Better Living through ASCII


ASCII, like fire, purifies. At least that's what New York artist Yoshi Sodeoka of group C505 hopes. Watching this latest project, ASCII BUSH, currently spotlighted at, one can see the similarities between the element and the protocol governing character interchange: alphanumerics twist through footage of two State of the Union addresses like tongues of flames. Sodeoka has filtered video from two generations of Bush presidents, offering online two lengthy addresses (January 12, 2003, by the incumbent George W. Bush; and March 6, 1991, by his father George H.W. Bush) rendered entirely in ASCII characters. The audio evokes a synthetic ambience, while numbers and letters pulse and converge, stitching together these presidential talking heads. According to the project notes, Sodeoka aspires ' make art from the debris of our culture by recycling these dreadful and painfully long presidential oration(s)'. Quite possibly, these ASCII movies are closer to the true state of the union than the propaganda offered in the source materials. - Lewis LaCook