Peace, war, love, environment, freedom, religion, democracy, government, happiness, socialism, capitalism, future, and United States.
Brian Dailey’s ambitious artwork, WORDS, is the creative summation of an odyssey that has taken him to 120 countries over the course of seven years. WORDS is the artist’s investigation into the impact of globalization and its effect on key human structures of language, society, culture, and environment.
Working within a geopolitical environment, Dailey visited public and private venues on all seven continents. In each country, he set up his camera and green-screen and invited random individuals to participate. Together with a local facilitator he presented each participant in his or her native language thirteen words: peace, war, love, environment, freedom, religion, democracy, government, happiness, socialism, capitalism, future, and United States. Each participant was asked to express – in a single word – the first impression each of these nouns evoked. The choice of national background flags provided participants the option to declare their societal allegiance and/or cultural affiliation.
The WORDS Tower transmits the voices and faces of global citizens, communicating their beliefs, concerns, and aspirations. As such, WORDS upholds the spirit of Vladimir Tatlin’s Monument to the Third International of 100 years ago. In the aftermath of World War I, Tatlin and other artists struggled with the implications of technological advancements of the modern world and societal concepts such as war, democracy, capitalism, and government.
The WORDS Tower engages the viewer in present-day issues of human understanding, while invoking a sense of shared identity among the citizenry of the world. Dailey’s multiscreen conversation compels viewers to come to terms with the effect of globalization on human endeavors. The kaleidoscopic, cacophonous, and captivating artwork is rooted in the present and seeks to elucidate how societal concepts or words shape universal conditions and individual lives.
The WORDS project includes two multifaceted print series, Tout les Mots and Words about WORDS, both of which take as their starting point the diverse responses provided by the project’s nearly 3,000 participants. The textual array of the prints in both series mirrors the poetic elements emanating from the towering installation.
Countries visited to date:
Antarctica, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Barbados, Belgium, Bhutan, Bosnia, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Dominica, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Hungary, Iceland, Îles des Saintes, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Palestine, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Republic of Congo, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
In the majority of countries visited, we relied on local guides and generous support from ToursbyLocals.
Follow the artist on his international odyssey:
The multi-screen installation premiered on January 27, 2018 at the American University Museum in Washington D.C. Future international venues TBD.