2013

Character Profile At Root Division

The
unconscious
is
structured
like
a
language.

Jacques Lacan

Character Profile

Group Show at Root Division

Curated By Jon Fischer

July 10-27, 2013

A visual arts exhibition featuring projects that explore intersections between the forms, mechanisms and meanings of language.
 
Character Profile
Character Profile
Character Profile
Character Profile
Character Profile
Character Profile
Character Profile
Character Profile
Character Profile
Character Profile
Character Profile
Character Profile
Character Profile
Character Profile
Character Profile

Drawing from a cross disciplinary group of twenty-six collaborators from across the country including writers, visual artists, and craftspeople, Character Profile investigates novel functions of language through a broad range of materials, media and approaches. Many of these works are dedicated to a spirit of engagement and play. The exhibition highlights art designed for direct interaction with visitors and work that provokes expanded meanings and alternative associations. These artists present language as both a medium and a subject, and deftly maneuver words to both convey and critique meaning.

Participating Artists

Amy Ahlstrom
Kirkman Amyx
Erin Bregman
Lanell Dike
Arash Fayez
Jon Fischer
Jonathan Frey
Heather Gordon
Jon Gourley*
Benjamin Hill
Clint Imboden
Mike Kimball
Helen Lee
Yuki Maruyama
John Patrick McKenzie
Janice Miyagi
Trevor Parham
Meryl Pataky
Kyle Peets
Kristin Roeder
Allyson Seal
Laurie Szujewska
Nowell Valeri
David Wolf
Nanette Wylde
Amber Jean Young
Daniel Yovino
* Root Division Studio Artist
Exhibition Wings
Curator's Statement
Why does a sad story make us cry? What’s going on in our mind when a good joke makes us laugh out loud? Can we possibly explain how the made-up sounds and marks we call words and letters have such a big impact on us?
We use language every day and rarely ever stop using it long enough to wonder at how strange and amazing its very existence is. While many animals and plants communicate, the system of inventing and assigning sounds and symbols (words) to things and combining them into sentences using a common structure (grammar) is uniquely human. The system allows us to convey complex ideas freely and easily and is, perhaps, our greatest evolutionary adaptation. It is the foundation of all human achievement, compassion, and altruism. It is also the means by which structures of power have oppressed, and a prison in which people have lost their minds.
Visual art is uniquely suited to examine something so ubiquitous as language. When we enter a gallery, we arrive prepared to stop and search its contents for underlying implications or personal meaning. And whereas some degree of experience and specialized knowledge are sometimes required for engaging with contemporary art, our shared experience of language--the very thing that makes it work-- is a thread that includes us all.
It is with this focus on engagement that the artists in this exhibition have been charged to work out the beauty, weirdness, joy, and possibilities of language. Some have used text as a medium like paint, while others use it to both convey and critique meaning. Through a broad range of materials, media, and approaches, these new works give us the opportunity to pause and reconsider language for the odd, fantastic creation it is.
Character Profile
Character Profile
Character Profile
Character Profile
Character Profile
Character Profile

In the Twentieth century, some of the world’s greatest thinkers made it their life work to unlock the mystery of human communication.  Their goal was essentially an explanation of every language that ever existed in all of human history. The resulting theory identifies language as an imaginary structure in our mind, in which there are two primary phenomena:

  1. Replacement/Metaphor: In which individual things we wish to talk about are assigned their own individual word, symbol, sound, or any other kind of unique sign.
  2. Combination/Metonomy: In which we convey complex ideas by combining our words, symbols, sounds, signs together.
language diagram

But as languages evolve over time, overlaps, glitches, and mistakes abound. In this imperfect system, context is everything.

Character Profile
Character Profile
Character Profile
In the Twentieth century, some of the world’s greatest thinkers made it their life work to unlock the mystery of Donkey Kong.
Character Profile
Character Profile
Character Profile
When we assign words, sounds, symbols, to represent individual things, we create a sign. Signs have two components:

• A signifier: the form which the sign takes:

open-sign

• The signified: the concept it represents:

You may enter the business.

