Experiment 2

Idea: A Universal language that is gestural and typographic at the same time.

For this experiment I will be Identifying gestures that are already Universal. Then I will produce a list of bodily signs that mean the same thing in all cultures.

So with “gestures” as my main focus I did a mind map showing my thought process.

2013-10-08 15.58.532013-10-08 15.59.06

Then while doing a search for “Universal Language”, I came across an article on telegraph.co.uk about a study done on non-verbal communication at the University of Chicago in 2008.

According to the study, “When people can only communicate with hand gestures, they speak a kind of “universal language”.”

“The gestures that people produce when they speak are not universal but vary as a function of language – in some ways, this makes the phenomenon we’re describing that much more interesting since speakers of different languages routinely use their hands in different ways but, when asked to talk with their hands and not their mouths, they all end up looking alike,” said Prof Susan Goldin-Meadow.


So with that in mind I started looking at the representation of hands in ancient cultures.



Fragment of a Stela

Late Dynasty 18, ca. 1327-1295 B.C.
From Thebes, Deir el-Bahri

Gift of the Egypt Exploration Fund, 1905 (05.4.2)

Disciption: Userhat, shown here with his wife Nefertari, testifies to his own good qualities and to his trust in his god, probably Amun. As Userhat was a priest in the mortuary cults of both Amenhotep III and Tutankhamun, the couple must have lived during the later Eighteenth Dynasty. The complex layering of relief and the style of the figures demonstrate the influence the art of Amarna had at Thebes.

See more at: http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/544776?rpp=20&pg=4&ft=egypt&pos=67#sthash.wx0mg2ev.dpuf

Source: http://www.metmuseum.org

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Hands are held up with palms facing forward suggesting praise or worship.


Round-topped Stela of Wenenkhu

New Kingdom, Ramesside
Dynasty 19
reign of Ramesses II
ca. 1275–1237 B.C.
Country of Origin Egypt, Upper Egypt; Thebes, Deir el-Medina
H. 45 cm (17 11/16 in)
Rogers Fund, 1967

Description: Wenenkhu and his son Penpakhenty worship the god Re-Harakhty as he crosses the sky in his barque. From the pyramid chapel at Deir el-Medina, Thebes. – See more at: http://www.metmuseum.org/collections/search-the-collections/546708#sthash.tZMvNYZn.dpuf

– See more at: http://www.metmuseum.org/collections/search-the-collections/546708#sthash.tZMvNYZn.dpuf


Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 10.18.26 AM

Source of images from http://www.ancientscripts.com

hand1_Page_01hand2_Page_01 hand3_Page_01

Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies http://www.famsi.org/research/pitts/MayaGlyphsBook1Sect1.pdf

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In my sketchbook I identified two hand glyphs.


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