From The Archives: Guitaway!

From The Archives:

This is a project I did in my final semester a California College of the Arts. The class was called Mixing It Up – we went weekly to the East Oakland School of the Arts to work with (mostly minority, mostly low-income) kids on art projects. Predominantly we used field recorders and just talked to them, and then chopped up what we recorded. The finished works were, actually-factually, streamed over pirate radio for that year’s Whitney Biennial.

I worked mostly with a kid named Cameron. He was learning to play guitar, inspired by his love of Guitar Hero. So I brought my guitar every week. This project was made by taking a sample of him playing a single note and building a song out of it in PxTone Collage. Then I overlaid samples of him talking about music. (I’d really love to actually sequence this as a Guitar Hero song, someday, somehow…)

On a more somber note: working with Cameron was my first experience with social inequality. East Oakland is the most dangerous neighborhood in one of the Top 10 most dangerous cities in the country. Students at EOSA were often disaffected, as you’d expect teenagers to be, but then the teacher says, “oh yes, DeAndre’s problem is his best friend was shot and killed last week.” Cameron flatly said that his goal in life was to live to be 18, so he could leave Oakland forever.

I don’t have a point, but I felt it was worth mentioning.

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