PROPOSED ARTWORK FOR NEW MTN HEADQUARTER BUILDING AS AMENDED
In consultation with the MTN Art Institute, planners, designers and architects of the new MTN Headquarter Building, I hereby submit my proposal for an artwork entitled CHIASMUS for the reception area of the above building. I am a 'conceptualist' artist and my work usually contains elements of text, language and the processing of information and I would like to make a work true to the way I normally work.
The reception area will be frequented by a constant stream of visitors. The previous motto of MTN - 'A BETTER CONNECTION' - and the new motto - 'HELLO THE FUTURE' - is enacted at reception where people connect. Some will pass through after announcing themselves and others will wait to be fetched or attended to. My work will be there to form some kind of reassuring 'connection.' Visitors will experience and enjoy it either in passing it, or by meditatively pondering its idiosyncrasies whilst waiting. The artwork is therefore to contain elements of wit and repartee - to make people think, to entertain them and to cause informal conversation.
To play on the notion of connecting and dialogue I have chosen the letter 'X' - in Greek known as a chi. The title of my piece, CHIASMUS, derives from the Greek letter chi, written as an X. In its original sense a chiasmus is a figure of speech in which two ideas connect in reverse form. It indicates a turn of phrase that grammar students now seldom study, but that is nevertheless still in use. It consists in a 'crossing over' (a 'chi-ing' or 'X-ing') of two phrases that seem to be repeated in reversed word order that, together, make an insightful or amusing statement. To understand the twisting of phrases in a chiasmus one has to pause for a moment to think. Some examples of such a 'crossing over' of phrases are:
- It is the dull man who is always sure - and the sure man who is always dull. Victor Hugo
- The magician pulls rabbits out of hats, and the shrink pulls habits out of rats. Anonymous
- A brother may not be a friend, but a friend will always be a brother. Poor Richard Saunders
- Never let a fool kiss you - or a kiss fool you. Mae West
- Winners never quit and quitters never win. Anonymous
- Age doesn't protect you from love, but love protects you from age. Jeanne Moreau
In my research I have considered variations on the oblique cross, the 'X', also called the St. Andrew's cross. It is universally applied to a number of things, often with a sense of humour. In CHIASMUS the X's will 'mark the spot'. They could also be kisses (XXXXX) with writing on them. When we vote, we use an 'X' and we play the game of 'Noughts and Crosses' calculatingly with X's and O's. In Roman numerals we write ten as X, twenty as XX and so on. If we don't know someone's name,