Shakespeare, The Brontë’s, Tolkien, Rowling, generations of great British storytellers who have used the English language to create new worlds full of love and betrayal, distant pasts, mythical lands and magical realms.  All have used the power of human imagination to transport reader’s away from their everyday lives and immersive themselves into an alternative reality.  No, augmented reality or virtual reality goggles, no 3D glasses, just words and the human mind.

Words have the power the provoke discussion, to arouse curiosity, to induce laughter or tears.  By creating projections of words it might be possible to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Nota Bene Visual’s interactive typographic installation encouraged visitors to interact with words about ethics and morality, using their bodies to project messages onto walls.

Nota Bene Visual – In Order to Control video mapping typographical installation (

The Nota Bene Visual’s installation utilized video mapping technologies in order to project the typography matching individual’s body shapes.  The project was designed to provoke thought into serious issues, such as violence in society, with an individual’s body ‘altering’ the story.   However, from the images it seems that the interactions with the work were more frivolous, with visitor’s creating comical and imaginative shapes, due to the novelty of the projection technology.  The power, in fact didn’t appear to be in the words, but in the technology behind them and perhaps a similar level of engagement could have been produced using colours or shapes.

To have high-impact doesn’t mean that high-technology needs to be employed.  Shadows can provide an effective and creative way of storytelling through words.  If aligned correctly with a light source even ‘junk’ can become powerful.

Fred Eerdekens takes ordinary objects, in the case of the images below copper wire and uses light sources to reveal ‘hidden’ messages.
Fred Eerdekens ‘Sentences’ copper wire work (

In the absence of the light source the objects are simply coiled wire, however, once the light is applied the true message is revealed turns them into meaningful communications..

I really like how these have been designed without the need for sophisticated technology and wonder if it would be possible to integrate something similar into my designs?

This led me to think about how I might be able to use words as a narrative in my own work. Could objects be transformed using language?

I decided to experiment with the use of vinyl records. Although it might be considered sacrilege by many, I chose to willfully destroy a record by cutting the word ‘Silence’ into it.  I thought that this word was particularly poignant as it can convey multiple meanings, firstly the ‘Sound of Silence’ and also the act of cutting into the vinyl has rendered the music permanently silent, thereby communicating it’s own unique story.


Vinyl cut-out ‘Sound of Silence’ – J Holgate, January 2017