BA Fine Art 2017


Dry Language is a piece that is intended to give the impression of being a system of communication, based on a found script and apparently constructed from images of drying racks.

I constructed this as a way of making my audience contemplate language as a complex but often forgotten structure in our lives.

This is based on the idea that once we become proficient at communicating through language then it begins to recede totally or near-totally from our attention. We use language every day, whether talking to others, reading the paper or just thinking thoughts to ourselves—but how much do we actually consider its structure? Similar to the way our bodily systems are subsumed, language gets utilised without being analysed.

That is to say, we read a sign or speak with our mothers in the same way our hearts circulate blood—we do so unthinkingly. And, like with our organs, language only intrudes on our experience when there is something wrong: we become aware of words when one is spelt incorrectly or we cannot remember its definition.

In order to address this topic, I decided to work backwards and start not with the meanings and connections that make language operate, but with the material and fleshy aspect of the thing: letters. I started by defining the symbols from this ‘found’ script as a system and then set about learning their meaning through sculpting them. This idea came from a technique which is used to help severely dyslexic children learn the alphabet. They are taught to sculpt the letters in clay and simultaneously make their sound, combining verbal and non-verbal representations in order to form a connection in the child’s brain that sticks.

Welding as a method of construction seemed to make sense in this context because of the delicate way that fastening joints together is almost like stitching with a needle and thread or writing by hand. Finally, the manner in which I have arranged these structures in the space is supposed to mimic the way letters are arranged in a word and fit into my conceptual practice of object-choreography which is also a language of sorts.