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After the act, or, on collective affect

"Perhaps it is parcel with the acoustic sphere that feeling cuts through and against signification. Perhaps it is an effect of mobilizing the record."

Sound possesses a palpable promiscuity in relation to the body. One may say what one means, but somewhere between the mouth that speaks and the ear that hears, sound always exceeds its master. Politically, it may be useful to say that we hear the truth in the voice or that we listen with obedience, but sound always transgresses such duties. Out of some vain desire to contain sound's promiscuity did Bell and Edison invent the electro-acoustic apparatus. In which case the most faithful audio recording is the one never played. Conversely, to sound the record is to stage the promiscuity again and again.

Aesthetic-political agents depend on this. Without that infidelity between mouth and ear, a slippage invariably invoking an other, there can be no politics. Or at least, no politics where loss and joy, shame and anger ride the networks permeating our struggles. Without those affects, we have only moralism and bribery. And war.

One could reductively interpret Public Record as an archive of death: a death of social movements, a death of coalitions, campaigns, utopias, struggles, and a death of socialism. Such an interpretation would profoundly miss the point. Not to mention that such a reading would be only possible were the archive not used. In listening, one invariably gets caught up in the record and its political effects. The record is a remainder.

Established in 2004, Public Record is an archive of audio actions conducted by the members of the group Ultra-red as well as its allies and collaborators. All the materials in the archive demonstrate some commitment to realizing the purposes of the Ultra-red organization. These purposes include: first, to facilitate cooperation between artists and social movements; second, to occupy the borders between art and organizing; and, third, to radicalize the conventions of electronic music and sound art.

Public Record is a web-only archive of audio recordings (MP3), texts (DOC), artwork (JPEG or PDF), and video (MOV). All the materials in the archive have been compiled for public use and are available without monetary exchange. Ultra-red asks that all users respect the terms of use as defined for Public Record.

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