Art and Multimedia through the eyes of a Dragon
| The Beall Center is currently having an exhibition on R. Luke DuBois, who focuses more on music and sounds, and movement, than still photography. With that said, I took short videos of the video I wanted to focus on- the party acceptance speeches from the 2012 and 2016 elections. They are from Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in 2012, and Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in 2016.
As Mr. Familian, the curator, walked and talked us through each part of the exhibit, I found this part particularly interesting, mostly because it grabbed my attention, even though I have learned to tune out, and take a general disinterest in, the political debates and rants of my real-life close friends and family! I thought it was clever how DuBois programmed the background to flash the color of the louder/dominant speaker in the videos. Additionally, positioning the two candidates side by side gives a clearer perspective of how each candidate's personality plays into their professionalism. By contrasting the two candidates, DuBois also shows how similar they are- in the description of the videos, he notes how there was an "85% [ ] overlap between the speakers" in 2012, and a "75% [ ] overlap between the speakers" in 2016 (see top and bottom for 2012 and 2016, respectively).
Politics can be, and frequently is, a rather divisive discussion topic for many people. However, art is very much a form of communication that should be breaking boundaries, as opposed to building them. I think, by putting the two candidates together, instead of making it an "Us vs Them" type of affair, DuBois turned the speeches into a collection of ideas that both candidates had, but presented in a different way. Mr. Familian told us that for the previous elections, DuBois had taken the candidates' speeches and made word clouds out of them- with larger words representing more frequent use. However, for many people born right before the start of the millenial, the past two elections were much more prominent in our lives, than the ones before. They were also historical- Barack Obama's 2012 win marked the first African American President of the United States, whereas if Hillary had won in 2016, she would have been the first female President of the United States. Thus, DuBois chose to represent the two elections differently.
The videos I took had no sound, because the video sounds were from headphones and not projected, so we can't actually hear what the candidates are saying, but I did go to take a listen afterwards, and I did find that, on many occasions, both candidates were saying the same thing, just in a different manner. Honestly, though, I applaud DuBois, because I imagine this would have taken hours- if not days, weeks, or even months to edit, and arrange. The amount of patience he has for this is incredible- and I do wonder how long something like this would take- as far as reading transcripts of the speeches and calculating the statistics of each candidate, then putting it all together. I think this artwork has come at a rather important time- one where it's important to remember that, while it may be much easier to find and pick at our differences, it is just as, if not more, important to find and share our similarities.
Video (no sound):