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Author Archives: Louise Barry

  1. Audio Interference 78: Oral History of UHAB

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    “The city had so many buildings, it had no ability to manage them themselves, no ability to even outsource the management…if you were alive and breathing and raised your hand, you could have a building in the city of New York.” — Charles Laven

    In New York in the early 1970s, government disinvestment coupled with widespread landlord neglect and abandonment, gave rise to squatting, urban homesteading, and other forms of self-help housing. Residents took control of city-owned land and buildings, and developed or rehabilitated their own housing. The ultimate goal for many of these tenants was to take their buildings out of the speculative housing market and own them collectively and democratically. Today, around 1,300 resident-controlled, low-income housing cooperatives exist in New York City, providing some of the most deeply affordable and stable housing in the city.

    The Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, or UHAB, grew out of the self-help housing movement. UHAB was founded in 1973, and started by working with self-organized groups of tenants to convert homesteading projects into limited-equity cooperatives, affordable in perpetuity and owned by their tenants.

    Interference Archive · Audio Interference 78: Oral History of UHAB

    In this episode, we are sharing excerpts of an oral history of UHAB, conducted by researcher Conor Snow in 2020 and featuring interviews with Charles Laven, Fernando Alarcon, Ayo Harrington, and Ann Henderson. Thank you to UHAB, and to Charles, Ayo, Ann, Fernando and Conor for granting us permission to share this audio with you.

    For more information about UHAB.

    For more information about Interference Archive’s exhibition in collaboration with UHAB, “Building for Us: Stories of Homesteading and Cooperative Housing.”

    For previous Audio Interference episodes on similar topics, check out:
    Episode 74, “We the People Won’t Go
    Episode 47 “Lower East Side Community Gardens
    Episode 31 “Squatting on the Lower East Side
    Episode 23 “Brooklyn Housing Struggle” (https://interferencearchive.org/audio-interference-23-brooklyn-housing-struggle/).

    Music: “Bathed in Fine Dust” by Andy G. Cohen and “Tribal” by David Szesztay, both from the Free Music Archive.

    Produced by Interference Archive.

  2. Audio Interference 76: Sanctuary City Project

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    The Sanctuary City Project is a research-led participatory art project from San Francisco based artists Chris Treggiari and Sergio De La Torre. They work to create inclusive spaces for dialogue and debate about sanctuary cities and immigration. As you’ll hear, the Sanctuary City Project collects stories of immigration, detention, and resistance and then shares those narratives with the public through video projections, installations, mobile food projects, billboards, banners, and pop-up print shops. Some of those posters are now housed in the Interference Archive collection in Brooklyn, New York.

    Produced by Interference Archive. 

    Music in this episode:
    “Dusting,” “Stilt,” “Borough” & “Hickory Interlude” by Blue Dot Sessions – www.sessions.blue
    “I. Allegro non molto” by Gavin Gamboa
    “Theme in G” by Poddington Bear

  3. Audio Interference 72: Dissident Island

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    “Areas that are now very affluent in London like Notting Hill or Camden Town, these would have been full of squatted places. Literally streets, like whole blocks of terraced housing that were squatted. From the 1960-70s onward there’s lots of people that ended up in possession of properties having initially squatted there.”

    Dissident Island is an anarchist radio show broadcasting on the first and third Friday of every month from the London Action Resource Centre. Since 2007, Dissident Island has covered anarchist life in London, including the rise and fall of squatted social centers, and the Dissident Island archives offer a picture of the way squatters have changed the city, and the ways in which they’ve been affected by new laws and policing. Dissident Island also presents benefit shows in squatted venues, produces a zine, and offers radio workshops. This episode includes excerpts from an interview with Patrick Evans, one of the creators of Dissident Island, as well as clips from the show.

    The voices you heard in this episode included Phoenix from Raven’s Ait, Paul from ANAL, Ben Rampart and Ben 52 from rampART, Lou and Matt from Made Possible by Squatting, and Dissident Island hosts John, Chick Pea, Bryn, Patrick IW. Thank you to Patrick Evans and everyone at Dissident Island for making this audio available to us.

