September 28, 2002 - Moment Deutsche Bank - What language does New York speak?
September 28, 2002

What language does New York speak?

What language does New York speak?

Karin Sander

MOMENT Deutsche Bank

image: ratislav is giving his word for wordsearch, © photo: franziska lamprecht, hajoe moderegger, new york city, deutsche bank art, frankfurt am main

MOMENT Deutsche Bank m

What language does New York speak?

It will be appearing in the Business Day Section of The New York Times on October 4 and is available in print on the same day in both Frankfurt and New York: wordsearch, Karin Sander’s art work for the Deutsche Bank’s art series Moment. The wordsearch catalogue will be appearing tomorrow, September 29, as a supplement to the New York Times Magazine.

Get your copy of the wordsearch catalogue tomorrow, and The New York Times with Karin Sander’s art work on October 4. Or order them both over the wordsearch website at

A one-day work of art? In the business section of The New York Times? Karin Sander’s wordsearch uses the power of the newspaper as a medium-and also reproduces is temporary nature.

Many readers might ask: why go searching for words in a city that still bears the scars of last September’s terrorist attacks? But Karin Sander’s art project, which was planned in 2000, is precisely a sensitive seismograph of New York city’s present state of mind. Sander asked 250 New Yorkers, each speaking a different language, to donate a word in their mother tongue to the project-a word that has a special personal significance for them. And those New Yorkers, representing a wide range of ethnic backgrounds and nationalities, went ahead and gave their word, making their own special contribution to reshaping the city’s wounded skyline. For the words they have donated go to make up the living image of a city looking confidently into the future.

Each of the words has now been translated into every one of the other 249 languages in the project. In dealing with languages as far apart as Efik, Patois, Malayalam, Chickasaw and Sulawesi, the translators have had to ask for assistance from all over the globe. A total of 62,500 words has thus been generated, from which Karin Sander has fashioned a work of art analogous to the stock market listings in the business section of The New York Times. “The visual impression,” says Sander, “will be very similar, and yet the pages will seem strange and unfamiliar. Numbers will be replaced by words whose contextual status is at first sight unclear.” The stock market listings-those condensed representations of the day’s economic trends-are familiar to most newspaper readers. The words culled from these languages, however, are an expression of our age’s cultural identity. Thus wordsearch not only creates an unusual portrait of this multicultural metropolis but also proposes an alternative set of values that reaches beyond economic considerations-opposing to the dry mathematics of share prices the universal culture of words.

Frozen in print for a single day-October 4-wordsearch will be experienced by millions of New York Times readers around the world. On that Friday, this traditional information medium and modern communications technology will combine forces: the newspaper will be transmitted word for word by satellite from New York to Frankfurt, where it will be printed out, some copies being dispatched to London. For wordsearch is both a high-circulation mass media event and a collector’s item that can be purchased for just 75 cents. The catalog of the project also uses the range and power of this printed medium: Appearing tomorrow, sunday, this catalog will be published as a 68-page insert in The New York Times magazine. It will provide background information on the project, to include an interview with the artist, portraits of the word donors, and in-depth analyses by American and European authors. On the following Friday, October 4, wordsearch itself will present the rich variety of languages, traditions, myths and visions that go to make up New York City, at the same time creating a locale where people from a wide range of cultures can come together. For culture has a lot to do with identity-most especially perhaps in an international bank. That is why fostering cultural acceptance will always remain a central focus of our commitment to art.

More information at or m

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