Thursday, 2 September 2010


...the title of Doris Salcedo's installation in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern 2007.

This Hebrew word ‘shibboleth’ is part of a plant containing grains. The correct/incorrect prounounciation of the word was used in biblical times to distinguish between one group and another. This was also used in WW2, where American Soliders used knowledge of baseball to determine who were fellow Americans and who were German infiltrators in American uniform. Today however it is a word to describe a popular group or in-crowd.
Doris Salcedo is an artist and sculptor whose work is influenced by her experiences of life in Colombia. This piece was the 'first work to intervene directly in the fabric' of the museum and a brief explanation of it can only be described as a long 167 metre crack along the length of the concrete Turbine Hall floor.

It raised so many questions: What lies beneath? What made it? How small did it start off as and how big will it get? It also holds a lot of meaning such as what it is supposed to represent - a division, a problem? She said her work "represents borders, the experience of immigrants, the experience of segregation, the experience of racial hatred. It is the experience of a Third World person coming into the heart of Europe".

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