    Music: “Cataclysm” by the Flying Luttenbachers, “Hundred Years in Helheim” by Tri-Tachyon, and “The Pharaos Theme” by The Pharaos, all from the Free Music Archive.

    Produced by Interference Archive.

    Links:

    Dissident Island

    Squatted Social Centres in London, 2007-2017, with Dissident Island Radio.
    This episode was created by Patrick for the recent Interference Archive exhibition, Resistance Radio: The People’s Airwaves.

    For more on the history of squatting in London, you can listen to Episode 20 of Audio Interference.

    Raven’s Ait: “Squatters in the Stream,” on BBC News and “Green-living Squatters: Revolution in Surbiton,” in the Independent.

    Social Centre Plus: “Anti-cuts jobcentre squatters resist bailiffs,” in East London Lines.

    ANAL: “Squatters turn oligarch’s empty London property into homeless shelter,” in The Guardian.

    rampART on squat!net.

    This blog post on urban75.org has a description of the Made Possible by Squatting exhibition and lots of pictures.

    London Action Resource Center

    Advisory Service for Squatters

  4. Audio Interference 68: Brooklyn Pirate Radio

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    You can’t see them, but the skies above New York City hold a tangle of transgressive, culture-bearing radio signals. They’re sent from secret rooftop transmitters and pulse imperceptibly across the five boroughs, bringing familiar sounds to simple FM radios in homes and shops throughout tight-knit immigrant neighborhoods. These underground stations are often called pirates for broadcasting on the FM band without a government-issued license.In this episode, we’re sharing excerpts from an event at Interference Archive in July, which featured a conversation between David Goren and Joan Martinez. The event was presented in relation to our summer exhibition, Resistance Radio: The People’s Airwaves, which looked at the history of radio as a medium for grassroots movements and their organizing work.

    David Goren is an award winning radio producer and audio archivist based in Brooklyn, NY. He’s created programming for the BBC World Service, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Wall Street Journal magazine, NPR’s Lost and Found Sound series, On the Media, and Afropop Worldwide as well as audio-based installations for the Proteus Gowanus gallery, and the Ethnographic Terminalia Collective. In 2016 he was an artist-in-residence at Wave Farm, a center for the Transmission Arts. Over the past two years David has released “Outlaws of the Airwaves: The Rise of Pirate Radio Station WBAD” for KCRW’s Lost Notes Podcast and The Brooklyn Pirate Radio Sound Map which was featured in The New Yorker Magazine. David is also the creator of a BBC audio documentary, “New York City Pirates of the Air.”

    Joan “Radio Free Joanie” Martinez is a Brooklyn-born-and-raised Haitian-American. She attended Brooklyn College twice as an undergrad and is currently working on her Master’s Thesis about “pirate radio” in Brooklyn. She’s laid the groundwork to becoming a successful on-air talent as a podcast host. Pegged as opinionated since a teenager and a smart alec, she brings a perspective that is usually elusive to the diaspora– a female voice that represents the children of Haiti’s “Lost Generation.” She straddles two worlds–the traditional Haitian household and an American growing up in America. She is an enigma at first. Her last name confuses the people she tries to talk to–she’s often pegged as a Latino that just happens to know Haitian-Kreyol. But after a minute of talking to her, people are at ease and fascinated that she is Haitian-American. She speaks the language though her name is Latino and her citizenship is American. Some are still standoffish to her and brush her off. She remains resilient however, a trait found in the Haitian people. They thrive from adversity and feed off obstacles. She is the product of her environment and brings this to her radio broadcasting.

    Produced by Interference Archive.

  5. Audio Interference 67: Interference Archive on Radio Survivor

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    Audio Interference is excited to be bringing you an episode from a guest podcast, Radio Survivor. Radio Survivor is a group of individuals organized to shed light on the ongoing importance of radio. They have a weekly podcast where they interview people involved in wide-ranging and international community radio efforts.

