The video above is from the kick-off event for the public art project Participatory Democracy and the Future of Karaoke, commissioned by the City of Denver as part of the exhibition Dialog:City.
Using the city's existing karaoke infrastructure, I created a network of "Karaoke Convention Centers" to host citizens of Denver as "respeakers." At these centers throughout the city, members of the public delivered custom-made karaoke versions of speeches by their candidate of choice.
The project invited people to pass the words of their would be leaders through their own bodies, suggesting an embodied epistomolgical stance as a necessary posture in a thickly mediated society. The DJs at these makeshift karaoke convention centers were provided with a set of custom designed karaoke tracks composed from the primary speeches of each of the candidates. The tracks were designed to integrate seamlessly with the existing karaoke infrastructure, each venue was provided with a simple collapsable podium, that slid over their microphone, and the DJs downloaded our custom tracks as they would any new update to their track list. The tracks themselves were extracted from the readily-available, online archive of primary speeches and recomposed by voice extraction, leaving behind the ambiance and cheers of the original crowds; allowing, for example, the crowd supporting Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire to mix with the crowd at Armida's 7-day/week Karaoke Bar and Mexican Restaurant. While the project was launched during the 2008 DNC, the tracks continue to circulate as part of the dense track books offered by DJs who hosted the events.