James Wagner: Noah Fischer at Oliver Kamm





It’s an awesome piece and an awesome engineering feat as well. It’s also a beautiful work of art, but it wouldn’t have been possible without more than half a century of the mendacity or pure villainy of Americans with great power and the laziness or stupidity of us lesser folk.

Remember when you couldn’t find art with a political element if your life depended on it? Unfortunately for the sake of many lives it’s already too late.

Noah Fischer’s Rhetoric Machine, installed at Oliver Kamm through January 6, specifically addresses the language of a diseased political environment which even the “unpolitical” are now finding increasingly impossible to ignore. From the gallery’s statement:

Rhetoric Machine is a two-room kinetic installation that appropriates the language of movies, television, radio, and speechmaking. Presidential speeches and emotionally laced pop songs serve as the soundtrack for a sculptural light show that marches through the last sixty years, what many would call the golden age of American history. American icons such as an eagle, a tank, and a television set react variously to the soundtrack, creating what Sergei Eisenstein called an “intellectual montage” where jarring associations between light and sound lead to new meaning constructions, often charged with emotion.