“This passage quotes a ‘certain Chinese encyclopaedia’ in which it is written that ‘animals are divided into: (a) belonging to the Emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame, (d) sucking pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) innumerable, (k)drawn with a very fine camelhair brush, (1) et cetera, (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) that from a long way off” look like flies’. In the wonderment of this taxonomy, the thing we apprehend in one great leap, the thing that, by means of the fable, is demonstrated as the exotic charm of another system of thought, is the limitation of our own, the stark impossibility of thinking that” (Foucault, Order of Things).
It is becoming more evident that the English language is seeping into many parts of the world whether with its control over the media and products, or through the education systems in place, hiding behind the slogan of global unity. In learning a second language one studies the grammar and the lexicons mainly through imitation or memorization.
However, the semantics of the words or phrases are rarely understood or taught. When learning this new language, one is constantly translating what one encounters to his/her native tongue. Yet as Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Plato, and Ferdinand de Saussure all established is that language is in fact beyond a method of communication but an apparatus in which one understands, defines and creates the world and his/her position in relation to it; “Each language articulates and creates the world” (Diane Davis). These two systems that are being converted by the learner of this new language are not synonymous. Then the question becomes: What are the implications when one does not or cannot speak their native tongue? And what is lost in this process of translation?
This exhibition is the result of a month-long residency where the artist explored the relationship between globalization, language and identity. Through several installations, the artist has created a space in which language is decontextualized, deconstructed, analyzed, recontextualized and made tangible.