Herman Deceuninck, active in the Esperanto movement, wrote two articles as a response to the exposition Van Toverlantaarn tot Multimedia (1) and on the publication Religie, Filosofie en Semantiek, one in the magazine MONATO (in Esperanto) and one in the magazine Horizontaal (in Dutch).
During the festival Van Toverlantaarn tot Multimedia (24-26/3/’94) I made a remarkable discovery. Mr Ferre Alpaerts and Ms Inez Michiels wanted to show by means of 105 slides that a natural link exists between consonances, forms and colours. Behind the languages hides a universal code. Behind all sign systems hides a logical structure. The question is: is there a scripture possible about which the signs refer to words, approximately as the Chinese scripture but then entirely systematic? This seemed to me an interesting idea to be considered.
To start with, a little word of explanation concerning the disciplines on which their insight has been based on. In contrast to semiotics (sign teaching) which is working on tracing and arranging signs and their external, referring meaning, the main point of semantics (meaning signs) is the universal consistency of all signs and an inner, codic meaning. The main point of genetic semantics (where their analysis more specifically goes for) is, that the language ability (this means largely the use of language and signs) relies in all its aspects and components on genetic code.
Just like each form of ‘mental life’ (pivots of a sensual, emotional as intellectual nature), by evolution also language is originated from the oldest signs, viz. the hereditary code, particularly these of the DNA. All well-known living beings use, for the transfer of hereditary characteristics, the same chemical code which exists out of four ‘characters’, which correspond with the vowels a, e, i and o. According to genetic semantics the inner signs to which is referred are also ‘the characters’ and ‘the words’ of the DNA (the genetic code). The codic meaning of words was set out in a semantic dictionary, of which a second edition is in preparation and which would contain 6000 words (also on computer disc), classified according to the genetic code, among others on the foundation of the sound form in several languages. Different languages don’t always use the universal genetic code in the same manner. For this reason some words can only be translated with difficulty. A codic e.g. musical reproduction of a text and its translation would clarify many of those difficulties. Nevertheless it must be possible to reproduce the inner meaning of words and word links graphically, musical or e.g. body movements (like in eurhythmics) by genetic code.
Colour, graph and vowels
Since 1991 Inez Michiels has come up with the idea to reproduce these genetic words by means of musical and coloured graphic forms (in sum there are 64 possible combinations) that can be compared mutual with each other. Of these 64 form – and colour combinations, as a matter of fact, was made a very beautiful screen print poster in 8 colours. One is able to consider it as a splendid example of how language and art can be transformed to an artistic whole.
Perhaps a possibility exists here also, for example by supporting a word in several languages mutually coloured – graphic and musical. The link that is laid by genetic semantics between phonetic forms and colour is also retrieved in the scientific study of Eva Heller into the functioning of colours.
Another fascinating idea to bring art and language with each other in diphthong seems to me for example the tonal development according to the genetic semantics in several language versions of the poem Language by Maja Pnajotova, a Bulgarian living in Antwerp. This language can be raised to art, proved for example also by the artist Gaston De Mey with its multilingual letter structures as a sign of the internationalisation of culture. (Workshop Gaston De Mey, Eeklo).
Finally it must also be mentioned that there is thought about a computer programme, where colours, graphic forms, music, attitudes and movements, as well as words and word associations are reflected by genetic code signs, united within a governable whole. This programme must allow the user to modify the parameters of a system and to follow the effects of it on other systems, to compose ranges or to interpret them etc..
A summary of the methods of the genetic semantics has also been explained in the book Religie, Filosofie en Semantiek, in which 17 subjects from the history of philosophy are dealt with.
Notes on English translation
(1) Van Toverlantaarn tot Multimedia. Literally: from projector to multimedia, exposition organised by the Karel De Grote Hogeschool, Antwerp, in which Inez Michiels and Ferre Alpaerts participated.