Word and image are different techniques used with the same purpose: to provide somebody with a sense of description or representation of something, whether it is material or immaterial. They are structures that allow the communication of an individual reality, rendering it accessible to others.
Both word and image constitute universes within themselves; they are an embodiment of concepts, symbols with encoded meanings articulated accordingly to their own specific rules. Also in both cases, the processes used for production and decoding are unsteady and particular, shaped by metamorphic variables such as Time and Space, which make them even more complex and richer – and thus peculiar - within themselves.
These similarities have been noticed long ago and the attempts to test their limits and blur the boundaries between these two apparently very different worlds, has been an on-going challenge for scholars and artists. How many times have we heard a visual work being defined as 'poetic' and a literary one being characterized as 'visual'? Indeed we can refer to Homer's description of the Achilles' shield in Iliad, or even to Ezra Pound's imagism, where words lend an extremely vivid optical perception of what they tell. In
visual arts we can give Tarkovky's films as an example of poetic cinema, as he uses literary mechanisms to articulate images as if they were verses in a poem.
More literal takes on the intersection of both techniques have also been carried out. Mallarmé's theory of words being objects themselves – focusing on their architecture, their sculptural form as iconographic elements - as well as Heidegger's conception of language as a Being in itself – he considers words to be self-contained identities - have encouraged the development and creation of much concrete and visual poetry, as well as influenced visual artists – such as Bruce Nauman, Barbara Kruger and Jenny Holzer – who started to integrate word and speech in their practice.
The symbiotic connection between both languages seems to be umbilical; the frontiers that makes them apart seem to be feeble and are just the starting point for further questioning. In which ways do they potentiate each other? Can they even exist without resorting to each other? Can images stand by themselves without any need for verbal speech being created around it? Can words and a verbal narrative be created or sustained without recurring to visual elements and realities? What are the limits of the verbal and the visual language? How does their usage shape our experiences and perceptions?
Ewa Kubiak – Her artistic work explores the relation between textual and visual messages. Through creating visual narrations Ewa examines the extends and limits of language and image; writes/says what she cannot depict visually and depicts what she cannot describe with words. Her work is also about storytelling. Through a strategy of experimentation and working with varied techniques she is mostly inspired by simple, ordinary views and occurrences which she approaches in a very analytical way and thus deform what the starting point was. She is currently a resident artist at GlogauAIR.
Nisha Bhakoo – Nisha is an Indian-British poet whose work has been published in numerous literary magazines, and been included in anthologies by The Emma Press and Mud Press. Her debut poetry collection “You found a beating heart” was published recently, in October 2016 by The Onslaught Press. In her poetry she is interested in exploring traversable boundaries – blurring the lines between fantasy and reality, the masculine and feminine, as well as the familiar and the unfamiliar. She is deeply inspired by psychoanalytical approaches to poetry. She is also keen on making short poetry films, as she has a strong interest in visual art and film-making too, and she tests innovative ways of presenting her poetry. Nisha was
a GlogauAIR resident in 2015.