Experimental Party debuts at UI Thaw event
By Vanessa Miller
Sunday, April 14, 2002, 11:21:39 AM IOWA CITY -- The Experimental Party
leaped into the political scene Saturday and will compete against the
Democratic Party, Republican Party and Green Party -- not so much for
government office but for a voice.
Randall Packer, secretary of the U.S. Department of Art and Technology,
officially announced the new party at Thaw, the University of Iowa's annual
media festival, which showcases film, video, digital art and DVD productions.
"During the last few months, we have been horrified at how our country
has reacted in a time of testing," Packer said, adding he thinks
the government has been blinded by patriotism. "Our artists have
higher obligations. . . . Today, we announce a new artist-based political
The Washington, D.C., resident spoke to about 20 people at Shambaugh
Auditorium in the university's Main Library. Packer
said he wanted to speak at the seventh annual Thaw festival because he
wanted to reach young artists and inspect
experimental art in the Midwest.
Adam Burke, 32, a digital director of Thaw, said he was excited Packer
chose to announce the new party at the media festival.
He is making the announcement here because Iowa is the first state to
have caucuses, Burke said. "This is the first time ever
that Thaw has received federal support from the government." Packer
said the new party will focus on understanding the role of the artist
in society and will give them a voice on major political issues.
"Artists are not represented very well, people don't care what artists
think," Packer said. "This party is about understanding
how the artist can participate in equal dialogue in the political process."
The group representing artists will not be officially registered as a
party because Packer said he doesn't want the distraction of competing
for office. He said the party will tour the country in 2004 and will build
its own alternative voting system on the Internet.
"Just imagine if we had a political party that wasn't trying to
win an election," he said. "We can get votes and we can win,
we're not trying to get into office, we're just trying to send a message."
Burke said Thaw, which ran from April 4-13, screened the work of about
67 artists. He said that about 200 attended the event, which showcased
about 12 hours of work.
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