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an invented language of numbers and music

From:Yahya Abdal-Aziz <yahya@...>
Date:Thursday, November 10, 2005, 0:18
Hi all,

From the fourth page of a slideshow article on
Obsessive Drawing at
(follow the link to see a sample of Benefiel's work) -

Charles Benefiel's "Random Numeric Repeater"
drawings use a private language of dots and circles.
As the show's helpful wall text explains, Benefiel
uses dots and circles to represent numbers and
sounds. He assigns a symbol and a sound to each
number, so that "one equals a dot equals the sound
'ba'; four equals a circle equals the sound 'da.' "
And so forth. As he draws the symbols, Benefiel
pronounces the syllables and counts the correspond-
ing numbers, creating a unique amalgam of music,
visual art, and math. This invented language, he be-
lieves, militates against the way our culture uses
numbers on passports, driver's licenses, and Social
Security cards to codify identity. Diagnosed with
obsessive-compulsive disorder, Benefiel—who was
born in 1967 and currently makes his home in Pitts-
burgh—has found that his art helps him to control
and transcend his OCD.

I had wondered whether there was something mildly
obsessive about the way I follow newsgroups, make
music, and make pictures.  Now I'm beginning to see
the light ...!


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