While playfully critiquing American history, Presidential rhetoric, and technological development, this work attempts to serve as a kind of fingerprint for the last century of Americana, as it was addressed by our Presidents.

This Difficult Landscape, Excerpts from Historic Presidential Speeches, 1908-1993, is both a historical critique and a self-reflective portfolio. The speeches used all come from the CD box-set, The Library of Congress Presents: Historic Presidential Speeches (1908-1993), released by Rhino World Beat in 1995.

Specifically, this work pairs a written excerpt from a specific Presidential speech with a spectral analysis of that same speech fragment as it was said by each President. A spectral analysis (a kind of visual mapping) is the result of a computer recognizing sound as it exists in the sound spectrum and in time. The computer turns sound into raw data that can be changed to alter or edit the sound, or can be used to create visual representations of how sound exists in time. The visual representation is directly indexical to the way that the words were spoken in the speeches; and therefore to the speaker. n

Matt Gainer lives in Los Angeles, CA., where he pursues his own work and co-directs Strange Air, a nomadic exhibition space.