This work examines the history of American political discourse through the metaphor of vision. Drawing from the annual State of the Union (SOTU) addresses given by Presidents to Congress, 'Hindsight' consists of a single Snellen-style eye chart for each president to have given SOTU addresses. Instead of the typical characters present in an eye chart, the piece employs words drawn from their speeches, presented in order of most frequent (top line) to least frequent (bottom line) word. The result is a startlingly clear snapshot of the lexicon of each presidency, containing a mix of historically topical keywords and rhetoric unique to each president and the time period in which they served in office.
About R. Luke DuBois
Known as a software engineer, composer, and artist, R. Luke DuBois creates visual and sonic works that distill historical eras and cultural phenomena down to a single image or a few seconds of sound or video. DuBois’ collections capture both the zeitgeist and the past, articulating cultural trends in meaningful new ways. For the Democratic National Convention in 2008, DuBois collated into a folio a series of 41 text-based prints resembling the layout of a Snellen eye chart, entitled “Hindsight Is Always 20/20.” Having examined the rhetoric of every successive American president’s State of the Union Address, DuBois determined which words were used most by each president. Devoting one print per president, he stacked the words from most used to least, as well as largest to smallest.
American, b. 1975, based in New York, New York