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Language is what makes us human. We learn how to communicate even before we can talk and as we grow older, we not only learn our languages but start incorporating its use into our thinking, our self-talk and, with practice, soon, our identity. Yet, there’s this whole other side to this identity of ours that we are unwittingly being influenced by all the time. This part of our identity consists of our raw emotions, instincts and deepest drives; I call these our “primitives”.

So, what does this mean? What is the relationship between our language and our “primitives”?


How does one influence the other?

There’s no doubt that we are living in turbulent times today. From pandemics to conflicts to economics and more, the feelings of uncertainty loom large and this is true not only domestically but all around the world. Yet, the journey to the outside begins from the inside. And when it comes down to it, it begins with the individual — and has to start there.


And that begs the other question: how does the interaction of our language and our “primitives” affect our own lives — and more so, collectively, our society?

Language consists of a series of works that began to take shape in 2012 (and continues to this day). They consist of my introspections and mediations on the idea of language, how we use it, its influences on who we are — and more so — the role of desire and will in the shaping of our identities and lives.


This introspection is characterized by an action of breaking-down and separating the images (a dissection, if you will) into individual tiles that are geometric and organic at the same time. Each tile is separate and, when the image is viewed as a whole, generate a sway — an undercurrent, that is not unlike how our language, self-talk, self-concept and emotions work in real life.

The works are characterized by the use of two main ideas:

  1. The use of Morse code (as well as Binary in the case of the work Dual Code) as a model for the idea of language itself.

  2. The two most significant psychological forces we all have operating inside ourselves all the time; they determine virtually everything in our lives — a: how we see ourselves and b: how we think other people see us. This appears as two phrases that veil all of the of the images in this series: “I am” and “Am I?” (playing a perpetual game of certainty and doubt at the same time).


Overall, Language is a search for the fundamentals that make up our identities which in turn determine our thoughts, reactions, beliefs, values, our perceptions and indeed our whole lives.

About the artist


+91 9945059330

Copyright © 2022 Malcolm Fernandes All Rights Reserved

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