There has been a recent flurry of interest in "International Art English" – that flat and strangled academic blah that art galleries, curators, critics and artists write. A piece at canopycanopycanopy.com analyses its particular way with language: "An artist’s work inevitably interrogates, questions, encodes, transforms, subverts, imbricates, displaces – though often it doesn’t do these things so much as it serves to, functions to, or seems to (or might seem to) do these things. IAE rebukes English for its lack of nouns: Visual becomes visuality, global becomes globality, potential becomes potentiality, experience becomes… experiencability."
I normally fall back on the kind of Overly Matey Copywriter you’ll have spotted in these columns
In another part of the forest, agencywank.tumblr.com is collecting emergent pidgin – especially the weird kind of bluntly aggressive pretension agencies write on their websites. We’ve all written similar things at some point. I certainly have.
Of course, it’s easy to poke fun at this stuff, but I don’t want to do that (much). They help you construct "in-crowds", they give you shorthand ways to traverse globalality (sorry) and they let you express very specific ideas in very specific milieu. You probably speak some version of Global Marketing English yourself. It includes a bunch of MBA, a twist of technobabble and a dash of media, arts and culture. You hear it wherever global marketing teams meet to ideate comms solutions.
I can speak enough of it, but I normally fall back on the kind of Overly Matey Copywriter you’ll have spotted in these columns. Chief characteristics include overuse of "stuff" and "things", and starting fragmented sentences with "and". This kind of thing. And this. Like I say, we shouldn’t worry about this too much, but we should notice when we’re doing it. Because every now and then it escapes into the real world – and then it looks horrible.
Russell Davies is a creative director at Government Digital Services