CONCEPT: Language influences community. How does the context of neutral, positive or negative word associations change the meanings? How does the re;lationship of these meanings affect a community? Many people find use of language and word choice with difficult connotations problematic. These same words thrown about can lead to labeling and apprehension to both the community and outsiders. I have installed a text piece using a broken list of to open questions that may contribute to locale self-definition.
Whether true, exaggerated, or completely false I found the list of words in interviews and conversations on the streets have lingering ties to this neighborhood. My goal is to use that language to let ideas and new beginnings be brought to existing space and objects around them.
DESCRIPTION: For the project “Vocabulary List” I sited a word list on the sidewalk along Lisbon Avenue wrapping around 40th Street. The words – AUTHORITY, CAUTION, CUSTODY, DAMAGE, FINDINGS, HIGH, JUST, LIMITS, OPPORTUNITY, OWNERSHIP, PROFILE, REASON, STREETS, SUSPICION, UPBRINGING, VANDALISM, VOICE, WILL and YOUTH – were cut from clear adhesive, 6” tall and placed parallel to the breaks in the sidewalk. The stickiness made these words legible by collecting refuse, leaves, and dirt from pedestrians’ shoes as they walk over it giving it a distinct sense of place and interaction. Alphabetically arranged, the list followed the long sidewalk then turned onto a different street. Larger gaps between words formed as some letters of the alphabet were skipped implying lack or gaps in the information given.
LOCATION: corner of 40th Street and Lisbon Avenue, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
PARTNERS: Muneer Bahaudeen, high school volunteers