The Artist as a Writer: Common Spaces in Composition, Visual Arts, Embodied Cognition and Writing
"I originally wrote all nine texts in Greek, as it is my native language, following the Rondo pattern. When I came to translate all texts I collaborated with professional linguistics in both languages: Greek and English. Interestingly, the English translation not only affected a new perception of the text but also made me look back to the Greek version in order to define and measure the weight of each word in their meaning in the original text. One of the most thorough observations was about the use of negation in contemporary Greek language for a probable reason of optimization in the fact that we are idle when we want to define something, using antonyms that in our head form the opposite of a confirmation, therefore a negation:
χρόνος άχρονος (time-timeless)
πιστευτός απίστευτος (credible-incredible)
βάσιμος αβάσιμος (founded-unfounded)
In the case of the Greek language we seem to erase from our memory some words (usually of ancient Greek derivation, not given to antonyms) because we find it easier to use one word and its antonym (with a negative prefix) instead of two different ones, without bothering to look for a word which would mean, say, ‘non-time’ or ‘non-believable’.
Having realised this inner function of language, with the underlying measure of glumness and entropy it entails, I decided that the first exercise in the ètudes would be to try and find different words for each concept instead of resorting to the convenience of opposite pairs. As far as possible, these words would not be each other’s negative — and if they were, this would be deliberate. This is also a psychological way to defrag one’s memory from negative forms and remove any secondary dramatic elements.
For all the all the cliché of the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words”, I find that when we see an image and recall its description, this entropy is not as powerful as when we translate from one language to another. A picture is worth a thousand positive words ."
Writing as Spaces Conference Mansfield College Oxford July 2016
By John Smith posted July 30, 2015
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