The Art of Language

2018

The Art of Language

Our embrace of language is rich and complex. We have evolved formal systems of signs and symbols to express a computer language or mathematical logic. We examine unspoken meaning in body movement and gesture. We have spoken language that differs from written language, literary language that differs from journalistic language, and constrained by technological requirements for brevity, even language defined by limited numbers of characters and symbols. Importantly, how we use language can amount to high art. Words become literature: they move us, perhaps delight us. Lyricists enchant and challenge us through their canny ability to weave together poetry and music. Advertisers, politicians, and activists cleverly transform words into projectiles that ignite and provoke us. Across this track, we will explore the aspects of language that speak to our humanity in the most remarkable ways. In the words of Nobel laureate Toni Morrison: “We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.”

Festival 1