Titled by Joseph Kosuth
‘Titled’ presents object and language as a seamless entity that renders both signifier and signified inseparable from each other and highlights an interpretive predicament of meaning predicated upon language. The text in ‘Titled’ is important because it signifies the semantic capacity of language and not just because of what it says per se. The supposed impartiality of language is exposed in a way that makes us acutely aware of the difference between the act of reading and the act of interpretation.
When do you usually see words written? What technologies of making words visual apart from hand writing can you think of?
- The Waiting Wall
Alan Donohoe and Steven Parker, who make up creative digital storytelling partnership Free The Trees. Their idea for The Waiting Wall was inspired by author Alain de Botton’s suggestion that Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall could be adapted for the modern day.
“Standing on the concourse waiting for yet another delayed, overcrowded train, will become a rare eye-opening and uplifting experience,” the description of The Waiting Wall on Free The Trees’ website says. “Inspired by the book Religion for Atheists by Alain de Botton, ‘The Waiting Wall’, referencing commuters’ experiences, is an electronic display of Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall, “that would anonymously broadcast our inner woes,” thereby reminding us that “we are none of us alone in the extent of our troubles and lamentations.”
- “The overtones vibrate against the eye. The wealth of composition in characters makes possible a choice of words in which a single dominant overtone colors every plane of meaning. That is perhaps the most conspicuous quality of Chinese poetry. Let us examine our line.
The sun, the shining, on one side, on the other the sign of the east, which is the sun entangled in the branches of a tree. And in the middle sign, the verb “rise,” we have further homology; the sun is above the horizon, but beyond that the single upright line is like the growing trunk-line of the tree sign. This is but a beginning, but it points a way to the method, and to the method of intelligent reading.”
Ernest Fenollosa. “The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry:A Critical Edition.”
- Concrete poems are not words
The concrete poets produced various manifestoes and protocols that were intended to characterise the production and attributes of concrete poetry, and in 1958, the group produced ‘a pilot plan for Concrete Poetry’, which embodied concrete poetry as: “the tension of things-words in space-time”.
- Dematerialized’ works such as the Air Show by Art & Language offered the prospect of an elusive cycle of artistic production and audience reception that was commercially and critically unwelcome. Within the broader context, conceptual art manifested itself variously as ‘information art’, ‘anti-form’, ‘site specific art’, and ‘land art’ in a series of self-conscious attempts to confound the acquisitive tendencies of connoisseurs, collectors and cultural institutions. Kosuth and Art & Language mobilised the definition of art as a precondition of artistic production, and for the first time manifesto, proposal and artwork became interdependent components.
- Wittgenstein’s statement: “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world”, is indicative of his view of language as a philosophical instrument that could be used to interrogate and define the limits of both experience and understanding.
- “By contrast, conceptual art is distinguished not only by its profound impact on postmodern thinking, but by the articulacy and scholarship of many of those directly involved with it. Conceptual art offered a revised view of the relationship between text based communication as content and the arbitrary organisation of linguistic systems as context. Conceptual artists were able for the first time to show how secularised language/information within abstract social systems often generated friction when in the face of the ‘lived experience of language’. Conceptual art is also characterised by its relentless rejection of the importance of form and material to the point where this becomes a subscription to an antiform/pro-text aesthetic. So-called conceptualists crossed the divide between aesthetics and linguistics in the belief that text might allow them to transgress not only the visual, but also the semantic and the aesthetic.
Concrete poetry and conceptual art offered a challenge to the unassailability of linguistic signs by generating semiotic and aesthetic conflict to deliberate effect and perhaps one could assert that the two share a resentment of the ulterior qualities of language. Ultimately though, concrete poetry and conceptual art seem to be connected by little more than the spectre of perversity – a counter cultural sensibility that motivated poets to make pictures (and extend language beyond its limits); and visual artists to use text (as a surrogate for ideas that were essentially optimised by language)”.
Concrete Poetry and Conceptual Art: A Spectre at the Feast? by Neil Powell