Created in 2016, Unilalia is a portmanteau combining the Latin unus with the ancient Greek laliá – together, this word loosely translates into "one tongue [language]" . It refers to a growing, new underground art and aesthetic movement developing in the Seattle and greater Puget Sound region with its roots in Oakland, California. This preface is intended to provide context and ontological validity to its conceptualization as a movement rather than another duplicative, idiosyncratic preoccupation of underground artists. First and foremost, Unilalianism is a project in decolonization, but in the domain of consciousness – being of Black and Coharie ancestry, my frame of reference and orientation towards the applied arts and deviance theory in general has always been rooted in surviving and resisting structural and interpersonal racism, throughout childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. In all of this, I learned to dissect and understand what was happening to me, using my own analytical devices and this has led me to the fundamental conclusion that colonization, at its foundation, is a linguistic and semiotic program before anything else. Language is central to the articulation, construction, and imposition of reality – leveraging this realization must be central to any effort in radical antiracist and countercultural work.
Our general mantra: a new word potentiates a new reality, independent of the cultural impositions demanded under the colonial paradigm – in its most idealized form, we see one approach to decolonization as the deliberate construction of these offshoot realities, so to speak. Unilalia is one example. As an organization, listed below are a couple of our current initiatives.
INITIATIVE 001 – ACCELERATING THE UNDERGROUND
Accelerating the underground means maximizing its efficiency and accessibility – this organization has elaborated the application of this thesis through establishing the ongoing Unilalia Live! event series here in the Seattle area. Each iteration is an invitation to selected underground artists to showcase and perform their work – we designed our pathways to performing to be as frictionless as possible. There is no pay-to-play model, no booking intermediary, no internal politics, no contingencies, and no bullshit – our concern is about facilitating culturally valuable events at the lowest cost, providing space for the cultivation of new associations among artists while generating win-win situations for all parties involved, prioritizing the enrichment of the scene and collectivity over individual gains. In this respect, the Unilalia Group is not representative of a clique or an art collective – it is more so a technology, a servant of the arts and service to the underground that is managed and applied by a very small team of result-driven, action-oriented artists. Our selection process prioritizes diversity, merit, and talent over clout and social currency – we are not a capital or profit driven organization, at least not in the traditional sense. We understand how and why making the consolidation of social currency your guiding principle only alienates artists, devaluing the scene in the long-run.
INITIATIVE 002 – BULIDING SUBCULTURAL CONTEXT
Building subculture is very closely related to building community. Without disclosing the details of our tactical approach, the completion of this initiative is a natural byproduct of successively completing the first one, as listed above.
– Ellis Wilson, cofounder and artist
FOR THE SAKE OF PUBLIC SAFETY, WE ARE POSTPONING/CANCELLING ALL UPCOMING EVENTS DUE TO THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK. THE UNILALIA LIVE! EVENT SERIES IS ON HOLD UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. PLEASE DO YOUR PART IN HELPING MITIGATE THE SPREAD.
ICYMI: UNILALIA LIVE! 005 - FEBRUARY 14, 2020
MORE CULTURE Á LA UNILALIA.
TIP: ZOOM IN ON THE QR-CODE ON THE FLYER FOR A FREE PDF OF THE KYBALION.
Each successive iteration of UNILALIA LIVE! is like a step on staircase leading to more authentic plateaus of creativity. Be a producer of culture, instead of an idle consumer.
This particular event's coverage was filmed, photographed, and formatted by Ellis Wilson at 4AM during business hours.
ASTRAL TRAP performing during UNILALIA LIVE! 005 in Seattle's University District.
@astraltrap – soundcloud.com/daribroko
UNILALIA comes from the Latin unus and the ancient Greek laliá – together, this word translates into "one tongue" as in a coming together of language.
BRAKEBILL performing during UNILALIA LIVE! 005.
COLDBOULDER & CARTER WILSON
PERFORMING DURING UNILALIA LIVE! 005
When you think of consciousness as a form of real estate, using this metaphor, consider the colonial project of land acquisition and property development – the more real estate an institution possesses, the higher its marketshare. Now, scale this model to the macro level of cultural, political, and social institutions like Boy, Girl, Man, Woman, Black, and White – throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, these institutions have continuously rebranded themselves with the advent of every successive media, communicative, and semiotic technology.
