Tracing Language / За межами мови .... 2002, video & installation, 29:20


There is a complex interplay of psychological factors that invests the subject of identity with the desire to recover a "lost" language (or any other "prosthesis") of origin... with the ambition to master the opacity of the past.*


Beyond Language (installation) and Tracing Language (video) both are incorrect English translations of the title За межами мови. Halfway through the film, an old woman sings: "When I sing to my self I have two voices, one voice goes to my village, another goes with the river Danube."

The video is about the geographically displaced and isolated Ukrainian language. There are five short interviews with people who claim to speak this language. The narrative follows two rivers, the Danube and the Rhine. According to a legend these rivers meet somewhere under the ground. The sound of running water is to be heard through the whole work. The journey finishes in the Netherlands.

Next to the projection small sketches are stuck on the surrounding walls. So-called 'notes on translation' are revealing that the language used in the film contains some Dutch, Russian and Serbo-Croatian 'adjustments'. The song lyrics are Slovenian. An additional monitor loops the mute image of a running water tap. The illumination, perspective and the quantity of the running water is constantly changing.

This altered citation derives from the blurb for: Monolingualism of the Other; or, The Prosthesis of Origin, by Jacques Derrida / Stanford University Press, 1998


A note on the music

In Tracing Language and in other works I recycled music from the 1980s ‘communist systems'. The music of NSK / Laibach I have used as a musical backdrop in some other works too. Laibach is the German name of the Slovenian capital Ljubljana, going back to the times that Slovenia belonged to the Austrian Empire. Choosing this name is part of the band's controversial and provocative strategies. Laibach’s concerts consist of nightmarish rituals of over-identification with totalitarian ideas. During the mid 1980s the band developed its 'classical phase', aiming to illuminate and ridicule the structure of ideology. Before the wars of the nineties started, Laibach began its international breakthrough. The band continued to deny the possibility of politically neutral music (of any genre).