Paraphrasing Babel

Published on September 26th, 2012


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Paraphrasing Babel presents a diverse representation of the power and wealth of language. Spoken, visual, or written, the strengths as well as the weaknesses of language as a form of communication are apparent. In bringing together the diverging approaches of artists, Paraphrasing Babel gives new insights into the scope and meaning of language.

Paraphrasing Babel.
Video Art & Soundscapes on Language in Public Space

From October 19 to November 18, 2012, Viewmaster Foundation presents the exhibition ‘Paraphrasing Babel’, in the public space of Maastricht and Heerlen. It is an exhibition of 28 video works and 7 soundscapes that cross the boundaries of language, (mis) communication, and speech confusion. To be seen and heard every evening from 18.00 to 23.00 hrs.

Artists

Marc Alberto (NLD), Christopher Baker (USA), Natalie Bookchin (USA), Candice Breitz (ZAF), eddie d (NLD), Vera Frenkel  (CAN), Mieke Gerritzen (NLD), Gary Hill (USA), Annja Knautgasser (AUT), Louise Lawler (USA), Adam Leech (USA), Christian Marclay (USA), Marijn Moerbeek (NLD), Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay (CAN), Jeroen Offerman (NLD), Nika Radic (HRV), Anna Raimondo (ITA), Imogen Stidworthy (GBR), Zhou Tao (CHN), Thomson & Craighead (GBR), YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES (KOR/USA), Katarina Zdjelar (SRB).

The selected works by renowned artists and young talent give a diverse representation of the power and wealth of language. Spoken, visual, or written, the strengths as well as the weaknesses of language as a form of communication are apparent. In bringing together the diverging approaches of the artists, Paraphrasing Babel gives new insights into the scope and meaning of language.

The exhibition presents a different piece in each city by different artists and passes by cacophonies of personal confessions on the Internet and touching attempts to learn a world language phonetically. The routes lead to video works in which communication takes place by means of facial expressions, sound, or sign language. The urban dweller also comes across birdcalls that ruthlessly dissect the art world, alarm sirens by choirboys, and an installation involving the Liverpool dialect.

The works are presented from and in (empty) commercial buildings and office buildings, residential housing, and cultural institutes. The video projections, video installations, moving graphic structures, and soundscapes throw new light on the urban centres of polar opposites Maastricht and Heerlen.

Paraphrasing Babel is the largest video art manifestation in public space in Europe. The 37 artworks are rarely shown outside the confines of museums or art institutes. Their specific contents make them exceptionally appropriate for the (semi-) public domain. It is on the street where different languages meet or mix and where the media and commerce are directed at the public. In these surroundings, the artworks engage in a direct relationship with the onlooker or passer-byer, and reach the public in an alternative form.

Artistic concept

Viewmaster Foundation, Bart van den Boom

Curators

Bart van den Boom & Annet Dekker

Paraphrasing Babel is made possible by: Mondriaan Fonds, VSB fonds, SNS REAAL Fonds, BNG Fonds, Province of Limburg, Municipality of Heerlen, Municipality of Maastricht, Huis voor de Kunsten Limburg, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Limburg, Elisabeth Strouven Foundation, and Intro in situ Maastricht.


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