MOTHER TONGUES AND FATHER THROATS | SLAVS AND TATARS
An enormous carpet, five meters by three, makes up the installation Mother Tongues and Father Throats created by Slavs and Tatars. The Berlin-based collective is defined by a research practice that investigates the meeting places of the different cultures of the East through a series of exhibitions, books and performances. This 2012 work is part of this search for a hybrid territory between art and political-anthropological discourse: the large wide-open mouth represented in black on white on the carpet bears the physical and anatomical references of the guttural sounds that are emitted both in the Arabic than in the Hebrew one. Unfolding as an anatomical and scientific drawing, the carpet locates the specific position and the reference muscle for the production of sounds such as [GH] and [KH] and also transforms the mouth, tongue and throat as hypothetical meeting and exchange places.
Indeed Mother Tongues and Father Throats is a work designed to be installed in the exhibition space so that people can sit over it and therefore use the delimitation of the space offered by the carpet as an area for meeting and dialogue: the diversification between Cyrillic and Hebrew is not a limit or a separation, rather a common ground where different experiences and cultural backgrounds can be shared. By allowing people to enter the carpet, Slavs and Tatars proposes a journey into cultural territories to be explored in the company of other participants: sculpture is rediscovered as a participatory art that thrives on interaction with the public.
By making language and its phonetic structure the central element around which the encounter between people and cultures turns, the carpet and its occupation of the exhibition space within a place defines itself as an architectural and analytical act: creating the dimension of an oriental living room but also referring to the tale of the flying carpet, Mother Tongues and Father Throats proposes the rediscovery of orality in its structural beauty and in its narrative power. The work is image and place, fantasy and relationship. Language is the tool for discovering the links between the representation of the world and its essence.
Slavs and Tatars
Mother Tongues and Father Throats, 2012
Woolen yarn, ca 500 x 300 cm