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Playing with Rose: Exploring a New Conceptual Language

Creative Work
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2016
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To understand desire, one needs language and flesh.
― Sherry Turkle, Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other

This physical installation explores hypertext on a granular level: playing with the DNA of the English language: letters with Rose, a symbolic written language based on roman characters. In Rose, each letter takes on a concept, and permutations of that letter indicate various aspects of the concept. This influences word choice and inflection: you can choose to put one letter into Rose or entire words. Toy blocks emblazoned in QR codes [1] allow participants to explore Rose and connect with the explanation of each letter on the www.thinkingrose.com site.

The work repurposes books we may have known and loved as children, books that were so loved that they became as real as the Velveteen Rabbit, prancing off into the wilds of our imaginations. Each book is scribbled in with Rose translations and commentaries, [2] transforming the child’s simple language into a complexity of thought and connotation. Toys are attached to the works, harking back into the depths of our primordial connections of language to objects. These connections besiege the question: At what point did words become real to us? When did texting and language become flesh?

This work provides a choice of interactive levels:

- a simple conundrum of contrasting overarching ideas with childhood embodiments of those ideals
- a quick dip into the complex nuances that Rose translations and alphabets can shade text with
- a deep and intensive un-coding and re-coding of the words and works

This installation is a one-off: the installation will only ever be shown at ELO 2016. It will be auctioned off to benefit ELO and the Rose Project Scholarship fund.

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Erik Aasen