art ± language
I was a panelist in a class led by poet Adam Sol at University of Toronto as part of a discussion about the relation between art and language. It was a fantastic event, with cartoonist Rebecca Roher, artist Hiba Abdullah and visual poet Dona Mayoora. I prepared a text to present for which I also made a video, thinking that demonstrating some of my thoughts would be more effect than just reccounting them.
The video is above and the text is below.
art ± language
the language of words
the language of letters
the language of colours
the language of shapes
the language of sound
the language of bones
a skeleton is a tall white paragraph
covered in sound
and oh yeah, tone, texture, taste
what is the dictionary definition of a sound?
what if a word has no sound?
and anyway, what if a word has a colour?
and what is the weight of that colour?
what is the weight of a letter?
how long is a semi-colon?
what does a semi-colon feel like in the hands?
on the tongue?
what does a semi-colon sound like?
is it possible to make a hyphen reach to the Kuiper Belt?
what if you took off your skin and made a word out of it?
would there be silent letters?
how would you pronounce the freckles?
can you tell the personality of the letter H just by looking at it?
how is it that a letter has a shape AND a sound?
does a square have a sound?
how do you pronounce the shape of a triangle?
how are your lungs like a capital H?
a book is just choreography for words
which is to say
language as a second English or Double Dutch
if all you have is subject object verb, everything is a sentence
that swimming pool, that dog, the forest which is all adjective except for the trees
once I dreamt that there were letters even more capital than the capital letters we have, letters even more lowercase than the lowercase letters that already exist.
my favourite grammatical fact is—dot dot dot—you have to put an ellipsis back in to show that you’ve taken it out.