Otherwise benign documents such as Canadian Hansards (debate transcripts) provide glimpses into the priories of a specific time in Canadian history, both through their content and language. Using a process of reordering and categorization of the text found in such public government texts that acts to elevate rhetoric, and it becomes possible to reframe the political discourse wherein the focal point is no longer about the specific issues, but rather, the institution as a whole, and provides a relational checkpoint that can offer a direct comparison with like documents that have been created at different points in time.
During the BAIR TEXT residency, I began the process of collating and rearranging the text of the 1st Session of the 25th Canadian Parliament Hansard from September 27- October 2, 1962. Hansards are an archive of daily debate and actions discussed in Parliament. The debates were recorded each day, and made available at printed copies for distribution to media, for Members of Parliament and archival purposes.
Specific point of discussion from this time include the Cuban Missile Crisis, the state of ‘Indian Affairs’ and various domestic and daily concerns including pensions, bylaws and safety. Several questions and concerns that were prevalent in 1962 are still relevant today, but how has the way that we address them through language, the rhetoric that surrounds them changed?
I am using a process of identification and hand-filtering (opposed to using a filtering program) of similar words or phrases, making associations between various groupings help to define the flow of text into paragraphs. Each word from the original text will be used, and there will be no additional text added or deleted. Finally each Hansard will be returned to its original printed form, using the same fonts, formatting and will be replicated on 6.25“ x 9.75” pages, double-sided and bound with staples, maintaining the same aesthetic as the originals.