The 2007 Democratic Presidential Primary Debate (April 2022)

The 2007 Democratic Presidential Primary Debate is a distorted reimagining of a Democratic Primary debate that took place on April 26, 2007, featuring Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Joe Biden, Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd, Dennis Kucinich, and Mike Gravel. This installation was held in the CalArts WaveCave between April 4 - 9, 2022. 

Each phrase of speech of the 90 minute debate was isolated and divided into folders based on debate topic and its corresponding speaker. Through a program in MAX/MSP, the clips were rearranged by a series of probability factors processed live in real time -- basically, a debate topic is picked, Brian Williams asks a randomized question on the topic, a candidate is picked, the candidate provides a randomized answer specific to the topic, and then there is a 50/50 chance either another candidate offers rebuttal or Brian Williams speaks and asks a new question.  

The installation space was an immersive, domestic scene with two television sets, a couch, a chair, a coffee table, period copies of Time and Newsweek Magazine from 2007, balloons, confetti, and several other set pieces. 

The new phrases created by this algorithm varied between total absurdity, humorous subversion of the candidates’ platforms, and an uncanny reeinactment of reality. absurdity while resonating a collective memory of stagnated political rhetoric. Can you finish their sentence after hearing one phrase?

Debate topics include (but are not limited to) the Iraq War, foreign policy, terrorism, abortion, healthcare, guns, climate change, and gay marriage.



A Celebration of the Life of James Thomer

On the week of October 30, 2022, I will be holding a funeral service for myself in the CalArts WaveCave.