As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve decided to work on my “secret codes” idea as my final project for my fine art research class. Given nga na it’s a research class, i will now present to you my art pitch in the formal way – as a project proposal.
Plus, it’ll help organize all those concepts and ideas I smushed together and everywhere in my earlier posts.
Just to make things clearer, you know.
And easier to digest.
Excuse me, though, if I still insert commentaries that’ll keep my proposal from sounding legitimately formal. That’s just how I write. Also, because I get to use the excuse that this is still technically a blog post and I get to be as informal as I want. Peace.
Title: currently pending, but I might just go with “What do you think I mean“ or something along those lines
Abstract: (just a revised version of this post)
The piece will be exploring the human tendency of misinterpretation in communication through language. Misinterpretation stems not only from the language barrier between humans alike (or even between species) but also from the concept of a “foreign” language itself.
The pre-conceive idea we have of a foreign language is that of encrypted symbols we have to decode. The fact is, not every group of symbols we see will translate as a foreign language to us. We decide for ourselves whether it’s “intelligible” enough to understand or not – be it deluding ourselves to “understanding” meaning or allowing confusion to inhibit us from meaning-making.
These will be explored through a literature type artwork – an encrypted message made to look foreign that will have to be decoded by the audience through a provided cryptograph cheat sheet. Audience interaction with the art piece is required in order to achieve an answer to the question this project intends to raise: Where do we draw the line between foreign language and plain gibberish?
Background of the Study:
The reason I decided to push through with this project (although it was my least favorite one among the 3 initial ideas i proposed because I wasn’t sure how I was going to execute it) (apparently it was the only concrete idea according to my professor. He was right.) is probably because the topic is something that I actually have issues with. The idea was born from watching Nina Katchadourian’s pieces on language – specifically the Talking Popcorn. To explain briefly, the Talking Popcorn was an installation of a popcorn machine that recorded a transcript of the popping sounds in the Roman alphabet. Her project was born out of pure interest in the domain of language.
This project, on the other hand, stems from my inability to express my thoughts properly through the standard (English and Filipino) verbal language we all know and use. Every person in the world, whatever language it may be, do not entirely understand their language enough to be able to utilize to the full extent that they convey exactly what they wish to express when communicating verbally. The complementary issue to that also lies on the other party’s inability to comprehend due to the lack of understanding language as well.
The idea of using children’s secret codes coincides with the idea of people, in general, being amateurs in language. A cipher naturally incites curiosity from people, prompting them to want to understand something they don’t but can. The type of encryption will play a big role in getting audience members to participate. In comparison to foreign languages that use a different alphabet system, children’s secret codes written in English alphabet instead of illustrations are easier and won’t require too much work or time for third parties to decode.
How will audience members get the message of drawing the line between foreign and nonsense through an encrypted piece of composition and a piece of cheat sheet?
The initial idea is to have the 1st layer of interpretation sound jargon (not random gvkjvkfghd) when read in the English alphabet to lay out in plain sight the idea of having to translate the piece. A cheat sheet will be provided either in plain sight or cleverly placed on the piece itself for the audience to use. The 2nd layer of translation (after decoding with the cheat sheet) is supposed to make more sense, but not entirely make sense. It will show recognizable English terms, but the sentences itself would not make much sense. To stop the decoding process at this point would only garner perplexity in the audience regarding the purpose of it all, the kind that I don’t need. In order to avoid that, the English terms upon decryption should already form a coherent idea. It would pertain to the goals of the project itself – drawing the line between foreign language and nonsense, in general. Hopefully, when the audience gets that, they would understand that there is another layer for them to decode, only that there is no 2nd cheat sheet for them to use.
1. To write a double (or triple) layered composition that would “show but not tell” the audience the message of drawing the line between “foreign” and nonsensical language
2. To provide a cryptograph that is easy enough that it wont take people to much time to translate but complex enough to show the difference between making-sense and nonsense
3. To display the composition and the cheat sheet in a way that will encourage the audience to interact with the piece (hopefully the title helps, as well) and get the message of the project
Description of the Proposed Work:
1. A composition, maximum of 10 lines (refer to the inquiry section re: content)
2. handwritten/printed (undecided + font style)
3. on an A4 or A4 width square (undecided)
4. framed on a wall
5. cheat sheet (printed) tacked on a table directly below the frame (temporary idea until i come up with a better one)
6. (thinking if I should provide a stack of post-its and pen, if ever, for people who need to write it down)
7. deciding on the space to put the artwork in: either plain white background or a homey/office look (help!)
1. Paris in 1935 (unknown photographer) – explains my usage of a photo frame
2. Un Coup de Dés Jamais N’Abolira le Hasard / A Throw of the Dice will Never Abolish Chance Stephane Mallarmé (1897) – also explains my usage of a photo frame
3. Guitar and Wine Glass by Picasso (1912) – explains the number of layers of translations
4. Apolinere Enameled (Guillaume Apollinaire) by Marcel Duchamp (1916-17) – explains the my usage of secret codes
To understand what I’m getting out of these sources, refer to this post for a review of these related works. It’s a bit long so I’d rather not flood this post with the same content.
(at least this is how my mind mapped it out)
also refer to this post.
Can of Dices