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Working with sign language

In worship, posture, movement and gesture are important elements along with words, rituals and music. But what is gesture? Unfortunately we often, use the term gesture more or less synonymously to movement, action or motion.  Gestures are supplements to language. If we want to read meaning, we look at gestures. A more nuanced way of thinking of gestures is that it brings order to attitude of movements of the body. This attitudes of movements carry a certain semiotic significance that are important to all our communication, with god or otherwise.

Our gestures promote the involvement of body, mind and spirit in the act of worship.I am interested to discover how this happens. Here's where sign language comes in. How does sign language compare to gesture? How does it compare to spoken language? Sign language is gestural. It is like speech as in it has a gestural component.Where does the sign stop and the gesture begin? Is sign language a complex systems of gestures developed over centuries? How can it help my inquiry into gestures of worship?

Secretly I believe that our gestures,rhythms and movements  have been quietly infiltrated  by various coded sets of movements through our unceasing prostration and worship to countless, invisible, indulgent gods over thousands of years, ever since we first conceived the idea of a higher being. What better way to investigate my claims then to use a beautiful and elaborate visual language system that might have developed over hundreds maybe thousand of years using gestures alone in their natural form without the spoken word.

In this series of works, I  use handshape poetry through gestures, signs  and dance to try to fathom the wonder that is 'kavadi', a hallowed prosthesis that lie at the center of my practice. We use the form, structure  and sensitivity of handshapes associated with words like portable altar, pierced, self sacrifice, burden, trance and faith to strive towards an essence.

I strive towards an essence through rhythmic patterns of te following phrases and words.

portable altar/temple
burden ceremony
walking speared temple
pierced temple burden
sacrifice ceremony wow
pierce altar trance
faith burden pierce trance


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