The Alphabet of Nature Gert Aertsen 2016
As an artist with an interest in technology, Gert Aertsen often finds inspiration in the works of historical figures f.i. Karl L. Nessler, a hairdresser with a knack for electronics or Wolfgang Von Kempelen, a cheating chess player with great engineering skills. For ‘The Alphabet of Nature’ he was influenced by Franciscus Mercurius van Helmont and his work ‘Alphabeti veri naturalis hebraici’ (1667). In this treatise he proclaimed that the speech organs, when uttering a sound, are shaped exactly like ancient Hebrew characters. Each character represents how the lips and tongue should be positioned. In this he found proof of the innate and universal nature of language. Van Helmont’s essay inspired Aertsen for his research on the deconstruction of the mechanics of speech. In an attempt to create his proper universal language, he created a series of objects and sounds for the installation ‘The Alphabet of Nature’.
Concept & realisation: Gert Aertsen / Production: Overtoon & lahaag.org / With the support of the Flemish authorities / With thanks to: Wendy Van Wynsberghe