Pidgin Tongue is a book, sculpture and workshop project by artist Stine Marie Jacobsen commissioned by the Riga Biennale 2018 and curated by Katerina Gregos.
Conducted as a collaborative and experimental writing workshop, where mother tongues will split, be re-welded and transformed into new (step-)mother/pidgin tongues through translation of idioms, mutation of words and new laws. During the workshop, children re-examine their relationship to both Latvian and Russian languages to create a dictionary for a new language through which they will stake their claim on a future for Latvian culture.
Pidgin Tongue draws on this vision from “the next generation” to develop a new “pidgin constitution” and make an absurdist monument sculpture for it - bringing attention to the fact that all constitutions are in essence arbitrary social constructs which enforce a normative set of “accepted” behaviours.
The title refers to the term "pidgin language", which is a simplified grammatical form of a language that can emerge between groups with different languages. Pidgin language can be built up of words, sounds and body language and the emphasis is more on co-created meaning to enable interaction. Pidgin languages have no native speakers and are thus not “owned” by any one group over another.
Imagine a flexible constitution which unites a cultural language split. The results of Pidgin Tongues’ explorations on this theme will be used for a publication and a co-created sculpture that incorporates the children's workshop output as a new system structure and constitution.