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A Strategist Balances Partisan Politics And Artistic Anarchy

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Peter Loge is a political strategist by day, and an artist by night.
Jessica Gould
Peter Loge is a political strategist by day, and an artist by night.

From his home office in Adams Morgan, Peter Loge holds a cell phone to his ear while his fingers fly across his keyboard.

Loge is the principal at Milo Public Affairs, where he irons out political strategies for an array of clients ranging from America's Funniest Home Videos to the World Wildlife Fund. It's a diverse group, but he says he tells them all the same thing.

"I think there's a logic to Congress," he says. "There's a logic to how people think about and operate on policies and issues. And I help organizations figure out what that logic is."

Hear that? It's all about logic. Except when it comes to his art.

"I spend my day job as a communications and political consultant finding order in politics," says Loge. "I say it looks like it doesn't make sense, but here's how it makes sense. In my art, I say it seems that everything makes sense, and there's an underlying order. But it doesn't."

For years, Loge has spent his days preaching a gospel of predictability. Then, in the evenings, he makes art that demonstrates the randomness of reality. Take his piece "Certain Memory," which includes the bottom half of a mannequin and a box with a string of photographs, a rose, a toy watch, a broken glass, and some dice.

"We're very certain of what we know," he says. "But what we know isn't true... We only remember certain things."

Loge says his artwork is inspired by Marcel Duchamp and the Dada movement, and his house is full of the stuff he's made. There are canvas cubes--with tiny plastic people from model train sets--adorning the bookshelves, and little squares full of found objects mounted on the walls.

Loge says he gets most of his materials just by walking around his neighborhood.

"Photographs. Slides Jewelry," he says. "I try to always keep an eye open. If I'm in a park or a new city or on a beach, I try to notice stuff."

One of his favorite spots is the soccer field at Marie Reed Learning Center, just a few blocks from his home. During a walk, he scans the field, occasionally stooping over to pluck a piece of garbage from the grass.

"There are lots of bottle caps, but there are only so many bottle caps you can pick up before you become that weird guy with bottle caps," he says.

And then he sees it. He grabs a clump of yellow electrical wires and begins to consider the possibilities. Maybe he'll make a piece about how technology shapes our views, or the limits of our connections to each other.

"We really want the world to make sense," he says. "But some people have the willingness to say that sense you thought was there is not there."

"Both the politics and the art are about how we construct and operate in our world," he says.

After all, as they say, politics is the art of the possible.


[Music: "Blue Moon" by Dizzy Gillespie & His Orchestra from Jazz Nouveau]

Photos: Peter Loge

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