Bondeson, Nina

Posted in: Artists






ON LANGUAGE. 2009-2011. Fabric, embroidery and digital print, sculpture.

In art I make up characters. The dog, Hyperion, is one of them. His master, the self taught linguistic researcher, Jeremi Adagio, is another. Jeremi wants to find the truth about everything, to save the world. He believes that it can be done by connecting dogs´ unexcelled sense of smell to our human, flawed, but still, ability to draw conclusions. Our conscience would become as sensitive as a dog´s nose! He sends Hyperion to seek through all the different layers of language we have at our disposal. The overriding questions are: How do we make use of our communicative abilities in verbal layers and in non-verbal layers? And how do we promote ways to express our wordless experiences as well as those suited to be processed in theoretical analysis?


§1. In the beginning darkness faded from premonitions, visibility, sound and rhythm. And by the influence of the surrounding, language made way in between the stars and landed in our mouth like a giant nebula.

§2. Language was made of scattered words that were all one million times bigger than the thought or just as much smaller. It could grow from this nebula, because the thought was so slow it could not resist its own attraction and grow into shapes.

§3. Meaning appeared through the words, sometimes as a conceptual appendix to thought. It is unknown when, but it turned out that concepts, in a temporary manner, would show to be surprisingly accurate in their presentations of phenomena and occurrences.

§4. In the excitement and satisfaction over this conceptual precision it got mistaken for permanence and attempts were made to actually carve the language in stone.

§5. So, language transformed from nebulous gas to stone; the time span is not known, but it is obvious that this caused difficulties. Both religions and sciences were carved before it was decided that no concepts were to be specified without an account for their temporariness.

§6. No. This was not the case. I start again: the official representatives of science, whisking their magic wands in the rest mass of history, ought to have understood that no linguistic ability of any kind must be specified without an account for its indeed necessary temporariness. This was not realized. To this day, only a few scientists greet each other with a cheerful”Omnia mutantur!” (to confirm that all things are subject to change) and mean it. The others are still carving away in stones and rocks.

§6 b. All communicative ability is of eternal value, but it is also very shy and etheric, it gasifies easily and can even cease to be, if threatened. But at the same time it holds magnificent possibilities if one does not get too infatuated with the idea of exactness.

§7. Also non verbal perceptions found, from the very beginning, ways to communicate; often far away from words, but also with their help, in the autonomous layers of meaning that can occur in the space between them.

§8. The space between words was never named. It was not called ”word” or ”thought” or ”concept”, but it was and it is there, everyone can see it, and sonorous tones, movements and images gather there to secrete their own implicit clarity. And anyone can learn to read that space if encouraged to do so.

§9. Whenever you crave for an explanation of a tone, or to understand a move, to get hold of a form or to gain insight as to how images are produced, you are referred to concepts and they will carry out their necessary disassembly of the matter and thus the implicit clarity is scattered. Something else takes its place. It might be strongly connected and equally interesting, but it is something else.

§10. Concepts mean well and can accomplish a great deal, but they cannot describe everything they emerge from, not even if”they tried so hard they would shite their head out their arse” as my Irish friend would say.

§11. When language, of any kind, is allowed to tell something that will tell something about something it shows a vivid reception of the influence of the surrounding.

§12. A vivid reception of this influence is never mute and it never reveals itself in a mere echo. It makes its way in the unfathomable variety of a resonant afterglow; and in that resonant afterglow, vehicles of meaning make their headway.

§13. These paragraphs are fragments of a temporary theoretical assembly of how language through our senses adopts various forms – from gas, through matter, to concepts. Still often in stone, as was mentioned in §4. The lingual multitude is vast; you might find stone cooperate with scissors and paper and thus find how these three pictures struggle for interpretative prerogative. In my country you can also come across lingual wood (phraseological units?), as in ”How do you do, axe-haft” but I can´t see what that has got to do with the price of fish in this context, unless it´s just to, for better or worse, enrich our interpersonal communication with the unintentional contributions that misconceptions create.

§14. In the beginning language was a whole, but the words cut in and took over and our non verbal perceptions were limited. Impressions increase in myriads as we go along, but ways to express them are mistreated in our time – hindered, almost impassable, made invisible and, as a consequence, often regarded as abstruse; especially by Ministers. And, to add insult to injury, even Ministers of Culture.


§15. The accuracy that concepts have is coherent with our contemporary superstitiously over dimensioned belief in theoretical analysis and control. It shows a disastrous lack of trust in ordinary human uncertainty and our tongues participate frenetically in the confusion it has created and language is hereby often severely damaged. One might find it comforting, though, that the confusion can show useful if allowed to be a starting point and not mistaken for a terminus.

In this video – broadcast ALCHEMY – artist speaks from 4 min:14s




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