The Bouba/Kiki Experience
JAUS is pleased to present "The Bouba/Kiki Experience" an exhibition of sculptural and media works inspired by the scientific study known as the "bouba/kiki effect". In 2001, Vilayanur Ramachandran and Edward Hubbard conducted an experiment (originally conceived by Wolfgang Kohler) that consisted of showing subjects from the U.S. and non-english speakers from India a picture of two figures (similar to those shown below), asking them which was named “bouba” and which was named “kiki”. The data revealed that over 95% of subjects in both cultures found the rounded figure to be the bouba and the pointed figure to be the kiki.
The current exhibition, featuring artists from Japan, Mexico and the U.S., takes its cue from this experiment, and showcases works that, while maintaining their distinctive idiosyncrasies, reveal a certain recurrence and universality of aesthetic form in sculptural objects from across the world. I would like to argue that these commonalities not only have an acute relationship to language and sound (as suggested by the experiment), but to the other senses as well, including emotion and thought.