Video Installation by Satirist Captures Obama, McCain, Others Just Before Going Live
The Silent Echo Chamber, a work by artist, actor, and writer Harry Shearer, features news feeds of politicians, television hosts, and commentators captured in the moments before they went live on television. The installation will be on view October 9, 2009–January 3, 2010 in the Wexner Center’s café.
The vignettes from the 2008 presidential campaign capture quiet tension and anticipation as the individuals compose themselves for their TV appearances, fidget with their mobile devices, watch monitors, and wait for instructions. Revealed are awkward, sometimes puzzling, occasionally funny, and decidedly human moments in those seconds and minutes before going on the air. The videos map an unexpected limbo, neither public nor private, that is quietly revealing, and the ambient sounds captured in the feeds provide subtle but important context. Barack Obama, John McCain, Henry Kissinger, Anderson Cooper, Larry King, and James Carville, among others, are featured in the eight-monitor installation.
Shearer is an industry insider who clearly recognizes the power of the unscripted moment. He notes, “I still adore television’s ability to transmit unvarnished depictions of human behavior.” In addition to creating video installations such as this one, he is Derek Smalls of Spinal Tap, Mark Shubb of A Mighty Wind, the voice of Ned Flanders and others on The Simpsons, and a former writer for and cast member of Saturday Night Live. His Le Show airs weekly on National Public Radio, and he is a contributing blogger to the Huffington Post. He has published three books and recently released a music CD (Songs of the Bush Men).
The installation at the Wexner Center is curated by Catharina Manchanda, senior curator of exhibitions.
It is on a continuous loop Monday–Wednesday 8 am–6 pm; Thursday 8 am–8 pm; Saturday 10 am–8 pm; and Sunday 11 am–6 pm. Admission is free.