a lexicon of walter benjamin’s silences


an EXCERPT from a 22 minute video from 2012. the piece was conceived in 2011 during a one month research residency at the akademie der kunste in berlin through the daad; during which i explored walter benjamin’s notebooks and manuscripts.

since i do not speak or read german, my focus was mainly on the graphic aspects of the notebooks and i eventually found myself notating every different way that benjamin crossed out words and passages. since most of these actions had different forms, i decided to name each one –  for example, a horizontal triangle would be called “bird” and a filled in horizontal triangle was called “blackbird”.

the video is very simple… i write a word and then obliterate it in one of benjamin’s graphic methods. of course, the words are not his words, but the method of silencing each word is his.

this video was part of a larger body of work related to my research with benjamin’s manuscripts and notebooks, exhibited as part of a solo exhibition: shells, bells, steps and silences at LACE, los angeles contemporary exhibitions.