ps/o7 public citizen | surveying the future | networking migrant struggles
01. Blok 70 am (Tolerate Space Mix 2). By Vuneny.
02. Blok 70 am (Object Relations). By Oticon.
03. Blok 70 noon (Treachery Of Images). By Unicomplex.
04. Blok 70 noon (Where Migrants Conduct Their Politics). By Elliot Perkins.
05. Blok 70 pm (Evening Melancholia). By Octex.
06. Blok 70 pm (Blog 70). By Piece of Shh.
07. Ledine. By Ultra-red
It was nearly a year ago that Public Record (Los Angeles) and EgoBOO.bits (Zagreb) organized the remix project Movement for Airports (PR 2-02-004). In that project artists from Slovenia, Croatia, Herzegovina and Serbia were asked to compose remixes of the Ultra-red track, "Movement for Airports" (included on the album, Ultra-red Play Kanak Attak, PR 2-02-003). The resulting album covered a wide terrain from experimental techno, downbeat, to Balkan dub.
At the time of Movement for Airports, Pablo Garcia, Elliot Perkins, and Dont Rhine of Ultra-red began work on a new album based on our investigation into migration politics in Serbia. Conducted in collaboration with researchers Rutvica Andrejisevic and Manuela Bojadzijev, that investigation brought Ultra-red to the discount market in Novi Beograd's housing block 70. The Blok 70 market resembles many such places in Eastern Europe where Chinese migrants develop a robust mercantile culture. In Blok 70, we found a confluence of Chinese shopkeepers, Serbs and Roma, each eking out her or his economic security. All three populations have profound and on-going experiences of dislocation. With the exception of mundane business, the three groups have no way of communicating those experiences with each other. Do the Chinese merchants, forced to renew their visas every six months, realize that many Roma working for them were forcibly repatriated to Serbia after living twelve years in Germany as refugees? Do the Serbian workers, many of whom are refugees from the war, know of the precariousness of their Chinese employers?
In time, Ultra-red made contact with a group of women freelancing as translators in Blok 70. These women assist in transactions between the Chinese merchants and Serbian customers, government officials, shipping companies, and police. We met with the translators often, calling on their experiences as curators of communication. During our conversations with merchants and with the translators directly, we learned of the struggles to secure a sense of normalcy in a context where no legal structures exist for migrants to reside permanently.
For Ultra-red, the album BLOK70 (PR 2-02-006) raises more questions than answers. If social movement politics arise from reflection on experience, can those reflections cross the lines of language and histories of dislocation? If all three communities employed at Blok 70 experience profound precariousness, how can those experiences translate into a shared political analysis? The migrant defines him or herself by an autonomous project of movement along social networks. What does that subjectivity suggest for grass-roots politics in the context of post-Yugoslavian states, where politics tend to be monopolized by NGOs and EU accession pressures?
Ultra-red invites you to take up the work of translation. In the original BLOK70 album, electronic music tracks are framed by soundscapes composed from field recordings made at the actual Blok 70 market. Appearing on the album as straightforward field recordings, the three Blok 70 soundscapes capture the market during the early morning, the afternoon and closing time in the evening. For BLOK70:Translations, artists are asked to select one of the three Blok 70 soundscapes as source material. Those field recordings can become the basis of any textural and formal design you, the artist, determine. Sounds can be used as embellishments to tracks, or as the sole source material for digital sound sculpting. When composing your track, keep in mind the specificity of the location and the time of day. The compilation BLOK70:Translations - to be released by EgoBOO.bits and Public Record on April 1, 2005 - will contain six translations plus an original Ultra-red track based on field recordings from the town Ledine - home to many Chinese and Roma employed at Blok 70.
In solidarity, Ultra-red
Executive Produced by Zeljko Blace for EgoBOO.bits. Tracks 1 thru 6 based on sounds taken from BLOK70 (PR 2-02-006). For BLOK70, Ultra-red was organized from Rutvica Andrija_evic, Manuela Bojadzijev, Elliot Perkins and Dont Rhine. BLOK70:Translations is dedicated to the original Blok 70 translators: Jasmina, Nata_a, and Ivana.
BLOK70 is a part of Transit Migration. Transit MIgration is part of "Projekt Migration", a project initiative of the German Federal Cultural Foundation (Kulturstiftung des Bundes) in cooperation with DOMiT e.V. (Documentation Centre and Museum on Migration from Turkey) and the Kölnischer Kunstverein.