At The Sand Pit


This piece of work is a starting point for a series that I experimented with at the end of last term and plan to properly materialise - make a body of. The series is called “micro- lang”, as in, micro language. This term refers to the way I am attempting to produce microcosms of language systems which demonstrate on an extremely small scale how these structures work and function. I want to replace the sign (the linguistic sign - a word, a gesture) with a multitude of different things, each time substituting it with a process or an activity. I want to replace the sign with everyday activities that the viewer can relate to and therefore respond to easily, understand the feeling of. The signs need to be gestures that either the viewer has carried out or gestures that feel familiar to them. In particular, I want to replace the sign with playful and infantile activities.

I am choosing this format because I want the structures of language to be presented in an easily digestible form : I need them to be understood. I also like the idea of a highly complicated, meticulously studied and deconstructed area of anthropology being described to us via play. Actions which come naturally to us because we enjoy the way they make us feel, they are satisfying, we possess a desire to continually keep carrying them out. The notion of PLAY is a factor I would really like to push, although, this is something I have already explored within my board game series.

In this video I have started with the very basics of language systems, and have relied wholly on the theory of the arbitrary nature of the sign. I communicate my belief in this theory of the sign with my use of seemingly random gestures to replace it. If there really is just an arbitrary connection between the signifier and the signified, then surely these objects I am used can project meanings as efficiently as human speech and gestural formats.

The sign in this format is dependent on five components - the 5 sands moulds (SHELL, BEAR, SNAIL, BUNNY, FISH : in that order). The moulds have an allocated space along the line, they must stay in this order otherwise the system is disrupted and the sign cannot make sense. Each sign is a different combination of these moulds, with specific shapes being present and specific moulds being absent.

The three defining components of the sign are which shapes are featured and which order they are placed down in. The colours are only featured as a tool to emphasise how important these two elements are in defining the sign. I’m not completely happy with these sequences following each sand castle clip, but at this point I feel like something of this nature is necessary. These sections are simply a reduction of what has happened before, a tool used to highlight and emphasise.

However, I want the viewer to also consider what else could be affecting the sign. In actual fact, all elements within the sequence could be affecting the accuracy of the sign - the speed at which the moulds are made? The sharpness of the mould? Any disfigurement of the final shape?

The sand castles were a tester for the series to come but I can confident that they can feature as a solid part of this series. They worked as well I had liked them to in terms of them being a simplistic vehicle by which to carry the sign. Aside from this, I found the process extremely satisfying, and this satisfaction is something I was familiarised with and experienced again when I watched the video back.