The Bike Bloc Sound Swarm

August 12, 2014

Disobedient Objects includes a sound piece produced by Filastine, playing out of the Bike Bloc included in the show. The sound piece combines and contrasts the sounds made by or accompanying the objects in the exhibition. You can listen to it and download it for free here:



Sound Swarm

The original Bike Bloc ‘sound swarm’ had its own soundtrack that used sound’s ability to invade and take over public space. For this exhibition that soundtrack has been recomposed to also listen to and amplify the voices of other objects around it, including sounds and chants from different movements that intersect, resonate together, and produce dissonances.

–   Filastine



1. Sound Swarm classic (Filastine) – Drone Harmonies
2. Sound Swarm classic (Filastine) – Glitch Cascades
3. Karnataka State Farmers Association (KRRS) chants:…armers-association
4. Helicopter at G8 Scotland beats overhead while the Infernal Noise Brigade horns blast dissonance
5. Murga procession, Buenos Aires 2001
6. Street chant battle- “Mic Check” at Occupy Wall Street 2011 alternates with “Peace Now” at Chicago 1968
7. EZLN collage- singing in Mexico City at end of Zapatista caravan & shouts from outside WTO meeting in Cancun
8. Bullhorn distortion from antiwar protest
9. Excerpt from Black Panther speech by Rap Brown, at a Free Huey P. Newton event
10. Stun grenades and tear gas canisters from Brazil protest 2013
11. mayor of Nashville, TN, threatens activists from the civil rights movement.
12. 2009 Climate Camp in the City, London, “this is not a riot”
13. Filastine- Sidi Bouzid refix, featuring a phrase by a poet (Mahmoud Darwish?)
14. Spray paint can in the act of graffiti & a sing-a-long against Bashar al-Assad
15. Song from Tahrir square, by Ramy Essam. See it with subtitles!
16. Foley sound of Molotov Cocktail light, throw, and explosion
18. Infernal Noise Brigade- Nanafushi
19. Selections from South Africa’s ANC pirate radio broadcast
20. Synthetic bombs and bass drops
21. Newscasters compilation from the shut down of San Francisco on first day of the US Invasion of Iraq
22. Korean farmers at WTO protest in Mexico lead charge on the barricades, 2002
23. Filastine & Nova- Gendjer2. DJ Delay’s remix of our version of this polemic leftist anthem, banned in Indonesia since 1968
24. Filastine- Swarm & Sabotage Collage
25. Filastine- Skirmish
26. Chants from Plaza Catalunya, 15M / Indignado movement, 2011
27. City Group Singers- chant from London Anti-Apartheid non-stop picket line, 1987.
28. Kardes Turkuler- Tencere Tava Havasi. See it with subtitles-
29. Filastine- Marxa remixed, featuring police scanners recorded during Seattle 1999, an Iraqi crowd shouting “Americans out”, a few words from Subcomandante Marcos (que fuertes nosotros, y cuantos somos =  we are so strong, and so many)
30. Cacerolazo, the tin-pot percussion as principal tool of revolt in Argentina 2001
31. Filastine- Como Fugitivos instrumental remix
32. Fragments from Mario Savio’s bellwether speech against the machine


The Bike Bloc

Become the Bike Bloc poster, issued during the COP 15 Climate Summit.
Become the Bike Bloc poster.

The first Bike Bloc was part of the mass civil disobedience against the 2009 COP15 Climate Summit. Discarded bikes were welded into ‘machines of creative resistance’. Organised in swarms, bikes formed blockades and decoys, supporting thousands on foot. They helped protesters breach the summit’s security cordon and hold an alternative People’s Assembly, which some representatives left the summit to attend.  The project was organised between the UK’s Camp for Climate Action and the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination.

Disobedient Objects includes the ‘queen bee’ from the sound swarm, which carried a sound system and pirate radio antennae. It broadcasted via several bikes around it with independent speakers, each on a separate channel. The sound could jump between bikes inside the crowd, and change in tone to respond to different situations. The story of the bike bloc actions are told in two documentaries which you can find online – Just Do it and Pockets of Resistance, as well as in these first-hand accounts from the different affinity groups. You can also find two short films documenting the bike bloc at the end of this post.

You can download a PDF how-to guide to constructing your own bike bloc here.

How to Guide: Bike Bloc. llustration by Marwan Kaabour, Barnbrook. This guide can be downloaded on the exhibitions website.
How to Guide: Bike Bloc.
llustration by Marwan Kaabour, Barnbrook.
This guide can be downloaded on the exhibition’s website.





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