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EMPAC Video Archive

Johannes Goebel: Language and Art and Language

A talk about how words and art are bonded and yet separate.

The point of departure for this talk: without language there is no art. And: art is not congruent with language. And: certainly art can be made with words.

Once there was language, there was religion. Art, any kind of art, was only
possible once we had language and were wondering about the meaning of life. Art can be a sword that cuts through language. Art can let us experience that there is something beyond language, beyond right and wrong, beyond yesterday and tomorrow.

There is a lot of talking and thinking before art is made. There is a lot of speaking after experiencing art. There is a lot of past and a lot of future outside of an artwork, which in turn shapes how the work appears and approaches us and how we approach it. A work of art can only be alive in the moment when we experience it. Language is always good for past and future. When we talk or write and reflect and ponder on art, we are outside of the experience. Which is just fine – but different.

This lecture was written for the exhibition “So to speak”, curated by Emily Zimmerman in the Arts Center of the Capital Region, Troy, NY, USA. It was delivered at the Arts Center on March 21, 2013.

This video version was recorded on June 18, 2013 at EMPAC at Renssealaer.