Lately I've been meditating on word pairs, and how certain combinations shift our perceptions of the individual words involved. What sparked this thought is a collection of 1970's-inspired rings that just arrived in the shop. The options range from positive to profane, and it's fun watching people try them on. Most find a word that immediately resonates, but it gets more complicated once you start playing around with stacks and styles on multiple fingers. One factor in the decision is how different letterforms look together. I'm partial to big blocky letters paired with a style in delicate script. But mostly, it's about what your choice of word(s) says to the world at large. As someone fascinated with language, it pleases me to see people consider the weight of a single word or two, and the potential for self-expression.
Sorting through rings and exploring the different combos also makes me think of Exquisite Corpse, a parlor game associated with surrealists in the 1920s. Picture the precursor to Mad Libs: a poetic collaboration between players that requires each to contribute to a story without seeing the whole. The amusing part comes from the insertion of adjectives/adverbs/nouns that are totally out of place and take the narrative in outlandish and unexpected directions. The story may even benefit from random adjacencies—there's a similar phenomenon in fashion.
Wearing a word on your finger is a bold act, but also a bit of a secret hiding in plain sight. You're speaking without making a sound, and the reactions (or lack of reactions) will be as varied as the people and places that cross your path. Stylish statements often elicit commentary, but words are by nature provocative—especially words on rings. Of course, context is everything. Consider the work of Jenny Holzer, an artist whose main currency is enigmatic phrases that appear in strange places. Sometimes her words are projected on the sides of iconic buildings; other times they're inserted in pedestrian locales like a luggage carrousel in an airport. The words are very intentional, but their placement is disruptive and jarring. That's one of the things that makes her art so interesting. You don't expect to encounter a deep truth on an illuminated billboard, but surprisingly that's occasionally where it shows up.
While the collection of word rings currently at Future Nostalgia may not shift your consciousness on the level of conceptual artwork, there is something delightfully subversive about wearing a word (or a word pair) on your finger and waiting to see who will or will not notice it. And more importantly, discovering the impact of the word(s) you choose on your own state of mind.