Words & Images
In the game Telephone Pictionary, a group of people begin with a numbered stack of paper fragments and an idea. The idea could be an action, a character, a concept, anything. Each player writes their idea on the top paper scrap and slides the stack to the player next to them. The next person depicts the words passed to them, placing the words at the bottom of the pile. The next writes what they interpret the drawing to be, and so on, alternating write/draw until the pile goes full circle or back to the originator, the same place as the end. Most usually the character, action, description, originating logos has changed dramatically through its person-to-person journey and return. Yet also usually, on looking at the miniature picture book as a whole, from start to finish, you are able to find a thread or see a path and deviations leading to the end.
A journey made up of an originating construction, altered and transformed through interactions with persons full of words and images (culture and nature), sometimes simplified, sometimes extended, and coming to its end with traces of the original construction and much difference. It’s an easy one – it’s like life, we think – but to say “life is like that” is redundant, for it is part of life, playing the game is life. It’s why any metaphors are available, why all metaphors work at some level – metaphor-making is life, as are games, interpretations, comparisons, changing, being handled, encountering persons with all their languages and images and ideas, editing, revising, with our limited number of pages, years, days. Yes, being an initial cluster of cells and passing through the cultures and natures of others is very like the way our life narratives come to be constructed, composed, altered, imagined and revised to their ends – their beginning places – clusters of cells.
I began in the hands of my parents and sister, formed by the words and images they surrounded and infused me with: a particular kind of Christianity, music, morals, travel, touch, a sense of gender, my name, and so much more. I suppose they’d each have their own words and images about and for me as well.
How quickly we are passed through hand after hand full of words and images – persons, institutions, cultures, families, nations, teachers, peers, friends, enemies, lovers and so on…The language, the picture – the culture, the nature – the numbered days – and we, the originating cluster altering and morphing, editing and highlighting, adopting and dropping, blacking out images, underlining phrases – palimpsests of living artefacts by our end.
Co-created through an unknown trajectory characterized by the interplay of self (or organism) and other (or world).
A beautiful, horrible thing.