About Wave Farm
Lecture on Democracy as Word and Brand
Parsons The New School for Design | Manhattan, NY
“Lecture on Democracy as Word and Brand” is a new performance work by sound artist Alexis Bhagat, commissioned by Parsons, presented as part of the exhibition “OURS: Democracy in the Age of Branding,” and integrated into the actual exhibition layout. Turn out in person or tune in on free103point9 Online Radio at www.free103point9.org.
The lecture activates a large platform designed by Liam Gillick with two different channels of pre-recorded audio. From 4 small speakers embedded into the “fora” (4 circular benches included in Gillick’s installation), recordings play that Baghat made previously during a charrette with New School students. These recordings are juxtaposed with the “Voice of Authority,” emanating from an overhead loudspeaker and delivering recorded proclamations on democracy by Edward Bernays, George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and others. Illustrating the divergent connotations of the word “democracy,” the Voice of Authority abuses the term, while the voices from the “fora” attempt to use it. In the midst of this controversy is the artist, who stands at a lectern and talks on the history of the term “democracy”--a lecture delivered to the audience via little portable radio transmitters that will be distributed at the performance. Considering democracy as an example of a “brand,” Bhagat urges the abandonment of this hollow term.
Audience members have the choice of tuning in to the lecture via radios and headphones, or following the recordings from the Voice of Authority or the “for a.” At the end, they are encouraged to devise new terms to succeed “democracy.”
Generated in collaboration with Jesal Kapadia and students of her “Witness and Intervention: Media” class at Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts. Produced in collaboration (and with much appreciation) with free103point9. Commissioned by Parsons for OURS and presented as part of the Vera List Center’s program cycle on “Branding Democracy.”