Irene Lupi


The Signs of Language

The Signs of Language
A podium for interpreting LIS

Commissioned to create a podium to be used in interpreting LIS—Italian Sign Language, I decided to address the complexity of communication. This complexity is to be found in the role of he or she who stands upon the podium to perform the service of interpreter, an extremely complex undertaking not to be likened to simple translation. LIS interpreting calls for an attentive study of multiple aspects and is a discipline unto itself, mediating between two worlds and embracing body language, facial expression, and movements that involve everything from the torso to the face, for so much is lost if one focuses only on the movement of the hands. I chose a natural material, wood, because it carries its own story within, transcribed in the grain, a story to be read only by those capable of interpreting its language. I decided on the round shape to recall the circle as the ideal form to facilitate the comprehension of a visual language, guaranteeing maximum dialogue through maximum vision.

In this case, I asked Mariapia Rizzi to interpret a philosophical text dealing with the complexity of communication, and to do it near the podium so that her movements might leave faint traces that would not suffice to make her meaning fully understood but would leave only the memory of a narration. In this way the traces of black ink take on the task of completing what the hands alone do not express, in that Sign Language is composed of highly complex and articulate semantic expressivity.

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