Installation of Diebond speech balloons,
maps, placards, and Lenticular prints
University of California at San Francisco

Made in collaboration with Hank Willis Thomas, The Truth is I Am You is a poem installed as a series of speech balloons that line a covered walkway linking the School of Nursing and the School of Dentistry at the University of California at San Francisco. The 300-foot installation highlights the diversity of cultures that exemplify the UCSF community.

Each balloon displays a single line from the poem translated into each of the languages spoken by the student body. Placards containing a phonetic spelling in English accompany them, so that any person can learn to say each line.

Starting with, “The truth is I am you” and ending with “The truth is I love you,” this piece attempts to use this corridor as brief passageway to other systems of considering who we are, what we value, where we come from, and where we are going.An inverted map of the world (with the North and South poles reversed) accompanies the poem.The languages include Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tagalog, Thai, Turkish, Urdu, and others.
2008 Ryan Alexiev. All rights reserved.