Broken Telephone

From the series sem-antics

The children’s game of ‘broken telephone’ was used as a formal device in this artwork. Excerpts and book titles from predominantly French semioticians and philosophers were used to start the game, which was played on the Wits university campus in Johannesburg with students from diverse university faculties. Each 'link' in the chain was recorded by the student invited to play, and later published both as text and sound in the installation. Another popular name for this game is ‘Chinese whispers’, a name still coherent with questions of geography that are conceptually present in the work.

Date: 29 April 2013
Place: WSOA
Participants: 3

It may well be that on the plane of ‘life’, there is but a totality where structures and forms cannot be separated.
– Roland Barthes

It may well be that on the course of life there will be structures that cannot be formulated

It may well be in the course of life there will be structures that cannot be formulated

It may be in life that structures are not formulated

Date: 6 May 2013
Place: Wits Theatre
Participants: 3

It may well be that on the plane of ‘life’, there is but a totality where structures and forms cannot be separated.
– Roland Barthes

It may be in totality of life form in a plane of performance

It may be another way to apply form and do performance

There may be another way to play performance in performance

Date: 6 May 2013
Place: Wits Theatre
Participants: 3

Course in general linguistics
After Ferdinand de Saussure

Course in general linguistics

Cars are general linguistics

Cars are general linguistics

Date: 9 May 2013
Place: WSOA
Participants: 3

As soon as there is language, generality has entered the scene
– Jacques Derrida

As soon as there is anguish generality has entered the scene

As soon as anguish has arrived generality has entered the scene

As soon as there’s anguish, there’s a detective at the scene

Date: 13 May 2013
Place: Wits library lawns
Participants: 9

Notes: the following starter-phrase was taken from the notes of a participating architecture student.

Architect. Archi: head, master. Tect: technology, know-how. Therefore, architect: master of the know-how
– Quote recalled; after Le Corbusier

     Architect master of the know-how

      Architect master of a know-how

      Architectural masters of a know-how

      Architect masters of a know all

      Architect masters of an elephant

      Architect masters of an elephant

      Architect masters of an elephant

      Architect masters of an elephant

Date: 6 May 2013
Place: Wits theatre
Participants: 6

The language that results when children make a pidgin their native tongue is called a creole
– Steven Pinker

The language that results when children make a noise is called creole

 The language that results when children make a noise is called creole

The language that results when children make a noise is called creole

The language that results when children make a noise, it’s called creole

The language that comes from children something that resolves something

The language that comes from children something that resolves something

Date: 16 May 2013
Place: WSOA
Participants: Group 1: 3 *Group 2: 4 **Group 3: 3

Notes: The following starter-phrase was split up and tried in three parts and telephoned through three groups

In the first place the mark is not anthropological, it is pre-linguistic;
*it is the possibility of language, and it is every where there is a relation to another thing or in relation to an other.
**For such relations, the mark has no need of language
– Jacques Derrida

In the first place the mark is not anthropological, it is pre-linguistic

In the first place the mark is not anthropological I can’t remember

In the first place the mark is not anthropological

*

It is the possibility of language; its relation to another and from another

It is the possibility of relation to something about another thingy

It is the relation of language to something something relational

It is a relation of language to pie

*    *

For such relations the mark has no need for language

For such relations the mark has no mark for relation

For such relations the mark has no mark for relation

Date: 16 May 2013
Place: WSOA
Participants: 4

Of grammatology
-Jacques Derrida

Of grammatology

Of grammatology

Of grammatology

Love gravatality

Date: 13 May 2013
Place: WSOA
Participants: 7

The death of the author
- Roland Barthes

 The death of the author

 The death of the author

 The death of the author

 The death of the author

 The death of the author

 The death of the author

 The death of the author

Date: 13 May 2013
Place: Wits library lawns
Participants: 4

The author is therefore the ideological figure by which one marks the manner in which we fear the proliferation of meaning
- Michel Foucault

The author is the one that indicates the proliferation of meaning

I didn’t hear anything but this is what I imagined

I didn’t hear anything but this is what I imagined

The tooth fairy exists

Date: 13 May 2013
Place: Wits library lawns
Participants: 17

Notes: the following starter-phrase was taken from the notes of a participating physics student

Sound waves. The molecules of the medium vibrate back and forth parallel to the direction of propagation.

Sound waves vibrate parallel to the line of propagation

Sound waves are parallel to the direction of propagation

The sound waves are parallel to the direction of propagation

Sound waves are parallel to direct propagation

Sound waves are parallel to the direction of propagation

Sound waves are parallel to the direction of propagation

Sound waves are parallel to the direction of propagation

Sound waves are parallel to the direction of propagation

The square root of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the other two sides

The square root of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the other two sides

The square of a hypotenuse is the sum of he two sides

The square of the hypotenuse is a triangle

The square of a hypotenuse is a triangle

The square of a hypotenuse is a triangle

The square of a hypotenuse is a triangle

The square of a hypotenuse is a triangle

Date: 13 May 2013
Place: Wits library lawns
Participants: 20

Language is not a cultural artifact that we learn, it is a distinct piece of the
biological makeup of our brains
- Steven Pinker

Language is not a culture 

Language is not a culture

Language is not a culture

Language is not a culture

Language is not a culture

Language is not a culture

Language is not a culture

Sexuality is variable

Sexuality is variable

Sexuality is variable

Sexuality is variable

Sexuality is variable

Sexuality is variable

Sexuality is variable

Sexual violence is vulnerable

Sexual violence is vulnerable

Sexual violence is vulnerable

Sexual violence is vulnerable

Sexual violence is vulnerable

Sexual violence is vulnerable

Date: 16 May 2013
Place: Wits theatre
Participants: 3

What is an author?
– Michel Foucault

What is an author?

What is in wather?

What is in wather?

Date: 13 May 2013
Place: Wits library lawns
Participants: 3

No mute tribe has ever been discovered
– Steven Pinker

No mute drive has ever been discovered

No mute drive has ever been discovered

No new drive has ever been discovered

Date:
August 2015
Duration:
9 minutes 50 seconds
Medium:
Trestle shelves with audio player, dossier and acrylic paint
Country:
Braamfontein,
Johannesburg, South Africa