BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht is pleased to present "Englishes", a solo exhibition by Nicoline van Harskamp

19.09.16 | tag: Utrecht

September 24 - November 20, 2016

 

Since 2013, the artist’s work has been engaged with exploring the widespread use and modification of the English language by its non-native speakers. Englishes depicts the development of the plurality of spoken-English that displaces the perceived position of primacy occupied by dominant strains of the language. The work addresses the political import of this linguistic development, pointing out how our use of language is consistently entrenched in structures of class and power. Challenging these connotations, van Harskamp proposes a dissolution of English into "Englishes", co-opting it as a common and ever-growing linguistic resource. Englishes thus becomes a site of solidarity—be that through the expressivity of speech or by a claimed common right to edit.

The exhibition explores the widespread use and modification of the English language by its non-native speakers. Englishes depicts the development of the plurality of spoken English that displaces the perceived position of primacy occupied by dominant strains of the language. It addresses the political import of this linguistic development, pointing out how our use of language is consistently entrenched in structures of class and power. Challenging these connotations, van Harskamp proposes a dissolution of English into “Englishes,” co-opting it as a common and ever-growing linguistic resource. 

A new short fiction film, PDGN (2016) draws conclusions from previous strands of the project and puts forward an unlikely, but desirable, global link language. This predicted version of English is partly automated by “PDGN software” designed specifically for this occasion. It is conceptualized with the help of software designers, Esperantists, recreational language inventors, and academics in fields such as creole studies, computational linguistics, and language evolution.

Englishes is part of Instituting Otherwise, a research, learning, exhibition, and publishing trajectory at BAK. The series is prompted by the desire to engage publicly with the ideal of institutional creativity. The series Instituting Otherwise is part of BAK’s project Future Vocabularies(2014–ongoing), a program of discursive, performative, and artistic propositions that aim at composing a speculative conceptual lexicon through which to think the future anew. 

http://www.vanharskamp.net

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