Episode 3: Idioliths

Idioliths (or, Speaking with a Stone)

Kraatz may be losing its marbles

After a performance, a Dutch artist left a stone he had found in France in Kraatz’s care in Berlin. Kraatz could use the stone, but he wanted it back. After months of storing the stone, Kraatz became concerned. How were they to care for a stone, even—etymologically—curate it? What might the interests of a mineralogical object be? How could they be represented?

How does one speak with a stone?

The conversation turned tricky, tricksy. Bad puns kept cropping up. Kraatz members in Berlin, each of them with a different mother tongue, agreed to an experiment. Rules were drawn up for an exercise in idioliths. No need to look the word up, Kraatz made it up.

According to a dictionary not yet written, an idiolith is a short, sometimes very short film illustrating a compound word, a phrase, or a saying including a lithic element (such as, in English, “stone” or “rock”).

Each idiolith represents an attempt in the idiom of a given language to speak with a stone. In its first experiments, the stone Kraatz has on loan.

Kraatz has subsequently agreed that, for research or exhibition purposes, idioliths may be assembled into anthologies. There are precedents. Think Netherlandish proverb paintings. For a polyglot, digital age.

Kraatz may indeed be losing its marbles.

Rules for the making of idioliths [not set in stone]:

1) Each idiolith is the responsibility of a single member of Kraatz. He or she may involve any number of other people (or stones), as required, in any capacity.

2) Each idiolith is as short as it can be.

3) Technically each idiolith is as simple as it needs to be.

4) Unless otherwise required, each idiolith is silent. A soundtrack may afterwards be added to an anthology of idioliths.

5) There is no limit to the number of idioliths in an anthology, but all idioliths in an anthology must feature the same stone.

6) In an anthology no words may be added to the idioliths beyond a title and credits.

7) Any anthology of idioliths is the responsibility of Kraatz collectively.

8) Idoliths are heavy affairs. (They are not charades.)


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