If you look into a particular display cabinet in UCL Art Museum’s current exhibition, ‘Word and Image’, you might think that you are looking at a collection of dictionaries. But as Dr Alexander Samson – one of the curators of ‘Word and Image’– explained on Tuesday, they are a great deal more than that. Ben Davies was at the museum to hear more.
‘Dictionaries and Dialogues’ was part of the museum’s ‘Pop-Up’ programme, in which different speakers are given free rein to talk about particular pieces in the collections within the museum surroundings.
So, we listened to Dr Samson speak in more intimate surroundings than most lectures offer. We were encouraged to wander among the exhibits in the main gallery as the talk went on, not least because Dr Samson wove discussions of some of the pieces into his lecture, bringing pictures and historical texts to life with explanations of their political and historical significance.
He began by noting that contemporary English speakers are rather unusual in not having translation as a central aspect of our lives, because English is often used as a common language in business and politics, and is fairly dominant in culture such as music and film. (more…)