Hide and Seek: Tracing the New Languages through Storytelling


Deniz Altındağ

     Although the idea of storytelling outside of the literature may seem a little strange at the beginning, while we walk through the layers of the artworks, we might realize that each artistic discipline creates a story by inventing its own unique language. In this case, we can think of storytelling as a form of conscious creation, which is one of the fundamental issues of many art disciplines, decided by the narrator at what time and how it should appear, sometimes by showing it clearly and sometimes by hiding. Evaluating storytelling only within the boundaries of the literary discipline would be to squeeze a multidimensional artistic expression field into a very narrow framework. This multidimensional form of expression, within some basic points, has been strolled over many disciplines such as music, cinema, visual arts, performing arts and even architecture with its slight shadow.

    When you encounter a story, it can be said that the process of recalling the memory takes place through experience. The relationship storytelling constructs with memory plays a triggering role here. Because the human brain records every step, every image, every voice and every imagine... Everything we see in the environment is divided into certain codes in our minds. As Piaget (1952) suggested, the human mind transforms the things it encounters from childhood into images. It creates certain schemes with these images and makes classifications. Old images, new additions, intertwined ones, those hidden deep... The structure of the mind is layered, like the structure of a story. We can call this situation as palimpsest. Although palimpsest is a technical term used to denote a parchment that has been written and erased in a row, it is used to describe the memory in many areas, where the old and the new are intertwined, the traces are not completely removed, and become a new phrase. Pallasmaa expand the palimpsest in Space, Place, Memory and Imagination as follows:

     "Our existential and lived reality is a thick, layered and sustained oscillation." (Pallasmaa, 2014, p.189).

     Memory is a combination of layers which comprise the traces of space, time and imagination. During a story, the one begins to imagine by wandering through these layers which reflect the memories, thus experiences her/his own existence. Bergson (1999) supports this layered situation by emphasizing the concept of time. The origin of memory is the extension of the past into the present. This situation allows for the creative development of human consciousness. When we look at an artwork, although it is quite complicated to explain what the frames, lines, shapes, expressions evoke in our memory, what new kinds of schemes it adds to our minds, what it brings from the deepen layers in our memory and combines it with what new things, it might be said that a strong point is formed in the human mind.

    In a story, images overlap in some places, jump far apart in others. These images embark on a similar journey in the human mind. They move through the layers of memory and create some strong points inside or outside mental schemas. So, what exactly happens at these points? These strong points constitute exactly the situation that Deleuze (2006) in What is the Creative Act describes as creating a language for things that have no language. Thus, we notice and feel "some things". I guess that's what art is trying to chase. It would not be wrong to say that this situation, which Deleuze explained through music, is valid for all forms of artistic expression.

from Stories of a few Outsiders
from Stories of a few Outsiders

     Klee explicates this relation, which Deleuze calls giving a voice to things that have no voice, more implicitly from the artist's side. In On Modern Art, Klee (1967) describes exactly what the artist is doing at this moment, using the metaphor of a tree, in a quite powerful and simple way. Representing the tree trunk, the artists, standing in the place reserved for them, do nothing but collect and convey what comes to them from the deep. Similar to Klee's, Rilke (1993) imagines the artist as a tree waiting without worrying if summer doesn't come. In this waiting period, the artist describes her/himself as someone who collects images, plays with them and places them in an infinity. It is the naming of the storytelling movement, whether the movement of conveying the images, relationships and situations that the artist collects/recognizes by her/himself, takes place with more specific, perhaps figurative works, or with quieter, ambiguous signs. In all these forms of expression, trying to express things that do not yet have a language is exactly a situation that tells the essence of building a story.

    As storytelling travels in different places, a narrative sequence emerges that uses different language structures and different sign forms. Tracing storytelling in many different art disciplines, which is one of the main goals of this journal, takes us to a quite substantial visual, auditory and sensory platform. On this occasion, we consider that publishing this journal is a discerning way to record how storytelling can occur in different forms and to create a space to dive into the background of the process of creating, reflecting and making sense of stories in all these forms of artistic expression. In order to trace the new emerging languages through stories, we aim to create a literature record that collects practical and theoretical studies from every stage in this field. Therefore, we encourage everyone who produces images in their own way of expression to share something with this journal to reveal what has yet to be revealed. In this context, we need studies that expand our 'vocabulary' that can be expressed in our memories.

    Thus, why would we want to create such a record, you might ask? At that point, I would like to remember Le Guin (2012), who I admire for how she constructed languages that did not exist yet.

     What does it mean to know the 'real name' of something in the Earthsea?


Bergson, H. (1999). An Introduction to Metaphysics. Hackett Publishing Co.
Klee, P. (1967). On Modern Art. Faber and Faber Ltd.
Le Guin, U. K. (2012). A wizard of Earthsea. Houghton Mifflin.
Rilke, R. M. (1993). Letters to a Young Poet. (M.D. Herter Norton, Trans.). W. W. Norton & Co.
Deleuze, G., & Lapoujade, D. (2006). Two regimes of madness: Texts and interviews 1975-1995. CA: Semiotext(e).
Pallasmaa, J. (2014). "Space, Place, and Atmospheres." In Architectural Atmospheres, edited by C. Borch, 18-41. Birkhäuser.
Piaget, J. (1952). The origins of intelligence in children. (M. Cook, Trans.). W W Norton & Co.