Randall Packer
Since the beginning
Works in United States of America

PORTFOLIO (2)
BIO
Randall Packer is internationally recognized as a pioneering artist, composer, educator, and scholar in the field of multimedia. His work has been exhibited at museums and galleries throughout the world including Europe, Asia, and North America. He is Assistant Professor of Multimedia at American University in Washington, DC. His book and accompanying Web site, Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality (W.W. Norton 2001 / www.artmuseum.net), has been adopted internationally as one of the leading educational texts in the field. He is concerned with the aesthetic, philosophical, and socio-cultural impact of new media in an increasingly technological society.

In 1988, he founded Zakros InterArts and has since produced, directed and created critically acclaimed new media performance, installation, and net-specific works. His sound installation Mori was selected for the 1999 Biennial Exhibition at the InterCommunication Center (ICC) in Tokyo and included in the Telematic Connections: A Virtual Embrace exhibition that toured the US (2001-2002). In 2003 Mori received its New York debut at the Kitchen. His net project, the Telematic Manifesto (1999), was included in ZKM's (Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany) Net_Condition exhibition and has been featured on the Website of the Walker Art Center.

Since moving to Washington, DC in 2000, his work has explored the critique of the role of the artist in society and politics. He founded the virtual government agency US Department of Art and Technology (www.usdat.us) in 2001, which proposes and supports the idealized definition of the artist as one whose reflections, ideas, aesthetics, sensibilities, and abilities can have significant and transformative impact on the world stage. The US DAT project has emerged as a hybrid of media forms and genres. It has yielded numerous published articles and manifestos, live performances, media installations, and video works presented at festivals, museums, and universities around the world. US DAT has also spawned several subsidiary projects, including: The Experimental Party (www.experimentalparty.org); TEL-SPAN (Web-based streaming broadcast channel); and The Media Deconstruction Kit (audio-visual manipulation of live broadcast news). In the fall of 2003, the US DAT Visitor Center was exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, across the street from the White House. In 2004, the Experimental Party DisInformation Center debuted in New York City at the LUXE gallery during the Republican National Convention.

A native Californian, Packer holds degrees from the University of Oregon (BS, sociology); California Institute of the Arts (MFA, music composition); Institute for the Research and Coordination in Acoustics and Music (IRCAM), Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (certificate, computer music); and the University of California, Berkeley (PhD, music composition). He is the recipient of several awards for his work, including the George Ladd Prix de Paris and an Artist Fellowship Award from the Washington, DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities.
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DISCUSSION

US DAT Activates Homeland Insecurity Advisory System


For Immediate Release: August 2, 2004

US DAT ACTIVATES
HOMELAND INSECURITY ADVISORY SYSTEM
http://www.usinsecurity.us

WASHINGTON, DC - As part of a series of initiatives to improve
coordination and communication among all levels of the American
public, Secretary Randall M. Packer signed the Homeland Insecurity
Secretarial Directive 3, activating the Homeland Insecurity Advisory
System (HIAS).

The Homeland Insecurity Advisory System will provide a comprehensive
and effective means to disseminate information regarding the risk of
the United States Government to the American people and around the
world.

The HIAS, created by Jonah Brucker-Cohen (Under Secretary of the
Bureau for Homeland Insecurity), is a public rating system that
allows people from across the globe to determine the US Government's
Threat Level by collectively rating RSS (Rich Site Summary or Really
Simple Syndication) feeds from major US news sources.

Turning the "Homeland Security" threat level on its head, the system
will allow the people to determine the threat condition by rating
each major US news source according to its support level for or
against the US Government's actions. Finally, the citizens of the
world have a voice in determining the threat level of the most
dangerous government on the planet. According to Under Secretary
Brucker-Cohen, "It is important to identify the threats to our nation
resulting from our government-in-action."

The Homeland Insecurity Advisory System will provide a national
framework for citizens to communicate the nature and degree of
government threats. This advisory system characterizes appropriate
levels of vigilance, preparedness and readiness in a series of
graduated Threat Conditions that characterize the risk of government
failure in order to reduce vulnerabilities:

Benign - Green: Low risk of government failure.
Danger - Blue: General risk of government failure.
Frightened - Yellow: Significant risk of government failure
Horrific - Orange: High risk of government failure
Apocalyptic - Red: Severe risk of government failure

US Department of Art & Technology announcements of threat advisories
and alerts help deter government activity and inform the public about
government actions, policies, announcements and decisions, as well as
provide them with the information necessary to respond to the threat.

