Reticulum - Show


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 "Reticulum" 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].

installation photo
Reticulum, Installation view (with Earthwords and Shibboleths)

installation photo
Reticulum, Installation view and poster

installation photo
Reticulum, detail

installation photo
Artist's talk, in front of Earthwords

Invitation front

Invitation back

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