Nika Radić
Conversation in Nagarrindjeri

2002. Some time ago, while doing the project I later called Conversation in Nagarrindjeri, I ran across a fact that many expressions of the face do not depend on culture. Basic emotional expressions are controlled by the thalamus and are, in fact, the only messages that can be understood by any other member of the human species, no matter where or when. It seems that everything else we use in our communication, we have to learn and we can never be sure that other people have learned the same things and are thus really able to understand us.

The installation offered a simple but peculiar and almost uncanny way to walk through the gallery space. There was a plastic path set on the floor of the gallery and the space reacted on the movement of visitors. If they took the offer to walk down the path, friendly faces appeared and a friendly voice was heard speaking in Nagarrindjeri, a dying language from Australia. The words could not be understood (unless, of course, a native speaker of Nagarrindjeri happened to walk into the gallery, which I considered to be of meager probability) but the expressions of the face were enough to show the basic emotion: happiness if one followed the path, anger and fear if the people walked off the path thus ignoring the work.

links: [pause], Scream, text from the catalogue, Viculin text