Slavs and Tatars’ work often mixes registers of high and low, high-brow ideologies and low-brow media (pickles to balloons). In that vein, roasted sunflower seeds are a staple snack, shared across the Slavic-Turkic peoples from Eastern Europe to Central Asia. Like the wheat of Wheat Mollah, the sunflower seed becomes a symbol of proletariat or rather, its 21st century sucessor, the précariat.
The Russian Cyrillization of Polish was introduced in the Russian partition in the nineteenth century. Two Polish letters in particular were problematic: the “ą” and the “ę.” These nasals had disappeared from
most other Slavic languages. The solution came via letters from the Old Slavonic language, Ѫѫ (big yus) and Ѧѧ (little yus): Naughty Nasals underline the affront of Orthodox- Cyrillic on a Catholic-Latin identity. Slavs and Tatars have transformed
the letters into furniture resembling portable confession booths.
The shovel, as the centrepiece of the Towarzystwo Szubrawców logo, is used to parody the parasitism of the nobility who rides it like a witch.
An obscene hand gesture specific to Turkic and Slavic cultures, “Figa” revisits the old Egyptian proverb: “Life is like a cucumber: one day in your hand and one day in your ass.”
Whether in North America, Europe, the Middle East or Asia, we’re increasingly sour on power.
The conversion of a language from one script to another is a routine act of alphabet penitence. The reason we do so hurriedly—with a dose of chagrin, holding our noses, on the back of a scrap of paper—stems in part from transliteration’s maligned status. One thing is clear: translation it is not. Alas, transliteration is the trashier younger sibling of translation, its more prestigious, older sister.
Hung and Tart features a heart that becomes a tongue, enacting a synapsis, or short cut between the conception of speech, symbolic and sincere, and its delivery.
The daily taming of hair is an act of civilization, battling the frizzy and curly unruliness of the body.
AÂ AÂ AÂ UR is the original ancient Egyptian demotic text, meaning literally “big, big, very big”, from which the Greeks conceived/translated the name of Hermes Trismegistis (Thrice Great), the author/ founder of Hermeticism, an esoteric body of knowledge that speaks to the great tradition of interfaith dialogue and mysticism.
Prepared for and first exhibited during 8th Berlin Biennale, Ezan Çılgıŋŋŋŋŋları consists of two outsized speakers set up in the form of a rahlé (or stand for holy books) onto which visitors were invited to sit, lie down, relax and reflect.
Larry nixed, Trachea trixed looks at various attempts to Cyrillicize sounds or phonemes that did not previously exist in the Russian Cyrillic alphabet, one of many attempts to extend or embed Soviet influence.
Lahestan Nesfeh Jahan (literally, “Poland, Half the World”) commemorates the forgotten World War II episode of Polish refugees to Iran when Esfahan came to be known as the City of Polish Children. The text is a revision of the city’s legendary slogan, perhaps one of the most famous in Persian, “Esfahan Nesfeh Jahan” (“Esfahan, Half the World”).
The daily taming of hair is an act of civilization, battling the unruliness of the body. In this sense the rituals of daily existence, such as combing one’s hair, echo as objects the counsel of the Mirrors for Princes genre.
Long eclipsed by the mouth, as source of libidinal linguistics, Swinging Septum restores the nose as an equally discursive and desirous organ of language. A flat silhouette nose sways from left to right, evocative of the facial acrobatics the septum must perform to reach the sonorous heights of /ɛ/ or /ɔ̃/.
The pole exchanges its topless dancer for something no less racy: a giant, fleshy tongue twirling around and down the pole, a nod to the 60 odd years of changes in parts of the former-Soviet, Turkophone world from Arabic to Latin to Cyrillic back to Latin.
Standing tall book greets its visitors as a madame. A love story come to life, Madame MMMorphologie winks at her passersby, her long eyelashes linked to the quasi-illicit amorous rapport the book can compel in people.
Love Letters series of carpets address the issue of manipulation of alphabets across Arabic, Latin and Cyrillic, through the Russian Revolution’s most well-known, if conflicted, poet-champion, Vladimir Mayakovsky.