The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination likes to dance between radical movements and cultural spaces. The movements is where the work has its biggest affect and effect, but the cultural space is one where we can tweek and develop tools that have been tried out during direct actions. Often cultural spaces are safer (no fears of police raids) and the timescales are much slower than the constant urgency of movement. This gives us space to learn and reflect on previous experiments. Such contexts also acts as a doorway to allow new folk to test out radical practices.
Flood Flow Swarm was a second iteration of Bike Bloc and sound swarm at the Copenhagen Climate Summit the year before. During a two week residence for the Kampnagel Summer festival, the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination, in collaboration with composer-musician Filastine and a crew of sound engineers, welders and artists, pimped up one of the Bike Bloc’s DDT and turned it into a 5 channel mobile pirate radio station.We also built a series of FM receiving devices to be taken on normal bikes, such as loudhailers transformed into hats and various other sonic weapons. Meanwhile Filastine composed a city wide symphony of samples to be played during the action, played a sold out concert and a newly built pedal powered cinema showed the avant premiere of the Paths Through Utopias film in the Kampnagel theatre.
On the final two days we trained hundreds of cyclists in swarming and bike based disobedience. Then on the day of the performance they came armed with FM radios, and separated into 4 different swarm formations – ants, birds, fish, bees – and together took to the streets following the DDT in a mass disobedient city wide cycle, with the distribute pirate radio broadcasting into the night, until we were stopped by several police cars, their sirens immediately becoming part of the rebel symphony.
Four years later a version of the sound swarm DDT was exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum, for the fantastic Disobedient Objects exhibition, which included DIY print outs of how to build one yourself. The experiment had gone full circle again like an ouroborus, from street to institution and back again.
Ride, Assemble, Defend: Street theatre is back, London’s labofii at the summer festival at Kampnagel: Review of the experiment by Frauke Hartmann (in German) in The Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper.