Reflection (hope and reconciliation)
Context: Pervasive mass-media in the information age offers us a continuous stream of mediated realities. Countless events of varying and often questionable significance emerge as scrolling columns of headline news and then quickly fade into the soon-forgotten annals of our time. Within this saturated datascape of history, there are singular defining moments that rise above the ubiquitous monotony of the everyday. These events shape the consciousness of individuals and nations alike by transcending their epoch, and are indelibly situated within greater historical overviews that inform the perceptions of both present and future generations. In an era of unjust wars and monumental acts of terror, some of these events have eroded our most precious institutions and sustained fear within all strata of society, while others have instilled within us hope and offered us a means to reconcile our past transgressions. Reflection (hope and reconciliation) re-mediates one such moment. Through the distillation of its aesthetic elements – images, words, voice, music – we experience the event with changed, but undiminished intensity. Source Material: High definition video recording of Barack Obama’s victory address at his presidential election night rally in Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois, USA on 04.11.2008. The AV stream was obtained from Mininova.org torrent search. It was posted by an unnamed individual on 05.11.2008 at 07:04 GMT and was seeded by 4000+ users within hours of its release. [text] An exact transcript of the victory speech published by the BBC Internet news service on 05.11.2008 at 07:02 GMT.
Michael Takeo Magruder is an American artist based in the UK working with New and Technological Media within Contemporary Arts practice. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1996 receiving a BA (Hons) in Biological Science. He is a long-standing member of King’s Visualisation Lab in the Centre for Computing in Humanities, King’s College London. Through this organisation he undertakes research, development and implementation of emerging technologies; including motion capture, immersive space and virtual environments, for use in contemporary creative and academic practice. His artworks have been showcased in over 180 exhibitions and 30 countries, including venues such as the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, EAST International 2005, Georges Pompidou Center, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and Trans-Media-Akademie Hellerau. His works are regular inclusions in international New Media festivals, such as Cybersonica, CYNETart, FILE, Filmwinter, SeNef, Siggraph, Split, VAD and WRO. His artistic practice has been funded directly by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Arts Council England, The National Endowment for the Arts, USA and numerous public galleries both within the UK and abroad. He is also recognised for his on-line arts practice and has been commissioned by leading portals for Internet Art such as Turbulence.org and Soundtoys.net. His work blends Information Age technologies with modernist-like aesthetics to explore the formal structures and conceptual paradigms of the networked, digital world.