Jonathan Stalling’s Interlanguage Art
ISBN : 978-988-74707-5-5
Distributed for HKU Museum and Art Gallery 香港大學美術博物館
220 pages, 8.5″ x 10.875″
Jonathan Stalling’s experimental approach to bridging art, poetics, and linguistics imagines a world where individual value systems are no longer translated into the language of other mediums, but foster conscious “interlanguages.” Stalling writes, “Meeting in the middle, ‘interlanguages’ are spaces where one learns a new language without having left one’s home fully behind; these situations can result in richly generative interlingual and intercultural estuaries which provide new ways of imagining.” Stalling’s conceptual language art fuses Classical Chinese poetics and linguistics with modern algorithms to create art installations and poetry that transform Chinese into English and English into Chinese in new and surprising ways.
With a visual gallery of Stalling’s work, an interview with the artist, a critical introduction by the editor, and critical chapters written by the comparative literature scholar Timothy Billings and Chinese Linguist Liu Nian, the volume provides readers with a significant introduction to a wide range of Stalling’s interlanguage work spanning the past two decades. The volume runs from the late 1990s English Jueju project to his most recent work Song Dynasty English, a series of movable wood-type printing presses and prints, to Pinying, a series of digital interlanguage learning environments and platforms. Challenging powerful dichotomies like East/West, Chinese/English, Modern/Ancient, and Art/Technology, Stalling’s work opens up new ways of hearing, speaking, and performing cultural ways of knowing through English and Chinese. Chen Wang argues that Stalling’s interlanguage not only opens a space between languages, but may well mark the beginning of an interlanguage domain between humans and machines.