Dedicated to George Floyd
I. every precinct an autozone 01:51
II. a new world from the ashes of the old 10:41
III. fuck12 05:59
IV. minnesota nice 09:50
V. this aint a riot 22:39
VI. 8’46” 08:46
I lived in South Minneapolis for 4 years, most of that time in an apartment building on Chicago Avenue and 39th St, just a block from the intersection where police murdered George Floyd.
Music for Insurrection is a sound collage, blending field-recordings I made in South Minneapolis, livestream audio from the Uprising in May 2020, samples, and improvised instrumentation (flute, practice soprano sax, sampler, fx). Livestream samples from Unicorn Riot, friends’ Instagram stories, and Youtube, including a sample of Mel Reeves speaking to protesters. Excerpt from Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower (1993) read by me.
Any proceeds will be donated to South Minneapolis-based community charities, including a community library we have been supporting at the George Floyd Memorial Intersection.
(I) is a collage recorded onto a 4-track TASCAM portastudio using a 60-second infinite cassette loop
Headphone Listening recommended
[May 2023 Update] I recently returned to Minneapolis to defend my dissertation, and so it is unlikely I’ll return again in the near future. I wanted to mount some kind of version of Music for Insurrection while there. I visited George Floyd Square at the intersection of Chicago Ave and 38th St, a block from where I used to live, but I couldn’t imagine doing the piece there. The ruins of the 3rd precinct, however, are not so very sacred, and the significance of what happened there made it a fitting location. I created three loops of varying lengths drawn from multiple excerpts of Music for Insurrection, and then put the three speakers in various configurations outside the 3rd precinct, recorded while I was wearing binaural microphones. This is the result.
Download Music for Insurrection as one-file:
Eno’s Music For Airports was first heard at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul airport, as part of an event curated by the Walker Art Center, that also included a Maryanne Amacher installation in a house in Saint Paul. I had this in mind when I titled this record. Obviously “Music for…” has become a cliché, but it felt appropriate here.
I want to share my reply to a reverend friend, who wrote during the uprising to ask if I was still in Minneapolis, and if we were despairing. I will only speak for myself, but in the time since I’ve heard from many comrades who feel the same way.
Despair, no. To the contrary. It may seem strange, but I feel as hopeful as I’ve ever felt. Not because of the violence and compounded tragedy. Although I often find such condemnation of “violence” to be hypocritical in so far as they can conveniently continue to turn a blind eye to the already existing daily violence that permeates our entire world order. One cannot put a pot over fire and then condemn it for boiling over.
I don’t think there will ever be a “last” march. Politics, justice, love are all processes that need to be in continual becoming, never in the past-tense. My feeling is that protest is useful for a variety of reasons. Creating a sense of togetherness, consciousness raising, education. But like anything it’s a means and not an end in itself. As far as practical victories, I don’t expect the arc to be linear. But I do think it is a cumulative process. And that’s what makes this moment feel different, I think, to so many of us. The scale is shifting under the weight of so so so very many straws.
The comparison between the 3rd Precinct and the Bastille has both born out and also is one I now regret, if only because this is 2020, not 1789 or 1968 or any other year. From a young age I recognized that many people who proclaim to follow the teaching of Christ appear to behave more like the Pharisees. It seems Trump’s disgraceful stunt last night has done little to shake the loyalty is of base. My interpretation of the Nativity has always been that its significance is a generalization beyond that of Jesus. Every new life brought into the world is something utterly unique and unseen before, and as such is a chance for constant renewal. We are not forever doomed to repeat the same mistakes.
This moment may backfire, it may be a crushing disappointment, it may plant the seeds that won’t bear fruit for another generation. We simply cannot know in advance, but in truth we can never know the results of our actions in advance with absolute certainty. I recall a senior citizen protester who said something like, I don’t protest because I think it will change anything, but because I need to know that I am not alone and crazy in witnessing injustice. I have faith that the cumulative effort will bear fruit, that lies and evil cannot bear their own weight in the long run. But I’m not content to do nothing either, and if nothing comes of it at all it is better to have stood up for what is right.
Speaking with my friends on the ground in Minneapolis throughout this last week, I’ve been heartened to see how much the communities have banded together. Partly this is because some of those networks already exist, while others have begun or been strengthened by the COVID-19 crisis. But people have come together to clean, to distribute food and resources (expropriated from Target or otherwise), to patrol and defend their neighborhood, and to take care of each other. And those bonds are material and real, they aren’t divided by race or political affiliation, and they won’t melt into air like the lies and miss-truths being propagated by those whose time has come. Real solidarity is between people, and this feels like a moment where everything is up for grabs. We’ve been saying for as long as I can remember that Another World Is Possible, and it sure feels that today.
It’s going to be a long Hot Summer.
Peace and solidarity,
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