Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Jenny Holzer at MassMoCA


It's hard to put into words how great it was to finally experience this Jenny Holzer piece. For me, the feeling was of being inside art, and inside a poem. There were enormous beanbags to nestle into as the words wash over. There was no sound, except for two little girls giggling and bouncing on another beanbag.

The poems are mostly by Wislawa Szymborska, and the one pictured is "In Praise of Feeling Bad About Yourself," which makes me so happy I sort of want to cry.

In Praise of Feeling Bad About Yourself
by Wislawa Szymborska

The buzzard never says it is to blame.
The panther wouldn't know what scruples mean.
When the piranha strikes, it feels no shame.
If snakes had hands, they'd claim their hands were clean.

A jackal doesn't understand remorse.
Lions and lice don't waver in their course.
Why should they, when they know they're right?

Though hearts of killer whales may weigh a ton,
in every other way they're light.

On this third planet of the sun
among the signs of bestiality
a clear conscience is Number One.

-Translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh

No comments: