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Qstnnr

Knoelrhfr og ptopshsnfs yrvhniwurd id nrvrddsty yo imptobr onr’d oen ptopshsnfs snf yo unvobrt rnrmy PDYOP dytsyshrmd. Yrvniwurd, hoerbrt, str noy dundyiyuyrd got yhr ptovrfutrd in PDYOP plsnninh, frbrlopmrny, ot frddrminsyion.

Please observe the text above and answer the following questions…

Qstnnr was my first experiment with unintelligible text. It is a questionnaire which presents an unintelligible text and asks about the feelings it evokes. It is inspired by psychological tests and marketing techniques. It was initially produced for Central Saint Martins’ MA in Fine Art student symposium at Matt’s Gallery in London in June 2006. Later on I created an on-line version that anonymous people on the internet filled in and which I then printed.

The use of the unintelligible

For a while I had been interested in the concept of non-verbal communication applied to written language. I was exploring the idea of some sort of collective subconscious of the written language, independent of the form. Something like the next level after the message and the design. Although in a somewhat esoteric way, mixing ideas from quantum physics, in which the act of observing changes the observed, with Jung’s theories of the collective subconscious and its symbolic representation.

A friend lent me a book on codes (Singh, S. The Code Book. The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography) that fascinated me. After reading it I started exploring encryption as an artistic language. The aspects of encryption that interest me are the symbolic, the philosophic and the political. An unintelligible text serves as metaphor of what is hidden, of what is censored and of the way we react to what we don’t understand. It acts as a mirror that reflects the person that is looking at it.

Image: Symposium stand and a couple of examples of forms filled in by the public, one during the symposium and the other on-line. 2006-2012

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