Rhythm Politics: Militant Sound Investigation, Tactical Media, and Listening to Los Angeles’ Public Housing Redevelopment of Aliso Village


  • David C Jackson


This article examines the politics of housing redevelopment and the opposition mounted by the sound collective Ultra-Red in collaboration with the Union de Vecinos (the union of neighbors) in the Boyle Heights district of Los Angeles as a form of tactical media. Through the production of field recordings made out the demolition and the everyday life of the neighborhood, Ultra-Red highlight the conflict between bureaucratic development initiatives and the opposition of the residents of Aliso. What emerges from these recordings is the tentative sounding out and exploration of the audible traces of housing rights: the rights of the city; the needs of community; both posited against the intertwined neoliberal structures of banking, for profit housing developers, city councils, and rental associations, as they work together to shift vulnerable populations out of their neighborhoods.