    Back in July 2019, Interference Archive volunteers Celia Easton Koehler and Elena Levi spoke with Jennifer Waits and Eric Klein of Radio Survivor about our latest exhibition at Interference Archive. It’s called Resistance Radio: The People’s Airwaves and it’s about the history of radio as a medium for grassroots movements. They spoke with Radio Survivor about the stations, communities and contexts featured in the exhibition, and the process, labor, and networks involved. Some of the seeds of our research actually came from Radio Survivor interviews!

    Resistance Radio is on view at the archive through September 29. If you are in New York, come check it out during our open hours: Thursday 1-9pm or Friday through Sunday 12-5pm. You can also check out our website for events or look out for recordings from some events in the fall season of Audio Interference.

    A huge thank you to Erik Klein, Jennifer Waits, and everyone from Radio Survivor for speaking with us about Resistance Radio: The People’s Airwaves.

    Check out the links for more information about Radio Survivor and the original interview. You can find more information about Resistance Radio: The People’s Airwaves at resistanceradio.online.

    Produced by Interference Archive.

  6. Resistance Radio Closing Party & Film Screening

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    Sunday, September 29, 5pm – 8pm

    September 29 will be the final day to view our current exhibition, Resistance Radio: The People’s Airwaves, which looks at the history of radio as a medium for grassroots movements and their organizing work.  Join us for a closing party and film screening, as we show a series of short films related to some of the stations and movements included in the exhibition.  Films will include:

    Radio Insurgente: La Voz de los Sin Voz  (Director: James Price, 2003, 13 mins): This film covers the establishment of the Zapatista’s radio station, autonomous like the communities it serves – the voice of the voiceless. Filmed during late 2002, this film is a segment of a still as yet unrealised portrait of the region and its conflicts, and was premiered in the main square of St.Cristobal on the 1st January 2004, as the masked Zapatistas once again took over the city, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of their uprising.

    Bush Radio, Partial Eclipse (Director: Richard Wicksteed, 1993, 35 mins): This film is about the struggle to establish a community radio station in Capetown in the early 1990s.

    Steal This Radio (Produced by Paper Tiger, 1996, 5 mins): This is an excerpt from a Paper Tiger documentary, “No Carrier: Accessing the Telecom Act of 1996″, focused on Steal This Radio, an unlicensed community station based in an illegal squat. Digitized video courtesy of Rachell Daniell.

    History of Free Radio Berkeley (Produced by Transit Antenna, Stephen Dunifer, and Free Radio Berkeley, 13 mins): This video tells the history of Free Radio Berkeley, its founding, its purpose, and its battle with the FCC.

    How to Build a 10 Watt FM Transmitter and Station (Produced by Transit Antenna, Stephen Dunifer, and Free Radio Berkeley, 13 mins): This video guides you through the steps of building a 10 watt FM broadcast transmitter and provides an overview of what is required to set up an FM broadcast station.

    Photograph by Greg Ruggiero.

  7. Resistance Radio: The People’s Airwaves

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    July 11 – September 29, 2019

    Opening Reception: Thursday, July 11, 6-9pm

    Interference Archive is pleased to announce our current exhibition, Resistance Radio: The People’s Airwaves, which looks at the history of radio as a medium for grassroots movements and their organizing work. The exhibition will be accompanied by a zine, a poster, a series of events, a pop-up FM broadcast, and a website: resistanceradio.online. The opening reception will include a live broadcast by Radio Free Gowanus at 88.5 FM.

