This week I discovered Radikal Karaoke. This program has nothing to do with singing, but is in fact a program designed to help you deliver political speeches. This game is created as a commentary on the proliferation and pattern in political speeches. It was created in 2011 by writer and poet Belen Gache, of Madrid. It is available in both Spanish and English. While it seems like a completely ridiculous game at first, it actually makes a powerful statement on political rhetoric. The authors provide a sort of artist statement saying that “Radical karaoke is an online device intended to allow any user to enounce political speeches. Today, politics worldwide is almost exclusively devoted to rhetoric. Speeches are structured on emphatic and demagogic formulate and linguistic clichés reproducing themselves as viruses. By mechanically repeating slogans we have turned ourselves in zombie society. There´s not us who speak but others (power? market? language itself?) speaking through us.” The idea for this game is that karaoke makes a singer out of anyone who plays it. Whether they be a good singer or a bad singer they are still singing. This game follows that ideology and is made to make one into a political speaker using that same logic.
As a fairly non-political person I found this game to be enjoyable. The speeches are comprised of random phrases and actually have very little to do with politics. Most of the phrases are random, but some of them are humorous. One of them even talks about iguanas. As you push keys the background changes to different cliche images such as hypnosis swirls, bombs exploding, crowds cheering, and other typical things you would expect to go with a political speech. I think that this game shows an interesting view point, because most people discuss the content of the speeches and their political opinions. The structure and repetition is rarely mentioned. On the news we have multiple channels constantly streaming repetitive segments. Even celebrities are using their fame to push their own political agendas. More and more people are listening to movie stars and musicians who have no business delivering such powerful speeches.
A webcam and microphone are required to play the game, but there are videos in both English and Spanish if the users computer isn’t compatible. I think it is an interesting topic of discussion for a class and powerful from an artistic standpoint. With the incorporated video, interaction of pressing keys to change effects, and scrolling text this game could not be played without the aid of the internet. I would recommend it to anyone interested in political art.