Solo show, Peekskill Extension Gallery, February - April 2008
This exhibition "Inscription" because it brings together a
number of works that relate to language, writing and texts. The
site-specific installation "Reticulum"
(pictured below) is a
large blue network of rope that hangs above the heads of the
viewers throughout the gallery space. "Reticulum" echoes other
works of mine made from knotted string and monofilament ("Quipu" I & II and
"Constraint. Satisfaction.") which rely on the careful balancing
of many tensions. Here the network links together words as
connected in an electronic thesaurus known as "WordNet." For
and the "Thesaurus" prints ("Closure" and "Inscription"), I wrote custom software
to follow networks of related words and present them in
graphical form. The networks follow the shifts in meaning
between words that we might consider as synonyms, leading to
unlikely connections. Highlighting the changes in meaning and
languages over time, in the prints the networks are presented
against a backdrop of ancient Cretan writing, which contrasts
their complex topology with the undeciphered spiral of
hieroglyphics on the Phaestos disk and the boustrophedonic
Gortyn legal code, the earliest Greek law code.
"Earthwords" explores "the secret lives of texts" through an artificial life simulation that imagines handwritten words as living creatures that move like earthworms. The creatures seek each other out and join to form "superorganisms" of words where there is an affinity (the affinity being determined by sequences in a text by Derrida).
"Shibboleths" explores spoken language and in particular the speech characteristics, conscious and unconscious, that are use to demarcate cultural and ethnic boundaries.
A projected video loop shows four short "concrete verse" pieces that turn text into images: "boustrophedonic", "A Thousand Words: Jefferson" [the declaration of independence], "La Terre Est Bleue" [a Paul Eluard poem] and "Grendel Gongan" [the Anglo-Saxon text of Beowulf].
Reticulum, Installation view (with Earthwords and Shibboleths)
Reticulum, Installation view and poster
Artist's talk, in front of Earthwords
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