Textual Intervention into the BRC/CRF, Guys Hospital Tower, London
commissioned by the Guys and St Thomas’s Charity 2011
self adhesive vinyl, box framed lasercut acrylic works
I have always been fascinated by words, by the roots of language, how Greek and Latin suffuse our understanding of the world especially in the sciences. After looking at various non-textual forms of visual representation of the research at the BRC/CRF I decided to make an artwork about medical terminology and nomenclature. I have always wanted to do a linguistically based artwork and this was the perfect opportunity. I have composed many text works on computer but had never shown them. They consist of palindromes constructed out of words that interest me thematically, at that time words to do with stylistic change, for example classical and baroque.
The installation consists of framed laser cut acrylic word diamonds and also vinyl palindromes based on sequentially, structural proteins, (applied to connecting spaces)neurotransmitters, (applied to meeting rooms) and DNA bases and amino acids applied to offices and patient corridors.
I am interested in the slippage of language from the fixed semiotics of a known word to the calligraphic aesthetics and suggestibility of a random string of letters. For this commission I deployed Greek and Latin suffixes and prefixes of medical terminology pertinent to the research occurring at the BRC/CRF, helped by input from senior researchers, into wall based word diamonds and palindromes cut from 10mm acrylic sheet and also applied as vinyl signage to the internal windows so that there are two systems of linguistic meaning occurring in the space. The window mounted vinyl flows through the space on the same datum line in bands of repeating palidromes four letters high so that the transparency of the window is disrupted by text that moves from almost recognisable medical language to almost nonsensical associations.
The word diamonds are works in their own right, framed and separate from the wall, operating on the boundary of the calligraphic and the semantic. The font, Gill Sans has a classical modernist monumentality and calm.