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Art exhibition explores the meaning-making process through sound, movement and image

Artist Ella McCartney worked with Birkbeck linguist Professor Zhu Hua to draw inspiration for her latest show

A new exhibition, to be held at the Lychee One Gallery from 11-17 March 2017, brings together the work of Birkbeck linguist Professor Zhu Hua on the concept of translanguaging and artist Ella McCartney. McCartney drew on Professor Zhu Hua’s research to build on her own interest in gesture, materials, process and language. The collaboration was supported by the Leverhulme Trust.

Translanguaging is a new and developing notion in the field of applied linguistics and communications. It refers to the use by multilinguals of all their linguistic and semiotic resources as a whole, rather than each language being kept entirely separately. Professor Zhu Hua’s research investigates how people mobilise their entire linguistic resource, using multiple languages in fluid and combined ways, and where they draw linguistic boundaries – insisting that certain terms or phrases not be translated.

The exhibition, entitled “To Act. To Know. To Be.” invites the audience to find connections between and among the works. All of the materials in the show will be going through a process of transformation or have the potential to change state.

Professor Zhu Hua said: “Working with Ella has been an incredibly interesting process. Translanguaging has always revolved around spoken communications in my work, so to see how it can be represented when the spoken words are taken away is fascinating.”

Ella McCartney said: “The opportunity to work with Professor Zhu Hua during the residency has been transformative. The experience has opened up my understanding of the meaning-making process and propelled my interest in the semiotic connections between materials, sound and movement.”

On 28 February, Professor Zhu Hua and Ella McCartney will be giving a talk about their work together and the exhibition at Birkbeck.

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