Ivan Aleksandrov


Clay Tablets

Unglazed Terracotta — ~11x17" — 2019

When I first came to New York from Moscow, I quickly realized that the English I have been taught in Russian school is a stiff and awkward distant relative of the English spoken on the streets of New York. Thinking back to this experience made me want to contrast what I have been taught in a non-native speaker environment with the natural slang of New York and mark the distinction between 'real' and 'fake' language.

I produced 3 more tablets that feature popular emojis of today on them to commemorate the occasion of the 'laughing tears' emoji becoming Oxford English Dictionary's word of the year.

The clay material is a direct reference to Messopotamian clay tablets — the first device that mankind ever used to record writing, which makes it a perfect vessel to record this change in language.