Lagoglyphs: Mark and Meaning

Eduardo Kac

Lagoglyphs are a series of works in which I develop a leporimorph or rabbitographic form of writing.  In development since 2006, this series includes prints, murals, sculptures, paintings, an algorithmic animation and a satellite work created specifically for visualization in Google Earth. As visual language that alludes to meaning but resists interpretation, the Lagoglyphs series stands as the counterpoint to the barrage of discourses generated through, with, and around my GFP Bunny (my green-glowing transgenic bunny, called Alba, created in 2000 and featured in exhibitions and publications worldwide).

The pictograms that make up the Lagoglyphs are visual symbols representing Alba rather than the sounds or phonemes of words. Devoid of characters and phonetic symbols, devoid of syllabic and logographic meaning, the Lagoglyphs function through a repertoire of gestures, textures, forms, juxtapositions, superpositions, opacities, transparencies, and ligatures. These coalesce into an idioglossic and polyvalent script structured through visual compositional units that multiply rather than circumscribe meanings.

Composed of double-mark calligraphic units (one in green, the other in black), the Lagoglyphs evoke the birth of writing (as in cuneiform script, hieroglyphic orthography, or ideography). However, they deliberately oscillate between monoreferentiality (always Alba) and the patterns of a visual idiolect (my own). In so doing, the Lagoglyphs ultimately form a kind of pictorial idioglossia or cryptolanguage.

Parallel to my art, I have written and published experimental poetry continuously since the early 1980s, as exemplified by my holopoems, digital poems, and biopoems. In the Lagoglyphs I create a series that brings from poetry both the power of condensation of meaning and the productive ambiguity of carefully crafted linguistic syntagms.

While genetic engineering has often been compared to a language, “the script of life,” I have always disagreed with this analogy and rejected it as a hollow metaphor, extremely reductive and insufficient to account for the true relational and interdependent complexity of life.

In the Lagoglyphs, I bring together the multiple forms and the varied issues that have continuously informed my art. Indeed, a new chirographic synthesis that is also a new beginning, one in which word and image come together as mark and meaning.

Back to Kac Web