The virus and the oracle: words as signs

Jane Goodall explores the notion of text and the word as a kind of virus, something William Burroughs considers a parasitic organism, especially as is the case in contemporary visual and semantic culture. Words act as signifiers for semioticians, but their visual presence in art makes them work as spatial indicators, suggesting that they contain directions or instructions. Here Goodall poses the potential of words in revealing something else about themselves: a secret yearning not to give orders but rather to be oracles, channelling strange truths from who knows what sources. Artists discussed include: Suzann Victor, Susie Lingham, Joseph Ng, Tony Schwensen, Samuel Beckett, Cheo Chai-Hiang, Redza Piyadasa, Heather Ellyard, Barbara Campbell.

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