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Stimulus: Unpacked

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The Stimulus: Unpacked is a performance examining the debate around President Obama’s stimulus plan. The Mediator serves as a realtime analyst and interpreter into media by building a model explaining the stimulus plan of which President Obama is speaking, and supplying additional details pertinent to the speech but unmentioned by Obama. The additional details represent both supporting and critical views of the stimulus plan.

Taking advantage of the live aspect, the Mediator pauses at several moments to elaborate and clarify portions of the stimulus plan and respond to questions from the audience both verbally and visually. In this situation, the Mediator assumes a role most closely associated with a traditional analyst. He interprets the president’s message and cross-references it with available information. But unlike the traditional analyst, his focus is not on quantitative calculation, but rigorous distillation and a search for relevance. His goal is to bring understanding to the situation, and to inform the audience to the point where they can make their own decisions.

The rapid visualization of the stimulus package juxtaposed with Obama’s speech builds a more complete picture than either the speech or diagram in isolation. The diagrams allows for the mediators to add complementary details to the vague and high-level discourse of the President. It also creates the opportunity for the mediator to visually enunciate the President’s (or his own) words. As the performance solicits the audiences’ questions and feedback, it has the opportunity to improve and evolve with each successive rendition.