The Reel President


The Reel President

The Reel President was a public art event comprised of a large-scale video projection that illustrated the power of cinema and examined the tools used to create a presidential image. Artists Morgan Schwartz and Amy Sharp projected video on a wall adjacent to Stuyvesant Cove Park to explore the relationship between acting presidential and being presidential.

The Reel President took place on the evening of Sunday, August 29, the night before the Republican Convention opened at Madison Square Garden. The event offered New Yorkers an open-air cinema experience, with a unique take on the concept of convention. The White House has appropriated the notion of the "President" from Hollywood and employed Hollywood tactics to sell America a constructed image. Sharp and Schwartz used Hollywood films, televised debates and press coverage, to investigate the political climate and the role of still and moving images in the portrayal of the Presidency. Structured by dueling images, The Reel President looked at the relationship between staged identity and reality. The video and sound montage looped, allowing viewers to join at any point. Our approach was to challenge and subvert dominate media by re-purposing it to present an alternative message.

With help from the Community Environmental Center and Solar One, The Reel President was a sustainable production, power usage for the event stemmed from renewable solar electricity.

The video has since gone on to be presented in multiple venues including the 2004 Dumbo Short Film & Video festival, the 2006 Hell's Half Mile Film & Music Festival, the 2007 Delta International Film & Video Festival, and for a special presentation at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The video was also showcased on the website

Click to view The Reel President

August 29, 2004
Stuyvesant Cove Park
23rd Street and the East River, New York, NY
The Community Environmental Center