Signs Of The Times is a personal reflection on digital communication in this day and age.
I have always been curious about language: It is the foundation that allows us to construct our very thoughts. Without language there are no formal ideas, philosophies, or beliefs. Your senses can detect and process data, but without language you are unable to organize it, or share it with others.
One of the facets of communication that interests me is the fact that we humans seem desperate to be heard, and known, and understood by others.
Language is both an aid, and a barrier in that pursuit. Despite thousands of years of linguistic use and development, words still cause incalculable confusion and harm. Misunderstanding is rampant in the digital age, where it is possible to instantly share your thoughts with the entire world (regardless of whether or not the entire world is paying attention to you).
When considering this project, I wanted the process itself to be analog, and "slow." While the final pieces are comprised of digital scans, the photo strips are created at mechanical photo booths and are each unique. The inconsistencies and uncontrolled nature of the booths are analogous to the reality that we cannot control the perception or outcome of our words once we put them out into the world.
It is important to note that the process of spelling-out words by using hand shapes that correlate with the letters of the words is referred to as fingerspelling and is not a primary way in which people who use sign language communicate. In fact, my hand shapes are based off of the most common alphabet shape charts that one may encounter, and yet when being used properly, many of the letter shapes are actually rotated 90 degrees to the left. While every piece in this project says something specific, the letters are arranged in various patterns and without proper sequencing or grammatical structure. This is a result of my interest in considering them as beautiful graphic elements, and not exclusively linguistic forms.
Special thanks is owed to my friend Taj, who has kindly and patiently forged a friendship with me, regardless of the slow pace with which I am learning sign language.