ps/o7 public citizen | surveying the future | networking migrant struggles
This the fall of 2007, Ultra-red toured the southwest of England presenting a series of performances in cooperation with The Monitoring Group. Guided by protocols for facilitation, the "Bass Community" performances asked audiences in four rural towns to enter into an analysis of the conditions of racism in the southwest. These towns included Torbay, Plymouth, Exeter, and Bridgwater. Prior to the event, Elliot Perkins from Ultra-red and The Rural Racism Project (an initiative of the anti-racist organisation, The Monitoring Group) invited audience members to prepare a brief recording of a sound they considered to signify racism in the region. These sounds included recordings of conversations, the sounds of a workplace, or even audio evidence from a brutal racist attack. As audiences in each town worked through the relationships between sounds and terms, Ultra-red members introduce musical elements into the conversation, referencing a dub aesthetic that called to mind the anti-racist traditions of dub music and poetry. Occupying small art centres and, in the case of Bridgwater, restaurants, Bass Community built on the work initiated at the Encuentro Plymouth in organizing an analysis of racism and anti-racist struggle in the context of a recomposition of migration in the UK.
This conversation at this meeting responded to the question:
What is the sound of racism in England's southwest?
Tonight's event comes out this discussion, in which those present talked about the necessity of coming up with their own terms, terms that would reflect the experiences of racism in the region.
Tonight we will develop a list of terms, the language through which to speak about our experiences.
In the last five days we have been in [List of Town Names].
Tonight, we will generate the terms for [Town Name].
III. THE ROOM
Please state your name.
FIRST SPEAKER - My name is [Name].
[Repeat until everyone in the room has introduced him or herself.]
FACILITATOR - Thank you.
IV. PROTOCOL (DESCRIPTION)
There are a number of speakers. Each will begin with a sound. We will then hear about the experience from which the sound derives. We will respond by putting associated words on a page.
Finally, we will enter the page into a record, a dub composition, for the town of [Town Name].
These terms will generate the compositions for [Town Name].
V. PROTOCOL (GENERATIVE TERMS)
FACILITATOR - [Name] please tell us about this sound, ending with the term that you would like to put on the page.
[As speaker tells story about the sound, facilitator writes notes from the story on the right side of page.]
And what is the term that you would like to put on the page?
[Facilitator writes term in bottom right side of page.]
We will now open for discussion.
What did you hear?
[Facilitator writes notes from discussion onto separate pages.]
In this discussion, a number of words have been written.
What of these words would you like entered on the page for the term [Term]?
[Group discusses which words to be written on the page. Facilitator helps identify those words that appear frequently on the separate pages: The word [Term] came up in our discussion a great deal this evening. Is this a word that should be written on to the page?]
Before we close the page on the term [Term], is there anything that anyone would like to add?
This is a last opportunity to enter the words onto the page on [Term] from our discussion here tonight.
We will now close the page for the term [Term].
[Repeat procedure.] We will now hear the sound brought to us by [Name].
Thank you for your contributions.
V. DUB COMPOSITION
Each person who has entered a term will read their page over a bass line, beginning with the associated words and ending with the term they provided.
Will [Name] come to the front?
Please read the list of words from the box on the left side of the page, ending with the term you brought tonight.
[Speaker reads from the page over the sound of an Ultra-red bassline.]
[When the speaker finishes reading, everyone applauds.]
[Repeat until all the compositions have been read.]
[Facilitator acknowledges the venue and the persons who provided food.]
This is concludes Bass Community for the town of [Town Name].
Ultra-red would like to thank all our friends who participated in the Bass Community Tour 2007. Thanks also to those venues that hosted the tour: The Bit On The Side (Paignton), Plymouth Art Centre (Plymouth), Phoenix Media Center (Exeter), and Vino E Cucina Restaurant (Bridgwater). Special thanks also to all the staff of The Monitoring Group and Paula Orrell at the Plymouth Art Centre for the incredible support.