Poland Biennial

I just came back from the 3rd Mediations Biennial in Poznan Poland, a truly international affair selected by 4 different curators and including 150 artists from all over the world.

WELL it was quite an ordeal installing my collaboration with video installation artist Adriana Varella Unlanguage but in the end we did it, and it looks fantastic. (picture coming soon…) We exhibited in the Zamek – a sort of pretend castle built just 100 years ago and home to Hitler’s cabinet during WWII – an artist actually made a site-specific piece for Hitler’s office that involved freezing a giant sheet of water and ash but appropriately the power went out and the ice melted and ended up destroying the room. A fitting fairwell to Hitler’s office I think although the Biennale staff were not so happy about it! More about the surprisingly interesting zamek on wikipedia.

The piece is something I am thinking of as a kind of finale to the body of work I have been experimenting with the past 9(!) years addressing language in various forms. The works in the series begin with Netlingua, my Bennington undergraduate thesis project and continue to Listening Post, Totem, Jaaga Dhvani and finally Unlanguage.

The piece is interactive. Two computer terminals encourage gallery-goers to enter the first word that comes to their mind. When a new word is entered a poem is generated using these two inputs as seeds. The poem grows and branches showing the permutations and possibilities native to the Bayesian model underpinning the program. Each time a new poem is formed the previous poem begins to mutate and eventually self-destruct and fade away.

Here is a video that gives a sense of what this looks like:

I’m sure that I will continue to work with language ( I have a dissertation to write after all!) but right now I feel ready to move on to a different frame of reference and some new ideas… more on new ideas soon!