‘Present Tense Biennial’
Chinese Culture Center
San Francisco, CA
Alphabets and basic vocal utterances are what make up our most predominant form of communication: language. Language defines cultures literally yet has a deeper tie to each of us individually. Speech comes from our breath (chi – the soul), the shape of our mouth (our physicality) and the tradition of our heritage (our politics and religion.) Vertical and horizontal languages are examined and depicted here at their most basic state, exposing that at the root of it all: we all sound the same.
“Tamara Albaitis adds a sonic dimension to Cui Fei’s dialogue on language through her interactive installation consisting of two hanging grids of speakers—each mini-speaker emitting an element of speech (a vowel, a consonant, a dipthong). Not only does the grid format allude to the way we attempt to structure out thoughts through language and the lined formatting of written compositions, it also (through the collective, babel-esque sounds of this piece) deconstructs the conventions and notions of power attached to language/speech.”
– Marisa Nakasone May 6th, 2009 – San Francisco Examiner
All sound files on this website are abbreviated versions of the actual installation.
Horizontally-written languages emanate from the horizontally-aligned panel.
Vertically-written languages emanate from the vertically-aligned panel.