Thursday, June 28, 2012

Word River

I have an ongoing fascination with the beauty and limitations of language. For several years I have kept lists of words that appeal aesthetically but elusively resist assimilation into my vocabulary.

I love the words pathos and hubris but despite repeated leafing through the dictionary I can never quite remember their meaning after a day or two.

 I deal primarily in images, I find them a lot easier to process than language. I feel like I never quite manage to satisfactorily construct sentences. Beautifully descriptive words swim around my head but rarely make it into my vernacular. After reading a restaurant review by AA Gill or a critique of an exhibition by Peter Schjeldahl (The NewYorker) I find myself jotting down all the exotic words in the article that jump out like veristic, ersatz and cadavar.

This practice has become almost obsessive, my desk is covered with an ever growing mound of words scribbled on the backs of envelopes and on any scrap of paper to hand. 

Much of my recent work has centred on the Liffey. Behan said that Joyce had made the river 'The Ganges of the literary world'. I began to think that it would be interesting to make my next Liffey based project about words and marry these two seemingly unconnected strands of my practice. I hope to stencil hundreds of metre high words into the grime of the Liffey walls using a powerhose to form a 1km long linear stripe of text visible from the quays.

The words will be sourced from Joyce's Dubliners (another Liffey obsessive) and this time members of the public will be invited to join me on a personal tour of the intervention in a rowing boat. I am currently in discussions to try to make Word River happen in 2013.

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