International maritime signal flags are used to communicate with ships while at sea. Different shapes, symbols, colors and patterns can be used to spell out different phrases or signal different messages from a great distance. Inspired by this visual communication, Liesl Pfeffer created her own set of signal flags that reflect on her experience assimilating to life in Germany after growing up in Australia. Developing her own image-logic and visual vocabulary, Liesl’s series Yes, I can hear you loud and clear examines the nuances of language and communication.
Photos by Nicolas Greiff
“One of the first things I did after moving to Berlin was enroll in German language classes. Three years later, I am more or less fluent, but there is a lingering friction in my interactions. I feel a dissonance between what I want to express and the words that come out of my mouth.”
“When I decided to tell the story of my first years living in Germany—of the places I have been and things I have seen—I chose to invent my own language. It’s not a language of words, but of experience translated into shapes.”
“To find the shapes for my language I consulted the photographs and drawings I have made since I moved to Europe, this archive of things I have noticed. Each shape represents an architectural form or object from public space in a simple expression, complexities reduced to two dimensions.”