Public Spaces - Maastricht & Heerlen
19 / 10 - 18 / 11 / 2012

Artistic concept: Viewmaster Foundation, Bart van den Boom
Curators: Bart van den Boom & Annet Dekker

From October 19 to November 18, 2012, Viewmaster Foundation presents the exhibition “Paraphrasing Babel”, in the public space of Maastricht and Heerlen. An exhibition of 28 video projections, video installations 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.


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 Krautgasser (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 (Natalie Bookchin) and touching attempts to learn a world language phonetically (Katarina Zdjelar), among others. The routes lead to video works in which communication takes place by means of facial expressions (Nica Radic), sound (Gary Hill), or sign language (Christian Marclay).

The urban dweller also comes across birdcalls that ruthlessly dissect the art world (Louise Lawler), alarm sirens by choirboys (Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay), and an installation involving the Liverpool dialect (Imogen Stidworthy). 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 35 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.