Leah Bredendieck
History is written by the victors, but is also written by those prepared to lose. For every speech delivered in victory there is another written in case of disaster.

Through compiling both the undelivered and delivered speech, a new archive is created, a Schrödinger’s history, in which all permutations of an event transpire. The Apollo 11 astronauts both make it home and are abandoned on the moon. Eisenhower announces both the success and failure of the D-Day landings. Hillary Clinton both loses and wins the 2016 presidential election.

History is not written in hindsight, it is written in advance.
Extended Study Project           
Degree Show National College of Art & Design, 2019


Images from US Department of Energy archive.
Newspaper containing transcripts and context of 20 undelivered speeches and unenacted plans.



This piece was inspired by a project by Rothco, commissioned by The Times, in which one of JFK's undelivered speeches from 22nd of November 1963 was recreated using AI voice synthesiser technology. In response to this project I collected recordings of several of Richard Nixon's speeches, and from them clipped the words to "In event of moon disaster", a speech written by William Safire to be delivered by Nixon in case the Apollo 11 astronauts could not be recovered from the moon. Accompanying footage is taken from NASA's archives, as well as other open-source archives.

Images from Yellowstone’s Photo Collection.

Above is a woven paper installation, interweaving "In event of moon disaster" with a transcript of Nixon's phone-call to the Apollo 11 astronauts on their return journey to earth. The piece is 8-foot long and hangs floor to ceiling.