Shifters Ode

1 Shifters

These postcards (plus a poster) were available at Tine Melzer‘s exhibition Verbal Context at Dublin’s Return Gallery in 2011.

I took one of each because the objects, as well as the images of them, fascinated me.

Trophies represent important accomplishments, but here their sense of significance has changed. Little words from several languages inscribed on their bases replace the names of contest winners. Instead, they indicate unidentified individuals and particlular periods of time.

But I am not YOU and HERE is not THERE. NOW is not TOMORROW and TOMORROW is not TODAY.

2 Shifters

The feats that trophies commemorate move from champion to champion. The names engraved on them and the accompanying relative statistics keep changing. Word and object both indicate transitory states.

On her website Tine Melzer refers to shifters in language: small deictic words that often pass unnoticed. Their meanings fluctuate according to the context of the speaker and the situation. We comprehend these transformations because they are conventional aspects of language. Melzer sees both features as a kind of game.

For me, their singular appearance stands in a class of its own.

(Photos by Elizabeth Real)

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