“Turn Up the Volume” is an essay containing three digital photo collages, each paired with excerpts from interviews collected during my ethnographic fieldwork. The piece is part of a larger anthropological project that experiments with ways to enlist the visual to unsettle our complacency with spectacular and everyday forms of oppression and violence waged against populations racialized, classed, gendered and sexed as “other”. However, this work does not merely attend to technologies of dominance and their effects, but also to the quotidian ways people refuse conscription and exceed limits.
The digital photographs I manipulate in these collages were all taken in the Morvant/Laventille area of East Port of Spain, Trinidad (popularly referred to as “Laventille”) in 2106 and 2017. Laventille is a dynamic geographical region within Trinidad and Tobago. It comprises several intra-related mixed-income communities on the eastern periphery of the capital city Port of Spain. Laventille has had a longstanding history of marginalization. From its inception in the nineteenth century as a refuge for the formerly enslaved and landless, it was racialized as black and marked as a depressed and potentially threatening space.