Tim Love: Sticks and Stones

The relationship of words to the world...

White Stick:- We are blind. We have no direct contact with the world but we have words, a white stick that we hold one end of. With practise we all but forget about the stick; its tip becomes a fingertip. Wittgenstein said that Reality and Language shared a logical form so that nonsense was impossible, just as it was impossible to draw a square circle. If we master words, extending and refining their use, then we master thought.

Dowsing Rod:- Words render the hidden visible without ever touching. There is a correspondance between the twitching words and meaning but it's not as direct as Wittgenstein once supposed. Language can only imitate thought just as a computer can only simulate weather or intelligence. Its conclusions and forecasts may be erroneous.

Wand:- The audience is asked to examine the illusionist's equipment. There's nothing special about it, but in the hands of a master there are wonders to behold. Words are incantations, summoning up spirits. It would be worthless to analyse words too deeply; they are only postage stamps delivering the object for us to unwrap (Tristan Tzara). Words cannot hurt anyone.

...and to themselves -

Millstones:- These grind what is between them into a uniform consistency, producing something filling but not necessarily nutritious. They have their own momentum, depending more on their mass that their design. Something else, more elemental, drives them.

Pebbles:- Words rub to and fro against each other. The resulting prose is polished, lacking in surprize. From time to time a broken shell or piece of driftwood will break the monotony. Put words together too long, through too many re-writes, and they'll end up like this.

Flints:- Designed to spark each other off, they're rough edged, but can be shaped to fit into the palm. With careful use they're self-sharpening; as flakes fall away, new edges are exposed.

Diamond:- Precious. Under special conditions the simplest words can be compressed into a new substance that can cut anything. They can be set into base metals, arranged into static patterns. But move them under the light; there's always something new to see.