The signs are collapsing, and no longer certain

In “The signs are collapsing, and no longer certain”, Juri Velt explores the potentiality of language to shape our sense of and sensibility towards changing landscapes through toponyms—names of small geographical units defined by a specific feature, connected to a past or present moment of the place.

Toponyms hold information and the potential to transmit the knowledge they carry, informing us about what the landscape experienced.

Exemplified through the topography of the Austrian Alps, “the signs are collapsing, and no longer certain” poses the question of what toponyms will tell us in the substantially altered world ours is currently becoming—when, for example, the Lahnbach (“slush-stream”) only carries crumbly dust.

Photographs and text document Juri Velt’s interventions in the city of Schwaz, Austria: Signs made of unburnt clay with toponyms written on them, mounted on metal poles. The toponym signs are understood as being traces themselves, slowly dissolving over time, leaving behind metal brackets as a record of their existence.

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