With the Homeland Insecurity Advisory System, the US Department of
Art & Technology is providing a truly democratic system that allows
citizens to assess the job the US Government is doing in a tumultuous
domestic and international arena.

For information and to rate the US Government, please visit:
http://www.usinsecurity.us

Contact: Press Secretary
Megan Morrow
510-547-2162
morrow@usdat.us

******

About the US Department of Art & Technology
http://www.usdat.us

The US Department of Art and Technology is the United States
principal conduit for facilitating the artist's need to extend
aesthetic inquiry into the broader culture where ideas become real
action. It also serves the psychological and spiritual well-being of
all Americans by supporting cultural efforts that provide immunity
from the extension of new media technologies into the social sphere.

About the Experimental Party DisInformation Center
http://www.experimentalparty.org

The US Department of Art & Technology presents the Experimental Party
DisInformation Center, opening on Saturday, August 21, from 6 - 8 pm
at LUXE Gallery, 24 West 57th Street, NYC. The show continues through
Saturday, September 4. Regular gallery hours are 11AM - 6PM, Tuesday
- Saturday. The Experimental Party DisInformation is a
state-of-the-art media installation subverting Republican propaganda
through works by Secretary Randall M. Packer and US DAT artists.
This "convention intervention" uses techniques of media and illusion
to counter the political hype of the Bush Administration. Featured
projects include the "Media Deconstruction Kit," transforming live
broadcast convention coverage into an immersive multimedia experience.

# 01-136

DISCUSSION

Burn, Baby Burn: Fahrenheit 9/11


Burn, Baby Burn: Fahrenheit 9/11

Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 has descended upon us, a gripping
portrait of the Bush Kingdom that smokes with the flames of these
apocalyptic times. Moore documents how, since 9/11, even going back
to the Florida election scandal, George W. Bush & Co. has scorched
our liberties, our laws, our sensibilities, and our freedoms.

Bush is portrayed, without much effort, as a dangerous buffoon who
sat reading "My Pet Goat" for 7 minutes to a group of school children
in Florida, while hijacked planes were raining from the sky. The Bush
Family "oilgarchy" is shown to have deep business ties
(collaborative!) with the Saudi Royal Family as well as the Bin Laden
Clan, throwing the latter's post 9/11 getaway into suspect light. And
Moore's account of the Iraq fiasco centers around the ultra-patriotic
Lila Lipscomb from Flint, Michigan, who is shown sobbing in front of
the White House after the news of her son's death - raging against
the Administration.

Fahrenheit 9/11 will surely come to be known as the Great War Film of
the era of the War on Terrorism. The film is one part satire, one
part tragedy, and 100% act of artistic mediation that attempts to
unseat from power the President and his Republican cronies. However
accurate the film may be, its purpose is to peel off the layers of
lies and deception handed down by our political leaders to reveal the
true nature of their intent. It also attempts to reveal the
foolishness, sloppiness, and hypocrisy of politicians on both sides
of the isle: an appeal to Congressmen who haven't read the Patriot
Act is countered by reading it to them from behind the wheel of an
ice cream truck encircling the US Capitol; Moore personally recruits
Congressmen by asking them to sign up their own children to join the
Army if they really support the War in Iraq; and a startling scene in
the Senate Chamber at the opening of the film reveals that not a
single Senator supported a House-led petition to investigate the
Florida election scandal.

This is the film we have all been waiting for. Fahrenheit 9/11 is a
powerful catharsis that vents the anger spreading across the nation
and around the world at an Administration perilously on the brink of
self-destruction and global annihilation. Michael Moore is the hero
of our times, an artist who has expressed our collective horror.
Fahrenheit 9/11 is an artwork that reaches beyond the screen and
attempts to bring the possibilities of change into action, action
that might translate into votes.

