Fed up with the election campaign and its weasel words? Bored by endless politicians' debates that stay relentlessly 'on message', yet say nothing?
A new interactive exhibition, Just a Bit of Spin, by University of New South Wales (UNSW) artist Brigid Costello offers the Australian public a small revenge.
The installation, at Sydney's Powerhouse Museum, allows audiences to play with the often hackneyed phrases of political speeches to create a new understanding of the "spin" politicians give to words to characterise themselves and, often, Australia as a nation. And the results are revealing.
"There are 15 phrases taken from real speeches for each set of selected words, and the machine plays them back according to the pattern you create from spinning the disc," Ms Costello says.
"The 'spin' politicians put on certain words really comes across when you hear them come together: some have positive spin, others are negative and others hide true meaning."
The machine is based on an early animation device, the phenakistoscope, which used a mechanical spinning component to create moving images. Ms Costello's version, looking like a cross between a juke box and a poker machine, uses a spinning disc to trigger computer-driven animation and sound.
Ms Costello, who lectures in interaction design in the School of Media, English and Performing Arts at UNSW and is undertaking a practice-based PhD at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), says the installation is an expression of the dismay she feels at the lack of real debate in modern political discourse.
"In the era of the sound bite, the blog post and the YouTube grab we have more access than ever to the present and past words of our politicians," she says.
"But, paradoxically, as more and more of these words are recorded and recalled there seems to be less and less value in what is being said."
WHAT: Just a Bit of Spin
WHERE: Beta_space, Cyberworlds Gallery, Level 1 the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney. Entry through general admittance to the museum.
WHEN: The exhibition is open until mid December 2007.
Just a Bit of Spin is part of a practice-based PhD research project at the Creativity and Cognition Studios (CCS) at UTS with support from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at UNSW, the Australasian CRC for Interaction Design (ACID), and the Powerhouse Museum.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Brigid Costello, 0402 528 933; Mandy Campbell, Powerhouse Museum, 9217 0551; Steve Offner, UNSW Media, 93851583 or 0424 580 208.