this week’s edition of framework:afield, entitled ethnography in passing by, has been produced in switzerland, with recordings made in the united states, by stefan paulus: 

Actually, the title should be “ethnography in cycling through”, because the following field recordings and conversation snippets were created on a bicycle journey across the USA, on the way from Miami, Florida to Oakland, California. You can listen to the noises of tent cities in the heart of the strongest economy on earth, but also to the stories of people struggling to survive on these edge of civilization and trying to support their community.

The idea behind this field research was to hear about the community life, the social and political organization, cultural expressions of the social spaces and to capture the stories of people I meet accidentally on the road. These were mainly pedestrians, people living on the streets or in the bushes, activists and people who invited me for a coffee or a beer.

You can also hear thousands and thousands of car drivers, actually their cars and trucks, which I captured as a permanent sound pollution. Some interviews didn’t make it into the show, they were too personal and sad, like Ross who lives near by the beach at the Pacific Coast after he couldn’t stand the work stress, car traffic and noise in L.A. anymore and became unable to work and homeless due a burnout. There was the story of the headhunter in Austin who, driven by competition, has not taken a vacation longer than three days in years. There was also the drug dealer in El Paso who had a few beers in a bar just before his court date.

Maybe flags can be heard in the wind, but thankfully not the Confederate cross and stars on them. The empty vegetable shelves in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana don’t make a sound either, nor do the kids in California, since they had to move with their parents to the middle of nowhere, because they can’t afford to live in California anymore. In the same way, the black community in West Oakland is no longer heard because they have been displaced from their neighborhoods by prohibitively high rents that only can be paid by Silicon Valley tech workers or their companies.

Thanks to and support: Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), Black Liberation Oakland, Planned ParenthoodMission Yoga Black Panther Party Alumni Legacy Network , Glenna Jennings and Students, CEPR.Rosen and Friends, Third Eye Soul KitchenV. Vale from RE/Search, Michael (my buddy for the first 2000km)