Is there a transitional moment between a word as a beginning and a word as a body?

At what point does a fleeting command acquire its tangible form? Does it then become a sound-image or the sound of an image?

Palimpsest from Paweł Dudko on Vimeo.

I cannot refrain from hearing in the word “voice” (la voix) a phonetic echo of the word “to see” (voir) [1] – writes Louis Marin in his reflections. The sense of this wordplay, however, goes beyond mere similarity of sound. It encompasses something more than the intrigue of paradoxes, such as the reading of a visual narrative, engaging in the interpretation of a work or its resonance. Allowing the voice to be seen would be a peculiar endeavor, perhaps the pinnacle of an undertaking called pictorial representation – says Louis Marin.

The utterance of words carries a performative quality, always serving as the beginning of what acquires real substance. Signing a verbal declaration of war signifies an actual war. Paweł Dudko, in his installation “PALIMPSEST,” transforms the sound of words into light, light into an image, and the image into transience.

The creative force of the artistic act lies within the realm of light beams. It strips away the assigned process of leaving a trace of a handprint, the contact with tools. This invisible action finds its recording in physical material, always individual and unique. Paradoxically, this material is inherently devoid of lasting memory. It becomes a sign of the natural desire for preservation while simultaneously serving as evidence of its transience.

fot. Paweł Dudko

In ancient times, in order to immortalize a thought carried by words, they would inscribe it on wax tablets. As the only writing medium, it allowed the content to exist until its erasure – the leveling of the wax surface for new inscription. However, while the renewed surface accepted a new thought, it invisibly, subcutaneously, retained the memory of what had passed. Palimpsest is the layering of memory, a paradox of fixation doomed to dispersion. The word spoken by Paweł Dudko, embodied through light, becomes a fleeting image of a moment and a memory of bygone times.

The process of becoming an image from a sound source gains the quality of a grammatical conjunction here, connecting the moment “between” the stage of uttering the word-command and the visibility of the word-body.

Dorota Perszko

[1] Louis Marin, Na marginesach obrazu: zobaczyć głos, [w:] O przedstawieniu, słowo/obraz terytoria, Gdańsk 2011, s. 397