Act of Law | Video/Web Project | 2011
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010 as a part of health care reform.
For this project, I read the law in its entirety. Starting in April 2011 and ending in October, I read the law for two hours each week and posted videos of the readings online. The law is 906 pages (table of contents included) and it took 51 and a half hours to read.
The readings were originally archived at act-of-law.org.
This project is entitled “Act of Law”. The word, act, has many definitions. Each of the videos could be considered an act, both in the sense of “the doing of a deed” as well as a “performance” or “one of successive parts or performances”. I am also reading an Act, as in “the formal product of a legislative body”. But the word, act, also implies action. This law will result in actions being taken. I am interested in law and its ability to shape the society in which we live. It has the ability to shape relationships and our responsibilities to each other.
Having not been trained in law, I am curious about how much I can learn from this document through the simple act of reading it. How accessible is the law? Is it really full of complicated legalese? I want to engage with the law first hand. What can the document tell me? Can I learn about our society through the language of the law?