Projects / Art Works

Who, What, Where, When, Why and How (2009)

Who, What, Where, When, Why and How, 2009, Rod Dickinson in collaboration with Steve Rushton

Live Performance 11 July 2009

Single channel video installation with Teleprompters


'Who, What, Where, When, Why and How' was a live performance that was a simulated government press briefing. It took place once at in SMART Project Space' in Amsterdam on the 11 July as part of the exhibition "Performing Evidence", curated by Anke Bangma. It has subsequently been shown as video installation at Alma Enterprises, London (2010) and Haifa Museum of Art (2011)

The performance and video installation explores the form and role of presidential speeches and governmental press briefings in the form of a 45 minute performed script composed solely of actual speeches and statements from the cold war era onwards.

It focuses on the way in which similar declarations and political rhetoric have been repeated and reused by numerous governments across continents and ideological divides to justify acts of aggression and state sanctioned violence.

The viewer is drawn into the speech by the seamless and forceful delivery of the actors, whilst the documentary sources of the script are revealed simultaneously on two presidential style teleprompters which display the scrolling script of the speech and expose it's repetitive, fragmentary and modular structure.

Television and the moving image have long shaped not only how dramatic events such as conflicts are perceived, but also how and if they happen. And although the wide variety of sources (from speeches as diverse as Lyndon Johnson and Saddam Hussein) seemed to be seamlessly woven together irrespective of context and date their provenance is made simultaneously evident to the audience in the live event via synced autocue style text scrolling up a screen off set on both sides of the audience. In the video installation two synced teleprompters face the projection screen serving the same function.

Although the focus for current media coverage of conflict is often on the DIY film making techniques used during terror campaigns, and journalists embedded with troops on the front line, it is the long established government press briefing that is the primary tool to construct a rationale and morale for conflict in democracies.

'Who, What, Where, When, Why and How' was photographed by Nicki Musgrave and filmed by Phil Hargreaves and Patrycja Cudak.