Justification: McKeesport Remixed

For this project, I will remix archival audio with my own recently captured images of McKeesport. Archival audio will be assembled from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum and will include Kennedy’s remarks at McKeesport’s City Hall on October 13, 1962.

Over the course of the speech, Kennedy urges those gathered to elect Democratic representatives from Pennsylvania to move the state forward. This was the second time that Kennedy spoke in the city, and each time crowds gathered to hear the president. Today, a Kennedy memorial statue stands in downtown McKeesport to commemorate the president’s stops in the area.

The audio of the speech will mix with more recent images and video that I have captured of the city’s downtown (including images of the Kennedy statue and the city’s mainstreet). This juxtaposition will present viewers and listeners with the opportunity to compare and contrast the McKeesport of the ’60s to the McKeesport of 2014. Kennedy uses his speech to discuss issues of housing, health care, education, and agriculture in the region. Many of these issues remain relevant in the discussion of McKeesport’s development today. The layering will, hopefully, spur discussion on the ways that the area has progressed, and ways that it may have room for improvement.

I intend to carve the audio clip in a way that will compress the amount of time that the speech plays (to hold more of the viewer’s attention for a shorter period of time), but that will not lose the intentions of the original speech and message. However, I intend for the mix of the cut audio and images to allow the speech and piece to take on a new meaning and message for the viewer.

This piece will reflect an understanding of current “best practices” of remix culture through its aim to create discussion through the mixing of two pieces of media. By taking something old and transferring it into a completely new piece, I will be creating a piece for an audience with varying familiarity with Kennedy’s speech and McKeesport’s current condition. The finished piece, I believe, will stay true to remix culture’s encouragement of combing and editing preexisting to works to produce a new creation.

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