Their Own Words


A meditation on the meaning of apology and the source of guilt; which words are forbidden and how the elephant in the room is continually ignored.

Presidents are not allowed to say "I'm sorry". I know this after watching fourteen hours of presidential speeches from Eisenhower to Obama, from Watergate to 9/11. Not once does the President of the United States of America apologize in certain terms. The Presidents cannot admit and accept that they were at fault, therefore they never utter "I'm Sorry". In Their Own Words I give the Presidents a chance to say "I'm sorry" for their blunders in office. I splice consonants, vowels, and dipthongs together, often awkwardly, to force these people of power to take responsibility for their failure of leadership that led to their sampled speech. Their garbled utterances of "I'm sorry" are hollow and artificial, which mimics the nature of their publicized speech. Perhaps if a President would say "I'm sorry" for mistakes, failures, being human, they would show strength and regain public trust. The metallic space puts the viewer in a sterile state of quarantine before they watch eleven presidents, finally, take responsibility. Peek in on this coveted, impossible, isolated moment of a President's tenure: his apology.

Their Own Words


Mylar, found video, projector

Variable, 1920 x 1080 px