“I became aware of ‘non-words’ via an issue of the Journal of British Language and Communication Disorders that belonged to my sister, a speech therapist. It featured a table of 40 pairs of non-words of increasing complexity. Here it has been replicated and enlarged. The poster is accompanied by the voice of Zurich based artist and musician Lea Rüegg singing the words. Speech-therapists use non-words as a diagnostic tool to gauge language skills (especially phonetic decoding ability). Non-words follow the typical structure of a word in a given language, but do not exist. The person being tested cannot rely on pre-familiarity and other social factors. The title of this work riffs on language philosopher J.L. Austin’s text How To Do Thing With Words (1955/1962).” Harun Morrison.
Originally commissioned as part of ‘Not Standing In Place’, a project by Vlatka Horvat & Tim Etchells, Zurich: Theater Spektakel Festival, 2021.