The Languages of the Levant (Invisible Cities). 2017. Pigment inkjet printing and machine embroidery on linen. 39.75 x 53.75 in. (111.8 x 142.2 cm)


Ignorant of the languages of the Levant, Marco Polo could express himself only
by drawing objects from his baggage—drums, salt fish, necklaces of wart hogs’
teeth—and pointing to them with gestures, leaps, cries of wonder or of horror,
imitating the bay of the jackal, the hoot of the owl. The connections between one
element of the story and another were not always obvious to the emperor; the
objects could have various meanings: an hourglass could mean time passing, or time
past, or sand, or a place where hourglasses are made. But what enhanced for
Kublai every event reported by his inarticulate informer was the
space that remained around it, a void not filled with words.

— Italo Calvino, “Invisible Cities”