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Ain Bailey FACT APRIL 2024 Rob Battersby

FOUR (2024)

Audio work and installation

Artist, composer and DJ Ain Bailey explores the concept of ‘sonic autobiographies’ through collaboration with imprisoned men and their families at HMP Buckley Hall in Rochdale. Together, they listened to music and sounds that were significant to them, sharing their individual and connected memories. From these collaborative sessions, the men used different sounds and sharing moments to create their own compositions.

In the gallery, Ain presents a new audio work that was inspired by the men’s sonic autobiographies which focuses on the ways that sound, movement and repetition can be used as a way to articulate shared experiences. This final composition includes some of the sounds and rhythms from the men’s audio pieces.

Ain has redesigned the gallery in response to the time she spent in the visitor centre at HMP Buckley Hall with the participants and their families. The space echoes her experience of gaining access to the prison, and observing the architecture of the institutional complex. Imagery shared and discussed in the group sessions, such as a family pet, the Liverpool and Everton Football Club emblems and Alder Hey Hospital, are brought into the physical space through the wallpaper design. Excerpts from the shared conversations between the participants and their families during the workshops line the corridor leading into the installation.

FOUR explores how sound can be used as a collective experience to form personal connections and spark memories. By prioritising sound over the spoken word, Ain's work with the participants encourages us to think about listening and communication as something that can arise from within us.

Listen to a conversation between Ain and the project participants as they reflect on the artwork or read the transcript here.


  1. Jackie Wang: Carceral Capitalism
  2. Ruth Wilson Gilmore: Abolition Geography
  3. Angela Y. Davis, Beth Richie, Erica R. Meiners and Gina Dent: Abolition, Feminism,. Now
  4. Angela Davis: Are Prisons Obsolete?
  5. Cradle Community Staff: Brick By Brick
  6. Pauline Oliveros: Deep Listening
  7. Joy James: In Pursuit of Revolutionary Love
  8. Sounds Now: Listening
  9. Abolition Collective: Making Abolitionist Worlds
  10. Renée Green: Inevitable Distances
  11. Tricia Hersey: Rest Is Resistance
  12. Tina Campt: A Black Gaze
  13. Lauren Istvandity: The Lifetime Soundtrack