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.
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.
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
Source of images from http://www.ancientscripts.com
Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies http://www.famsi.org/research/pitts/MayaGlyphsBook1Sect1.pdf
In my sketchbook I identified two hand glyphs.