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Erika Tan
Part III: pidgin: pij'in: pigeon

PIDGIN: interrupted transmission (2002) is Erika Tan's three-part installation, which includes a two-screen video piece, a workstation, and research documentation. Across the screens a multiplicity of images, sounds, words, phrases and languages flow in an evocation of our hybrid, diasporic and global culture. The polyglot internationalism represented is constituted by images of power and history, and personal interactions between various individuals, together begetting the need for linguistic and visual translation and its inevitable impossibility.

At the workstation in PIDGIN two computers and research documentation seem to give us clues and answers to the linguistic-ideological-global nexus that is being represented here; as the viewer is seemingly made privy to the underlying code and textual annotations of the images, sounds and texts on the monitors and screens. But, this is not the case. Rather than a decoding, what Tan's unintelligible display demonstrates for us is the impossibility of translating the complex interplay and slippage between language, capital and subjectivity. It reveals how this polyphonic and polyglottal flow in a globalized culture leads to the inevitable transformation of subjectivities in this state of constant becoming.

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