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Slow Wisdom

"Bis repetita non placent."


An electrical pedal rotates the content of this machine revealing through a magnifying lens, phrases from overheard conversations printed on long plastic stripes. These quotes are churned mixed and blended into one another in this literal "word processor". The seemingly unchanging slow rotation will eventually mix the words ever so slightly, that it will challenge the viewer's memory of the narrative perceived a moment before. 


Messing with the "signifier" and the 'signified" of words can be like playing with fire. The idea of mis-hearing, mis-reading or mis-remembering a single word in a phrase can have life altering consequences, as the following anecdote will attest.


The concept for this machine originated with the Latin locution:

-"Bis repetita placent" which translates as:

- "The things that please are those that are asked for over and over again".

It is a locution commonly used in France in its abbreviated version:

-"Bis repetita..."

Since it is rarely heard in full, I remembered it as:

- "Bis repetita "non" placent", which translates quite differently as: 

"To repeat is annoying."

Originality being a tenet of visual expression, "Bis repetita non placent " had a virtuous tone to it, which I applied to my life and work to a high degree. 

If I had remembered it as -"Bis repetita placent", it would have taught me the importance of repetition, or its synonym in terms of artistic excellence: "rehearsal".


Repetition is an essential precept in all cultures, it is at the core of all religious practices, and it is the cornerstone of propaganda and advertising, and the oldest method for learning and improving on things.

Hopefully for me, there was a great deal of repetition in my intent to become original over and over again!





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