For Immediate Release
Secretary Calls on "10,000 Acts of Artistic Mediation"
Remarks by the Secretary to the City of New York
WASHINGTON, DC - On August 26, 5:00 PM (EST/GMT +5 hours) Secretary Randall M. Packer of the US Department of Art & Technology delivered a speech to the citizens of New York City at the Freedom of Expression National Monument, New York, announcing "10,000 Acts of Artistic Mediation" during the 2004 Republication National Convention.
The following is the transcript:
Speech by Randall M. Packer
THE SECRETARY: Commanding General Andrew Nagy of the USA Exquisite Corpse, distinguished guests, artists, government officials, and convention delegates: Thank you for the warm welcome. (Applause.) And thank you to Creative Time and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council for the great honor to speak to the citizens of New York City. I am standing here at the Freedom of Expression National Monument to announce that “10,000 Acts of Artistic Mediation” have been launched in anticipation of the 2004 Republican National Convention. (Applause.)
The artists of America have worked hard to get to this moment. We've survived the Patriot Act. We've spent months creating new work while on Active Duty. We've carried canvases and art supplies across Manhattan, and we've endured countless hours training in our studios. In this time we've been transformed from "basics" and "smacks" -- (laughter) -- to proud artists and activists. I would like to congratulate the nation's artists on a great achievement. (Applause.)
Now today, as Secretary of the US Department of Art & Technology, I am here on this platform to thank those who carry the hopes of free people everywhere. (Applause.) America's artists assume their duty during a conflict that will define our careers – we have beene called upon to take brave action and serve with honor. In some ways, this struggle we're in is unique. In other ways, it resembles the great clashes of the last century -- between those who put their trust in tyrants and those who put their trust in liberty. Our goal, the goal of the artist, is the same: We will secure our nation from tyranny, the tyranny of the Republicans, and defend the peace through the forward march of "10,000 Acts of Artistic Mediation." (Applause)
Like the murderous ideologies of the 20th century, their ideology of pre-emptive war reaches across borders, and encourages terrorism in every country. So we're fighting the President and his shadow government wherever they may hide in their bunkers.
Like other totalitarian movements, the Republicans seek to impose a grim vision in which dissent is crushed, and every man and woman must think and live in colorless conformity. We offer to the oppressed peoples of our nation and around the world, the great alternative of human liberty through creative expression.
Like the enemies of the past, the Republicans underestimate the strength of the artist. They believe that artists are essentially corrupt and decadent, and with a few hard blows will collapse in weakness and in panic. But they are now learning that we are strong and determined, because of the steady resolve of artists, and because of our skill and strength in carrying out artistic mediation. Yes, we will prevail. (Applause.)
We bring more than a vision to this conflict -- we bring a strategy that will lead to victory. And that strategy has three commitments:
First, we are using every available tool to dismantle, counter, and disrupt the Republican National Convention – a battle for ground zero. With all the skill of our artistic resources, all the stealth of our special forces, and all the global reach of our information technologies, we will strike the Republicans before they can strike us. The best way to protect America is to stay on the offensive. We will challenge the prevailing fear culture and dissolve the Republican’s stranglehold on democracy to ensure all Americans the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of reveling! All Revelers will mount the Staten Island Ferry and stage a heroic “Crossing of New York Harbor” to liberate Manhattan from the Bush Loyalists. (Applause.)
Second, we are denying Republicans a place of sanctuary behind the spectacle of the image. The power of the Republicans is multiplied when the media harbors them, creating safe haven to gather and train recruits to make theater with 9/11, to use a conquered New York as their propaganda. We are going to fight them by subverting their propaganda with our own techniques of media and illusion. The US Department of Art & Technology welcomes all citizens to the Experimental Party DisInformation Center, anarchic entertainment for the nation, a convention intervention!, where we inform, transform, and redirect the Republican way of thinking.
Third and finally, we will follow the mythic storyline of our great nation, we will celebrate our nation’s history and its democratic process by reclaiming our government from its current ruling special interests and bring it back to the people. We will join Johnny America who will suit up in Colonial garb and charge down Lexington Ave. – on horseback – to warn “The Republicans are coming! “The Republicans are coming!”
