Another Kind of Language

Description (in English): 

Interactive piece made in Adobe Flash, it consists of three different layers: the user can travel from one surface to another by clicking on the buttons: A (for Arabic), C (for Chinese) and E (for English). When choosing the languages, I was interested in the differences of their visual element, reading patterns (right to left, left to right, top to bottom) and linear and non-linear qualities. Notions analysed in Visual and avant-garde poetics. Each surface is blank until the user rolls the mouse over it, revealing still and moving images, which appear and fade away, and triggering phonetic sounds from each respective language.

The images are related to the visual representation and cultural background of each language. The sound layers are formed by the 'meaningless' phonetic sounds of the three different languages. They were created by speakers of these languages, who sang and pronounced combinations of phonetic sounds commonly used in each linguistic system.

The notion of meaningless phonetic sounds interested me, since, according to Saussure, these sounds are not supposed to have any meaning. Their function is to differentiate two words, they have a differentiating/distinguishing value. I find this paradoxical, signifying aspect of phonemes fascinating. They are the key signifying units and yet they don't have any intrinsic value. With them I am questioning the semiotic and symbolic aspects found in this process of signification where they refer to language and yet are outside language in their isolated units. I try to shift them into a different semantic context to transform them into entities with the potential for full linguistic and emotive signification. It is as if I want them to be recognised for their important function in the signifying process; to raise them to the level of appreciation they deserve; transforming 'meaningless' phonetic sounds into full entities in the non-linear structure of the communicative process.

(Source: Artist's description from her website)

Screen shots: 
Another Kind of Language screenshot 1
Another Kind of Language screenshot 2
Another Kind of Language screenshot 3
The permanent URL of this page: 
Record posted by: 
Scott Rettberg