Inner & Outer Dub featuring
Outernationalism Ambient Dub Mixes
in English and Arabic
Outernationalism is one of the tracks from the IR 62 release, Inner Dub, Outer Dub.
Below is the video for the English-language version of this track and beneath it is an introductory essay on the video by When Vision Meets Dub Architecture.
A small handheld camera - that’s all. No tripod, no special filters, no lighting aids, no light meters… It is easier to pass through military border controls when you don’t have these accessories.
These are some of the factors that influenced the technical aspects of this IR film project in a region that has witnessed military conflicts that have galvanized world attention.
“We are protected.”
These words of IR conspirator J♀ served as the guiding inspiration for the IR film crew as they navigated various obstacles to make this production happen in this desert region.
The region is held by the Indigenous inhabitants as a very special place. It is important to remember we are in a region where many spiritual prophets from various spiritual beliefs received visions that when relayed to the people, caused reverberations that are still felt today. These visions have also been documented in sacred texts that have been read by millions.
Many have been puzzled by the fact that IR chose to film in this bare mountain location, when the same region has an abundance of magnificent pyramids and temples belonging to some of the most renowned centralized African kingdoms such as Kush, Khemet, and Axumite.
Some of the rationale for this decision surfaces later on in the video when a passage from the IR track “Anarchist Africa” comes up on the screen, addressing the pre-colonial history of Indigenous People in Africa and how their lives have been evaluated:
“By focussing only on centralised African kingdoms,
are we not detracting from African Indigenous Peoples
who chose to humbly respect and flow with the earth
acting as caregivers of this land on which we stand?”
The film then introduces us to a man who symbolizes this history:
“This is Mohammed, an Indigenous Bedouin man whose family has lived continuously here on this African land for more than 600 years......”
We see Mohammed standing together with the dub artist Verse 12 on a desert mountaintop. Later, we see her sharing medicinal tea leaves that she has picked from the same land with Mohammed. They sip tea together as they leaf through the IR book Indigenous And Black WisDub.
It is important to emphasize the significance of this physical space. In this mountainous space, ceremonies are often held. It is a place for meditation, a place to conjure visions for the future. So, when the video portrays Verse 12 in a meditation pose, there is a moment when you see her wearing an IR African Anarchist-Jugaad t-shirt. Jugaad means DiY or Do It Yourself in various South Asian languages. This is an IR code, reflecting some aspects of their particular future vision.
Verse 12 the artist, in choosing her moniker, was also aware that verse 12 of the sacred Hindu text, Bhagavad Gita, states “meditation is considered better than knowledge.”
It is also no coincidence that in verse 12 of the music soundtracking this film, vocalist Ukweli states, “these are the outernationalist stories of people who were never exclusively tied to the nations that claimed them. They were connected and commitmented to a multitude of struggles.” As Verse 12 flips through the Dubzaine-designed WisDub book with Mohammed, we see pictures of those same outernationalists: Frantz Fanon, Yuri Kochiyama, and the Black anarchist who fought in the Spanish Civil War against fascism.
In other parts of the video, you see Verse 12 walking with a handmade bag; it has the word DUB emblazoned on it. This is not meant as simply a reference to a musical genre. In the introduction to the IR book Searching For The Dub Sublime, we see this additional dimension added to the definition of dub:
“Dub is about fermenting trouble, making Babylon tremble. It throws our perceptions of how sonic frequencies can and should be used into total disarray. That in itself is what makes dub utterly beautiful, an affirmation of the beauty and unbridled complexity of life.”
The fact that this video is going to take us on unexpected journeys is suggested early on by the fact that the opening credits are presented over found sounds recorded by IR, utilising construction noises they heard inside the Istanbul International Airport. Unexpectedly, these ambient noises segue into the dub-laden beats created by Herman “Soy Sos” Pearl, which form the backbone of the “Outernationalism” track. Alert listeners will soon perceive that the airport construction sounds are actually incorporated into the musical fabric of the track.
We are presented with a video reminiscent more of Anton Corbijn or Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami’s work with its long, loping shots of arid desert by camera-person Sumuloula Dub, highlighting exquisitely shaped surrealist boulders and desertscapes that signal an immense vastness complimented by expansive blue skies and distant ocean vistas.
The rhyme and tone is more meditation than a dance party. And we realize this is a very conscious, albeit unexpected, decision by IR.
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