Wordplay II 2012 Toy piano, solenoid, electronics, wires, printed circuit board, acrylic, clamps, digital print on watercolor paper, 1/3 28” x 26” x 14” (kinetic), 34” x 26” x 2” (print) Tokyo, Hong Kong, Los Angeles Duration: Around 7-minute (4 movements with 30s intermission) Wordplay is a kinetic sonic piece about the relationship between music and text. I authored custom software that identifies all words in a British dictionary containing only the letters A, B, C, D, E, F, G and R. I chose those letters because A to G are the names of the musical notes used in the western classical music system, and I chose “R” as the representation of “rest”. This dictionary contains words that not only can be found in an ordinary dictionary, but can also be treated as a score playable by a musical instrument. Any word consists of notes that can be played. A rule can be used to establish a correspondence between letters and sounds, so that a sentence can be translated into a musical line. Words and letters can be used as generative rules to make sounds by defining an arbitrary system of correspondences. Linguist Ferdinand de Saussure emphasized that the relationship between letter-signs (signifiers) and the concepts they signify is an arbitrary convention. The act of mis-displacing the words of the English language in Music language shows the truth of language. The illusion that we are in control of language now breaks down. We are spoken by the rules of language, just as a computer is programmed to execute certain tasks. Such non-composed (non-harmonic) composition method also opens up our ideas of what constitutes music, and of the difference between music and writing.