I Think I Know What You Want To Say is a work that plays with the idea of collecting something that is essentially immaterial – namely our body language, our gestures and signs. How can I build such an imaginary collection? How can I organize it and show it to others? Which discrete “non-objects” will I include in my collection? Can I perhaps organize my (as yet non-existent) collection, in order to then systematically collect according to my own preconceived classification? How do things like desire or coincidence play into this process?
This work is about human communication and about the process of working together. It’s also about understanding (or misunderstanding) each other. How do we attribute thoughts and attitudes, or even urges and intentions to other individuals? Do I really understand what you’re saying to me? Do I understand what you WANT to say to me?
The gestures presented in videos and images were collected according to 13 predetermined categories (which themselves – as text drawings – make up a part of the installation):
I worked with more than 40 people from Heidelberg and the region to create the collection.
WHAT OTHERS SAY ABOUT THIS WORK
Dr. Hans-Jürgen Buderer (former Director of Art and Cultural History for the Reiss Engelhorn Museums in Mannheim) wrote in the exhibition catalog:
“Behind the playfully poetic title lies one of Janet Grau’s typically subtle and cleverly thought-out performances, which becomes tangible for the viewer in a media installation for the exhibition in the Kommandantenhaus in Dilsberg. […] If you take a closer look at the catalogue of gestures which Janet Grau has developed…[it becomes clear that the] classification criteria she has created for her collection of gestures is not derived from a scientific structuring scheme based on observable forms of gestures. In an obvious analogy to Italo Calvino, the categories she has developed stem instead from a reflection upon the possible subjective needs and expectations of an imaginary onlooker. […] The work I Think I Know What You Want to Say implies one of those basic ideas that has time and again inspired the artist, namely the question of whether (and if, then how) we even understand each other at all when we communicate using our current modes of communication.”