the future | networking migrant struggles
1. Blok 70 (08:34, 24 July 2004).
2. In which Ultra-red INTERVIEW Said, Josef, and Moises who await the status of their individual asylum claims with the UN High Commission on Refugees while living at the 1000 Roses Motel in Belgrade.
3. In which the cellular phone offers Ultra-red access to social NETWORKS in the worlds of Non-Governmental Organizations, Belgrade artists and activists, and that of the men and women who lives are organized around Blok 70.
4. Blok 70 (14.12, 16 July 2004).
5. In which Ultra-red are BANNED from entering the 1000 Roses Motel and are compelled to search elsewhere for clues about the changes in Serbia's migrant policies regulating transit-migrantion and procedures for acquiring permanent resident status.
6. In which the means of communication also makes INTERFERENCE with the recording of places, conversations and affective landscapes that help Ultra-red understand how people contend with Serbia's migrant politics.
7. Blok 70 (18:05, 29 July 2004).
For the month of July 2004, the Transit Migration Yugoslavian research team (Rutvica Andrijasevic and Manuela Bojadzijev) joined with Dont Rhine from Ultra-red and musician Elliot Perkins to survey the city of Belgrade. Our intention was to research places where migrants "conduct their politics." The search began interviewing asylum-seekers at the 1000 Roses Motel in the Southeastern limits of the city. Within three weeks, our inquiries and networking had taken us to the most Northern part of the city, in New Belgrade and housing block number seventy, where Chinese migrants had established a distribution and retailing discount market.
Throughout our field research we were ever-accompanied by the microphone and the digital audio tape-recorder. Everything was recorded, from the thunderstorm raining down on our apartment building, informal job centers like the one described by Elliot to Blok 70 itself. When the team determined to focus our investigations on the social networks around Blok 70, we began collecting site recordings of the location in the early morning, the mid-day and the closing hour. Sounds were recorded from within Blok 70's bustling corridors, shopping stalls, restaurants, offices, the travel agency serving as an informal meeting place for the Serbian translators, and the office of the Chinese Traders Association. In all, we recorded over forty-hours of material during our three-week visit to Belgrade.
On July 27, 2004, three members of the team (Andrijasevic, Bojadzijev, and Rhine) presented a music performance at the Studentski Kulturni Centar (SKC) in Belgrade. Drawing on the hours of recorded material, the performance described the various communities that come together in Blok 70. What interested us most about this location was the way Chinese migrants, Roma (many of whom recently deported to Serbia from Germany) and Serbian nationals work in the market through a complex network of economic relationships. This initial presentation allowed the team to formalize our collaboration as a provisional manifestation of the audio-activist group Ultra-red. Acting as Ultra-red, we were able to publicize our analysis of Blok 70 and draw upon a network of local activists, non-governmental organizations and organizers for their perspectives on migrant histories in Serbia.
Returning to our respective bases of operation, Ultra-red has begun the work of archiving and annotating the collection of recorded material from Belgrade. Out of this archive, the four members of Ultra-red plus a fifth member from the Los Angeles crew (Pablo Garcia) will compose the final project, to be titled BLOK70. The composition will be premiered November 10, 2005 at the “Transnational Europe II” Symposium held in Cologne at the Kölnischer Kunstverein.
Like all Ultra-red performances, BLOK70 will combine real-time sound processing with spoken word, cutting across protocols of lap-top electronica, press conference polemics and panel discussion dialectics. The performers will take up a range of subject positions from sound artists, electronic musicians to researchers, community organizers and activists. Out of this exchange, Ultra-red will present a rigorous inquiry into the relationships between grass roots people's movements, international migration policy and artistic process. BLOK70 will function as much as a representation of a place and its politics as an enactment of a political-aesthetic process.
Music from BLOK70 has been released in late 2005 as a joint internet-only release between Public Record (Los Angeles, US) and EGOBOO.bits (Zagreb, Croatia). Also look for BLOK70:Translations with mixes from artists based in the former-Yugoslavian states.
For more information on Transit Migrations, go to: http://www.transitmigration.org