Fahrenheit 9/11 demonstrates the power of art to reveal what is so
obvious to some, but remains elusive to most behind the veil of
deception and propaganda. Let's hope the film ignites Joe America and
the rest of the red-zone populace, inspiring them to shed the
terrible illusion afflicted upon them by Fox News and Rush Limbaugh,
to exercise their one remaining, untargeted freedom, the right to
vote (even that is now suspect). Our 200 + year experiment with
democracy hangs by a thread, but with films such as Michael Moore's
Fahrenheit 9/11, hope remains.

Go see it if you haven't already.

Randall Packer

DISCUSSION

In Defense of Steve Kurtz and the Role of the Artist


A Letter in Defense of Steve Kurtz and the Role of the Artist in Society:

As with many in the arts community, particularly those engaged in
acts of artistic mediation, I am shocked and outraged that one of our
own has become a recent victim of oppressive policies coming down
from the Bush administration. I met Steve and Critical Art Ensemble
partner Claire Pentecost a few years ago here in Washington, DC,
during their residency at the Corcoran College of Art.

Steve's commitment to social inquiry, particularly in the area of
bio-technologies, is internationally renowned. Steve is an artist and
scholar of extraordinary depth of knowledge and perspective. Behind
the actions and projects of CAE is a profound understanding of 20th
century avant-garde practice and its impact on contemporary thought.
If in fact it is the role of the artist to shed new light and vision
on the issues that confront us today, Steve is the classic model, the
real deal.

For Steve Kurtz to now be facing criminal charges, shows the deep
chasm that exists in our society between the artist's role as a
social and political critic, and the society at large. Steve has
shown how the artist-as-citizen might stand up for justice in the
most thoughtful and imaginative way possible.

It is my hope that the case of Steve Kurtz and other CAE
collaborators now under investigation can inspire other artists to
better articulate their vital role in society. Without artistic
freedom, there is no freedom in the world. The artist is constantly
examining, redefining and expanding our notions of freedom. How
hypocritical for the US Government to claim it is bringing freedom
and democracy to oppressive regions of the world, when here at home,
it is condemning one of the great artists of our generation who
speaks out for truth and justice.

In George Orwell's 1984, the motto of Big Brother is:

WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

The words resonate all too well in the current social and political
climate. The crisis facing us is much larger than the charges that
may face Steve Kurtz and Critical Art Ensemble. The crisis is that
this madness may soon be staring us all in the face, particularly
those of us fighting for the ideals we thought our nation was all
about. Steve is being victimized by the Patriot Act and the extremist
ideologies behind it. We must not allow this to occur. We must defend
the principles we believe in, and we must defend the role of the
artist as a critical voice to help counter the rising tide of
injustice that has spread since 9-11.

The defense of Steve Kurtz is vital to the defense of the artist,
whose role is to function as a mediator between our strange hostile
world and the human spirit.

Randall Packer
June 8, 2004
Washington, DC

DISCUSSION

Secretary to Address Armed Artists of America in NY


US Department of Art & Technology
http://www.usdat.us
press@usdat.us
Washington, DC

Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 7, 2004

Secretary Packer to Address Armed Artists of America in NY
Announcing 10,000 Acts of Artistic Mediation
at the 2004 Republican National Convention

WASHINGTON, DC - Secretary Randall M. Packer will address the Armed
Artists of America (AAA), calling on them to lead a coalition of
artists to carry out 10,000 Acts of Artistic Mediation at the 2004
Republican National Convention in New York City. The speech takes
place on Saturday, June 12, 7:00 pm, at the Studio 84 Active Duty
exhibition in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York (84 S. First St.) - a
show "armed with ideas and the tools to create a rapid response
agenda to stop the global progression towards World War III." A
reception with the Secretary begins at 5:00 pm.

At the invitation of Army Veteran Lee Wells, curator of Active Duty,
the Secretary will call on Active Duty artists to inspire other
artists into action by carrying out acts of artistic mediation that
counter the Republican National Convention. The Secretary will
announce numerous artists who are already in various stages of
planning: from Jonny America's march down Lexington Avenue in
colonial garb declaring "The Republicans are Coming," to the Revelers
who will mount the Staton Island Ferry and stage a heroic "Crossing
of New York Harbor" to liberate Manhattan from the Bush Loyalists, to
the Missile Dick Chicks, a posse of pissed-off housewives from
Crawford, Texas charged with opposing consumerism by singing songs
like "Shop! In the Name of War."

