Grammar Lessons for the Making of Freedom (2023)
HD video; stereo; 6min 44sec

Grammar Lessons for the Making of Freedom is a two-channel video featuring highly-redacted footage from 1) President Barack Obama’s remarks during a 2017 visit to Hiroshima, and 2) the U.S. military’s postwar survey of a collapsed Imperial Japan. President Obama’s remarks–exemplary in their rhetorical prowess–emphasized American benevolence and contemporary geopolitical alliances, both of which crucially subtend liberal narratives of freedom. Grammar Lessons redacts all but the silences in Obama’s speech, and contraposes these silences with “clapperboard” clips from the U.S. military footage. Together, the channels gesture toward the constructedness of history, and toward the multiple temporalities from which American democracy is narrated and framed.

Using Format