Translation Exercise
13 framed panels with photographs, typewritten text on vellum, pen and ink, wooden shelf with rock, dimensions variable, 1993

One summer I did a lot of traveling in the Finnish archipelago and visited many islands for the first time. Before leaving the United States, I took a rock from my parents' garden in Calfornia. Visiting the first Finnish island, I searched for a rock that resembled the one I had and switched them, taking the new rock with me and leaving the old one behind. This task was repeated on each of the subsequent islands I went to.

The idea of what constituted "resemblance" was left quite open (color, temperature, shape, texture?). Circumstantial factors (people I was with, lack of time, embarrassment over the rock switching activity or insecurity as to its worth) sometimes meant that the switches were done with varying degrees of accuracy. Rather than hide these shortcomings, they are documented and openly acknowledged in the piece.

The last rock sits on a shelf, like the period at the end of a sentence.

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