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Just 30 Words (Interlineary)

Edition of 30: 2005
Letterpress printed at Artists’ Press, South Africa on watermarked Dobbin Mill hemp papers, human hair and eggshell collage, piercing, and hand coloring
12″ x 9″ x 1″

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Postcards have been found that were written by deported Hungarian Jews to their relatives from Auschwitz, dictated by SS officers. Rules for responding correspondence can be found on the front:

“Answer only on a postcard, (maximum 30 words), in German via the Hungarian Jewish Association. 12 Sip Street, Budapest, VII.”

The starting point for “Just 30 words” was an attempt to do the impossible: to read between the lines of an actual postcard sent by a woman to her husband in 1944.

“Just 30 Words” sets up several scenarios that are each limited by the same dictate attached to those very postcards – any communiqué must be maximum 30 words. This is part of a continued exploration of language cognition: what words can actually communicate and their limitations. Each time, reading between the lines offers more than what can actually be read.