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“Language [as] Meta-Technology” ****

January 15, 2020

“A library is a machine for organising knowledge”

“If you want to hear the dead talk, visit a library”

The Disinformation project’s “Language [as] Meta-Technology” exhibition was staged in November 2018, as the first event in the Passen-gers Offsite series, at the Sluice HQ exhibition space in Hackney, East London (see links). The second exhibition, “Uncertain Ruins” by Julie F. Hill, was staged at Swiss Cottage Central Library (the iconic modernist library designed by architect Basil Spence) from October 2019 to January 2020. The events series for “Uncertain Ruins” featured a “Language [as] Meta-Technology” lecture – a short talk, followed by extracts read from “The Name of the Rose” by Umberto Eco and “The Book of Sand” by Jorge Luis Borges – on 5 November 2019. The core ideas from the original installation were discussed in that talk and in the “Uncertain Ruins” publication, launched on 9 January 2020. As documented in that publication, the “Language [as] Meta-Technology” sound installation uses cutting-edge commercial voice synthesis technology to articulate a number of propositions and aphorisms…

1. “The earliest form of sound recording technology was not a machine, but was written language”
2. “Language is meta-technology. Language is the technology that contains all others”
3. “The ultimate form of communications technology is language itself”
4. “Art is not necessarily science, but science is always art”
5. “All literature and poetry are forms of sonic art”
6. “All artworks are psychology experiments”
7. “Words themselves are weapons of sound”
8. “The medium is not the message”
9. “Speech itself is an art form”

Extrapolating the architect and town-planner Le Corbusier’s assertion that “a house is a machine for living”, the article also argues that since “the intersection between architecture and language… manifests in the form of a library”, therefore “a library is a machine for organising knowledge”. Since (as stated) the “earliest form of sound recording technology… was written language”, extrapolating the critique of so-called Electronic Voice Phenomena (ghost voice) recording put forward in the “Rorschach Audio” project, the article also states that “if you want to hear the voices of the deceased, talking to you, personally, then read books” – so “if you want to hear the dead talk, visit a library”. The publication features contributions from artists Joe Banks, Crystal Bennes, Thom Bridge, Libby Heaney, Julie F. Hill, Paula Smolarska, Mark Siebert and Mary Yacoob, from programmer Doug Neal, and from cosmologist and statistician Dr Roberto Trotta. Thanks to everyone who came to the events!

Buy the book – https://www.passen-gers.co.uk/uncertainruinspublication

36pp soft-back with inserts and jacket – ISBN 978-0-9572687-5-3

https://rorschachaudio.com/2018/11/12/language-as-meta-technology/

Disinformation performed at the Bibliotèque Solvay, Brussels, 29 Oct 2000 and a “Rorschach Audio” talk took place at the British Library, London, 28 June 2013.

Artworks + Texts Copyright © Joe Banks

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