Political Pomp for the People

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The season of political sermons is upon us, that special time of the year when not only candidates, but neighbors, colleagues and friends are busy voicing decisive opinions to the public. Unlike our presidential candidates however, whose political parlance is often delivered to attentive crowds, the wise words of the standard citizen are often lost on deaf ears. Vox Populi, New York based Canadian artist Don Ritter's newest interactive artwork, comes to remedy this disappointing state of affairs. In Vox Populi, a video projected crowd chants 'speech, speech' and encourages visitors to step up to the lectern, speak through a microphone and hear their words amplified throughout the space. A teleprompter located within the lectern scrolls political speeches for the reciting pleasure of the participant, and the crowd on the video screen reacts with varying degrees of support and repulsion. Enjoy the supportive cheers of the many projected faces, but be prepared for their blaring jeers if you falter in your phrasing. Vox Populi is at Jack the Pelican Gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn until October 9. - Ophra Wolf