    Radio rose as a mass medium in the 1920s, and was the dominant form of popular media until at least the 1950s; even after the invention of television, it continued to be a central communication tool, the platform for both state-run media and voices of opposition. It has also been a frequent site of conflict between citizens and the state, exemplified in the United States by the FCC’s regulation of the airwaves and suppression of pirate stations. Today, radio is still very much in use: radio reaches 95% of the global population, while only 56% have internet access at home. 93% of Americans listen to the radio at least weekly, and pirate radio is thriving here in Brooklyn, serving immigrant populations and others overlooked by mainstream media. Radio has remained a consistently popular form of communication over the past decade, in part because of certain unique features: it is relatively cheap and accessible, it is a form of media that is inherently tied to its location and its local community, and it reaches populations not served by online media, including those for whom language or literacy is a barrier. Radio, both past and present, has been attractive to those who wish to embrace a DIY ethos and a spirit of resistance, and to others as a platform for community building and the development of a political consciousness.

    This exhibition focuses on radio endeavors created to reach communities not served by mainstream outlets. We’re interested in the people, stations, and organizations that have battled to bring their defiant programming onto the airwaves, and particularly in cases where these actions were in service of grassroots movements and/or community organizing. Resistance Radio: The People’s Airwaves tells some of the stories of these rebellious broadcasters. While we couldn’t possibly offer a comprehensive history of resistance radio, this exhibition offers a selection of case studies from around the world, from the 1920s to today, sorted into broad themes. Each case study illuminates the varying role radio has played and can play in supporting social and political movements. To name a few examples, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Radio Conciencia, based in Immokalee, Florida, is a station that developed out of and supports a national farm workers movement based in that community; WMMT’s “Calls From Home”, which broadcasts messages from loved ones around the US to folks who are incarcerated in prisons within broadcasting range, demonstrates the practical power of a medium that communicates through prison walls; and stations like Cuba’s Radio Rebelde, which broadcast on behalf of the rebel army during the Cuban Revolution, and El Salvador’s Radio Venceremos, founded to support the FMLN during the Salvadoran Civil War, served as the voice of popular uprisings. Many more stations have been devoted to serving as resources for underrepresented or oppressed communities, and independent, community, and pirate stations have helped to drive and support a variety of movements, from Black Liberation to anti-gentrification. Perhaps more than anything else, these histories illuminate the always contentious relationship between media and the state, and various ways in which this conflict has played out over the air.

    Today, audio production is more accessible than ever, and podcasts continue to grow in popularity. But podcast distribution is largely reliant on corporate platforms like Apple, Spotify, or Soundcloud, and by producing digital content, we limit our audience to those with reliable internet access. It’s important for us to know what it looks like to control the means of media production, which is one reason we want to present this history. Another is to acknowledge these rebellious broadcasters as the forerunners of current efforts to democratize media distribution and production, including the development of community-owned mesh networks. Finally, we aim to ask what relevance the history of independent, pirate, and community radio has today, and how it can inform our current struggles.

    Our first event will be a talk with Pete Tridish of Radio Mutiny and Prometheus Radio, Saturday, July 13, at 5pm. More details coming soon!

    This exhibition has been organized by Interference Archive volunteers Celia Easton Koehler, Colin Muller, Dylan Flesch, Elena Levi, Kelly Mill, Louise Barry, Natalie Kerby, and Rob Smith. Poster design by Peter Kaplan.

    This exhibition was made possible by the support of Hindenburg and Materials for the Arts. Special thanks to: Amanda Huron, Amy Starecheski, Arrow Chrome, Athena Viscusi, Barbara Olshansky, Big Reuse, Bonnie Gordon, Bush Radio, The California Historical Radio Society (CHRS), Charlie Uruchima and the folks at Kichwa Hatari, Christina Dunbar-Hester, Claude Marks and Nathaniel Moore and the Freedom Archives, Dane Spudic, David Collingsworth, David Goren, Elizabeth Sanders and Rachel Garringer at WMMT, Emma Russell, Fivel Rothberg, Fly Orr, Greg Ruggiero, Heather Anderson, Iain McIntyre, Jared Ball, Jason Blackkat, Josh MacPhee, Joshua Gamma, Julia Thomas, Juliet Fox and the folks at 3CR, KEXP, Kurt Allerslev, Lani Hanna, Marnie Brady, Michael McCanne, Michael Eisenmenger, Michelle Milner, Monica Johnson, Neelufar Franklin, Noelle Hanrahan and the folks at Prison Radio, Patrick Evans, Pete Tridish, Peter Spagnuolo, Rachel Daniell, Stephen Dunifer, Sylvia Ryerson, Tara Downs, and Valerio Minnella.

