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“We use words to communicate with each other, but if every person holds a different meaning to the words we use, can we then rely on words to represent a simple thing?  Something like an object, or something more abstract, such as an idea? Are our words ‘passive’ identifiers of our reality or are they instead ‘active’ tools that mediate the way we perceive our reality?

Every word is connected to a meaning and employed to represent our goals, feelings or ideas. Words therefore affect our actions. In some situations, the meanings of words can evolve as a result of lived experience. Even though the word remains the same, its former definition is no longer representative of our experience. For example, a person who wants to become a firefighter starts the training and through this complex process realizes that the word ‘firefighter’ represents many more layers than what it represented to the person before the training started.”

The words written on the tape are one way to identify the various elements that are part of this installation. You are invited to rename these words according to what you believe is the most correct term for the different elements.

Photos: Annie van der Werff

Michal Noy (1994, IL) studies design at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. She is passionate about visual linguistics and currently busy with investigating and collecting tools of translation. Her fascination for communication focuses on the language people use in interaction with each other and the way this shapes their perception and behavior. To Michal, language means: a playlist of songs, the material the cabinet is made of, the body posture of a person waiting for the bus to arrive, or an official shared lexicon (like English).