2018, 11:50 min, color, stereo sound
Technical facility: Electronic Arts Intermedia
Made in collaboration with artist Robert Buck, License modifies a video forensics report by The New York Times that reconstructs the October 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas, the deadliest in U.S. history. John Cage’s infamous 1952 composition 4’ 33” (Four Minutes and Thirty-three Seconds) was the catalyst for our intervention. An emerging form of big data journalism, the audio and visual second-by-second account is organized by the shooter’s twelve bursts of gunfire. By erasing the intermittent voiceover that substantiates the timeline, silence punctuates the mayhem––mapped with intel gathered from cellphones, social media posts, police audio and bodycams––and allows the real of the carnage to resonate. Gambling, the gunman’s motive, the increasing body counts, and the structure of the Times report can all be correlated as a “numbers game”. By underscoring this logic, License shows algorithms now occupy the place of the Name-of-the-Father, the guarantor of patriarchal institutions, e.g., law, family, church, state, markets.