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Akzidenz Grotesk (The World Is Yours)

 

September 21st, 2013

Ottawa School of Art

Nuit Blanche Ottawa

Short video here.

“The World Is Yours” is written on an imposing blimp brightly glowing in the darkened sky of our nation’s capital. Appropriated from the movie Scarface, this aphorism is more relevant than ever as the banner of our contemporary philosophy. Although seemingly positive, it also supposes the vanity of excess and entitlement as is evidenced in the moral lesson of the film and the installation’s landscape of the Parliament Hill.

The spectators are encouraged to photograph the blimp, which acts as a quirky thought bubble in dialogue with the city and the people interacting with it.

Akzidenz Grotesk, the name of the german founded font used on the blimp, translates to “grotesque accident”. A blimp is an amusing eye-catching attraction, yet it is also synonymous for many with disaster. Wagner’s aria, O du mein holder abendstern (O my gracious evening star*), played on loop throughout the evening… adding gravity to the piece and insinuating the Hindenburg Disaster. The positive affirmation of Akzidenz Grotesk (The World Is Yours) is countered with a darker ominous side much like the beautiful spectacle of a supernova masks the destruction of a star.

***

<<The World Is Yours>> est écrit sur un dirigeable flottant brillamment dans le ciel sombre de la capitale nationale. Approprié du film Scarface, cet aphorisme est plus pertinent que jamais comme la devise de notre philosophie contemporaine. Bien qu’en apparence un dicton positif, il suggère aussi la vanité et l’excès comme en témoigne la leçon morale du film.

Akzidenz Grotesk , le nom de la police allemande utilisé sur le dirigeable, se traduit <<accident grotesque>> en français . Un dirigeable est une attraction accrocheur amusant, mais le zeppelin est aussi associé pour beaucoup au désastre. L’aria de Wagner, O du mein holder abendstern, a joué en boucle tout au long de la soirée … ajoutant à la gravité de la pièce et insinuant la catastrophe du Hindenburg . L’ affirmation positive de Akzidenz Grotesk ( The World Is Yours ) est contré par l’aspect plus sombre et inquiétant de l’oeuvre, un peu comme le beau spectacle d’un supernova masque la destruction d’une étoile.

*English lyrics

Like a premonition of death, darkness covers the land, and envelops the valley in its sombre shroud; the soul that longs for the highest grounds, is fearful of the darkness before it takes flight. There you are, oh loveliest star, your soft light you send into the distance; your beam pierces the gloomy shroud and you show the way out of the valley.

Oh my gracious evening star, I always greet you happily; with my heart that you never betrayed, take to her as she drifts past you, when she soars from this earthly vale, to transform itself into a blessed angel.

 

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