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Playing it forward: San Diego Central Library exhibit an artistic game of telephone

For the exhibit “Lost in Translation,” San Diego artist Jackie Dunn Smith created a painting, right, purely from the words written by local writer Patrick Coleman, left. “What's that saying: ‘there are a thousand words in a picture?'” So asks Chi Essary, a local curator, and arts advocate, when describing “Lost in Translation: A Game of .” Even while it's pointed out that the saying is actually “a picture is worth a thousand words,” her reinterpretation is still somewhat fitting. Even though the phrase was filtered through Essary's brain and rendered into a different phrase as if in her own game of telephone, it still conveys the necessary meaning. “But really, words are painting pictures in our mind even if it's only three sentences of words,” Essary adds. This statement is yet another apt distillation of “Lost in Translation,” an art exhibition opening Saturday at 6 p.m. at the San Diego Art Gallery. The concept is simple enough: A local author or poet writes a short passage, and a visual artist renders those words into art. The resulting art is then given to another writer to interpret and write a new story or passage. That passage is then passed to another artist, and so on, for a few more turns. The intent behind the exercise, and consequently the resulting exhibition, is to witness “how one person deciphers information similar or different from the initial intent,” as Essary puts it in her introduction to the […]

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