Drawing Sign Language Poetry

From a smashing couple of hours drawing sign language poets Paul and Richard at the RWA, Bristol back in early May. The event way organised by HATCH member Kyra Pollitt, and more can be found about her research here.

The performances were somewhere between visual and spoken language, so was right up my street! It was a challenge to represent something of the motion in space rather than fragments of a performance, and by attempting to find an effective way of drawing it the activity revealed the shortcomings of 2d paper and pencils for the task. As it was I could only respond to the grout between the words, as I didn't understand many of the words themselves. So I think I was watching adverbs, mainly. Furthermore, anything representational required so much looking at the paper that I missed most of each poem. 

So I ended up doing something like this instead:

...which looks more like a bent coathanger than a poem. 

In discussion with other HATCHers after the event the question of sign language wordplay arose, in that we didn't know whether it would involve words that looked like each other rather like visual puns in collage... which makes me wonder if that might be an appropriate language to respond with. I'll leave it with you, yeah?