A sign that tells you it’s a sign. The signal send from this advertisement to the receiver is useless, the message has no novelty. The artist did steal the novelty by choosing the term. As an advertising object this object must fail – because the “message” is missing. It only superimposes the fact that we are surrounded by signs, regardless if we like them – or even if we want to see them.

During the day (when the piece is off) the letters will reflect the sky and can be seen as an discrete object of beauty. Not a crying sign in aggressive colours, not a technical neon object with a sometimes ugly visible metal supporting structure. Just a mirror of the sky with the possibility to see a the reflection of a bird or a plane passing by.

After sundown the internal white neon elements will be switched on. Thus the mirror used for the screen is semi transparent the emitted light will be visible. Eleven bright letters on top of a building, still without a novelty. Only the car driver – standing at a red traffic light – gets the useless information “Yes, we do have traffic lights in Geneva”.

But on the right hand side a cryptical fr | it | de | rm | en sign also illuminates. After a while four of those letter combinations goes off and the big letters start to do something – a communication process starts.

Words in French, Italian, German, Rhaeto-Romanic and English are displayed. The four official swiss languages and for the tourists English. The silly word “SIGNALISATION” mutates to – NATION – SANG – SAAT – STILLATION – LAIN – STAGNO – SALAT – ALATO – STILL – SINON – SALIT. The attached language indicator helps the viewer to read the words. The partly visible advertisement now distributes novelties.

The display of words follows a system. First on display are all words contained in the french term “SIGNALISATION”. After a short pause a selection of words will be displayed that start with the letter “S” and can be written with the available letters.

Those words must be recombined by the viewer. To support the viewer the sections – if possible in syllables – are joined with a dissolve between the sections / single letters.

If the viewer miss it – or simply doesn’t understand the language – the sign acts as a sick sign. For example the french word SANG – blood is displayed in two sections “SAN” followed by a single “G”. The sign will look like the letters are going mad, which is an effect that might also be intended.

The languages are separated by moments of “silence”, where the viewer can only read the term signalisation. The complete loop over all languages will have a duration of 30 minutes and will repeat till sunset.

download proposal (PDF) english

Animation stills




see movie (Mp4 4MB)

Detail – language indicator