For Projects 98, Slavs and Tatars present a new installation, Beyonsense, which takes its name from a translation of zaum—a word used by Russian poets and artists in the early 20th century to describe their experiments with nonreferential and sensorial verbal expression. Beyonsense builds upon a recent cycle of the collective’s works that celebrates nonrational and mystical episodes within modernity, and linguistic ambiguity, particularly productive mispronunciation and misreading across cultures, histories, and geographies. Incorporating a multitude of languages (Farsi, Russian, English, Hebrew) and scripts (Latin, Cyrillic, Arabic), Slavs and Tatars creates a reading room of reversals: passing through hanging carpets, visitors enter a central space that features the collective’s text pieces and printed publications and a suspended light fixture inspired by a work created by the American artist Dan Flavin in 1982 for the Masjid al-Farah mosque in downtown New York. In addition, a selection of the group’s books are available to read in the seating area.
August 15–December 10, 2012 at MoMA