Google Translated (ebook)
Controversially, Wittgenstein once stated that we can only advance statements about things insofar as we can talk about them; consequently, he implied that our knowledge is determined and limited by the specificities of language.
All cultures develop spoken languages in parallel with each other, made visual in signs and symbols: an image-language. Both spoken and written expressions are, in the main, independent of each other. Communication is the motivation for both systems. People use words to encode and classify the images and objects around them. Yet, when speakers of different languages meet and translation is necessary, there inevitably exist subtle misunderstandings. The field in which word and image meet as equals is always conducive to dislocation. This has become more pronounced since the advent of the Internet, in which cultures cross, multiple meanings develop, and the number of “hits” runs parallel with perceived truth.
We, our thinking, behaviour and understanding, are clearly conditioned by language. Cultures which appear similar have, on closer inspection, surprisingly diverse perceptions of their surroundings. Even between members of this broader cultural community, there exists a distortion of transmission.
The following images were found between 11.30am and 15.20pm on 1st December 2012, using the "large image" settings on Google Image search, on French and English Google sites respectively. The French words were gathered between the 5th November and the 18th November 2012, during the artists first two weeks in Residence at ISBA, Besançon, and translated into English using Google Translate.
Google Translated seeks to reveal the differences in cultural understanding of language. Here, the variations in visual representations are brought together.