Word Nets: if could catch words with nets! This sounds like one project but it’s two!
I had started with words long before, and then I got into nets! The idea was developed from my whole eco-art intervention stories. I played with wool, then with circles, then with bottles, with pen tops and with shadows, then with shells, boxes, and with seaweed, and eventually with nets. They are by-products of selling produce, packaging, holding items like bags: for tomatoes, onions, oranges, plums, garlic and so on. I kept those nets when they got empty, and put in pebbles instead of produce, as an act of (over)throwing (out) capitalism.
I photographed them and I filmed them, and was amazed by how good those ordinary
pebbles look inside one of those colourful nets – and vice versa! They made great pebble-holders, display-structures. Next I thought of putting those nets together, to make a network. A whole network, with the spaces in between being the internet-spaces! I used
a skein of wool I had bought years ago, to string some of my nets together. A skein so sloppily kept that it got entangled to itself! But the wool didn’t look old, it was just its multiple entanglement within its skein which was weird! I found that these entangulations actually really looked good, and liked the message that it suggested: in theory one could disentangle this skein of wool, but it practice it is impossible! Once entanglement occurs, it is there to stay, it seemed to say. We work with enmeshments on a daily basis. There is no straight path, and it’s not narrow either: it goes to so many places! And this theme of entanglement indeed has been coming back to me even in my work, as it developed and continued.
So I cut a piece of string from the wool, and used it to string my assembled nets together, to make a Network, as planned. I loved the pun of it (pun intended, double!): this was my
network! This is what networking can be! To take a nets from fruits and veg, put inside a different catch, therefore sugegest fishing nets, and then open it out into a work of nets.
Next I took my Network out, and with each time I did it, I realised that this Network in itself became entangled, just like the wool had done before! And so the theme of entanglement returned! I could have anticipated this, but didn’t think of it. So the network itself became an entangulation. With those, the spaces in between became more solid, and in these places, i.e. these gaps between the nets, a kind of internet developed!
Quite separately from that, I had been making a sort of word-game series. They consisted on the one hand of extended words on a theme, and their mutations of association and meaning, and on the other hand of a kind of image-based inter-language I developed, between English and German. For example, how, by phonetic resemblance, the ‘I’ and the ‘egg’ become associated across these two languages: the pronunciation of ‘I’ would suggest an egg in German. So a meaning-space opens up between languages, which happens purely by sound-association – (I have posted a pic of the I-egg in my last post, the one with the egg-box). Another kind of space between those languages (or
any two or more languages) is that of literal translation, and where they lead: for example, ‘roundcast’ is the literal translation of ‘broadcast’, which makes for a totally different word and meaning, which is interesting, and therefore a different space opens up. So instead of playing the right-or-wrong game, I let spaces develop. In these spaces, totally different words and new meanings are created, and I find that thrilling. It’s a kind of international dadaist thing perhaps, a bilingual dada-do.
My word-games, however, didn’t start here, they started with a different kind of dada, or para-dada – the extended words on a theme, with their associations and/or mutations of meaning. Examples of these are: “Cuppa on Cupboard”, “going home then”, “post-urban”, and so on, where I write down free associations on a theme, some thoughts. In this example I was inspired by moving from London and Leeds to Lake District borders, in one of my ‘word-tricks’, I have morphed the London Underground District Line into the Lake District Line. This, and the other plays, some of them achieved by separating words and bringing them together differently, are creatively brought forward into an altered meaning. Word-plays that makes a meaning-movement.
I have also framed word-observations, such as the ‘boy in the body’: this could be a feminist critique, and it’s a big topic, and has thus started a whole other project, which I am in the process of writing about. And so the projects continue, as they always give birth to more projects, like a tree branching out.
Another word-observation with a gender-aspect is the MoorMoon (MaMars) project, which started with the Moo-similarity and then went on to knock on the idea of a masculine Mars, which was at odds with its similarity with ‘Mama’! So words can say a lot of things, not just the things we make of them in a standard way: language says a lot, language speaks!
Now what name could I give those manifold word-play displays, which I do on paper, and are meant as art-pieces? Though I have these different types of approaches, I think the inter-language type of word-play is the most unusual, in a way, so I had to find a word for this technique! After a while, I came up with ‘Wordworts”. It sounds a bit like ‘Wordsworth’, or like ‘forward’, or like an almost-repetition. It is a repetition actually, but across languages again. ‘Wort’ is the German for ‘word’, so I just put it behind the English word, and then ‘the two words’ make a good double together! Even if some of them have nothing to do with German, ‘wordworts’ would still work as a description I think, because the two words differ by only one letter (-d in one, -t in the other), so that makes it quite interesting – also to suggest the idea that languages are just dialects to each other.
The musical factor
The branching-out- process did not stop with the naming of this kind of work. Even more styles of word-games developed, and I got into something I now consider to be a word-round, such as “(over)-thrown (out). It’s like an amalgamation of ‘overthrown’ and ‘thrown out’, and by writing the ‘thrown’ part of both words, which belongs to both of them, only once, I create a continuous loop. That loop, I found, is a bit like an inflected musical round-form, where two or more groups sing a song but start at different times, and therefore become locked in an exiting and harmonious loop. A loop also makes a tune entangled to itself. In particular, with my inflection, i.e. the only partial repetition of the motif, creates further entanglement.
So here is entanglement yet again, and that seems to have become a leitmotif. Now the next stage will be to entangle my nets with my words. Stop catching pebbles and start catching words! The possibilities of cross-fertilization, and therefore – yes, you’ve guessed it: entanglements – are endless. It’s the basis for new spaces, and therefore and within them, new ideas.
Here then, is another example to end with, a story: each word a pebble perhaps, pebbles as sentences, stones as bigger sentences, bricks as structured sentences, a house as a book! A town a library! The streets between the houses the network. An a-stone-ishing Stone Age Literatus. Now read this!