I’m currently working on an art project in the library of the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies at the University of Toronto. The project is an installation entitled “Image-Text Relationships at the CRRS Library,” and it’s taking place in the hallway that leads to the library.
Welcome to the CRRS Library!
The project has three main goals. First, to make the “multiform grammar” (MFG) accessible in higher education and to the general public. Second, to use a “body of knowledge” as tangible art material. And third, to use a space on campus for the practice of the MFG. These goals raise the questions: What is MFG? What is the “body of knowledge”? How will MFG be practiced at the CRRS library?
MFG is a grammatical system that I developed for the combination of words and images. One of its main concepts is “multiform arguments” (MFAs); these are arguments that are composed of both words and images. Here’s an example of an MFA that discusses Duke of Anjou’s chain of command in 1567-1568 through a combination of words and a diagram. This double-spread is only part of this MFA.
James B. Wood, The King’s Army, 1996, pp. 78-79
Another central concept is “multiform references” (MFRs); these are the rhetorical devices that authors use to shift their readers’ attention between words and images to create a new, unified representation. As we can see, Wood uses terms such as “Anjou,” “chain of command,” “figure 11,” “diagram,” “Swiss,” and “1567” and “1568” to integrate the verbal and the visual components of his MFA.
Noa Yaari, MFRs in James B. Wood’s The King’s Army, 1996, pp. 78-79, 2019, Toronto
Lastly, the concepts “verbal” and “visual poles” describe the points between which the MFRs extend. In Wood’s MFA, the visual component is a diagram that represents by analogy the chain of command. Thus, some of the MFRs in this MFA extend between the term “diagram” and the diagram itself.
Noa Yaari, Verbal and Visual Poles in James B. Wood’s The King’s Army, 1996, pp. 78-79, 2019, Toronto
The body of knowledge that I use is MFAs in the books that the CRRS library holds. This is what I do: scan thirty MFAs, print the scans, remove the captions of the illustrations from the prints and, consequently, from the MFAs, paint on the prints, scan the paintings, print the scans, laminate the prints, and create the installation from the reproductions of the paintings and the independent captions.
Noa Yaari, CRRS 4/30. 2019. Mixed media. 21 x 28 cm. Toronto
Noa Yaari, CRRS 6/30. 2019. Mixed media. 21 x 28 cm. Toronto
Noa Yaari, CRRS 7/30. 2019. Mixed media. 21 x 28 cm. Toronto
Noa Yaari, CRRS 8/30. 2019. Mixed media. 21 x 28 cm. Toronto
I will practice the MFG by extending MFRs across the hallway that leads to the CRRS library.
Noa Yaari, Welcome to MFG: Welcome to the CRRS Library! (simulation), 2019, Toronto