R. Luke DuBois
Hindsight is Always 20/20, 2008
Detail: George Washington, 1789-1797
Set of forty-three letterpress prints
(41 eye charts, 1 title page, 1 essay page)
Each 30 x 23.25 x 1 in / 76.2 x 59 x 2.5 cm, framed
Edition of 10
Hindsight is Always 20/20 examines the history of American political discourse through the metaphor of vision. Drawing from the annual State of the Union (SOTU) addresses given by Presidents to Congress, ‘Hindsight’ consists of a single Snellen-style eye chart for each president who gave SOTU addresses. Instead of the typical characters present in an eye chart, the piece employs words drawn from their speeches, presented in order of most frequent (top line) to least frequent (bottom line) word. The result is a startlingly clear snapshot of the lexicon of each presidency, containing a mix of historically topical keywords and rhetoric unique to each president and the time period in which they served in office.