New York

Christian Jankowski

Swiss Institute / CONTEMPORARY ART

Robert Frost famously remarked that poetry is what gets lost in translation. Berlin-based artist Christian Jankowski seems to have taken the bard to heart, albeit turning his dictum on its head. By fashioning art out of the strange, often wonderful juxtapositions that arise in witty linguistic and visual transformations,

Jankowski has arguably made translation itself his medium. For a 1997 piece, Let's Get Physical/Digital (recently shown at Apex Art in New York), Jankowski and his girlfriend, he in Stockholm, she in Milan, restricted their communication for a week to instant-message conversations on the Internet. The transcript of their perfectly ordinary exchanges was then translated from German into Swedish and given to seven pairs of actors, who played out the two roles in a series of vignettes that were videotaped, given English subtitles, and broadcast on the Web—made digital

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