norms of transposition (citizenship)


In a makeshift cubicle, there is a chair and table with a screen and a small piano-keyboard. Questions are posed on the computer screen, ranging from the personal to the political; they type of questions one would face in an citizenship test to more general questions about culture and language, trick questions that challenge one's understanding of the social norms of a culture. These questions appear word for word and are encoded directly into music, which the spectator can hears translated into piano notes. At the spectator’s side of the table is a piano-keyboard. The idea is that the spectator is invited to input his/her answers to these questions. If the keys of the keyboard are pressed – one does not hear sound but sees words on the screen. The way the words are mapped to the piano-keyboard is never clear to the spectator, and if one tries to answer with something coherent, one is frustrated.

The subject of this piece is a comment on the notion of cultural integration in the EU and the manner in which many EU countries formulate citizenship test to reinforce social norms, which they believe express their identity as a nation. These test questionnaires are also used to show up any undesired cultural differences of the immigrant, along with testing the basic understanding and interpretation of the new language. Citizenship testing as conducted in many countries in the EU raise fundamental questions about the narrow conceptions of national identity in multicultural societies, and seem to now be gaining popularity amongst politicians in "fortress Europe".

Jitter programming by Mirko Lazovic.

performance history

  • Premiere; Municipal Art Gallery, Nicosia, 4 July 2012, 'In Crisis' curated by Yiannis Toumazis.
norms of transposition installation
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norms of transposition flyer