Semaphore is a telegraphy system conveying information at a distance by means of visual signals with hand-held flags. Semaphore was popular in the maritime world in the 19th century. It is still used for emergency communication. The word Semaphore appears divided into 9 letters in 3 lines. In the video, signals appear in fixed cycles. Each signal represents a single letter combined into a message: A poor sea poem. This work deals with the dominance of poetic gesture over the Semaphore’s original function- the efficient transfer of data.
The work titled Semaphore plays homage to my fathers continual search into language experimentation: A defiance of the linear structure of conventional poetry that is also the linear framework of authority and the development of some sort of global/social relevance – “concrete poetry needs to develop but somehow remain poetic” (Typewriter Poems, 1972,p,46).
The work in particular is also a brief homage to my fathers father, John, who was a navy officer navigating the east indies and the Atlantic ocean on commercial tankers shipping oil and cargo. The work is filmed with my back to the Mediterranean Sea and the message I’m conveying through the use of Semaphore flags reads a poetic line comprising of the same letters making out the word Semaphore.
David Gibbs, October 5th. Tel-Aviv. Israel.
Coiled LED, video, different media
12.11.2016 – 18.12.2016
at Boekiewoekie Artists’books store