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WEB 1080px 72dpi FACT You Feel Me October 2019 Credit Rob Battersby 12

The Linguists (2017)

The Linguists (2017), Anna Bunting Branch, HD video with sound (8:04 minutes, looped)

If language structures our perceptions, will making new ones enable us to start a new story? Inspired by fan fiction, Anna Bunting-Branch explores feminist visions and re-visions of history. She remixes theoretical texts, science-fiction stories and archival material to create new narratives.

The Linguists invites us to consider why language is created, how it is shared, and how it is understood. Animations of secret meetings and covert gestures conjure feelings of magic and revolution, spilling into the gallery space as totemic sculpture Mother Tongue. Drawing on feminist writing - particularly from linguist and science-fiction novelist Suzette Haden Elgin and philosopher Luce Irigaray - Bunting-Branch’s work channels the spirit of Elgin’s experiment with the constructed ‘women’s language’, Láadan.

Elgin created Láadan to test the feminist hypothesis that human languages aren’t able to express the thoughts and feelings of women. The Linguists asks whether if we remove the limitations of the language imposed on us by traditional power structures, will we better reflect and understand new and different realities?

The Linguists and Mother Tongue were originally created for Jerwood Solo Presentations 2017, supported by Jerwood Charitable Foundation. Research in The University of Oregon Special Collections and University Archive was supported by ARHC London Arts & Humanities Partnership Research Fund. Courtesy of the artist.