“A fundamental aspect of understanding place is the language that goes through an individual’s mind and the role it plays in dividing the world into small, tidy boxes. Language doesn’t just determine how a place is described. It also indicates how a place, or anything, is experienced.”
During his creation residency at Avatar, the artist Jibé relied on experimentation to create a new way of experiencing place through the prism of language.
The site in question was Quebec City, which, for various personal reasons, he wanted to (re)cognize as though for the first time. Everything was in place for creating a unique audio walk. By recording the specific noises of various sites based on certain priorities and affinities, Jibé knitted an urban soundscape. At the same time, the notes he made of observations in the field became material for new descriptions in Chátsu, an artificial language he invented. The purpose of this conlang, devised as a personal language to use for the project, was to strip the artist of preconceived notions imposed by pre-existing languages. With Chátsu, Jibé would form a new understanding of the city.
Linguistic expression is generally dismissed as a given. Jibé’s work calls into question the role of language as a mere tool of communication, emphasizing the fact that languages are modes of knowledge in and of themselves that must be taken into consideration in a rapidly globalizing world. A language crisis is happening across the planet with the disappearance of two languages per day on average. Through his works, Jibé pushes viewers to experience the versatility of linguistic expression, helping them to sense the limitations of their own perspectives. The artist challenges viewers to reject the passive acceptance of Western mass media culture and create their own visual, sonic, and linguistic reality.
Having recently earned a BA in Visual and Media Arts from Université Laval, Jack Bradley is pursuing graduate studies at Columbia College Chicago. He has presented his conceptual and performance art in Quebec City, including in the 2019 exhibition of visual and media arts students, for which he won the Prix Folie/Culture and Prix Avatar. On September 25, 2020, he presented (Re)cognize/(Sha)ekwá at the close of his residency at Avatar.