Julianne Swartz borrowed the vibrant music of rock and folk performers of the late 1960s and early 1970s for her original sound installation. Composed during a tumultuous time in American history, troubled by the Vietnam War and the fight for civil rights, all the songs Swartz selected communicate a message of idealistic protest in the face of war and injustice. This mood of impassioned opposition and determined optimism fascinates Swartz, who parallels this historical moment of thirty years ago with America’s current political climate.
Replacing the original vocals of each song with computer-generated voices, Swartz neutralized these lively and expressive tunes with emotionless voiceovers. As a result of her manipulations, Swartz rendered these once-poignant anthems into “elevator music”—bland, atmospheric décor meant to distract and pacify rather then stimulate and rally. With these sanitized elegies, Swartz reflects upon faded ideals and abandoned utopias.