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How Do You Say Goodnight

Niccolo' Maria Moronato

“Language is like air. You realize how important it is only when it is messed up. Then it can kill you.”

— Herta Müller

 

Starting from the experience of being a foreign national in the U.S., the work highlights the difficulty to preserve individual spontaneity and personality in such a highly regulated language environment.

The phrase comes from a 1949 educational school film about dating. Whereas the original movie provided an indication on “the right way to say goodnight”, the words on screen are now free to elicit an individual response as an open question, shedding light on the invisible, yet fundamental importance of language in our lives.

The work, a cyanotype part of a series of silkscreen prints, was first shown and performed at The Dangerous Professors, Triumph Gallery, Chicago, Illinois.

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How Do You Say Goodnight?, 2016, cyanotype.

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Language is like air. You realize how important it is only when it is messed up.
Then it can kill you.
— Herta Müller

Starting from the experience of being a foreign national in the U.S., the work highlights the difficulty to preserve individual spontaneity in such a highly regulated language environment.

A title from a 1949 educational school movie about dating is extracted and placed in different contexts, including performance in public venues, to work as an open question and an unsettling doubt.

Indeed, the sentence comes to question what’s left of the process of language propaganda, which began in the mid-40s, and how an unwitting, generalized alignment around pitches, tones, and words creates a restrictive environment for the free expression of ideas and emotions.

Whereas the original movie provided an indication on “the right way to say goodnight”, the question - now delivered from its original purpose - encourages everyone to come up with their own individual response, shedding light on the invisible importance of language in our lives.

The work, a cyanotype part of a series of silkscreen prints, was first shown and performed at The Dangerous Professors, Triumph Gallery, Chicago, Illinois.