For Immediate Release
for the End of the World"
At the Opening of Democracy
WASHINGTON, DC - On October 21, 7:30 PM Secretary Randall M. Packer of the US Department of Art & Technology delivered a speech at the opening of Democracy is Fun, outlining artistic efforts to lift the shroud of darkness over the nation in the final days before the election.
The following is the transcript:
Speech by Randall
THE SECRETARY: Thank you all. (Applause.) Michele Thursz and Defne Ayas, Esa Nickle and Juan Puntes of White Box, fellow artists, esteemed guests, citizens, and of course my wife Phyllis, our beloved Under Secretary for Domestic Affairs, thank you.
I would first like to honor the great documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, our Under Secretary of the Bureau for Counter-Propaganda, who was unfortunately not able to attend tonight. Michael Moore is receiving the Department’s prestigious US Medal in Arts & Letters for his service to our nation. Receiving the medal for him will be Juan Puentes, Director of White Box. Please, a round of applause to Michael Moore for his great achievement, and to Juan for heroically keeping the White Box alive and strong for the past 7 years. Thank you.
Ladies and Gentlemen, at no time in history has there been a more important exhibition, or a more necessary gathering, than this one in New York City, tonight at the White Box. (Applause.)
I am honored to be speaking to you this evening, and I am proud to be your Secretary of the US Department of Art & Technology.
When I said those words three years ago in my acceptance speech, none of us could have envisioned what these years would bring. In the heart of this great city, we saw tragedy arrive on a quiet morning. We saw the bravery of artists grow by advocating intervention during times of political and cultural urgency. We learned of the social mechanism of art in politically tense times. (Applause.)
We had already seen Americans belief in the importance of voting decline into a sea of apathy and disillusionment. (Applause.) We have since seen greedy tycoons and extreme capitalism’s quest for global domination. We have seen the Republicans, like other totalitarian movements, seek to impose a grim vision in which dissent is crushed, and every man and woman must think and live in colorless conformity. We have seen Americans in uniform storming the streets of Baghdad, charging through sandstorms, to lay hold the Dragon, the Devil and Satan, and cast him out of his pit to shut him up, that he should deceive nations no more. And we have heard a great voice rise out of the Oval Office saying to the seven angels, “Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the Earth.”
Since 2001, American artists have been given hills to climb, and we have found the strength to climb them. Now, because we have made the hard journey, we can see the valley below. You see, with the very future of our world threatened by the Republicans, art must not be petrified in the art world; its true spirit must take flight in the sudden arrival of freedom and the endless possibilities it seems to offer.
And nothing will hold us back. (Applause.)
SECRETARY: Tonight I will tell you where we stand and what we can do to lift our minds and rise above the shroud of darkness that hangs over our shoulders. (Applause.)
My friends, we can explode the material representation intrinsic to propaganda.
We can re-interpret the Presidential Seal by spinning cigarette butts, crotches, booze and graffiti around the image of Cary Grant and a bird of paradise (Applause.)
We can reveal the vapidity of daytime trash television, telemarketing, and televangelism by creating a smoothly produced futurism to inhabit this lonely, encapsulated reality.
We can confirm the illusion of truth in media by transforming the New York Times into a work of art.
My fellow Americans, nothing will hold us back! (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Nothing will hold us back!
SECRETARY: We believe that the most solemn duty of the artist is to protect the American people. If the artist shows uncertainty or weakness in the final days before the election, the world will drift toward tragedy and ruin – ravaged by conflict and war, struck by hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcanic eruption, the sun and the air darkened by smoke – the wrath of the right-wing, fundamentalist Christians claiming dominion over all the earth.
This will not happen on my watch. (Applause.)
In our world, and here at home, we will extend the frontiers of artistic freedom, we will revel in sculpting transformative moments for ourselves and for the world around us.
We are on the path to the future – and we're not turning back! (Applause.)
My fellow artists and citizens,
our strategy is clear:
We have tripled funding for the Homeland Insecurity Advisory System, training millions of citizens as first responders, because we are determined to protect our homeland from our government-in-action.
We are supporting the Armed Artists of America, reforming and strengthening our brave artists on Active Duty.
We are working hard to confront the loss of free speech, power and powerlessness.
And we are staying on the offensive – striking Republicans wherever they are most dangerous.
With the Experimental Pary DisInformation Center, we were poised and ready to capture, remix and transform every moment of the Republican National Convention. (Applause.)
Our strategy is succeeding.
