Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
5The relationship between language and tools has always been one of influence. Our devices—pens, keyboards, smartphones—make language visible and affect its form and structure. But this exchange goes both ways: all acts of reading and writing are mediated by our expectations of content, and the instruments used to access it.
As modes of communication evolve, so too do the ways in which we think through language, creating a dynamic of perpetual adaptation. With the growing impact of technology upon our behaviors, this dialogue is becoming imbalanced, affecting how we engage with others, how we approach our machines, and how we produce and receive messages. Through my work, I intentionally redesign interactions between us and the apparatuses we employ, in order to shift the dynamic of exchange to one of collaborative performance. Multiple Influences is a commitment to rebuild an intimate and more rewarding relationship with language, through conscious negotiation with our tools.
The projects in this thesis make the physical labor of writing and reading visible by emphasizing its inherent motion. Flipping a page or typing on a keyboard become interpretative acts made by choice: writers and readers are made aware of their motion. Showing the impact of the tools we use on our language, I draw attention to the mechanisms at work in the background of our communication— the invisible gestures and subconscious responses as we share and access content.
Ultimately, Multiple Influences invites a re-framing of our role in this process, making the performer visible. By setting the parameters to explore, subvert, reverse, and at times, mock the dynamics of the tools, I empower us to understand and shape language on our own terms.
Jalil, Viviane, "Multiple influences: from witnessing language to performing it" (2015). Masters Theses. 10.