- Since 1994
Activist art has come to signify a particular emphasis on appropriated aesthetic forms whose political content does the work of both cultural analysis and cultural action. The art collaboration Ultra-red proposes a political-aesthetic project that reverses this model. If we understand organizing as the formal practices that build relationships out of which people compose an analysis and strategic actions, how might art contribute to and challenge those very processes? How might those processes already constitute aesthetic forms? In the worlds of sound art and modern electronic music, Ultra-red pursues a fragile but dynamic exchange between art and political organizing. Founded in 1994 by two AIDS activists, over the years Ultra-red has expanded to include artists, researchers, and organizers from different social movements including the struggles of migration, anti-racism, participatory community development, and the politics of HIV/AIDS. Collectively, the group has produced radio broadcasts, performances, recordings, installations, texts, and public space actions (ps/o). Exploring acoustic space as enunciative of social relations, Ultra-red takes up the acoustic mapping of contested spaces and histories utilizing sound-based research (termed “Militant Sound Investigations”) that directly engage the organiziation and analyses of political struggles.