Pantograph (2016)

Titled after an instrument dominantly used for tracing, this project utilizes the apparatus to scale and metaphorically erase.

Through the use of tracings of onomatopoeic words connected to Chicago, the tool fails as its core function, or rather leaves even a smaller trace in it's effort to amplify or scale. The drafting tool in its repetitious assembly does not preserve, but washes the previous sounds of a space in white. As part of "Late to the Party" exhibition at Roots and Culture.

Text for "Late to the Party" (Ruslana Lichtzier)
We cannot focus on Now. Now sweeps and swirls away by time, right now and always; it returns as History, every time we close our eyes.
“The task of the translator consists in finding the particular intention toward the target language which produces in that language the echo of the original… Unlike a work of literature, translation finds itself not in the center of the language forest but on the outside facing the wooded ridge; it calls into it without entering, aiming at that single spot where the echo is able to give, in its own language, the reverberation of the work in the alien one.”
Mozari and Speer are late to the party. The party of the Now, that party we are all late to. Outside of it, in a constant anticipation, they are walking, walking and staring. Staring at the street and into the the books.
A deteriorating side-wall of a four story building reveals a ghost image of an overpainted billboard that collapsed into the outlines of the building’s rooms; what was once available to the public eye caved back into the indoors, and bared both onto one surface. They see it. A segment of the city’s history.

Due to the constant shortage of parchment, the ancient world invented the palimpsests, used by generally by scribes, which were the rewashed or scraped out pages from what then seemed to be unnecessary texts. Today these palimpsests are studied intensely via imaging techniques, by readers that strive to scavenge the neglected and the erased.
Can we imagine the city being one codex, restricted from expansion (due to the municipal laws), its buildings, streets and facades are individual pages; most of them are palimpsests, washed out and reused walls? On them street artists, pedestrians, construction workers and time itself leave constant marks. Graffiti would be one example. Graffiti originated from the Greek word γράφειν — graphein — that translates to "to write." It is also linked to "sgraffito," which was coined in the 18th century Italy, and refers to scratching through an exterior to reveal the layer underneath it. Now, are today’s graffiti artists the modern scribes? The ones that both write, re-write and interpret the previous texts? The difference is that while originally the scribes were rewriting from one table to another, today they are faced with fragments only.
How can one translate the streets to a different language? The passages are disjointed; other traces dropped. The marks are read as pictograms and passwords, out of necessity, they are being opened up to imagination, to a space of wonder and speculation. It waits for echoes.

© Milad H. Mozari , 2018