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2007 Democratic 
Presidential Primary Debate

“The 2007 Democratic Presidential Primary Debate” is a distorted reimagining of a Democratic Primary debate that took place on April 26, 2007, featuring Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Joe Biden, Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd, Dennis Kucinich, and Mike Gravel. This installation was held in the CalArts WaveCave between April 4 - 9, 2022.

Each phrase of speech of the 90 minute debate was isolated and divided into folders based on debate topic and its corresponding speaker. Through a program in MAX/MSP, the clips were rearranged by a series of probability factors processed live in real time: a debate topic is picked, Brian Williams asks a randomized question on the topic, a candidate is picked, the candidate provides a randomized answer specific to the topic, and then there is a 50/50 chance either another candidate offers rebuttal or Brian Williams speaks and asks a new question.  This was is a live, generative process that unfolds as you watch. 

The new phrases and sequences of speech created by this algorithm varied between total absurdity, humorous subversion of the candidates’ platforms, and an uncanny reenactment of reality. The isolated words and phrases were distant but familiar, often recalling our collective memory of stagnated political rhetoric. Can you finish their sentence after hearing one phrase?

Debate topics included (but were not limited to) the Iraq War, foreign policy, terrorism, abortion, healthcare, guns, climate change, and gay marriage.