been written about and how. But the inexhaustible data that has
emerged has demonstrated with devastating ease that we really
don’t know nothing for sure. That said. Neither does this bit of
knowledge dissuade us from probing this ginormous philosophical
phantom nor does it prevent us from plotting out a few language
games *appreciative nods for ol’ Wittgenstein* of our own.
discombobulating the proceedings any more, we present Dear Jābir.
Dear Jābir is
an open letter to Jābir Ibn Hayyān, an eight century Persian
polymath. Jābir’s many fortes included alchemy, chemistry,
astronomy, philosophy etc, etc. But because of the dense and
highly technical jargon Jābir frequently unleashed, the majority
of his elaborate corpus was incomprehensible to the everyperson.
[At this point, we’d like to take a deep breath and follow it up
with a self-deprecating sidelong glance at the rarely pellucid
discourse that surrounds art.] But let us segue out of these
Put on rewind
mode, the term gibberish would take us to its many possible
etymologies. But the one that interests us most can be backtracked
all the way to our dearest Jābir.
With this show
one intends to explore the relentless mutations language
undergoes. The nature of these varies vastly, from whimsy through
design. For this project, the participant artists have worked with
invented words/ gibberish. Alternatively, the artists have also
subsumed extant words whose meanings they have willfully rejigged.
Following this, they have shaped works, which respond to these
peculiar linguistic creations.
Right then, as
a viewer you must wonder as to why we indulge in this fairly de
rigeur game of constructed language, which incidentally has
conlang as its revealing aka. Without a moment’s hesitation let us
pass the buck onto JRR Tolkien.
Tolkien himself has created a litany of languages and
half-languages – including Sindarin and Quenya, the tongues of the
elves in The Lord of the Rings – in 1955, the author proposed that
the compound word ‘cellar door’ is one of the most euphonic in the
English language. Since this declaration, the word has become a
cultural catchphrase in circles that study the as yet unfounded
possibilities of phonaesthetics.
Truth be told,
at its commencement, this project was a love letter of sorts to
Tolkien. But then early bird Loris GrČaud came along, and cellar
door was taken by its tail.
So if you
can’t beat them, you beat them.
proposed by the artists can’t wait to oust cellar door. Will
Tolkien’s half-whimsical claim find its match?