"Language without context”
‘Language without context’ considers the condition
and fate of a language which has lost its determination by reference
to an exterior.
Various models of relation between a language and some function exterior to it
are first considered, before questioning how a language concerned with art might
situate itself in relation to these possibilities of context.
Austin’s model of performative speech, Foucault’s concept of the
author-function, and Wittgenstein’s ordinary language philosophy suggest
languages differently contextualised by ideas of authority, subjectivity and
If art is considered as a self-legitimating practice, concerned with the formation
of subjectivity, then it potentially places itself in tension with the modalities
of authority and utility/instrumentality. The paper aims to question the concept
of subjectivity implicit in this opposition; whether the language of this ‘subjectivity’ is
not a ‘language without context’ - either a private language which
is non-relational and non-communicative, or an implicit but ungrounded assumption
How the artwork responds to this dilemma – possibly through a concept of
utility - perhaps suggests a context for the writing.