Wednesday, March 07, 2012

A goofy, cartoony, whale-like, sandwichy thing, a bright red slice of processed cheese on a quotation bun.

Speech for Márton Koppány

I created this image for the great Hungarian visual poet Márton Koppány. His deceptively simple images, comprised of the small visual symbols of our modern life -- yes, ellipses, quotation marks, and speech balloons, but also those plain things such as a chair, a fish, some sunglasses. But he doesn't represent the chair, fish, or sunglasses, but rather simple photographs of these things. It's our gif-world, our jpgision, our psdopticon. And these images -- from the language of words or the language of visuality -- play together on a flat field comprised of flat simple colours. They live in that happy purgatory of the semantic present, living out the relationships of unworried signs in an semiotic utopian playground without hierarchies. Yes, they interact. Speech balloons and ellipses point to notions of speech and ellipticality. Fish seem to swim in the visual field. Commas point to the messy complex semantic world of language which they have opted out of, or have at least, for now, joined this visual commune. 

I feel all Heisenbergian when I look at his images. I feel delight or bemusement or sometimes unsettled, but I get the sense that the images are changed by my viewing. In some way, they exist out-of-time, beyond 'reading.' When I was a small child, I'd look at the world of images and text and wonder what they might mean. Because I didn't know what they meant, they meant everything. Sometimes, I was disappointed when I found out what they meant. Meaning 'something' is smaller than meaning 'everything' or 'anything.' It's like discovering that the endless forest path at the end of your street isn't endless but actually loops around and ends up at the greengrocer's, the library, or emerges behind Mrs. Black's house. 

The image above fills me with happiness. A goofy, cartoony, whale-like, sandwichy thing, a bright red slice of processed cheese on a quotation bun in the unmitigated blue of water, sky, or childlike semiosis.

Thanks, Márton, for all your work.


Márton Koppány said...

Thank you so much, Gary! It is great to be in touch and see how our balloons are collaborating. :-)

gary barwin said...

Very welcome, Márton. These balloons seem to have a lot to say.

Peter Greene said...

Neat! Most enjoyable. I can highly recommend the work of one satu kaikonnen in this general area...

gary barwin said...


Thanks for dropping by.

Satu's work IS amazing. I certainly follow it. Or try to. She is so fantastically productive. It's brilliant, inventive, and very humane work.