Considering that President George W. Bush's strongest aspiration before becoming president was to own a sports team, his recent enthusiasm for war is not surprising. However, what is surprising is his zeal to remake the world. Although many see the war in Iraq centered around access to oil, Bush's self-righteousness seems to go beyond economic concerns. Perhaps it's partly the fervor of a former alcoholic who has found religious faith. Or perhaps we're neglecting the influence of the man he considers his political predecessor, former President Ronald Reagan. Bush's "Axis of Evil" rhetoric leapfrogs his own father's limp "Line in the Sand" ultimatum and instead recalls the paranoia of "the Evil Empire".
Reagan the man can no longer speak for himself, so Raygun steps in. Reagan has lost himself, but the network has gained him. His media legacy is now his corpus, and Raygun disperses this corpus across the network. No longer bound to the intentions of one man or one time, but freely associating with the capricious zeitgeist of Google.
The audio is a chopped-up version of Ronald Reagan's famous "Evil Empire" speech presented to the British House of Commons on June 6, 1982. The images are "visual associations" of the text harvested from Google Images.
Raygun is a Java applet which plays in your browser. Images and audio are streamed over the net. In the background, a Perl script harvests images from Google Images using the text of the speech as keywords. This harvesting happens continuously, so the images are always different and "of the moment".
You need audio and Java.
If performance is really, really slow, you're probably (a) on a dialup connection or (b) using the Java plug-in from Sun. Slow is ok, as there's no prescribed speed for playback. However, if you want to see it play faster, try changing your situation (another browser, another computer, play it from work, etc.). You can try e-mailing me at <email@example.com> for additional help.
Shown at FILE Porto Alegre in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Spring 2008.
Selected for the CYNETart festival >> in Dresden, Germany, November 2004.
Exhibited at the American Museum of the Moving Image >> in Queens, New York, August 2004 - January 2005.
Mentioned in NY Times article >>, June 2004.
Playing in "For and Because", the SpaceWorks Gallery at the Tank >>, New York City, July - August 2003.
Exhibited in the FILE 2003 festival >> in São Paulo, Brazil, August 2003.