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Ambient Verbs

[Order:Disorder] ci [Order:Disorder] lei

Sometimes people speak of the gold of silence and riots on empty streets.

But the world is noisy.

People write each other badly rhymed love songs inspired by the 90s hair-gel plagued boybands ala Backstreet Boys about ‘fire’ and ‘desire’ and ‘heartache’ and ‘mistake’.

People furiously type and edit and re-type and re-read and re-edit Facebook statuses and Twitter nuggets to curate potentially ‘likability’ soliciting blue thumbs-up emoticons and template yellow stars.

People spend hours on end finding the right adjectives and verbs and academically invent complex, convoluted, unusable, multi-syllabic nouns to characterise phenomena they want to reference in shorthand with a string of letters for an elite audience.

People search through their archive of life experience and emotive consolations to convey condolence or shared anguish or empathy or encouragement, to communicate across bodies through physical touch. We spend much of our interactions with others romanticising intimate verbosity and attempting to calibrate our social realities.

But what do we make of transcultural repertoires and implicit nuances across verbal utterances? What happens when two people of different native languages meet and desire to inhabit the other’s headspace? There are visual impressions and sound scapes and scents they want to communicate across bodies, but find themselves unable to locate the overlapping signposts to articulate. And words are important.

They discover each other’s flirtations with Mandarin, and haphazardly transit into a third language, propelled by a wanting to connect. In this space, preoccupations with grammar and syntax give way to unfiltered access to intimate thought and little conscious mediation. The array of verbosity, an impressive knowledge of colourful vocabulary, finds itself subordinate to a disarray of affect, where homophonic Mandarin verbs and nouns in their disordered untidiness lends effusive waxing and unbridled circulation of affect emplaced in third (con)texts.

Sometimes people speak of the gold of silence and riots on empty streets. And the world is noisy. But sometimes we find meaning in disorder and solace in disarray.

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