With the newspaper and television, Womanhood, for example, was advertised as a fixed and rigid role within the cultural lexicon, guided by the self-limiting structure of the nuclear family, but in the case of the
of the internet, we begin to notice its inevitable diversification. Rigid roles become more fluid as information becomes more and more democratized. This is about access to the instruments which code and direct our movement through cultural and symbolic space and has everything to do with reclaiming our property rights in relation to real estate [consciousness] via the advancement and application of communication technologies. These instruments include the symbol, the image, film, music, anything concerned with the construction of narrative; technology is the medium through which these narratives are transmitted, embedded, modified, and replicated.
Boy, Girl, Man, Woman, Black, and White are all part of a larger taxonomical system that is integral to the machinery of colonization: “You are what I say you are”, the colonizer says to the colonized. This is the maxim of the old world, wherein your identity and the world in which it operates is handed down and prescribed to you by an authoritative institution under threat of violence, social destitution, or death – play this role, read this script, act this part or be discarded and erased. In the case of the African Diaspora, the erasure of the slave’s native tongue happened in tandem with the renaming of their reality: the slave is coerced into describing their universe using the master’s vocabulary and through this coercion, the master consequently mediates and arbitrates the slave’s self-concept, which in turn dictates the content of the slave’s reality.
A similar program of domestication can be observed in childhood socialization – children learn to define themselves and others using words that don’t belong to them, words that they didn’t create like Boy, Girl, Man, Woman, Black, and White. Remember, we are talking about land acquisition, consciousness thought of as vacant space, fertile soil on which self-limiting structures like Boy, Girl, Man, Woman, Black, and White are to be developed and installed as 1) monuments to the colonial paradigm and 2) as the means through which these roles may be embodied to reproduce the content of the colonial narrative. The caveat here is that these structures, are in essence, predatory sales funnels that represent pillars of a specific kind of commerce: the exchange of one’s property rights over consciousness for lifetime membership packages, your golden ticket inside the towering institutions of Boy, Girl, Man, Woman, Black, and White – this initial transaction is the bedrock of modern sociality. Now, replace Boy, Girl, Man, Woman, Black, and White with more nuanced, less obvious institutions such as Individuality, Particularization, Linearity, Cartesian Dualism, Rational Process, and Newtonian Physics for starters; it is here that readers glimpse at how deep colonization really goes: to what degree is your entire conception of reality a byproduct of colonial programming? How do you unplug? Unilalianism is a tactical strategy developed by and for the authentic artist to achieve this goal using whatever resources in reach – this guide seeks to offer a DIY and practical approach to decolonization: it is like an instruction manual more so than an ideology or manifesto.
For the artist and student, initiate and neophyte, Unilalia is a destination to be arrived at: following the trail towards it is rightfully referred to as Unilalianism.
COMPLETE LIST OF UNILALIAN SHOWS:
Live Installation 001
Benefit show for Stand Up For Kids Olympia, a non-profit organization working to address youth homelessness in Thuston county. Located at 404 4th Ave E, Olympia, WA 98501.
Read more here:
Live Installation 002
Second benefit show for Stand Up For Kids Olympia, a non-profit organization working to address youth homelessness in Thuston county. Located at 404 4th Ave E, Olympia, WA 98501.
Carter Wilson Album Release Celebration & Cafe Red Benefit Show
Release show located at 7148 Martin Luther King Jr Way S, Seattle, WA 98118.
Unilalia Live! 002
Third installment of UNILALIA LIVE!, an ongoing exhibition and event series.Third benefit show for StandUpForKIds Olympia. Located at 404 4th Ave E, Olympia, WA 98501.
UNILALIA POP-UP SHOW
Located at 7148 Martin Luther King Jr Way S, Seattle, WA 98118.
Unilalia Live! 004
Unilalia Live! 005
Fourth installment of UNILALIA LIVE!, an ongoing exhibition and event series
Unilalia Live! 006
Sixth installment of UNILALIA LIVE!, an ongoing exhibition and event series.