conscient podcast

e82 washable paint

Episode Summary

e82 is an unedited, 20-minute soundscape recording, without narration, of a climate emergency rally and march on Friday, November 12, 2021, in Vancouver and an incident with police. The recording includes songs, speeches and chants about climate action and social justice.

Episode Notes

My goal with this episode was to record the soundscape of a public protest : the singing, chanting, speeches, random chatter and marching as well as the ambiance of the city, however what I witnessed and heard at this event was the response of the protesters to Vancouver Police around the arrest of group of young people who were doing a ceremony with washable red paint onto the windows of the federal Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change building on Burrard street (see photos), at which point the protest leaders requested the release the arrested persons and decided to remain in solidarity with them instead of continuing with the march towards the banking sector of downtown Vancouver and CBC Vancouver. 

The recording starts with a song and an indigenous person explaining what the intention was were with the ceremony. You then hear a ‘let them go’ chant followed by the police taking the arrested persons away in a van and the protesters’ reaction (‘they only used washable paint’). The march was then redirected onto Cordova Street towards the courthouse where detained persons were likely being held. You hear the protesters doing climate emergency chants followed by a song at which point I stopped the recording because my hands were shaking with cold.

In the end, 3 persons were arrested for public mischief as noted in this CTV news video posting and online.

I thought about whether it was ethical for me to publish this recording, given the delicate nature of the event, keeping in mind what Dr. Milena Droumeva told to me in episode 78 (at 31 minutes 50 seconds):

‘I feel very torn about doing field recordings. I think there are ethics that we need to think about. I try to convey that so that it is not extractive’.

I decided this recording was worth sharing given that it was a public event and of public interest to listen to these voices. It captures a dilemma for our society of balancing the urgent need for peaceful climate emergency protests, indigenous rights and the rule of law.

I want to thank those who were inadvertently recorded and hope their messages about the urgency of the climate emergency and the principle of ‘leaving no one behind’ carry wide and far. 

Protesters at November 12, 2021 climate action rally in Vancouver

Speaker at November 12, 2021 climate action rally in Vancouver

Protest sign at November 12, 2021 climate action rally in Vancouver