Tuesday, February 08, 2005

George W. Bush and The Brotherhood of Eternal Love

This is a photo of me playing didgeridoo with the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, a group made up of members of The Spacious Mind, The Holy River Family Band and more. Is is an image from a Moonshake performance which is in the process of becoming Norrlands first and only (to my knowledge) free form folk and psych acoustic trance music club.....Exciting stuff!! An Mp3 of the Brotherhood performance can be downloaded HERE.

The next point is only related to the first in the theme of sound. Sound and narrative to be exact. I recently received a link to a video detourment by Randall Packer and the US Department of Art and Technology. It depicted the State of Union address by President George Walker Bush (remember him?) slowed down and overplayed with opera of which the lyrics translate:

How gently and quietly he smiles
How tenderly he opens his eyes
Do you see it, friends?
Don't you see?

The effect is ingenious but why? The feelings produced as George licks his lips in 15 frames a second is unsettling. The raising of hands in a collective agonized struggle (some of which seem to have voted in the Iraqi elections judging by the blue dyed fingers...How did they get into the chamber of Congress?) and the tears which take minutes to hit the floor. The satirical proximity which is achieved by the imposed sound completes a scary tableau of power, prestige, position and a sad reality which reminds me of Wag the Dog. Underlying this appropriated reconstruction is the concept of manipulated narrative and this is where it gets interesting. Slowing the time frame and introducing an alternate sound montage effectively forms a non-verbal commentary through the whole piece. Actions are parodied, body language and gesture are transformed from contextual meanings of the origin, and instead become a disturbing sequence of too close for comfort transparencies. What is transparent in this is a theater of power and as the final frames drag by in a blur of, by now obviously staged, emotional situations we remember that this is government and not theater. Not just any government either but the government of the most powerful military power in the world. In Packer's State of the Union [The Fateful Embrace] we recognize this in the front row of dancing generals who move as if commanded by the lopsided grin of the Commander in Grief.
Doubla click on the blackness to get the full effect (click again if it gets too much):

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