SECRETARY PACKER HOLDS PRESS CONFERENCE IN
WASHINGTON, DC - On April 13, 12:00 PM (CST)
the Secretary of the US Department of Art & Technology, Randall M.
Packer, held a press conference at the Thaw 2002 Festival of Film, Video
and Digital Media at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. The following
is the transcript:
Opening Remarks by Randall M. Packer
During these last few months, we have been
horrified and outraged to see the character of our country in a time of
testing. Our enemies believed America was arrogant and materialistic for
engaging in tactics of unilateralism and selfishness. They were as right
as our country is now blinded by patriotism and national pride.
On the other hand, the American artist and
other members of the art community have responded magnificently, with
courage and passion, and with critical inquiry into complex cultural issues.
As I have observed them, engaged with them, I have stood in awe of the
And I hope you will join me - I hope you will
join me in expressing thanks to these Americans who have sought to subvert
the principles of self-interest.
None of us would ever wish the destruction
that was done on September the 11th. Yet after America was attacked, it
was as if our President looked into a mirror and saw himself as William
the Conqueror engaged in a religious crusade against terror and evil.
At the same time, we were reminded that our artists have higher obligations
to cultural understanding, to the world situation, and to history. They
thought less of the bombs we can drop, the rhetoric we can deliver, and
more about the mediation we can do.
For too long our President has reminded us,
"We are fighting the war on terror." Now America is embracing
a dangerous ethic, a moralistic creed: "Let's route out evil."
In this sacrifice of soldiers, the media's glorification of the military,
the flag waving, and the loss of individual privacy, we have glimpsed
what a new culture of war will look like. We want to be a nation that
serves goals greater than this. We have a unique opportunity to respond,
and we must not let this moment pass.
It is for this reason, that the US Department
of Art & Technology is today announcing the formation of a new artist-based
political party, heralding a new era for the nation. The party will be
officially named the Experimental Party - the "party of virtualization"
- to be built on the strength of the artists' message. The new Experimental
Party of the United States of America is an artist-driven caucus, which
will attempt to halt the momentum of rising cultural conflicts and the
corporatization of media that is building on a global scale.
The US Department of Art & Technology has
decided to form the Experimental Party in order to activate citizens across
the country in its effort to bring the artists' message to center stage
of the political process. This is a political awakening, 'Representation
Through Virtualization' is the major political thrust of the Experimental
Party, it is the driving force.
One purpose of the USA Exquisite Corpse will
be to heed the Experimental Party's call-to-action, "Representation
Through Virtualization." We particularly need students who can be
mobilized in times of crisis; volunteers to help speak oracular truths
and the most radically liberating critique of reason; students to engage
in acts of appropriation through art and polemic, manifesto and demonstration,
love and politics. As André Breton said, "perhaps the imagination
is on the verge of recovering its rights."
Our country needs all citizens working to develop
techniques of surprise and methodologies of the fantastic, to subvert
academic modes of inquiry, and undermine the complacent certainties of
the "respectable" and "moralistic." We need citizens
to invent procedures and systematic stratagems to unlock the door to the
unconscious and to release the visual and verbal poetry of collective
creativity. The USA Exquisite Corpse will expand and improve the good
efforts of the US Department of Art & Technology and the Experimental
Party to recruit more than 200,000 new volunteers.
And America needs its citizens to engage in
the provocation of bourgeois normalities. So we will build the promise
of the Experimental Party, appropriate with magisterial fearlessness,
transform the horrors of CNN and Fox into magical images, bring about
the systematic reordering of the senses, reinstate the power of the performance
of art - facilitate our researches into the secrets of the human heart
This time of adversity offers a unique moment
of opportunity, a moment we must seize to challenge our future. Through
the gathering momentum of millions of acts of art and subversion, I know
we can overcome this simplistic obsession with evil and bring about greater
cultural understanding with a renewed intelligence. And we have a great
opportunity during this time of war to lead the world toward the values
of collectively achieved revelation and to exploit the mechanisms of inspiration
- rhetorical subterfuge that challenges current political thought.
Today I declare, "fire in the heartland,"
together, let's heed the call of the experimental.
Contact: Press Secretary of the US Department
of Art & Technology
U.S. Department of Art and Technology, Washington, DC, USA