Bottled Meaning

2007
string, mason jars, jam jars, paper, acrylic, ink

Particpants, ranging in sex, age and culture, were asked what the first word was that came to mind when they were shown a ‘sign’ – a single letter, number, colour or shape – which they wrote down. This data was collected over the course of three weeks and was later written on paper by the artist, torn individually, bottled and placed in clear jars with lime green caps. Each ‘sign’ was painted on the jar’s cap with the penned answers placed at random, one atop the other, sealed inside. The answers that repeated were represented by smaller jars, painted with a different colour cap. Their sign and the number of repeats marked the top of a rust coloured lid. The repeated answer was pasted to the inside of the jar so it could be visible to viewers. This visual mapping of meaning demonstrates the variances in language, but the connections we feel when we believe we are understood. That we cannot see each answer, but can see the volume of answers adds to the mystery of the ‘referent’ while we pause and contemplate our lines of translation.

Bottled meaning full
Bottled meaning close up
Bottled meaning 02

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