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Die Grenzen Meiner Sprache, K. Rakoll, digital print, 2007

From Chronogram Magazine, December 21, 2007

According to the Book of Genesis, all of humanity originally shared one language, and all people lived in one city, Babel, where they gathered to build a tower that would reach heaven. God prevented them, however, by “confounding” their language, and scattering them over the earth. “The Secret Tongues of Babel” at the BeGallery in High Falls, is a response to this story. The artist K. Rakoll has created a phonetic alphabet that can express every human language. His writing, which is also his art, appears in silkscreens, digital prints, paintings, and sculpture-and a large sliding tile puzzle. (We all played with sliding tile puzzles when we were eight years old. They are small handheld squares with eight movable tiles, where you must place the numbers in order.) Night Cube is a black cube with illuminated letters from K. Rakoll’s alphabet, installed on the porch of the gallery.

There are quotations from Shakespeare and from Jorge Luis Borges in Rakoll’s work. One large print, 5’x 4′, quotes the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein: “The boundaries of my language are the boundaries of my world.” The words are written in a circle. Another says, “In the beginning was the Word,” in German. Of course, you can’t read any of these writings. The alphabet looks like the notation of hyper-intelligent space aliens in a 1950s comic book. (A pamphlet instructs you how to translate each symbol into a sound.)

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am anfang war das wort, K. Rakoll, digital print, 2007

K. Rakoll’s alphabet was born in 1994, when Rakoll was visiting a friend in Esopus. He had recently bought a 600-year-old Moorish house in southern Spain, and had become fascinated with its arches. K. Rakoll laid out many drawings of the arches on the floor of the house in Esopus. The writer Sid Hite looked down at the drawings from a balcony, and asked: “So what is this, some kind of alphabet?”

Entire article is here.

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