A Poem That Demands Translation Into Architecture

Installation design and curatorship
Exhibition “OK Computer: Languages of Order” 
Sitterwerk Kunstbibliothek, St.Gallen, 2022-2023

“The exhibition Ok Computer: Languages of Order” brings together positions that deal with the topic of naming and organizing by means of language in various ways: from very personally developed strategies of order to technical utopias and attempts to have the computer write the vocabulary for the catalogue."

Our contribution proposes a hypothesis of spatialisation of content by establishing a series of visual and conceptual correspondences between twelve concrete poems and twelve architectural plans from Renaissance buildings.

The image schemas are the critical elements in this work, operating as connective devices between the plans and the poems and between spatial organisation and language. The image schemas are patterns for organising thought and developing language that unfold in every individual’s mind during infancy. They can be visualised and analysed in a diagrammatic way. Based on a bodily experience, an image schema stems from the human mind as a cognitive structure.
 This installation creates a bridge between words (written language) and space to organise and retrieve content by connecting the notion of image schemas to concrete poetry and architectural plans. Whereas the former is a visual form of poetry where words and linguistic elements take specific spatial arrangements to construct poetic meaning, the latter are two-dimensional representations aimed to translate data organisation in space. The image schemas, visualised in a diagrammatic way, provide twelve general patterns that can define and explain the attributes of both poems and plans.

A small cabinet hosts the documents, its design is based on a series of image schemas.

Thanks to Roland Fruh and Barbara Biedermann for the invitation, and Catherine Heeb and Sitterwerk’s wood workshop for the fabrication.