You see, free and experimental societies inspire young men and women to create temporary autonomous zones where we can experience a little piece of a world that we’d like to be our everyday reality. We will create a nation of radical self-expression through spontaneous theatrics and creative political play. As life artists, we revel in sculpting transformative moments for ourselves and for the world around us. And in the long run, I have great faith that the power of artistic mediation, the power of artistic imagination, is stronger than the lure of war profiteering and political cover-up.
We can hear the echoes of other enemies in other times -- that same swagger and demented logic of the fanatic – the self-fulfilling curse of fundamentalist apocalypticism, the toxic manipulations and corrosive greed of right-wing financiers, media moguls and corporate criminals, and the abysmal corruption and insanity of an Orwellian political culture. Like their kind in the past, the Republicans have left scars and suffering. And like their kind in the past, they will flame and fail and suffer defeat by free men and women everywhere. (Applause.) This is a monumental crisis that calls for the sublime power of art to tell profound truths beyond the capacity of words.
The Republicans must be overthrown, they must be expelled from American lands, and the most daring practice of the artist must be carried out to achieve this objective. In this vision, I call upon the Axis of Eve, a coalition of brazen women on a mission to expose and depose President Select George W. Bush and his unspeakably deceitful administration to create a media spectacle bearing messages of truth and accountability. Convinced that effective political action can be irreverent and risqué, they are launching a titillating campaign of “Truth-Flashing” coordinated around their provocative line of protest panties. The Eves are gearing up for a shameless spectacle of panty-flashing to lay bare the shameful tactics of the Bush administration and boldly demand an end to political cover-up.
We are using a variety of tactics to deny Bush the economic, biological and religious weapons he seeks. Because the economic threat requires a feminist response, we are working with Missile Dick Chicks, a posse of pissed-off housewives from Crawford, Texas charged with opposing consumerism by singing songs like “Shop! In the Name of War.” Billionaires for Bush, who strive for grassroots participation of the moneyed class, believe they’re only one Presidency away from winning the long battle to ensure that America will always be a place where corporations come first, where no billionaire is left behind, where social services are a freak of history.
We are working with regional artists such as Girls Gone Wild to counter the Republican biological threat, whose inspired Boobs Against Bush Campaign promises message like “More Cleavage, Less Tax Cuts on their Breasts.” On the religious front, our country must never allow the Republicans to preach religious extremism with 9/11, to use New York City and Ground Zero as the pulpit for its sermon. In the words of Reverend Billy, “we have to match that theater, to supplant it, and the RNC is going to be our 9th Symphony.” (Applause.)
Our coalition is determined: Ring down the curtain on the GOP’s undemocratic and irresponsible politics. Circle the wagons! Rend the air! Ringout invites us to toll the Iraqi dead; they invite ministers to lead a giant prayer circle around the World Trade Center; fire departments to raise the alarm; bell-ringing bikers to speed around Madison Square Garden; graffiti artists to paint giant rings on streets and walls, poets to recite Martin Luther King’s Let Freedom Ring; they call on all citizens to join at the end of the convention in a big pulsating ring around all of Manhattan.
At every stage of this process, before and after the transition to artistic sovereignty, the Republicans are likely to be active and brutal. They know the stakes as well as we do. But our coalition is prepared, our will is strong, and we will not be intimidated by neo-con insurgents.
For those artists on Active Duty, we have trained and studied and worked for this moment. And now it has come. We are the ones who will lead our war against war. Our country is depending on our courage and our dedication to duty. The eyes of the world are upon us. We will lead the coalition of the willing to stage "10,000 Acts of Artistic Mediation" at the 2004 Republican National Convention.
We embark on this challenge at a historic time, and we enter this struggle ahead with full confidence. I thank each and every artist for accepting the hardships and high honor of service and I congratulate every member of the USA Exqusite Corpse, those brave artists who are fighting to defend Artistic Freedom. (Applause.)
In the words of Marshall McLuhan, “To prevent undue wreckage in society, the artist tends now to move from the ivory to the control tower of society."
Thank you. (Applause.)
END 5:20 P.M. EST
Press Secretary of the US Department of Art & Technology
U.S. Department of Art and Technology, Washington, DC, USA