The Sound Art of d.

The effort to "brush history against the grain" requires excavations at the margins of monumental history in order that the ruins of the dismembered past be retrieved, turning to forms of knowledge and practice not generally considered legitimate objects of historical inquiry or appropriate or adequate sources for history making and attending to the cultivated silence, exclusions, relations of violence and domination that engender official accounts.


            ––Saidiya V. Hartman, Scenes of Subjection


And nobody in the whole goddamn world has an answer . . . to these people who act like savages, and we have a number of them.


            ––Associate Warden James Park, San Quentin Prison

From the Artist: 


the works featured here––"this morning" and "lesser known"––are composed predominantly of audio recorded by America's pioneering public radio reporters of Pacifica Radio ("the great liberal motherfuckers" in Associate Warden James Park's words) and preserved by Pacifica Radio Archives. While the events documented––so little understood by the American public from the beginning--are today all but long forgotten, this audio continues to speak, perhaps more acutely than ever, to our nation's long ongoing and still unresolved legacy of racism and racial violence. as well, in a culture Anne Hamilton calls "text based," these works remind us of the importance of the human voice and its power to encapsulate in tones, timbres, pitches and rhythms an un-write-able history.


even more important than the reporters who preserved these moments for the consideration of future generations are the people who lived these situations––some of whom died in the violence. they bore witness, and they speak from the grave. among those central to the works presented are George Lester Jackson, Jonathan Jackson, Georgia Jackson, Fleeta Drumgo, John Clutchette, and Doris Maxwell. While opinions of the events vary dramatically and the conversation is saturated with rhetoric, the facts, as determined through due process, are unambiguous: George Jackson's only crime was second degree robbery; and Fleeta Drumgo and John Clutchette were acquitted of all charges in the Soledad Brothers Trial. 


these works draw on a number of genres, traditions and movements within literature and music, among them: poetry, erasure poems, storytelling, cut ups, concrete music, phase music, turntablism, rap and plunderphonics. while my influences are too many to enumerate, of particular note are Helene Cixous, Slayer, Jacques Derrida, Steve Reich, NWA and Christian MarClay. 


to accompany the sound work is a set of images. these are images of George Jackson's rap sheet. to render the document more legible, as it is a document in a state of severe deterioration, the California State Archives provided it to me in varying shades of darkness, each shade revealing a different area of text. notable on this document: George Jackson's sole crime of second degree robbery; his complexion––"Dark"; his occupation--"Butcher" (although Jackson was an author whose most popular work, Soledad Brother, remains in publication today); and tattoos: "Line and question mark on chest."


with this i wish to end:



this morning - d.
lesser known - d.

this morning

sound art by d.

lesser known

sound art by d.

BIO:  d. is an artist in Portland, Oregon, and a graduate of UC Davis and University of Virginia. Previous works may be heard and read in *The Collagist*, *Birkensnake*, *Fringe*, *Tattoo Highway*, *PANK* and other places.