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Wordsearch: A One-day Work of Art

Staff Report

NEW YORK, 1 October 2002 - What languages does New York speak? Does speech embody culture? Does it function as an indicator of identity and vehicle of understanding in a city of several million people? German artist Karin Sander attempted to answer these questions when she asked 250 New Yorkers, each speaking a different language, and representing a wide range of ethnic backgrounds and nationalities, to donate a word in their mother tongue that had a special personal significance for them.

Each of the words was translated into every one of the other 249 languages in the project including languages as far apart as Efik, Patois, Malayalam, Chickasaw and Sulawesi. A total of 62,500 words were thus generated, from which Karin Sander fashioned an art work analogous to the stock market listings in the business section of The New York Times. In fact, Sander's global sculpture in words, entitled wordsearch, uses the power of the newspaper as a medium-and also reproduces its temporary nature. Her high-circulation, mass media, one-day work of art will appear in the Business Day Section of The New York Times on 4 October 2002 and is available in print on the same day in both Frankfurt and New York.

Wordsearch is Karin Sander's art work for the Deutsche Bank's art series Moment. The wordsearch catalogue with background information appeared on 29 September as a Deutsche Bank advertising supplement in the Sunday edition of The New York Times Magazine.

The wordsearch edition and sixty-four page catalogue with photographs by Franziska Lamprecht and Hajoe Moderegger can be ordered online at for 10.

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