Open Works Lucy

Looking back through what we have made and learned this semester, I was drawn back to one of our first projects. For the Time of Day project, we observed out surroundings and explored what it meant for us to live present in a certain “time.” Drawing from getting my stitches removed and waiting for the train, I ended up at a fake script, my piece representing the man-made and alterable alphabet and language that we base all of time around. Through this project, I want to continue to expire the same idea.
First, I’ll start by creating a “language.”I put this in quotes because I don’t really know what this entails yet. I remember the big cards with letters (Aa, Bb, Cc..) that we looked at in kindergarten to learn the alphabet. Using an undetermined medium to do so, I will make my own set of letter cards. These may elaborate to words, sentences. These cards will be my physical pieces to bring into class.
Where the concept of time comes in is with this next part of my piece. I will take a video of a person, saying aloud the sounds they think would go best with the scribble of my made-up alphabet cards. I will then take the audio recording of this video and show it to my next person, who would in turn try and replicate the alphabet’s “sounds” that the first person made up when they were looking at my alphabet cards.  I would take this second persons’ audio and show it to a third, the third’s to a fourth and so on.  This would be like a game of language telephone, each person slightly altering the lasts’ interpretation so that I end up with a final humanly made language.  To me this is a small scale study of representing how language is formed, and altered over time to get it where it is today.  This will be really interesting to engage in and learn more about as I continue.

Testy Alphabet Flashcards Thumbnail

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  1. John Roach · April 23, 2014 Reply

    Fascinating idea.
    So if you had to consider the kinds of time we have discussed in this class, where would this fit? How does it explore time? Here’s the Time Map we made in class:

    I have some ideas, but it would be good for you to elaborate on this to differentiate the project from something that is not explicitly looking at time as an idea.

    There are some good references that relate to language.
    One is the film On Top of the Whale by Raul Ruiz:
    A parody of anthropology, linguistics, and cultural imperialism. The film follows an unlikely team of linguists into the wilds of an ersatz Patagonia to study the last speakers of a dying language. That language apparently consists of a single word, which therefore means everything.

    Another may be the Grammelot of Dario Fo.

    There’s also a rich history of sound poetry and artists like Joan LaBarbara and Henri Chopin and Kut Schwitters that extended the voice and sound to explore linguistic structure.

    There are also interesting parallels here to the role that cards play in psychological testing (for example rorschach blots) that may either directly or inadvertently emerge from this project.

  2. John Roach · April 23, 2014 Reply

    Some references:
    Gene Searchinger’s film series “Human Language”
    Part I of The Human Language Series – “Colorless Green Ideas”.
    Part 2


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