Part of Place of History

73 Suspect Words

Peggy Ahwesh

United States 2000, 4 minutes

73 Suspect Words comprises flashing white text against a black background. The words are drawn from a manifesto by Ted Kaczynski, the US American domestic terrorist known as the “Unabomber”: From the 1970s to the 1990s, Kaczynski targeted people he believed to be advancing modern technology and the destruction of the environment. In an ironic gesture to Kaczynski’s distrust of technology, Peggy Ahwesh ran the manifesto through a spell-checker, using the output as the video’s script. The work provides a portrait of the Unabomber’s fixations – made clear through repeated words like “leftism” and “technophiles”, alongside racial epithets and the names of various revolutionary figures – with an unsettling mix of violence and mechanical detachment.


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