Signs take the form of words, images, sounds, odors, flavors, acts or objects, but such things have no intrinsic meaning and become signs only when we invest them with meaning.
As modern culture becomes increasingly saturated with media images, new cultural forms and expressions, consumerist trends and needs, there has been a remarkable proliferation of signs.
Many scientists, artists, psychologists, and philosophers have described the signifier-sign pattern operating in areas outside of language. Some very smart people have begun to wonder if the exponential pace of modernity is thrusting us so deep into the world of signs we might become trapped.
Character Profile
Character Profile
Character Profile
Any text can be reduced to a data sequence. The rules of grammar are largely analogous to the parameters of a computer algorithm.
If our thoughts, interactions, and feelings are all filtered through the structure of language, to what extent can our experience of consciousness therefore be reduced to a sequence of information? Does it follow that our minds could one day be stored in a computer or perhaps the electromagnetic fabric of the universe?
Character Profile
Character Profile
Character Profile
Character Profile
Character Profile
“The loudest voice will be the voice that speaks for those who lost their voice.”
-Joseph Biden, describing his approach to gun control legislation
Character Profile
"Chicken Wing" | Screenprint, Wood, Buffalo Wing, Epoxy Resin | 1.5 x 1.5 x 10 in. | 2013
Character Profile
Character Profile
"Shoplifters will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law."
Character Profile
"iPads" | Kristin Roeder | books, wire | 3 ft high | 2013
"eBooks" | Kristin Roeder | pads, wire, zip ties | 3.5 ft high | 2013
Character Profile
Character Profile Journal

Favor de agarrar uno.

Comprehensive tour of “Character Profile” at Root Division, an exhibition featuring projects that explore intersections between the forms, mechanisms and meanings of language.

Toasted Puns Resize

There is absolutely no educational requirement for being published.

Here is a sneak peak of noted gluten artist  Ben Hill‘s Toasted Puns, installed at Root Division for our language-art …

JF 7x7pg3 Resize

He often plays the peacemaker between McCain and the senators McCain has offended.

Character Profile at Root Division is installed, open, and ready for the masses. It really couldn’t have turned out better. …

Toasted Pun Title

Dress up like your favorite Star Wars characters, help us find “Yoda” around the ballpark.

Here are some more photos from some Character Profile projects. Ben’s Hill‘s Toasted Puns how have a title bun.  This …

Toasted Pun Test Thumb3

How about if we interrupt the program every millisecond to update the timer and the display?

Ben Hill‘s toasted puns are coming in from our eight lettering artists. I toasted, shrink-wrapped, and tagged the first set …

Chicken Wing

If product is heated, vapors generated can cause headache, nausea, dizziness and possible respiratory irritation if inhaled in high concentrations

Check out this studio photograph from my upcoming instructional pamphlet: How not to embed one buffalo wing in clear epoxy …

Guest Artists Wanted Lil

He lights a fire within me.

Know anyone who wants to help me and Ben create a wall of Toasted Puns?  Please pass on this link …

Character Profile Wings3

From TV host to fierce defender of scientific issues.

With a fierce commitment to words and play, the curation of my upcoming group show  Character Profile is going to …

CharProfile Front

You may have wondered if a backyard fire pit is legal.

“Character Profile: New Works in Language, Text, and Wordplay” Curated by Jon Fischer Opening Reception Saturday July 13 7-10PM (one …

Slide Fabrication2

The loudest voice will be the voice that speaks for those who lost their voices.

Last year I decided that I wanted to focus on art that features wordplay. To facilitate this, I arranged to …

Rd Contract

At that point, we can steer the project into much more “bio-oriented” waters.

Allow me to share this triumphant piece of paper.  This is my signed, unsealed, and delivered contract to curate the …

.