The Secretary will also announce the US Department of Art &
Technology's 2004 Experimental Party (Un)Convention &
(Dis)Information Center, a convention intervention that subverts
Republican propaganda and welcomes all RNC delegates in order to
inform, transform, and redirect their way of thinking.

The Secretary added, "Like other totalitarian movements, the
Republicans seek to impose a grim vision in which dissent is crushed,
and every man and woman must think and live in colorless conformity.
We offer to the oppressed peoples of our nation and around the world,
the great alternative of human liberty through creative expression.
Our country must never allow the Republicans to preach religious
extremism with 9-11, to use New York City and Ground Zero as the
pulpit for its ideologies."

As Reverand Billy poetically declared, "we have to match that
theater, to supplant it, and the RNC is going to be our 9th Symphony."

******

The US Department of Art & Technology
http://www.usdat.us

The US Department of Art and Technology is the United States
principal conduit for facilitating the artist's need to extend
aesthetic inquiry into the broader culture where ideas become real
action. It also serves the psychological and spiritual well-being of
all Americans by supporting cultural efforts that provide immunity
from the extension of new media technologies into the social sphere.

Active Duty: Armed Artists of America
http://www.leewells.org/activeduty2/active_duty_press_release.jpg
Studio 84, 84 S. 1st St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York

Active Duty is curated by the artist and US Army Veteran Lee Wells in
collaboration with Studio 84 artists in residence Michael Krynski and
Tom Billings. Active Duty has mobilized over 33 artists in less than
21 days as a direct response to the current socio-political state of
America and the phenomenal events taking place on, in and around the
world today.

The Experimental Party 2004 (Un)Convention & (Dis)Information Center
http://www.experimentalparty.org

From August 20 to September 4, the US Department of Art & Technology
will present to the nation a uniquely redefined convention: the 2004
Experimental Party National (UN)Convention & (Dis)Information Center.
New York City and LUXE Gallery on 57th St. will serve as the focal
point, but the Department encourages participation by citizens all
over America and throughout the world.

*****

# 01-133

DISCUSSION

Secretary Delivers Speech at Seoul Digital Forum


US Department of Art & Technology
http://www.usdat.us
press@usdat.us
Washington, DC

Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 11, 2004

SECRETARY DELIVERS 'ARTISTIC CONVERGENCE' SPEECH

Secretary Packer Unveils Initiative for Securing the
Role of the Artist in the Corporate Sector
Remarks by the Secretary at the Seoul Digital Forum
Seoul, S. Korea

WASHINGTON, DC - On May 6, 8:32 PM (UTC/GMT +9
hours) Secretary Randall M. Packer of the US
Department of Art & Technology completed his
first tour of Asia at the Seoul Digital Forum to
deliver the "Artistic Convergence" speech,
announcing a bold new initiative intended to
embed revolutionary artistic strategies for
social transformation into the heart of global
information and communication industries.

The following is the transcript:

Speech by Randall M. Packer
Secretary, US Department of Art & Technology
Presented by the Seoul Broadcasting System
at the Seoul Digital Forum
Grand Hilton Hotel
May 6, 2004

THE SECRETARY: Thank you Soh-Yeong Roh of Art
Center Nabi for the warm introduction. Thanks to
the Seoul Digital Forum for letting me come by
and share some thoughts. You picked a great place
to have a conference. What a great city Seoul is.
(Applause.)

I want to thank Seyoung Yoon, the Chairman and
CEO of the Seoul Broadcasting System for hosting
the US Department of Art & Technology at the
Seoul Digital Forum. And I want to thank those of
you here who are leaders in the information and
media industries around the world. I want to
thank you for your dedication; I want to thank
you for your spirit; I want to thank you for your
vision; and I'm here to say "thanks" on behalf of
all of America. (Applause.)

Not only do I want to talk about the role of
artists in our society today, but I want to talk
about 'artistic convergence' as we promote a new
generation of artists engaged in 21st century
survival techniques of artistic mediation.

