Satellite 11 by Agnès Violeau

‘The limits of my language mean the limits of my world’

Ludwig Wittgenstein

At a time when Google is working on the creation of a ‘Metaverse’, a future world made up of several layers of different realities, affecting both the public and private spheres, language and its usage are more than ever at the centre of the debate.

Reflecting the new system of media discourse, this ‘theatre of word-play’1 has been built at the dawn of the 21st century, based on abbreviations (Twitter), neologisms (Brexit, Frexit, etc.) and post-truths (alternative facts).
The 11th edition of the Satellite Programme consists of work by artists Damir Očko, Daphné Le Sergent and Alejandro Cesarco, engaging public discourse as a strategy towards individuation. The three exhibitions can be added to the growing critical analysis of today’s diminished thinking2, offering a hypothetical response to the limits of a formatted, segmented and pared-down language.

In the era of the digital revolution and the proliferation of technology, where even public speech, relayed by the media, makes use of social and IT networks as a new agora, the question of a reduced, formatted, and simplified language has once again been raised. This geopolitical transformation is reminiscent of a linguistic landscape imagined in a work of literature as early as 1949. Newspeak is the official language of Oceania, a fictional state invented by George Orwell in his dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. Wikipedia defines Newspeak as ‘a controlled language, of restricted grammar and limited vocabulary, a linguistic design meant to limit […] freedom of thought,’3 allowing people to be easily manipulated by the mass media, and television in particular.

This lexical and syntactical simplification of language makes critical thought difficult, if not impossible. The minimalistic Newspeak model of language functions therefore as a language-screen, constructed on affect, ideology, rhetoric and absolute precision. Language becomes the obstacle that lies between truth and misrepresentation.

Pointing towards an ever shorter distance between the information given and its interpretation, but also the new possibility of navigating between words and signs, ‘NEWSPEAK_’ attempts to create a cosmogony of language, a laboratory of thought, and a form of resistance through the field of language and exhibition.

1 Christophe P. Lagier, Le Théâtre de la parole-spectacle : Jacques Audiberti, René de Obaldia and Jean Tardieu, Birmingham (US) Summa Publications, 2000.
2 In 1977, Pierre Bourdieu spoke of a ‘relationship to a derealized world’.
3 Wikipedia provides a loose interpretation of the author’s definition, as outlined in the novel.

Curator: Agnès Violeau
Agnès Violeau, b. 1976, lives and works in Paris.
She is an independent exhibition curator and art critic. Her themes of predilection are exhibition production and the potentialities and boundaries of language.

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