Scenario by Lincoln Tobier
posted by: Kit Hammonds
The scenario by Lincoln Tobier is the second scenario curated by Kit Hammonds within the framework of the Scenarios about Europe project.
Lincoln Tobier’s play, "The Orchestra Pit Theory by Roger Ailes", was born out of the observation that Fox News (created and controlled by Roger Ailes since 1996) operates in the same manner as theatre. It generates emotional affects as a means to elicit emotional responses in its viewers. One result of this can be seen in the active role Fox News played in the rise of the Tea Party and that organisation’s nationwide anti-government rallies as well as the U.S. mid-term elections of 2010. The play is an extension of this logic, i.e. using a theatrical form to present Ailes’ Fox News theatrics. Fox News is part of the Murdoch Media Network, who recently made a bid to take over Sky broadcasting, and is known for its partial reporting and political bias toward conservative factions in the US. Prior to this position Ailes was a media consultant for Republican presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
Roger Ailes was a focus for Tobier’s work in 1992, when the artist exhibited Roger Ailes: a Retrospective in Context. In that project Ailes works as a political media consultant who was recast as a visual artist for his approach to media manipulation as Gesamtkunstwerk, or “Total art-work”. The title for the work, "The Orchestra Pit Theory by Roger Ailes", is taken from a quote from Ailes from 1988:
“If you have two guys on a stage and one guy says, 'I have a solution to the Middle East problem,' and the other guy falls in the orchestra pit, who do you think is going to be on the evening news?”
This surprisingly candid moment reveals Ailes’s blue smoke and mirrors approach to news manipulation and forms the central point around which Tobier’s work revolves. The play is adapted from a transcript of a single broadcast of Fox News Channel’s midday News programme America Live, from July 13, 2010. Tobier’s work reframes the work of one of the most influential personalities guiding the opinions of the US in the past 50 years.
For Scenarios about Europe, Tobier has used online translation software to produce a German language sound work from the play’s script, echoing the rapid circulation of international news facilitated by the Internet. Alongside Tobier’s sound work is a display of news clippings and commentaries compiled by the curator Kit Hammonds relating to recent events in the UK and European media: Rupert Murdoch’s News International network attempted takeover of Sky Broadcasting; the News of the World phone hacking scandal; and the arrests of the teenage leaders of hacking collective LulzSec.
The Orchestra Pit Theory by Roger Ailes, 2011
posted by Kit Hammonds