Some media events have real effects on the world simply by taking place, states writer and editor Steve Rushton. They are “pseudo events”, a concept coined by Daniel Boorstin in 1962 to describe events designed only to be reported. Rushton collaborated in the visual artist Rod Dickinson’s Closed Circuit – Who, What, Where, When, Why and How, a live performance in which a totally realistic presidential speech to the press is staged. The script was created by Rushton, who composed it from fragments of speeches delivered on both sides of the Iron Curtain since the Cold War, with the aim of showing how rhetoric works to justify violence. The performance is also a reflection on television’s stream of news, a continuous flow that creates a permanent state of crisis, fed by media events.
As the artistic background to Close Circuit, Rushton recalls two media events, both performed at the beginning of the video revolution, Media Burnand The Eternal Frame, produced by the group Ant Farm in 1975.