Don Quijote | Chapter 10: Delirium of Words
Multi-lingual with English, French and Spanish subtitles, 16 channel video installation, 2019
10: Delirium of Words
This scene echoes the episode of the conversation, taking the issue a step further. There, the main topic of discussion was the difference between reality and fiction, hinted at in many other episodes. Here, it is the medium of communication itself that is at stake. Don Quijote and Sancho Panza sit together, in dialogue; one of those mad and maddening ones that can only lead to frustration and anger. A delirium of words is at the same time a probing of language. This is the more forceful but also, more complicated as the two discussants not only speak different languages but also come from different educational levels. This, too, is inherent in social interaction. It seems as if they go back to the Rousseau-istic question of the “origin of language”: what is language for, what does it allow us to do, and what not? They are trying to help culture.
Sancho uses proverbs, which irritates Don Quijote. The proverbs appeal to common, popular wisdom and in that sense, counter individualism. Tweets versus communication, we would say today. Wittgenstein’s broken words. Sick words. The Spanish word razón means both reason and the precise word. This scene alludes to Colombian novelist Azriel Bibliowicz’ imaginative concept of “word hospital” in his 2013 novel Migas de pan, where second-generation Holocaust trauma haunts the family whose father has been kidnapped. The allusion suggests the imminent threat of violence when people talk together.
Image: Luz Bañon