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A More Perfect Day

Video installation 2009 / 8 minutes. English, french subtitles. Floating screen. Excerpt from Barack Obama’s speech “A Perfect Union” / Singer : David Bichindaritz

When I first read ‘A More Perfect Union’, a speech that Barack Obama delivered on the 18th of March 2008, I immediately wanted to ‘use’ his words in one of my videos. At the time, Obama was being hounded by the press after his preacher made comments about the racism of Americans. We waited for his response. People said he was too white, too black or too Muslim, too immature, too inexperienced... Obama chose to respond to his critics in Philadelphia, home to the celebrated speech by Martin Luther King. But whereas King “had a dream”, Obama peppered his speech with the words “Not this time!” – a speech that was engaged, about society and race, from the left, and that shifted from the personal to the universal”. Some months later, I was at the concert of a friend, David Bichindaritz. In the middle of the concert, David went wild and his voice became extremely feminine. I decided there and then that he would be my substitute for Obama, the first American president not to look like a cowboy, but who instead has a new kind of body as masculine as it is feminine.
It wasn’t easy for David to practice what I call being ‘double touched’. He offers himself to us without any self-protection, thereby twisting the extreme severity of the speech. He doesn’t want to convince us, but the softness of his performance highlights the words’ harshness, reminding us of the sadness of a speech that we know will never be put into action.


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