Less than two months ago, Madison Square Garden was a haven for Republicans, a transit point for right-wing fanatics, fertile ground for fear mongering, the palace of George W. Bush. The Republicans were largely unchallenged as they unleashed their political attacks. (Applause.)
Thanks to Commanding General Andrew Nagy and the brave efforts of our troops in the elite branch of the USA Exqusite Corpse, we demonstrated to the world that artistic forces could move at will. We are proud to say we were greeted as liberators. Democracy is on the march! We are fighting for freedom. We have led and many have joined.
Yes, we have prevailed! (Applause.)
In George W. Bush, we saw a threat. And we acted.
Faced with that choice, I will defend America every time. (Applause.)
But, my fellow artists, although we acted to defend our country, George W. Bush is still on the loose, he is still on the run, for re-election.
But my friends, he can run, but he can’t hide! (Applause)
In order to bring freedom to our nation, democracy must be brought to Middle America, to the nation’s Heartland, where the Government continues to harbor right-wing Christian fundamentalists. (Applause.) The faith-based have done everything they can to intimidate people – the nation’s executive mansion is now honeycombed with prayer groups and Bible study cells, like a whited monastery – a resounding indictment of the dangerous extremism that resides in the White House. (Applause.)
We are dealing with a messianic militarist who worships the theology of war! (Applause)
George W. Bush, this is my message to you: Put back your sword, for all who fight by the sword shall perish by the sword.
Our battle will take time and resolve. But make no mistake about it: We will win. This will be a monumental struggle between art and evil, but art will prevail.
The American people need to know we’re facing a different kind of enemy than we have ever faced. This enemy hides in the shadows behind a veil of prayer and has no regard for reality. This is an enemy who preys on innocent and unsuspecting Americans under the hypnotic spell of Fox News.
We must restore the reality of our robotic brethren, for it is our nation of robot worshippers that reigns supreme! (Applause)
We are involved in a struggle of historic proportion. For they are working their faith-based miracles to go forth and dismiss the rulers of the earth, to gather their following into battle on that great day.
You see, our President gathers his people together into a place called, in the Hebrew tongue, Armageddon!
The great ancient city of Babylon has fallen!
And out of the Pentagon goeth a mighty military, that with it they should smite the evil nations with pre-emptive strikes, and they shall rule them all with a rod of iron so that the winged neo-cons shall declare the Empire supreme with all the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his Presidential Limo and Air Force I a name written in gold: President of Presidents and Lord of Lords!
And he saw an angel standing in the sun: and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the faithful that flock to his campaign rallies, “Come and gather yourselves together unto the re-election of God and myself, George W. Bush. That ye may eat the flesh of terrorists, and the flesh of liberals, and the flesh of homosexuals and abortionists and anti-war radicals. I have seen the beast, the rulers of the earth and their United Nations, gathered together to prevent our making war, and the beast was defeated, and with it the false prophets, who worshiped the image of International Law, that Global Test, to which our nation shall never Submit. I have cast them all into a lake of fire burning with brimstone and weapons of mass destruction!”
My fellow artists, because of you, with your service and sacrifice, we can defeat George W. Bush wherever he may hide. We can make America safer.
My fellow artists, because of you, we can encourage anti-Bush participants to create ‘moments of ad-hoc solidarity’ using Bluetooth-enabled devices.
Because of you, we can develop technologies and digital art in public social systems to generate, disrupt and synthesize the socio-political landscape, an intervention intended to provide a voice for the people.
Because of you, we can bring tools to activists, artists, and hackers to engage, distribute and document critical information without the use of advertising, promotion or marketing.
Because of you, artists can defend our nation in ways that portray a frighteningly direct and coolly stylized presence of President Bush and his cadre of colleagues that is both dark and shimmering, like the blade of a knife.
We will spare no effort to protect the American people. (Applause.)
The Republicans are fighting us with all their cunning and cruelty because artistic freedom is their greatest fear – and they should be afraid, because artistic freedom is on the march! (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Artistic Freedom is on the March!
This is the everlasting dream of the avant-garde, for which we all yearn -- and tonight, in this artist space, in this city, in our great nation, our dream is renewed. (Applause.) Now we go forward – grateful for artistic freedom, faithful to our cause, and confident in the power of virtualization to invoke the deconstruction of all things politic. Yes, my fellow artists, I hereby declare, beyond the shadow of a doubt:
Democracy is Fun! So help us God.
Thank you and may God Bless Art & Technology.
END 07:52 P.M. EDT
Press Secretary of the US Department of Art & Technology
U.S. Department of Art and Technology, Washington, DC, USA