Secret Languages

Each profession has a language: words they use that outsiders don’t understand (or don’t understand fully) acronyms, or ways of speaking that can be unintelligible to the untrained listener. These professional languages are interesting in that they serve to enhance communication within the community. They can make meaning more precise, but at the same time they create a group of outsiders, who, because of not having learned the language, cannot participate fully in the conversation without the help of an insider.

This work is from a series titled “Secret Languages,” that reflects on this idea. They are made on water colour paper, the mark is created by drawing hot glass, straight out of the furnace, onto paper with a steel rod. The line quality is very calligraphic, evoking simultaneously ideas of language and landscape. For me, this is an interesting meditation on language and communication. This is a mark that glassmakers tend to understand – we have seen it before, we know how it was made – but to an outsider, it can be quite mysterious.