I-Pledge.org is an interactive work for the web that provides visitors with an opportunity to rewrite the United States’ Pledge of Allegiance. Each revision of the Pledge is thematically linked to one of the following categories: Immigration, Politics, Nature, Sports, Family Life, or Other (no theme). Once the user has written their version of the Pledge, the text plays against a background of images related to the theme they have chosen. All the pledges are saved into a database to be viewed by anyone visiting the site.
I-Pledge.org empowers the user with the ability to revise an essentially “sacred” text in American life. This ability is intended as an outlet for political and social commentary, not just for citizens of the United States, but others who may feel the urge to express themselves concerning what the Pledge may mean to them.
This piece is also a statement about the nature of language, and how language, although connected to a sense of national identity, needs to evolve as that national identity itself evolves. The United States is a very different place than it was when Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister, wrote the original Pledge in 1892. The basic values of “liberty” and “justice” may remain intact as ideals, but how they are effected, and for whom, have always been determined by other factors such as ethnicity, religious belief, geographical origins, age, and gender. These factors change over generations, are applied in different ways and to different degrees, and this work speaks to that while also questioning how texts become “sacred” in a culture, and how the language of those texts may (or may not) be in synch with contemporary life.