State of the Union address as an eye exam chart
Can a Presidential speech ever be a work of art?
Not usually. But R. Luke Dubois is doing his best. As part of the “Mulitplicity” exhibit now showing at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, which I had a chance to see last weekend, Dubois reconfigured all the State of the Union addresses in an interesting way.
In a series of prints called “Hindsight is always 20/20,” he’s taken the words of each speech, noted their frequency, and rendered them as a Snellen eye exam chart – with a President’s most-used words in large type near the top and his less-used words in progressively smaller type toward the bottom.
It’s a mashup – one part word cloud, another part optometry. And it works. You get a good sense of how much the times dictate the words. It also offers a sly commentary on each President’s – wait for it – vision.
Check out two samples (Theodore Roosevelt and Gerald Ford) below and more pieces here.