Depending on who you talk to, this year’s presidential debates will either be the MOST DECISIVE EVER or, partially thanks to the shady group that runs the debates, will feature Obama and Romney blurting out talking points without actually engaging each other. For as much importance as we put on the debates, candidates always end up judged on how well they “performed,” rather than anything substantive.
To take the debate theater to its absurd conclusion, the visual artists of Sosolimited created ReConstitution, a live audiovisual remix of the 2008 debates. The trio of MIT grads — Eric Gunther, Justin Manor and John Rothenberg — produced software that analyzed the audio, video, and closed captioned text feeds of the debate to hack apart and reorganize the content according to underlying patterns and structures.
In 2009, Motherboard paid a visit to the crew to see exactly how they use their own custom algorithms to turn bland, overly-structured TV into something rather more fascinating. It’s wonderfully psychotropic work, and better yet, Sosolimited isn’t done. We just got an email from Rothenberg, who says ReConstitution will be back up and running by the second Obama/Romney debate. Thank goodness for that, because I’m of the camp that’s convinced this first debate is going to be a snoozefest.