  8. Film Screening: Citizen Provocateur

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    Friday, September 13, 7pm

    Ex-con and gay activist Ray Hill founded “The Prison Show” radio program on Houston’s KPFT 90.1 FM station in 1980. Every Friday until his retirement in 2011, the show connected Texas prison inmates with their loved-ones and friends on the outside who could not easily call or visit. The show propagated a message of hope, positive thinking and news relevant to the Texas State Department of Justice. This 2007 documentary follows some of the individuals whose lives were touched by “The Prison Show,” and follows the long journey Ray Hill made from surviving prison himself as a gay, white collar criminal to becoming an ACLU award-winning activist.

    This screening and conversation are presented as part of our current exhibition Resistance Radio: The People’s Airwaves.

    Brian Huberman, director of Citizen Provocateur, is a graduate of the National Film & Television School of Great Britain. Born in Queens, New York, Brian came of age in a suburb outside of London, England, and was inspired as a kid by the Wild West he saw portrayed in popular films and television series of the 1950s. So it wasn’t tough for filmmaker James Blue to recruit Brian and entice him to head West after graduation. He came to Texas in 1975 and has been a professor of film at Rice University in Houston ever since. He is currently professor of film for Rice’s Visual and Dramatic Arts department, where he teaches regular courses in digital documentary production, film production and film genre. An active and working filmmaker, Brian has produced documentaries that screened internationally both on television and at festivals including, To Put Away the Gods (1983), about the Lacandon Maya Indians of Chiapas; The Making of John Wayne’s THE ALAMO (1992); The Last days of Charles/Kathryn (1993), about a transsexual socialite, activist and comedian; The De la Peña Diary (2000), a memoir of the Texas Revolution including the death of David Crockett; and Alligator Horses (2014) about 1830s America, including the history of blackface minstrelsy, Davy Crockett and New York City’s Five Points.

    Renée Feltz is an independent journalist based in NYC and Texas with nearly two decades of reporting on mass incarceration, immigration and environmental justice. A longtime Senior Producer for the TV-radio news hour Democracy Now!, she is now a correspondent and freelancer. She honed her skills muckraking on deadline as founding news director for Pacifica radio station KPFT-FM in Houston, Texas from 2002-2006, where with Ray Hill as her mentor she interviewed men and women on death row, covered Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, and trained hundreds of reporters. Before KPFT she was a pirate radio DJ known as chickpea, and secretary who took “wry, cool-headed minutes” for the Montrose Radio collective.

    Sylvia Ryerson is an independent radio producer, sound artist, and current PhD student in American Studies at Yale University. For over a decade she has been using public airwaves to collaboratively and creatively connect through prison walls. Prior to graduate school, Sylvia led the production of Appalshop’s Calls from Home radio show, a nationally recognized program sending toll-free phone messages from family members to their loved ones incarcerated in rural Appalachia, and she co-founded Restorative Radio, a participatory audio documentary project working with families to co-create “Audio Postcards” for their loved ones incarcerated. Her current project, Melting the ICE / Derritiendo La Migra, is a bilingual podcast and radio show dedicated to sharing stories, information and strategies against ICE immigration detention, through detention center walls. Her work has been featured on NPR, the BBC, The Marshall Project, the Third Coast International Audio Festival, Transom.org, the Boston Review, Critical Resistance’s The Abolitionist Newspaper and in the film The Prison in Twelve Landscapes.

    More information about Melting the ICE / Derritiendo La Migra may be found here.

