2022 ~ Milan, Italy: Roaming Assembly#30 ~ present sonsbeek Council#4: A Blues for the Tired, Salty, Essential Worker. In collaboration with Archive Sites.

| tag: Milan

Roaming Assembly#30 presents sonsbeek Council#4 ~ A Blues For The Tired, Salty, Essential Worker:

A daylong collective study, speaking, dancing and broadcasting together from Milan into the world. 

CONTRIBUTIONS: Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Hazina Francia, Leila Bencharnia, Louis Henderson, Noura Tafeche, Omar Gabriel Delnevo, Rahel Sereke, SAYRI, Selam Tesfai, Zippora Elders, Wissal Houbabiand, the COOP study group ~ A Blues For Essential Workers ,

A Blues For The Tired, Salty, Essential Worker ~ an ongoing invocation ~ was convened by the sonsbeek20-24 curatorial team and Archive Sites, and conceived as a sovereign happening, interwoven in the constellation of DAI's COOP SUMMIT 2022

WHEN: 28 August, 2022 from 13.30 till 22.00 including food, drinks and more dance. 


If you are interested but not anyway near Milano: 


(scroll for practicalities)


“wonder how i ever had fuel for those past travels / i rest / and i rise / and listen to the body that’s carried me here as it whispers the way forward - Camisha L.Jones

“If you see us in the alley please don’t give us a hard time by honking at us because we have a job to do.” - Paul Jamar

Which Side Are You On? A question that is slowly unfolding over a hundred year period of time, written in 1931 by union organizer and non-musician Florence Reece to address the societal inequalities that fueled this labor anthem in the United States. A question that echoes into the present, weaves in the living past and demands of  privileged and marginalized workers to acknowledge, reflect, engage and negotiate  solidarities in the ruins of capitalism and an ongoing global pandemic. It is here where the pandemic exposed the existing wounds and persisting societal inequalities that are cemented into every fiber of fortress Europe.  Wounds that have grown on top of colonial scars, nostalgia and global capitalism’s traumas. We wonder what wounds the pandemic produced, and we immediately think of the notion of essential labor. Echoing Dionne Brand's poignant question; “could one even dare to think life was possible in the presence of so much historical and contemporary dying?”

"A testa alta e a passo deciso, con pugni tesi e voci sonore, abbiamo attraversato l'Italia per far cadere la maschere dei complici silenziosi." - Kwanza Musi Dos Santos. August 8, 2022

A Blues For The Tired, Salty, Essential Worker returns to the traumatic start of the pandemic, where appreciation for the healthcare worker was proclaimed with loud applause, seasonal migrant workers were welcomed with flowers at the airport. Frontline workers of all kinds were lauded as essential to keep society going in what seemed a prolonged moment of crisis. Simultaneously, the status of essential work was denied to many others - domestic workers, sex workers, unhoused, cultural or legalized workers, with little or no compensation in place. Paradoxically, those who have been named ‘essential’ still happen to be some of the least remunerated and historically most exploited workers in our societies. Despite its acknowledgment of essentiality, the claim remains unsubstantiated; the essential worker remains the exploited worker, still. If dismantling labor injustices is an active rather than passive process, how is it implemented, what purposes does it serve, and what are the intended and unintended implications for fortress Europe? 

With this daylong program, we envision together with artists, activists, neighbors, organizers and students what it means to show up for workers of all kinds - recognized or not recognized work, visible or invisibilized labor, blue or white collar jobs, and people of all walks of life - and to complicate the notion of essentiality in relation to marginalized, gendered and racialized laborers. 


11:00 – 12:00 IN VOICE performance & broadcast by COOP study group: A Blues For Essential Workers  

13.30: Poetic Offering through Voice Note by Wissal Houbabi

13.40-14.00: A Voice Note Is A Lecture by Mackda Ghebremariam Tesfaù & response by Selam Tesfai and Leila Bencharnia

14.00 - 14.30: A Sonic Lecture by Louis Henderson

14.30 - 15.00: A Sonic Lecture by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung

15.00 - 15.45: A Conversation between Louis Henderson and Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung

15.45 - 16.00:  IN VOICE ~ Sonic intermezzo by COOP study group: A Blues For Essential Workers  

16.00 - 16.45: Screening of Muna Mussie's Curva Cieva with a response by Zippora Elders

16.45 - 17.30: A Conversation between Hazal Koyuncuer, Rahel Sereke & Leila Bencharnia

17.30 - 17.45: A Voice Note Compilation by Aboubakar Soumahoro, Jean-René Bilongo (Alessandro Dessí & Marco Omizzolo), Yvan Sagnet (Associazione NoCap / lotta al caporalato)

17.45 - 18.00: A Recorded Conversation between Wissal Houbabi & Marie Moïse 

18.00 - 18.30: Break

18.30-18.45: Intervention by Noura Tafeche

18.45 - 19.00: Break

19.00 - 20.00: Dinner with contributions by IN VOICE by COOP study group: A Blues For Essential Workers  

20.00 - 20.30: Sonic Back2Back / intervention by Leila Bencharnia and Omar Gabriel Delnevo

20.30 - 21.00 Performance by Hazina Francia

21.00 - 22.00: DJ set by SAYRI



Senior coordinator Roaming Assembly: Nikos Doulos 

(in close conversation with Raj Sandhu, Head of Programmes sonsbeek20-24)

Co-ordinator facilities | technical support : Peter Sattler

Co-ordinator hospitality: Jacq van der Spek

Communication design: Lauren Alexander & Hanna Rullmann

Visual documentation: Baha Görkem Yalim

Guest writer: Zasha Colah 

Artistic director DAI: Gabriëlle Schleijpen 

DAI wishes to thank all at ARCHIVE SITES for their warm hospitality

Chiara Figone and team: Rebeca Yun Hee Pak, Leila Bencharnia, Aziza Ahmad

DAI and sonsbeek20-24

The alliance between DAI and sonsbeek20-24 radiates outwards in multiple efforts, culminating into a joint program, a hybrid of sonsbeek20-24 ‘s councils and DAI’s Roaming Assembly (a recurring, guest curated public symposium). Iterations revolve around, touch upon and articulate in different ways the connections between the educational efforts of DAI and the line of questioning around 'labour and its sonicities' that is central to sonsbeek20-24.

Previous "Roaming Assembly presents sonsbeek20-24 Council" editions were video recorded before live audiences in:

Tunis ~ Force Times Distance - On Labour and its Sonic Ecologies 

Radio Kootwijk ~ Infectious Waves ~ on power and radio.