Een geschiedenis van woorden


The work Een geschiedenis van woordenbegan as a collection of my grandmother's words as a way of documenting my memories of her as she passed away. Every word comes with a small description, which balances between the common definition of the word and memories of my grandmother through her word use.  These short descriptions have similarities with the set up of a dictionary.  For the arrangement of the words I followed, like dictionaries, an alphabetical order. The book acts as a portrait of her. We know words in their existing and often fixed forms, but their definition is malleable and mutable to serve as pointers to define what we witness day to day.  In this way, this work also portrays the metamorphosis of words that we appropriate and reshape by sharing and linking them to moments and to people to whom we speak them.


The work stems from an assignment in editorial class, in which we experimented with text and researched the different shapes a piece of text could be.  Starting the process of just writing down the words that reminded me of my grandmother and then defining their meaning through my memories made that the words moved from public to very personal, and back. Then the editing process followed; What order to use? How to place the words? How much space should a word take up on the page? What should be the size of the page? And what kind of paper? All trying to balance the different layers the work carried.