U.S. Department of Art & Technology

Press Secretary

For Immediate Release: April 17, 2002


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
Secretary, US Department of Art & Technology To the Thaw 2002 Festival of Film, Video and Digital Media
April 13, 2002
Shambaugh Auditorium
University of Iowa, Iowa City


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 artist.

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.
In making this announcement in America's heartland, my call today is for every citizen to commit at least two years - 4,000 hours over the rest of your lifetime - to the service of your artists and to a better understanding of the social and political condition of your nation and the world. Many are already serving, and I thank you. If you aren't sure how to help, I've got a good place to start. To sustain and extend the best that has emerged in America, I invite you to join the new USA Exquisite Corpse of the Experimental Party. The Exquisite Corpse will focus on three areas of need: to celebrate the universal spirit of "collective expression," the creative act of "freedom of association, " and the transformational properties of the "ceremonies of art."

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 and mind.


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.

Thank you.

For further information, visit the following URLs:

US Department of Art & Technology

USA Exquisite Corpse

Contact: Press Secretary of the US Department of Art & Technology



Return to the Department of Art and Technology news releases

U.S. Department of Art and Technology, Washington, DC, USA