Conscient Podcast: e82 washable paint

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. 

My goal 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


e82 est un enregistrement sonore de 20 minutes, sans montage et sans narration, d'un rassemblement et d'une marche sur l'urgence climatique le vendredi 12 novembre 2021 à Vancouver et d'un incident avec la police. L'enregistrement comprend des chansons, des discours et des chants sur l'action climatique et la justice sociale.

Mon objectif était d’enregistrer le paysage sonore d’une manifestation publique : Cependant, ce que j’ai vu et entendu lors de cet événement, c’est la réponse des manifestants à la police de Vancouver concernant l’arrestation d’un groupe de jeunes gens qui faisaient une cérémonie avec de la peinture rouge lavable sur les fenêtres du bâtiment du ministère fédéral de l’Environnement et du Changement climatique sur la rue Burrard (voir photos), Les leaders de la manifestation ont alors demandé la libération des personnes arrêtées et ont décidé de rester en solidarité avec elles au lieu de poursuivre la marche vers le secteur bancaire du centre-ville de Vancouver et CBC Vancouver. 

L’enregistrement commence par une chanson et une personne indigène expliquant l’intention de la cérémonie. On entend ensuite un chant “laissez-les partir”, puis la police emmène les personnes arrêtées dans une camionnette et la réaction des manifestants (“ils n’ont utilisé que de la peinture lavable”). La marche a ensuite été redirigée sur Cordova Street, en direction du palais de justice, où des personnes détenues sont probablement retenues. Vous entendez les manifestants entonner des chants d’urgence climatique, suivis d’une chanson. À ce moment-là, j’ai arrêté l’enregistrement car mes mains tremblaient de froid.

En fin de compte, trois personnes ont été arrêtées pour méfait public, comme l’indique cette vidéo de CTV news et en ligne.

Je me suis demandé s’il était éthique pour moi de publier cet enregistrement, étant donné la nature délicate de l’événement, en gardant à l’esprit ce que le Dr Milena Droumeva m’a dit dans l’épisode 78 (à la 31e minute, 50 secondes) :

Je me sens très déchirée à l’idée de faire des enregistrements sur le terrain. Je pense qu’il y a une éthique à laquelle nous devons réfléchir. J’essaie de transmettre ces informations de manière à ce qu’elles ne soient pas extractives.

J’ai décidé que cet enregistrement valait la peine d’être partagé, étant donné qu’il s’agissait d’un événement public et qu’il était intéressant pour le public d’écouter ces voix. Il capture un dilemme pour notre société, celui de trouver un équilibre entre le besoin urgent de manifestations pacifiques d’urgence climatique, les droits des peuples autochtones et l’État de droit.

Je tiens à remercier les personnes qui ont été enregistrées par inadvertance et j’espère que leurs messages sur l’urgence de la situation climatique et le principe de “ne laisser personne derrière” seront largement diffusés. 

The post e82 washable paint appeared first on conscient podcast / balado conscient. conscient is a bilingual blog and podcast (French or English) by audio artist Claude Schryer that explores how arts and culture contribute to environmental awareness and action.


About the Concient Podcast from Claude Schryer

The conscient podcast / balado conscient is a series of conversations about art, conscience and the ecological crisis. This podcast is bilingual (in either English or French). The language of the guest determines the language of the podcast. Episode notes are translated but not individual interviews.

I started the conscient project in 2020 as a personal learning journey and knowledge sharing exercise. It has been rewarding, and sometimes surprising.

The term ‘conscient’ is defined as ‘being aware of one’s surroundings, thoughts and motivations’. My touchstone for the podcast is episode 1, e01 terrified, based on an essay I wrote in May 2019, where I share my anxiety about the climate crisis and my belief that arts and culture can play a critical role in raising public awareness about environmental issues. The conscient podcast / balado conscient follows up on my (2016–2019) project: 175, 3-minute audio and video field recordings that explore mindful listening.

Season 1 (May to October 2020) explored how the arts contribute to environmental awareness and action. I produced 3 episodes in French and 15 in English. The episodes cover a wide range of content, including activism, impact measurement, gaming, arts funding, cross-sectoral collaborations, social justice, artistic practices, etc. Episodes 8 to 17 were recorded while I was at the Creative Climate Leadership USA course in Arizona in March 2020 (led by Julie’s Bicycle). Episode 18 is a compilation of highlights from these conversations.

Season 2 (March 2021 – ) explores the concept of reality and is about accepting reality, working through ecological grief and charting a path forward. The first episode of season 2 (e19 reality) mixes quotations from 28 authors with field recordings from simplesoundscapes and from my 1998 soundscape composition, Au dernier vivant les biens. One of my findings from this episode is that ‘I now see, and more importantly, I now feel in my bones, ‘the state of things as they actually exist’, without social filters or unsustainable stories blocking the way’. e19 reality touches upon 7 topics: our perception of reality, the possibility of human extinction, ecological anxiety and ecological grief, hope, arts, storytelling and the wisdom of indigenous cultures. The rest of season 2 features interviews with thought leaders about their responses and reactions to e19 reality.

my professional services

I’ve been retired from the Canada Council for the Arts since September 15, 2020 where I served as a senior strategic advisor in arts granting (2016-2020) and manager of the Inter-Arts Office (1999-2015). My focus in (quasi) retirement is environmental issues within my area of expertise in arts and culture, in particular in acoustic ecology. I’m open to become involved in projects that align with my values and that move forward environmental concerns. Feel free to email me for a conversation :

acknowledgement of eco-responsibility

I acknowledge that the production of the conscient podcast / balado conscient produces carbon. I try to minimize this carbon footprint by being as efficient as possible, including using GreenGeeks as my web server and acquiring carbon offsets for my equipment and travel activities from BullFrog Power and Less.

a word about privilege and bias

While recording episode 19 ‘reality’, I heard elements of ‘privilege’ in my voice that I had not noticed before. It sounded a bit like ‘ecological mansplaining’. I realize that, in spite of good intentions, I need to work my way through issues of privilege (of all kinds) and unconscious bias the way I did through ecological anxiety and grief during the fall of 2020. My re-education is ongoing.

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