Mixed Messages addresses the mass-distribution of word and image that the public is faced with today. Each of the seven artists included in the exhibition criticize this mediation by appropriating found images and words taken from different sources of contemporary or historical documentation. The artists attempt to subvert or foreground our traditional understanding of this content by recontextualizing or breaking down the mediated texts. Taking up iconic, repeated or stereotypical images and words associated with warfare in the past century, each artist confronts the traditional characteristics of media and calls into question its validity and authority in society today.
Propaganda by Joseph Goebbels
This media campaign uses images of Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels, which are made up of well-known media logos. Over the period of two weeks, the artist used traditional advertising methods to create a campaign that presented the frightening links between current advertising mechanisms and Nazi propaganda. The diary of the campaign can be found at www.joseph-goebbels-tm.blogspot.com.
By appropriating well-known logos of prominent and powerful companies today and using them to create a picture of Joseph Goebbels, the artist is using companies' images and methods to question the goals of media today. Viewers of the piece are forced to acknowledge their own acceptance and numbness to this medium, when faced with a portrait of such a disliked figure such as Joseph Goebbels and the uncontrolled power that he commanded during the Nazi regime.
Rant/Rant Back/Back Rant by G.H. Hovagimyan and Peter Sinclair
This performance work manipulates sampled voice input and presents the mix in real time. The content of the piece is taken from segments of contemporary news articles, and the performances range from delusional speeches to poetry slams accompanied by techno-synthesized sounds. The tone of the piece reflects the overwhelming nature of media today, which could drive its audience to adopt a similarly psychotic and suspicious state.
Breaking down media texts and recontextualizing the language in a paranoid and deluded performance, the artist is forcing the viewers to question the validity of the text and also the long-term effects of such volatile information.
Just In Time by Tom Chambers
This Flash movie links together three different TIME Magazine covers related to Mao Zedong that were published between 1949 and 1977. The images are introduced by the year of their publication and slowly cross the screen, linked by the contemporary song sung by Maysa, "Just In Time."
Taking the magazine covers out of a temporal context and reorganizing them according to their content, the artist creates a new way of viewing the images, outside of their traditional space and time. Furthermore, the use of a contemporary jazz song, completely unrelated to Mao Zedong, creates a jarringly disconnected environment, where the viewer is forced to question the seriousness of the images and the culture in which they were produced.
Monument (If It Bleeds, It Leads) by Caleb Larsen
Using current news headlines as it source, Monument tracks news of current killings and algorithmically determines how many people were killed in each incident. In the installation, one yellow Lego BB is dropped on the ground for each death that is tallied, creating a growing and changing "constellation," a physical and visual materialization of the growing number of murders taking place today throughout the world.
Creating a physical manifestation of written texts, this piece forces the viewer to acknowledge the devastation occurring in today's world. While media language can easily be overlooked or explained away, killing is brought back to a physical space through this algorithmic installation.
The Translation From Authoritative to Senseless by Caleb Larsen
Using each word in headlines from Google News as key words, the artist's computer program searches the most watched videos from YouTube. The words, now represented by video clips, are reassembled in order, creating a short video piece that can be viewed online. The most recent video available is taken from headlines on January 10, 2007.
Transferring written news to video through a widely accessed Internet site such as YouTube, and then reassembling the text as a video, the artist explores the chaos and the importance of media today. By transferring actual events through different forms of media, the viewer can see how mediation has warped the actual events occurring in our world today.
My Lover in Equal Parts, A Found Photo Project by Rheim Alkadhi
In My Love in Unequal Parts, the artist reinterprets found photographs of three different war zones that have been presented online. A narrative told by a civilian in the Middle East accompanies the photographs. The civilian describes the process of finding a lost lover by traversing between Iraq, Palestine, and Lebanon, using language to link together the different images, which serve as clues in the journey.
In this photographic narrative, the artist takes up photographs, mediated images, and recontextualizes them in a way that compels the viewer and recreates sensation that has been lost through the production and reproduction of these images.
1001 Nights Cast by Barbara Campbell
1001 nights cast is a generative online performance project. Each night at sunset, Barbara Campbell performs a short text-based work as a live webcast. The performance texts are generated each day from reports on the Middle East from which other stories emerge through online collaborations between writers and the artist. The project will run for 1001 nights and is due for completion in March 2008.
BushSpeech by Max Min
In this interactive website, the user is able to program a speech for President George W. Bush to recite online by piecing fragments of real addresses recorded by the media. The artist describes how now you can hear "George W. Bush deliver a speech you always wanted to hear," bypassing political influences, which have censored his language in the past.
Using found media footage of the president's speeches, the artist showcases this information in a format that allows the viewer to reclaim the information. Furthermore, the piece foregrounds the censorship that occurs by our government and puts informational power back in the hands of the people.