Thoughts and Prayers, The Executive Condolence, a 360° video installation opening this January at Los Angeles’ A+D Architecture and Design Museum, explores the use of language over the course of 30 years of presidential responses to mass shootings in the United States.
To date, there have been 301 mass shootings in the U.S. in 2019 alone, with thousands in the past 30 years. By using art and visual data to illustrate this unsettling history, we see how it continues to repeat itself in the present day. From here we can move from awareness to solutions.
Placing the viewer in the center of America’s groundhog day and spanning four presidential administrations - Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump - eerie linguistic patterns cascade around the viewer, begging us to examine the history of executive condolences in response to tragedy, the configuration of performative speech, the obligation to the public and the limits of our own memory.
By observing video, radio and tweets at once as our commanders in chief appear on the walls speaking in unison and finishing each other's sentences, the installation examines our collective past through a non-linear lense, highlighting the stagnant use of language in these public addresses. When the scripts are echoed by multiple presidents, the audience becomes increasingly dependent on tone and contextual knowledge to discern the motivation behind them.
In underscoring the repetition of linguistic structure, the installation allows the viewer to discover the importance of media and access to data in understanding political impulse, setting the stage for a renewed conversation on how we respond to tragedy.
Thoughts and Prayers, The Executive Condolence came together after one year of research, containing 37 presidential addresses from the past 30 years.
We finished the research and the exhibition is design-ready, but we need YOUR help to make the show a reality!
We are asking specifically for your (tax-deductible!) donations to pay for the projectors, brightsign players, editing equipment and the cost of installing material so we can bring this research to the public. Please help us make this amazing show happen!
- Codi Barbini, Artist and Filmmaker
Risks & Challenges
Due to the fact that this exhibition is extremely ambitious, it faces many challenges. Our most pressing, urgent concern is funding. We risk not being able to share our research with the public and inciting new conversations with a diverse audience at the museum. To continue without public engagement is a risk in and of itself.
Once we achieve our funding goals, we need to build out the show within the museum space. That means installing an immersive video environment with 5-10 ft. walls, 5 video projectors, wireless individual sound and finalizing the digital video component, among so many other things. There are many moving parts, but we're up to the challenge… and you can help make it happen!
A+D Architecture and Design Museum
The A+D is a place for individuality, creativity, discovery and continuous questioning. It is a location of serendipitous combustion resulting in endless exhibitions, events and cultural engagement bringing LA to the front line of emerging themes, topics and thoughts of the Architecture and Design community. Established in January 2001, A+D is the only museum in the country to exclusively and continuously host architecture and design exhibitions, symposia, multi-disciplinary projects, educational and community programs.