Art; Signs of the Times

’Signs of the Times, A coded his­tory of alpha­bets and com­mu­nic­a­tion’ is a series of works by artist Paul Flack who col­lab­or­ated with me on hid­den mes­sages and codes in art:

Inspired by the com­plex evol­u­tion of alpha­bets, words and sym­bols sculptor Paul Flack has been inter­ested in lan­guage and its mean­ing for many years. Cryptic mean­ing suf­fuses his work, which is a blend of words and sym­bols from many dif­fer­ent cul­tures. Hiero­glyphs and runes jostle for space with mod­ern alpha­bets and bin­ary code on painted can­vasses, stone carvings and sculp­tures. The out­come is a flu­id mix­ture of man-made mean­ing and uni­ver­sal, geo­met­ric shapes.

Paul’s col­lab­or­a­tion with Annie Machon — a lead­ing civil liber­ties act­iv­ist and former MI5 intel­li­gence officer — has enabled him to take his under­stand­ing of codes, cen­sor­ship and the secret­ive side of lan­guage to a new level.

We live in an age of spoon-fed inform­a­tion and extreme cen­sor­ship. I want people to think about the ori­gins of lan­guage and how it binds cul­tures togeth­er, as opposed to sep­ar­at­ing them” — Paul Flack

It’s a cliché, but you really should­n’t believe everything you read. His­tory is writ­ten by the vic­tori­ous and today’s rul­ing élite is cer­tainly no less ruth­less in its approach to secrecy and cen­sor­ship.” — Annie Machon

If this sounds a bit con­tro­ver­sial, all the bet­ter. Some altern­at­ive views of recent events are encoded into the work, and if you look hard enough you will find them.

“Of course, what you do with the inform­a­tion is up to you,” — Paul Flack

Coda: Sadly, Paul died unex­pec­tedly in 2008.  His was a rare and beau­ti­ful spir­it, and he is much missed by his many friends.

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