Skip to Main Content

Tongue-Cut Sparrows

© James Drake. Image courtesy of the artist and Dwight Hackett projects, Santa Fe.

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© James Drake. Image courtesy of the artist and Dwight Hackett projects, Santa Fe.

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© James Drake. Image courtesy of the artist and Dwight Hackett projects, Santa Fe.

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© James Drake. Image courtesy of the artist and Dwight Hackett projects, Santa Fe.

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© James Drake. Image courtesy of the artist and Dwight Hackett projects, Santa Fe.

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© James Drake. Image courtesy of the artist and Dwight Hackett projects, Santa Fe.

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© James Drake. Image courtesy of the artist and Dwight Hackett projects, Santa Fe.

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© James Drake. Image courtesy of the artist and Dwight Hackett projects, Santa Fe.

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

James Drake

American, born 1946

Tongue-Cut Sparrows, 1996

three-channel video installation

Edition: artist's proof 2/4

dimensions variable

Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York

Dr. and Mrs. Clayton Peimer Fund, 2007

2007:23

More Details

Class

Video art

Work Type

Multi-channel video installation

This information may change due to ongoing research. Glossary of Terms

In James Drake’s Tongue-cut Sparrows communication is relegated to gestures within a set of limitations imposed by outside forces. The installation centers on a silent sequence of video projections of three women—Gabriella, Angie, and Liz—standing on a sidewalk outside a jail in El Paso, Texas. To avoid the bureaucracy of entering the jail, the women communicate with prisoners inside the building using a homemade sign language. Drake, fascinated by the great lengths to which these, and other visitors, go to communicate with their loved ones, asked them to interject poetic texts in their communication and then be recorded on video. Drake worked with the women to select texts from an array of sources, including the writings of the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca, as well as Shakespeare and Dante. Later, the artist completed a series of large-scale charcoal drawings centering on the same subject matter; in the drawings, images of the figures are joined by some of the words that were communicated between the couples. Often, there is a breakdown, or strain, in the communication—a tension that is emblematic of Drake’s ongoing interest in the social dynamics along the United States/Mexico border.

Object label from Videosphere: A New Generation, July 1–October 9, 2011

Back to Top