Some Misunderstanding [on Mondegreens and Pareidolias] at Castlefield Gallery

By Sarah Jackson Published: 07 August 2013

Exhibition preview: Some Misunderstanding [on Mondegreens and Pareidolias], Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, August 9-18 2013

Maya Erdelyi, Dudes (2012)
Maya Erdelyi, Dudes (2012)© Maya Erdelyi
For fans of malapropisms, puns, 'eggcorns' (the substitution of a word or phrase for a word or words that sound similar) and other linguistic quirks, Castlefield Gallery's latest exhibition might shed further light on these idiosyncratic phenomena.

Although those of us who aren’t linguists may not know what a mondegreen and pareidolia is, chances are we have experienced them in our lives. Mondegreens are mishearings of words or phrases, which in turn acquire new meanings.

Pareidolias are randomly occurring shapes, forms or sounds experienced as significant by individuals or groups. Examples of both can be found in misheard song lyrics or sightings of religious figures in commonplace objects, and these instances have been in inspiration behind some of the exhibited works.

Featuring pieces by eight artists from across the north-west, Europe and the US, Some Misunderstanding will explore how such misinterpretations can lead from amusing mistakes amongst friends to actually changing our experience of the world.

The importance of language in exploring and defining the world is examined in works such as Anton Bruhin’s organisation of the Swiss-German dialect in order of near-homophones (a word that is pronounced the same as another word but differs in meaning), highlighting the problem of differentiation for the listener.

Meanwhile, Dina Danish attempts to perform a personal mondegreen by lip-synching to Gloria Gaynor’s classic, I Will Survive, underwater,  

Other musical classics of quite different sorts are used by Cory Arcangel as he compresses Iron Maiden’s song, The Number of the Beast, 666 times, referencing its history as a source of subliminal messages, and ‘corrects’ Jimi Hendrix’s performance of the Star Spangled Banner using Apple’s auto-tune software.

Linguistic quirks are also represented by the visual arts. Taking inspiration from sci-fi film sets, Dave Evans’ Paper Mountains indulges our ability to suspend disbelief and Jenny Core’s drawings attempt to encourage the natural inclination to recognise familiar patterns in abstract images.

Launch Pads are short exhibitions and performances that punctuate the gallery’s main exhibition programme and provide artists and curators with the opportunity to use the gallery as a test bed for the production, display and consumption of contemporary art.

  • Open Wednesday-Sunday 1pm-6pm. Admission free. Follow the gallery on Twitter @CastlefieldGall.

More pictures:

Jenny Core, Floating Island (2013)
Jenny Core, Floating Island (2013)© Jenny Core
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