Shibboleth by Doris Salcedo is a chasm in the floor of the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. The word refers to a custom or linguistic identifier that serves as a litmus test for belonging to a group; if you do not know the custom or cannot say the word, then you are obviously not part of the group. The installation is about the dangers encountered when crossing borders and when people find themselves in situations of racial hatred. It represents a deep division and the immigrant who is never welcome. This piece is meant to be intrusive and to serve as a reminder of disruption rather than an attack. When the show ends, the piece will be filled in, but a scar will remain. There is a short video on the website where Salcedo, who is extremely well-spoken, describes her work. (And note comment that follows …)
Artist: Doris Salcedo
Shibboleth runs through April 6 in Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern in London.