A random Dictionary

As pat of my residency at Dr Johnson’s House, I developed ‘A ramdon Dictioanry’ a workshop, for the public, which used his famous dictionary as a starting point. This activity devised as an unusual English and Art lesson, used the dictionary to play with the intersection of logic and the illogical, order and chaos; especially exploring mistakes: Moving away from the orderly process of the dictionary, to deconstruct and play with this system of knowledge. The workshop was developed in the garret the same room where Johnson himself worked for nine years compiling his dictionary. So, in a way, we were, albeit on a minuscule scale, re-enacting Samuel Johnson’s steps and processes, 265 years later.

One focus of the session was to explore ideas of making knowledge through mistakes, to re-define Johnson’s definitions. Participants, as counterfeit lexicographers, were involved in an illogical process of creating, re-defining, disorganising, sorting and re-organising the words.