Lecture by Andrey Velikanov. Homo Linguis: The Speaking Man. Sign, speech, writing

Lecture by Andrey Velikanov. Homo Linguis: The Speaking Man. Sign, speech, writingLecture by Andrey Velikanov. Homo Linguis: The Speaking Man. Sign, speech, writing


Language as the basis of thinking will be analyzed in the lecture.

The emergence of language made possible the rapid evolution of intellect. The interaction between logical and causative-consecutive thinking with memory was getting more and more complicated. Language was used as both a tool of thinking and a reservoir for enormous amounts of information humans accepted by human mind. At the same though, the nature of language is imperfect and contradictory, tolerating ambiguity and instability of meaning, semantic transitions, and a critically large volume of etymology and idioms. The question is how we manage to articulate our thoughts without going insane?

“Human beings do not live in the objective world alone, nor alone in the world of social activity as ordinarily understood, but are very much at the mercy of the particular language which has become the medium of expression for their society. It is quite an illusion to imagine that one adjusts to reality essentially without the use of lan- guage and that language is merely an incidental means of solving specific problems of communication or reflection. The fact of the matter is that the 'real world' is to a large extent unconsciously built up on the language habits of the group...

We see and hear and otherwise experience very largely as we do because the language habits of our community predispose certain choices of interpretation.” (Edward Sapir. The Status of Linguistics as a Science. 1929)


Andrey Velikanov is a philosopher, art theorist, and artist. His publications on art and cultural theory include Am I a Trembling Simulacrum, or Do I Have the Right? (NLO, 2007). He has taught at the National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russian State University for the Humanities, UNIC Institute, Wordshop Communications Academy, Moscow 1905 Art Academy, MediaArtLab Open School, Center of Avant-Garde at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, and Free Workshops Art School, and regularly gives talks and takes part in discussions at various venues. He is also a recipient of several media art awards and prizes including Ostranenie (Germany), DADANET (Russia), Art on the Net (Japan), TrashArt (Russia), Southwest Interactive Festival (U.S.A.), and Split (Croatia).


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