The Contact Zone Crew


(Interior Investigations artist residency, Centre for Innovation in Culture and the Arts in Canada, Kamloops, 2006. Photo: Ashok Mathur.)


“We are looking for the pedagogical arts of the contact zone. These will include, we are sure, exercises in storytelling and in identifying with the ideas, interests, histories, and attitudes of others; experiments in transculturation and collaborative work and in the arts of critique, parody, and comparison (including unseemly comparisons between elite and vernacular cultural forms); the redemption of the oral; ways for people to engage with suppressed aspects of history (including their own histories), ways to move into and out of rhetorics of authenticity; ground rules for communication across lines of difference and hierarchy that go beyond politeness but maintain mutual respect; a systematic approach to the all-important concept of cultural mediation.” — Mary Louise Pratt, “Arts of the Contact Zone”

The Contact Zone Crew was a ten-year collaborative sound poetry project by Wayde Compton and Jason de Couto, performed in various venues in Vancouver, Kamloops, Banff, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal from 2001-2011. Genetically representing three continents on four Technics 1200s, the Contact Zone Crew performed live audio mixes of original poetry, instrumental vinyl, and spoken word recordings. The text of the poem used in these performances, “The Reinventing Wheel,” as well as a compact disc featuring a version using music by Trevor Thompson, were published in Performance Bond (Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp, 2004). A theoretical analysis and documentation of the project appear in the essay “Turntable Poetry, Mixed-Race, and Schizophonophilia” in After Canaan: Essays on Race, Writing, and Region (Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp, 2010).