Cleve’s Art Installation – Vitriolic Whispers

The installation is a statement about free speech, however loathsome the message may be. The artist found himself in possession of a cache of about 3 thousand audio cassette tapes. They were recordings of right-wing talk show hosts, mostly of Rush Limbaugh, made over a period of 2 decades by a little old lady in Staten Island, NY. Rather than discard the tapes, Cleve decided to repurpose them. He built a large loom and with 4 or 5 cassettes in hand at a time, he wove curtains with the audio ribbons. The result was ten woven panels of audiotape, in shades of gold, brown and black,10 feet high by 4 feet wide, which rustled and whispered in the wind. Below the curtains was the centerpiece of the exhibit, a large box made from transparent cassette boxes, filled with unraveled tapes. In the center was a large papier-maché mouth and protruding tongue under a gold-framed photograph of Rush Limbaugh. His voice, on a tape double-dubbed so that you can recognize his voice but cannot discern the hateful, vitriolic message, emanates from a hidden tape player below the box.

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