Artist Projects

The Mute Object and Ancient Stories of Today


Gala Porras-Kim

The Mute Object and Ancient Stories of Today interprets artifacts containing undeciphered writing systems, creating an object-based ethnography that reflects on indigenous rights and the production of meaning. Specifically, the project is about the undeciphered Isthmian script, an inaccessible written form found on artifacts along the Papaloapan River in Mexico, and its link to the current development of a standardized dictionary of Zapotec languages in Oaxaca. This project highlights the successes and failures of attempting to decipher a language using mute objects that contain inaccessible meaning, and how the development of the written dictionary can provide a link to the past. The Mute Object and Ancient Stories of Today will include an intensive research and discovery phase and result in utilitarian sculptures, a video, a book, and the potential discovery of invaluable artifacts.