Continueing my interest in the previous project ‘Things We May Never Know’, the project ‘I judege a book by its cover’ explores the relationships between language, identity and foreignness.
In the project, I borrowed books of foreign languages from a library, and photographed the side of them in piles. Apart from the clue in the titles, the viewers cannot tell what language the books belong to. Language, in our society, works as a selection mechanism. It selects audience, deciding who would be able to read the books. By randomly choosing books of the language I cannot understand, I positioned by myself as a ‘cultural outsider’, that ‘I judge a book by its cover’, which signifying the distance between different cultures and how nationality/identity influence the way people judge others in our society. By hiding the language and the content of the books, I intend to distance viewers from what is underneath in different cultures, imitating the selection process language does in our everyday life, symbolizing the barriers among people from diverse backgrounds. Moreover, while all the information of the books is remain unknown in the larger-than-life-sized images, the books have lost their function, and become a statue, a tower, which is just like the Tower of Babel, symbolizing the divergence and barrier created by different languages.