Closed Circuit (2010)
Closed Circuit, 2010,
Rod Dickinson in collaboration with Steve Rushton
3 Channel Video Installation with 2 teleprompters (and initially a Live Performance, 28 August 2010, 8 p.m. at Stara Elektrarna - The Old Power Station - Ljubljana, Slovenia as part of the International festival Mladi levi)
Commisioned and produced by Aksioma Institute for Contemporary Arts
Closed Circuit explores the historical form of the presidential speech and government press briefing. Set in a meticulously constructed press conference environment, two actors deliver a simulated press briefing.
The script of Closed Circuit was written in collaboration with writer Steve Rushton, and is composed solely of fragments of press statements and speeches delivered since politics became a televised event.
The script focuses on the way in which similar declarations have been used by numerous governments - across continents and spanning ideological divides - to declare and maintain states of crisis and emergency.
The press briefing is inexorably linked to the feedback circuitry of television. Just as the crisis is always in the present, the liveness of television calls the present forward. The press statement works as a feedback mechanism, which is carefully constructed for the template of television that disseminates it, and which in turn shapes political and social reality.
The fragments of speeches have been woven together irrespective of context and date - the only change to the original material was to remove any specific mention of people, places and dates. Consequently, the who, what, where, when, why and how are removed from the spoken text. However, the provenance of each fragment is revealed via synced autocue text.
In the video installation this is delivered on standard plexiglass teleprompters.
In the live performance the script with each embedded reference scrolls up large screens positioned on either side of the audience - like oversized visible autocues.