Un Festival of Missverständnisse
ESAD Valence Grenoble
Concept and realisation:
Alexandre De Sousa
In search of a topic for our guest-term in Valence, we have repeatedly come across the challenge of the language. At ESAD French is spoken. We speak German. English is an obvious compromise – a tool and at the same time a foreign language for most people involved. Blurs and misinterpretations in communication seem inevitable. Thus, the idea arose the semester in Valence for the study of language and languages, whether spoken or written, visible on the body or decipherable as social code with translation processes and attempts at understanding as well as their difficulties, mistakes, cumbersome attempts to use visual and gestural aids.
Language as an enabling for communication is the basis of the emergence of society. It is also worth taking a closer look at language for its relevance to design, graphic design and visual communication. Per se, these disciplines share an exchange, a negotiation, an information transfer. Especially in times of intensified migration dynamics, in which we see ourselves confronted with the strengthening of national boundaries, populism and the question of a possible end to globalization, questions of in- and exclusion through language arise in a new intensity.
Language as a code for the transfer of information is a system in which both understanding and misunderstanding take place. Language is not one-to-one. Whether in one language or in translation processes across two or more languages, the communicative exchange leads to different interpretations of what has been said or written. When information is translated into another language, the number of misinterpretations or displacements increases exponentially. Even simple contexts of meaning can rarely be transmitted directly. In a translation detours and abstractions are the result. Or misunderstandings. This can be considered negative as faulty. But it is precisely in the area of misunderstandings, the not completely or completely not mastering of the language of expression that comes to new creation: of surprising contextualizations, interesting wordings and absurd paraphrase. New languages even emerge in faulty communication processes.
In this sense, we want to make the potential of misunderstanding the subject. Together with the students we want to conduct multilingual research: The means of image, writing and forms are to be used to test ways of mediating, negotiating and asking questions. The aim of the process is to create a joint publication on the topic.
Concept and realization by Paula-Marie Kanefendt (artist & art mediator), Tim Holland (poet & writer) and David Voss, who was orignially was invited by ESAD Valence-Grenoble to form a team for a visiting lectureship in winter term 2018/2019.