Re-Translating the U.S. Elections Through U.S. Propaganda

Paul the Mediageek recently did an excellent interview with Sarah Kanouse, Assistant Professor in the Intermedia Program at the University of Iowa’s School of Art and Art History, about her latest project, Voices of America. In short, this VOA is a re-interpretation of presidential election coverage provided by the real Voice of America – the main radio arm of the United States’ international, over-the-counter propaganda efforts.
As Sarah explains, there is technically a ban on U.S. government-sponsored information outlets being used to propagandize the domestic public. Though this ban has long been flimsy, the rise of the Internet both makes it possible for VOA to be sampled by Americans as well as the rest of the world. Voices of America, therefore, is an effort to re-contextualize VOA coverage of the U.S. presidential election using the government’s own coverage; the participant-artists are the propaganda’s targets, both intentional and otherwise.
One of the things that makes this project notable, especially for remix-culture buffs like me, is that the participant-artists can be any of us. The Voices of America web site provides information on how to pull VOA clips down to edit, provides a link to short tutorial on digital audio editing basics, and allows those who’ve re-translated something to share it with the rest of the world. On Election Day, the aggregated collection of collage will be “exhibited” in gallery-space and via micropower FM transmission in Los Angeles.
In related news, Skidmark Bob has put together a compelling five minute encapsulation of the chaos that surrounded the recent Republican National Convention. I’ve stumbled across a few election-related collages, which I hope to add to the Truthful Translations archive in short order.

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