Voting Booth-Drum Machine Makes Debates into Beats

Here's a voting machine that lets you become a music producer instead of just a disenchanted voter.

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19 October 2016, 4:15pm

Images courtesy of the artist

Old-school Votomatic booths will make you feel sick, and sampled drum patterns will make you feel sicker—just a different kind of ill. New Jersey multimedia artist Mike Richison created a mashup of the legendary drum machine, the Roland TR 808, with the same ballot boxes that were used during the 2000 Bush v. Gore election debacle. The result is the Video Voto Maker, a playable sculptural instrument that allows users to create audio and video loops with clips from the current presidential race.

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Although, with its wobbly aluminum legs and flimsy plastic dividers, the Video Voto Maker resembles a typical polling site, under closer inspection it boasts a TV screen playing severely edited and looped versions of familiar faces: Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Tim Kaine, Mike Pence, Bernie Sanders, and Barack Obama.

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In order to interact with the installation, the visitors must insert a specially-designed paper ballot filled with sample drum patterns. “Users can follow the tablature in the booklet to re-create rhythms from 80s era hits like Afrika Bambaataa’s 'Planet Rock,' Cybotron’s 'Clear,' and Run-D.M.C.’s 'Tricky'—or they can improvise,” says Richison. Politics aside, with the final 2016 presidential debate tonight at 9 PM EST, Video Voto Maker is about to have some choice new samples. 

See it in action in the video below: 

Click here to see more works by Mike Richison.

Every vote counts, so remember to hit the polls on November 8. Check out the VICE Guide to the 2016 Election here.

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