Proverb strings or mutánga play an important role in the oral tradition of the Lega, a group of people from the northeastern areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Each string carries 40-60 miniature objects, which represent a proverb and traditionally function as carriers of wisdom. The meaning of these objects is activated in social situations, told and re-told, often in a debate and discussion, by members of the community.
Sarah van Lamsweerde explores this past tradition and questions what it would mean to develop such an ideographic device in this age of disembodied images and communications. Real and imagined metaphors emerge through strangely familiar but clearly contemporary objects, tales and actions, creating a speculative view on what forms of knowledge can be achieved and rendered from (im)material interactions with our environment today.
The premise for this project presents us with aesthetical and ethical questions: what symbols to harvest from our contemporary jungle overgrown with Action shops and viral lifehacks? Is this form of cultural appropriation a dubious exercise or a good starting point for a collective conversation? With texts by Tijs Goldschmidt, Sarah van Lamsweerde, Norberto Llopis Segarra, Alessandra Saviotti. Thanks to Onomatopee (Eindhoven).
82 pages, 160 x 240 mm, softcover, Onomatopee (Eindhoven).