Demagogic speech and rhetorical emptiness: minding the political gap through Radikal karaoke by Belen Gache

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This paper is linked to the following topic of the Conference: Politics of e-lit: gaps between reception communities.
The third volume of the Electronic Literature Collection (ELC3) is home to Radikal Karaoke by Argentine-Spanish artist Belen Gache. This work offers a criticism of the political speech by transforming it into a karaoke and, consequently, interposing a question about the decreasing “value” of this locus (Grossberg 2012).
Radikal Karaoke is an interactive online device that displays a video in loop while the user/reader speaks/shouts using a microphone and pressing randomly the keyboard. Specifically, the video shows people applauding, explosions, spectators watching a show, aliens, slaves, etc., and at the same time, the user/reader is pressing the keyboard following some instructions and reading a text written and passing by the bottom of the screen. Depending on the volume of the voice and the use of the keyboard, the video will produce different images, colors and sounds. We can observe performative aspects of the users who, when interacting to the machine, reveal “the monolingualism of the other” (Derrida 1997).
The author clearly marks a position related to the need of intervention of those who consume her technopoetic (Kozak 2015). As part of an artistic program, Gache restores its own place for political action in a world overrun by automated discourses that functions mechanically as machines (Groys 2016). Gache´s work interrogates us about the indiscriminate consumption of nonsense political speeches and aims to implicate us as part of this parody. What is the relationship to current political practices and its social reception? Regarding this question, this paper analyses the way Gache focuses on the rhetorical emptiness of hegemonic discourses renewing the debate over the relation between demagogic politics and automated society (Berardi 2014). The objective is to identify the strategic use of this device to make people take on an active role in the execution of poetry through karaoke and to denounce the political use of propaganda through an excess of linguistic nonsense and over-saturation of media space.
Présentateur
Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET-ARGENTINA) Universidad Nacional del Litoral (UNL-Argentina)
Fellow Researcher

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