In uncertain words

Crouch, Amelia (2018) In uncertain words. In: Complexities Appeals and Paradoxes of Language, 17 November 2018, London Centre for Interdisciplinary Research, Birkbeck University. (Unpublished)

Abstract

How can a multimodal art practice provide both a plea for precision and a plea for worth of uncertainty in a political climate that wants for both? Using a series of her moving image and text-based artworks as examples Crouch discusses the mutable and context-dependent nature of linguistic meaning. Words neither represent reality nor vocalise thought in any simple, transparent way. Yet still they provide an insight into human cognition, sitting suggestively at the intersection of an individual speaker’s cognitive endowment and a socially agreed system of rules. Crouch’s artworks use wordplay and interaction of text and image to highlight fundamental categories –space, time and causality – that apparently structure human cognition whilst evidencing that our language use does not map onto these entirely. By foregrounding the multimodal and contingent nature of meaning the artworks posit a complex and embodied view of knowledge that values language but does not prioritise the verbal above all else.

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