{ language }


(prison, virus, art, home)

“Knowledge cannot rightly be assimilated to a well-designed language, because it operates at the conceptual level.”
(Lefebvre, The Production of Space)

“Language is the medium and the site of constitution of the subject, it follows that it is also the cumulated symbolic capital of our culture.”
(Braidotti, Nomadic Subjects)

“Language is the house of being, in its home man dwells.”

“Language is a Virus”
(William S. Burroughs > Laurie Anderson)

“Isn’t the question ‘have these words a meaning?’ similar to ‘Is that a tool?’ asked as one produces, say, a hammer? I say ‘Yes, it’s a hammer.’ But what if the thing that any of us would take for a hammer were somewhere else a missile, for example, or a conductor’s baton?”
(Wittgenstein, On Certainty)

“The fundamental codes of a culture—those governing its language, its schemas of perception, its exchanges, its techniques, its values, the hierarchy of its practices—establish for every man, from the very first, the empirical orders with which he will be dealing and within which he will be at home.”
(Michel Foucault, The Order of things)

It is through language that we form our thinking and the social space. Language is a tool that allows many uses; words are like handles that make the most varied operations possible, as they are mobile and precarious constructs. Stretched between performative stereotypical automatisms and ritualistic social dynamics, language spreads like a virus but can also imprison like a jail. Because we were trained through a wide range of linguistic games, it requires a certain critical distance towards our mother tongue to grasp how it has worked on us, and to which extent we are mechanically reproducing inherited dynamics of power through language and therefore in space. Poetry, for instance, works in language by deactivating its mere function. Creating new languages means creating new poetics of life, new homes.

Silvia Susanna