What happens when an international art collective is placed in a suburban school? Embedded in the curriculum, international sound artist-activist collective Ultra-red will be working with a diverse group of youths from Maiden Erlegh School in reading in the East Reading area, to explore the politics of care, questions of wellbeing and mental health, as well as issues of social citizenship and identity.
This innovative Widening Participation initiative is curated by Reading International, and supported by Reading Borough Council and but is driven by the participants themselves, where students discover for themselves the relationship between history, experience, and research, in their own local context, and thus make the ‘learning curriculum’ have an impact on their own lives and community groups.
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 international art collaboration Ultra-red proposes a political-aesthetic project that reverses this model. If we understand organising 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 pursue a fragile but dynamic exchange between art and political organizing. Founded in 1994 by two AIDS activists, Ultra-red have over the years expanded to include artists, researchers, and organisers from different social movements including the struggles of migration, anti-racism, participatory community development, and the politics of HIV/AIDS.
Supported by ‘Reading, Place of Culture’ a joint initiative by Reading Borough Council, Reading UK CIC and the University of Reading.