Luhansk, city as dictionary /2013
300 metallic plaques with various entries from the dictionary were attached to the corresponding objects in the urban space of the city of Luhansk (Ukraine) in November 2013.
“Luhansk, city-as-dictionary” is a social, educational and artistic project, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the first edition of one the most famous Russian language dictionaries – the “Explanatory Dictionary of the Live Great Russian language” by Vladimir Dal, probably the most famous Luhansk native.
The contemporary city faces 150-years-old dictionary entries, which are displayed on corresponding objects. The city itself becomes a dictionary, a museum where two temporal layers co-exist simultaneously. Objects around us receive names and are catalogued, the sign and the object become one and the “Dictionary of the Live language” becomes truly live, in flesh and on the streets.
“Luhansk, city-as-dictionary” balances between overcoming terror of uncertain signs and tautology, it is an encounter of the signifier and the signified, a literal enforcement of the linguistic connotation of the sign.
It's about time we mention Adam giving names, and Wittgenstein's limits of the language meaning the limits of the world, and Benjamin Whorf's language determining thought and cognitive processes.
Or alternatively, don't bother yourself with all that semiotic mumbo-jumbo and just take a stroll around the city, find all the plaques with the dictionary entries (and also add your own), spend several exciting hours outdoors and turn a semiotic riddle into an exciting game for an unlimited number of participants and an urban space.