"Oh my ( )"
h30 x w150 x d300 cm
"Oh my ( )" is an installation that calls god in 48 languages using Twitter database. The machine monitors the Twitter timeline in real time and when a tweeted text includes a word, god ( in various languages ), speakers sound "oh my ( god in the tweeted language )" at the same time. The list of accessed 48 languages is following.
A Word, "God" in different languages implies the cultural complexity and the difference in our world, and the name of god is influenced by each religious contexts, racial exchanges and invasions throughout human history. If you focused on a single word of god in a certain cultural area, it would not look problematic at all though, if you arranged those words in different languages, it could be seen as an unexchangeability, untranslatability, and discord rather than diversity and abundance between the various cultures.
Although one language can import another word of god and its concept from a different language, it's, of course, difficult to exchange their words. Especially for a country which has monotheistic religion, accepting another word of god in
a different language or religion can be simply a paradox, even if it's not the case, importing that word from other cultural area has spurred a debate in the history. For example, in China in the 17th century, it was disputed how to name Christian
god in Chinese, known as the Term Question, and a similar problem subsequently happened in Korea in the 19th century. In other cases, in Maltese, spoken in Malta (official language in Malta is Maltese and English), god is called "Alla",
since Malta has been governed several countries in the past, which have the different languages and cultural backgrounds, even though Malta has been basically a Catholic country for a quite long time. Muslim calls normally god "Allah : ˈælə" as a
pronunciation, regardless of what language you speak. On the other hand, god in Christianity is called in a different way, depending on the language you speak. This could be considered as a distinction of political and strategic methodology in order
to propagate their religion.
On the internet, you can access whole information all over the world, written in different languages though, the number of languages which you usually see is not so many, compared to existing thousands of languages. This is because the Information you can physically consume is, of course, limited, but above all, you can access only the language which you know and you can write down with your keyboard or touch screen. In this sense, the relationship between human and the internet can be practically described as "The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.".
In the story of "Tower of Babel", human's speech is confounded by god as a punishment. This installation, so to speak, simulates the initial situation after that punishment was implemented by god. Because people who could not communicate each
other anymore must have shouted to god against the severe punishment, "Oh my god" in different languages.
There are tremendous amounts of data, which the machine fetches from Twitter database. Some Speakers call their own god every single second, but what I can do is just to distinguish which speaker is loud. It's possible to analyze the information in a digital way with a computer, but it's not easy to physically observe every single voice of people. And if you got this complexity, would it mean that you can be more democratic?