Babel on Rosetta Stone

Consider a world where text is corporeal, organic and alive, genetic material is the stuff of music, and sound optically describes moving images with a startling realism. Metaphor is no longer symbolic but actual; poetry is potent, concrete, tangible fact. That world is here and now, not some distant future tense. We live in a mythic reality mediated by technology where creative acts of translation, mutation, and metamorphosis permeate and transgress conceptual boundaries.
Babel on Rosetta Stone (working title) will be an exhibition that explores the borderlands between media – technical, organic, mythic, and textual. It will feature artworks that operate on the premise of “metaphoric-material” articulations of translation and/or transgression.   At the core of the exhibition is the celebration of technoèsis – a term used by Roy Ascott to describe technology’s capacity to inform reality and shape culture. Technoèsis is the active registration of meaning through technological mediation.  If technology alters our perception of boundary, limits, creativity and creation, then playful transgressions of these spaces inform deeper understandings, intuitions, or  “fruitful couplings” where these borders break down.   Thus, the Tower of Babel was built on a foundation of Rosetta Stone.

The guiding inspiration for Babel on Rosetta Stone is Genesis (1999) by Eduardo Kac.  An ‘artists gene’, appropriated from the word of God, is transmuted to living biological protein and allowed to propagate and multiply; a performative articulation set in motion and allowed to generate unexpected meaning.  The mutating generations of the artist’s Petri kingdom suffer one final translation – a return to common language.  Language to illegible language, code to mutated code.  This work is the point of departure for both theory and exhibition.  It features several guiding principles that inform my future research and choice of artworks: translation, transgression, and technoèsis.

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