I Took A Trip To The Unknown Language is a collection of fourteen, 8-inch by 6-inch, analogue collages by Ric Kasini Kadour that were made in September 2023 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and Sanquhar, Scotland. Each collage illustrates a line of a poem that was written in New Orleans, Louisiana in October 2023. The project exists as a collection of artwork and a zine.
On Sunday, I checked out of the flat in Sanquhar, Scotland that I had been calling home for the previous month and moved into The Nithsdale Hotel. On Tuesday, I checked out of the hotel and hopped a train to Glasgow. On Wednesday, I flew to Amsterdam and then to Montreal, where I arrived in the late afternoon. Later that evening, I met up with a friend. On Friday, we drove to Maine. On Saturday, we attended the wedding of friends of a friend on a mountain top. Later that night, we drove to Providence where, after settling into our hotel room, we were greeted with inches of water in the hallway outside our door. The next day, we drove US 1 to Smith’s Castle on the western shore of Narragansett Bay then to New London, Connecticut, where we caught the Interstate into White Plains, New York, where we stopped at Epstein’s Kosher Deli for lunch. That night we made it all the way to Christiansburg, Virginia, just south of Roanoke.
Monday night, I found myself on the Mississippi River in New Orleans thinking of the sausage roll I ate next to a sheep field in Sanquhar a week earlier. In Montreal, I had picked up a new pair of glasses. The “off”-ness of the prescription made the world look askew. The Crescent City Connection was a blurry mist above the river. A sandy beach took shape in the river waters. The weed trees along the bank were taller, more fuller than I remember. The rainy, dreary Autumn of Maine was now a late Summer evening. My sense of time and place was a box of puzzle pieces dumped on the floor. I felt displaced, like the world around me was a simulation, like I had walked through a mirror.
In fluid mechanics, when you place an object in water, you can measure the volume of the displaced water to deduce the volume of the object. Displacement doesn’t change the object; it changes what is around the object. To feel displaced is not to think of oneself as the object, but as the thing around the object, the thing being expanded by something entering into it. What was entering me? How was moving my body around the planet making me feel out of shape with the world around me?
The 12th-century abbess Hildegard of Bingen used a lingua ignota (Latin for “unknown language”) to document divine inspiration, what her friend in a letter called “the voice of the unheard melody.” Peppered with Latin and free of grammar, only bits and pieces are translatable. She writes of beings “girded with divine arms, and adorned with hyacinth” wounded in “the city of sciences.”
It occurred to me that the abstract collages I was making in Sanquhar were a lingua ignota. Products of creative meditation, I make these at the start of an art making session. They are informed by color and texture more than subject. I use this piece because it is green. I use that piece because when I turn it on its side, the hillside of houses feels like a wallpaper pattern. I rip and tear and glue and sometimes use triangles to point to things or to send the eye off in another direction. I use the fragments to frame and reframe until some picture takes shape, preferably one with no subject. As I finish them and line them up next to my workspace, they become objects of displacement. Their entrance into my world expands my sense of self.
I decided to write a line of poetry for each of the collages in the series. Working chronologically, the lines would speak to the artwork and my feelings of displacement I was having now that I was home in New Orleans; a creative stitch in the fabric of my life.
The images and text in I Took a Trip to the Unknown Language tell the story of a trip to an unknown place where the torchbearer of the poem follows a bird through the people and places he encounters. His destination is a familiar one: the understanding of our smallness in the grand expanse of the universe.
I Took a Trip to the Unknown Language is a collection of fourteen, 8-inch by 6-inch, analogue collages by Ric Kasini Kadour that were made in September 2023 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and Sanquhar, Scotland. Each collage illustrates a line of a poem that was written in New Orleans, Louisiana in October 2023.
DETAILS: 32 pages | 7″x5″ | saddle-stitched booklet | ISBN 978-1-927587-69-0 | 2023 | Published by Maison Kasini Canada
The collection is available as a complete lot of fourteen original, analogue collages on greyboard.
Please send an EMAIL to inquire about purchasing the collection.