“words oft error” (Triptych)
Mediums: Found objects and mixed media
Size: Each 1000mm x 430mm x 320mm
Collection of J. Ginsberg (Johannesburg)
The work is comprised of three re-worked Afrikaans books namely, Die Bybel (the Bible), the HAT Verklarende Handwoordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal (the HAT dictionary of Afrikaans) and Die Verhaal van die Mensdom (an Afrikaans translation of “The Hamlin’s Children’s History of the World”). I have read each book, with the exception of the dictionary where I gave up at the word “lot”. The books were then modified in the following ways:
- Through the Bible I have drilled holes and stuck normal HB pencils (these pencils have been used in performances held in different locations across the globe by myself)
- The HAT Verklarende Handwoordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal has been locked with 8 padlocks and the keys mixed up
- All the dates and illustrations of people have literally been stamped out of Die Verhaal van die Mensdom (each date now corresponds instead to one of the 7 days during the week in which I modified the book)
Central to the work is the open-ended concept of ‘translation’ that is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as:
- Turn (word, sentence, book, etc.) from one language into another, express sense of it in another form of words.
- Infer or declare the significance of, interpret (signs, movement, conduct, etc).
- Convey, introduce (idea, principle, design) from one art etc. into another.
- Remove (Bishop) to another see.
- (Bibl.) Convey to heaven without death.
- (Teleg.) Retransmit (message)
- (Mech.) Cause (body) to move so that all its parts follow same direction, impart motion without rotation to.
All these books were already ‘translations’ (from one language, art-form, activity or idea into another). I simply translated the books into a new form based on my own cultural and spiritual experiences of traveling, reading, writing and studying.