For as Marshall McLuhan declared, "The artist
picks up the message of cultural and
technological challenge decades before its
transforming impact occurs. He, then, builds
models or Noah's arks for facing the change that
is at hand."

* * *

You know, the artists closest to the situation at
hand are those who can best devise a strategy:
tactical methodologies for social change through
experimental acts of artistic expression for all
citizens. This is the rallying cry of the
Department, formed by artists seeking to reclaim
America's Government.

It was just three years ago, shortly after 9-11,
that I proposed the idea to President George W.
Bush to form a new government agency to
revitalize utopian ideologies in America. We
faced a crisis. And those were tough times,
obviously, for the nation.

The President issued an Executive Order to form
the US Department of Art & Technology and named
me as its first Secretary.

I was sworn into office at an official ceremony
pre-sided by Alice Denney, founder of the
Washington Project for the Arts.

Here in the nation's capital, and all around
Washington, DC, are emerging signs of the
artistic achievements of the US Department of Art
& Technology.

We now have the strength of the artist helping to
guide our nation's policy. And that is -- it's an
amazing statement, when you think about what this
country and the world have been through for the
past three years. And the reason I bring that up
is because I know how important the artistic
spirit is; I know how important art is to the
future. And I believe it is the spirit of the
artist, in part, that will help us overcome the
challenges we face.

* * *

In the past century it has come to be generally
acknowledged that, in the famous words of the
late Billy Kluver, "The artists have to create
with technology because technology is becoming
inseparable from our lives." Knowledge of this
simple fact is now needed for human survival. The
ability of the artist to develop immunity to the
extensions of new technology of any age, and to
parry such extensions with full awareness, is
age-old.

Let me give you some examples:

The "paroxysm of junk in motion" to the fluidity
of human locomotion is apparent in Jean
Tinguely's Homage to New York, which
self-destructed in the Sculpture Garden of the
New York Museum of Modern Art in March of 1960,
in front of a well-dressed audience. Here, during
27 minutes of cataclysmic motion, smoke, and
explosions, Tinguely awakens machine parts from
their dreams and makes them come alive. Anything
brought back to life in this way is frightful and
menacing; the term intelligent-machine would have
been an oxymoron; the artist seeks a
rapprochement between art and science, between
the human and technology; He endeavors to get
people to interact with his art, to entrance them
while simultaneously freeing their minds.

Nam June Paik's 1974 TV Buddha was created with a
strange twist of television technology combined
with the ancient statue of the symbol of Asian
Buddhism. The Buddha sits in front of a
television set and contemplates its own image. A
question of origin. The Buddha, who traditionally
wishes to keep himself free of all external
matters, now sits in deep contemplation
confronted by his own image via closed-circuit
television.

Decades later, Paik reinterpreted this theme by
placing the Buddha sculpture in front of a
computer monitor in Buddha Re-Incarnated. The
connection is not made through a contemplative
gaze, but rather mediated by a telephone receiver
teleconferencing the Buddha figure to a computer
monitor.

We find human bodies merged with technological
cyborgian attributes here in Lynn Hershman's
Phantom Limbs, pointing out our reliance on
electronics and media, and how it permeates our
physical and psychological collective selves.
Media infiltrates the body and in doing so gives
birth to our virtual selves.

Ken Goldberg's tele-robotic installation,
Telegarden, allows World Wide Web users to view
and interact with a remote garden filled with
living plants. Participants can plant, water, and
monitor the progress of seedlings via the tender
movements of an industrial robot arm. Internet
behavior might be characterized as ``hunting and
gathering''; the purpose here is to consider the
``post-nomadic'' community, where survival favors
those who work together; the Telegarden projects
a techno-utopian society where the individual's
relationship to nature and to one another is
supplanted by virtual means and technological
extension.

Alba is a very special animal, but I want to be
clear that her formal and genetic uniqueness are
but one component of the "GFP Bunny" artwork. The
"GFP Bunny" project of Eduardo Kac is a complex
social event that starts with the creation of a
chimerical animal that does not exist in nature.
It also includes at its core an ongoing dialogue
between professionals of several disciplines
(art, science, philosophy, law, communications,
literature, social sciences), as well as the
public, on the cultural and ethical implications
of genetic engineering.

