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Brighton CCA

A new centre for
contemporary arts at the
University of Brighton

Dialogues

This poem is part of a series written by AFLO. the poet reflecting on RESOLVE Collective’s exhibition and programme Summer House at Brighton CCA from November 2022 – February 2023. The series was commissioned in response to the ‘seasons’ of the project and is made up of SOUNDS, STORIES and SPACES.

“I embrace rhyming repetition in this piece and a lack of full stops, embodying the repetitive beats/basslines in reggae/ska/dub whilst also representing the ongoing and unwaivering nature of soundsystem culture.” – AFLO. the poet

SOUNDBITE

From wading in the water
To whining in the streets
We raise the volume
And drown colonial legacies
We shake off the trauma
But never lose the beat
We generate sounds
Through complex histories

SOUNDS

We generate sound and generate conversation
The intergenerational makings of joy through desperation
Traversing the globe through Windrush migration
Creating movements – much more than gyrations

Jack leads – following cultural navigation
Bass heavy society, bottum up orchestration
We lack colonial hierarchy, create our own organisations
Community structured ethos of collaboration

Raising volumes and speakers to higher elevations
We stack high and wide as a kind of conservation
Salvaged scraps, rescued parts, and handmade creations
Not lickle but tallawah – a sound and space reclamation

Tapping beats, tapping feets – embodied stimulation
Shaking off the trauma – beating out frustration
We take up space in the streets – not contained in plantations
We flip and turn tables – a powerful reimagination

‘Out of many one people’ – embracing genre variation
Divide and multiply within ourselves, avoiding assimilation
From urban to jungle, landscapes thick with vegetation
We indulge in dubplates and share without a sense of deprivation

We rock steady with little moderation
Vibes so catchy and prone to imitation
A welcoming nature can at times invite appropriation
We are always original – so always an inspiration

Just like sound we travel, through forced and chosen exploration
Somehow staying upbeat despite the devastation
We speak and breakbeats, breakthrough invasion and isolation
We locate long lost relatives and relate through vibrations

No silly games are being played, these are serious operations
Systems so instrumental to collective continuation
Amplifying our voices to the fullest saturation
Ensuring our sounds and stories stay in circulation

These dance halls are shelter for many through trials and tribulations
At times we clash but know this doesn’t need to lead to complications
We are connected community, we are the congregation
These are the churches constructed for our own divination

More than culture, more than music, and more than recreation
Healing intergenerational wounds through audible medication
Through cultivating culture we map our own constellations
Soundsystematically colouring and seasoning the nation

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