  9. “Yo Yo Mon Brooklyn!” New York City’s Pirates of the Air

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    Friday, July 26, 7pm

    You can’t see them, but the skies above New York City hold a tangle of transgressive, culture-bearing radio signals. They’re sent from secret rooftop transmitters and pulse imperceptibly across the five boroughs, bringing familiar sounds to simple FM radios in homes and shops throughout tight-knit immigrant neighborhoods. These underground stations are often called pirates for broadcasting on the FM band without a government-issued license. They proliferate in communities that struggle to access the legal airwaves due to high costs and corporate control of the media. The operators of stations like Triple 9, Fierte Haitenne, Kol Hashalom and Radio Gospel Train risk fines, confiscation of equipment and the threat of arrest to keep their signals flowing to audiences that have strong cultural and historic connections to radio listening. The programs deliver music and news from home along with practical guidance and spiritual advice for making a way in a new land.

    David Goren, creator of the Brooklyn Pirate Radio Sound Map has been researching the New York City’s pirate radio scene for the past five years, interviewing station staff and listeners on both sides of the legal divide. In this talk, David explores the cultural and political forces driving underground radio in NYC since the late sixties via live tuning, archival recordings and excerpts from his recent BBC radio documentary. David will be joined by a very special guest: Joan Martinez, a filmmaker, an avid listener to the Kreyol language pirates of Flatbush’s “Little Haiti” and an occasional broadcaster on them.

    David Goren is an award winning radio producer and audio archivist based in Brooklyn, NY. He’s created programming for the BBC World Service, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Wall Street Journal magazine, NPR’s Lost and Found Sound series, On the Media, and Afropop Worldwide as well as audio-based installations for the Proteus Gowanus gallery, and the Ethnographic Terminalia Collective. In 2016 he was an artist-in-residence at Wave Farm, a center for the Transmission Arts. Over the past two years David has released “Outlaws of the Airwaves: The Rise of Pirate Radio Station WBAD” for KCRW’s Lost Notes Podcast and The Brooklyn Pirate Radio Sound Map which was featured in The New Yorker Magazine.

    Joan “Radio Free Joanie” Martinez is a Brooklyn-born-and-raised Haitian-American. She attended Brooklyn College twice as an undergrad and is currently working on her Master’s Thesis about “pirate radio” in Brooklyn. She’s laid the groundwork to becoming a successful on-air talent as a podcast host. Pegged as opinionated since a teenager and a smart alec, she brings a perspective that is usually elusive to the diaspora– a female voice that represents the children of Haiti’s “Lost Generation.” She straddles two worlds–the traditional Haitian household and an American growing up in America. She is an enigma at first. Her last name confuses the people she tries to talk to–she’s often pegged as a Latino that just happens to know Haitian-Kreyol. But after a minute of talking to her, people are at ease and fascinated that she is Haitian-American. She speaks the language though her name is Latino and her citizenship is American. Some are still standoffish to her and brush her off. She remains resilient however, a trait found in the Haitian people. They thrive from adversity and feed off obstacles. She is the product of her environment and brings this to her radio broadcasting.

  10. Audio Interference 60: Radical Psychology at Alternate U

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    This episode of Audio Interference features highlights from an event at the archive with Keith Brooks and Phil Brown, in which they shared their experiences in the critical psychology movement that was a part of the revolutionary environment at Alternate U. Phil and Keith helped set up the organization Psychologists for a Democratic Society (an offshoot of Students for a Democratic Society), which published a newspaper under the same name.

    Radical psychology and the politics of mental illness were an important part of social movements in the 1970s and 1980s, and central issues in free education experiments, including Alternate U. In 1970, Keith Brooks ran a course called Towards a Radical Psychology, centered around psychology in the context of the global liberation struggle and the questions of “what is its role and whose side is it on?” Phil Brown ran a course called Demystification of Contemporary Psychology, challenging what he called the “Myth of Mental Illness.”

    Music: “The Birds & The Bees” by The 2 Bears.

    Produced by Interference Archive.