And finallly, if you're going to ask the media to
take responsibility for your view of reality, you
should be willing to take responsibility for your
own. The Media Deconstruction Kit is an
information service, news and media project of
the US Department of Art & Technology, serving
viewers around the world. The Media
Deconstruction Kit has forged a unique position
within the media arts through an unparalleled
combination of appropriation, theory, collage and
real-time processing tools.

By providing instantaneous access to broadcast
media - and the ability to act upon it - the
Media Deconstruction Kit seeks to transform the
one-way paradigm of broadcast media into
many-to-many forms of interaction by leveling the
playing field between medium and viewer.

In today's media, events, information, ideas, and
images are packaged, and delivered to our
television screens as soundbytes, slogans, ads,
logos, and banners. This state of affairs is only
compounded in times of crisis such as we have
experienced since 9/11: the media and the
manipulation of its content must be understood as
a breakdown between credible, meaningful
communication and the distortion of reality that
confronts us today; The Media Deconstruction Kit
amplifies and subverts this condition by
reconfiguring and disorienting live broadcast
media into an immersive, sensorial, multimedia
experience.

* * *

Technology can be construed dystopically, but one
must also recall Martin Heidegger's claim that
where technology's danger lies, so does its
saving power, a saving power not merely secondary
to its danger. Underscoring the ambiguous nature
of technology - Heidegger reminds us that in
ancient Greece "the poiesis of the fine arts was
also called techne" - he says any decisive
confrontation with technology "must happen in a
realm that is, on the one hand, akin to the
essence of technology and, on the other,
fundamentally different from it. Such a realm is
art."

And that's precisely why we must not isolate the
work of the artist from the rest of the world.
We've got to reject artistic isolationism and
embrace, rather, its total convergence. And in
turn we must redefine the role of the artist as a
mediator whose reflections, ideas, sensibilities,
and abilities can take significant action on the
world stage.

And in turn, the artist must move into action by
undergoing aesthetic operation as a form of
magic, as a mediation between our strange hostile
world and the human spirit. Again, quoting
Marshall McLuhan, "To prevent undue wreckage in
society, the artist tends now move from the ivory
tower to the control tower of society."

* * *

And so, the artist is indispensable in the
shaping and analysis and understanding of the
life forms, and structures created by digital
technology.

Now as we encourage innovation and change it is
always important to remember the vital role the
artist plays in our society. Technologies change,
but the spirit of art never changes.

If we are to be convinced that art is precise,
advanced knowledge of how to cope with the
psychic and social consequences of the next
technology, would we all become artists? Would we
begin a careful translation of new art forms into
social navigation charts?

The Government and industry can help this effort
by embracing the artist. One of the things we've
got to recognize is that if you want to be
competitive in the future, you've got to
encourage art and technology.

To quote the great Korean artist Nam June Paik,
"Cybernated art is very important, but art for
cybernated life is more important, and the latter
need not be cybernated."

Paik also said, "there is no rewind button on the betamax of life."

The US Department of Art & Technology will
continue to promote the convergence of art in all
aspects of society as an integral part of that
strategy. That's what I'm here to tell you. It's
an integral part so long as you're willing to
listen to the needs of the artist. Art and
technology is the cornerstone of good economic
policy. It's a cornerstone of sound business
policy. And it's one of the reasons why I'm
optimistic that the artist will continue to lead
the world when it comes to innovation and change.
And that will be good for all people. That will
be good for the revitalization of what I call
"The Artistic Spirit."

I want to thank you for what you do. I appreciate
your compassion. I appreciate your interest in
the future of digital media.

And I am confident in those principles of
virtualization that will unite and lead us
forward. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

***********

Contact: Press Secretary of the US Department of Art & Technology
press@usdat.us

The US Department of Art & Technology
http://www.usdat.us

The US Department of Art and Technology is the
United States principal conduit for facilitating
the artist's need to extend aesthetic inquiry
into the broader culture where ideas become real
action. It also serves the psychological and
spiritual well-being of all Americans by
supporting cultural efforts that provide immunity
from the extension of new media technologies into
the social sphere.

# 01-132