The sculptural work of Elisabeth Penker uses hybrid-cultural codes and the medium of audio. For the past 4 years Penker has been working with the idea of "C.T (Cultural Translation)” which started in Oslo in 1999. By utilising translation in literature as a model for translation of visual objects and images, through the concept of ‘cultural translation’, Penker’s project collects and archives people’s cultural knowledge and life experiences in the form of audio materials and communication settings. The settings were then installed into the gallery space as a unique sculptural work. Penker invited experts and colleagues experienced in translation issues, to sit down and talk about what a possible form of visual translation might look like. From the audio and visual documentation of each exhibition/discussion Penker developed subsequent exhibitions. Creating an ongoing and ever changing library of audio-visual ideas about cultural differences and visual meanings. A colour coding system of red, yellow, black and white, which was adapted from the book ‘Wie die Menschen zu Gelben, Roten, Schwarzen und Weißen wurden’, was used for a majority of the sculptural settings. Of course, all biologists know there is only one race, so why differentiate?
Why is the relation between class, gender and ethnicity still an issue in the context of fine art? Didn’t we learn anything from the 80’s. So, what to do with this information? How can a gallery exhibition or archive, change and motivate people to rethink their own ideas about cultural otherness and visual stereotypes? How can we break from our own instinctive and culturally learned imprisonment? Perhaps one should start a rock band, it will definitely reach more people and subconciously undermine our youth’s own visual imperialism, forget Modernism it goes back way further than that….