PROJECT: Polygonal Address (P.A.) System
ARTISTS: Steven Badgett, Deborah Stratman
TIMELINE: Jan & Feb, 2012 = primary research window
March, 2012 = compilation / ordering of audio documents
March 22, 2012 = exhibition opening date
BEST SUITED FOR: artists, DJs, students and thinkers interested in social history, sound and public art.
Seeking motivated, intrepid, organized individuals to assist in researching on-site (at the sonic archives of Library of Congress, the National Archives and George Washington University’s National Security Archive) and/or online (at the Pacifica Archives and Prelinger Archives).
We are in search of audio recordings of individuals (or groups) publicly addressing gatherings on the Mall, or elsewhere around the capital. Our goal is to gather aural traces of protest speeches, from the earliest known such recordings, to contemporary occupations, providing a sonic portrait of the history of public address and free speech in the District.
Researched and compiled sounds will be used as part of P.A. System – a floating pentagonal structure, situated in the waters of the District and equipped with an on-board sound system that will play audio programs compiled of the researched aural documents.
The project was inspired in part by a 1967 antiwar action orchestrated by Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin who aimed, together with 75,000 demonstrators, to levitate the Pentagon in order to exorcise its ‘evil sprits’ and thereby end the Vietnam War. It was also inspired by General Smedley Butler’s speeches at the 1932 Bonus Army encampments in Anacostia – a movement that led to the passing of the GI Bill.
P.A. System will be launched as part of the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities 5X5 initiative, which features twenty-five groundbreaking temporary public art installations that will be installed concurrently throughout the District of Columbia.
Deborah Stratman (filmmaker / installation / interdisciplinary artist) and Steven Badgett (sculpture / installation artist). Both artists have collaborated on large-scale, multimedia, outdoor installations. Badgett, as co-founder of the artist collective SIMPARCH, has built interactive installations, permanent public works, and experimental live/work facilities for land and water. Stratman, as founder of the film production company PYTHAGORAS has directed 28 films, and has completed numerous public audio, photo, drawing and installation works. Their works have been exhibited and awarded internationally at venues including the Whitney Biennial, Documenta, Sundance Film Festival, Tate Modern, the Viennale and Rotterdam International Film Festival.