Personal tribute to Noam Chomsky
I want to thank you for the profound and revolutionary work you have done on the nature of language. The utter originality of your ideas and the elegance and virtuosity with which you have made your arguments about the structure of language are unmatched in the history of the field. Your work has forever changed how people across a host of disciplines think about this unique, deeply human trait that defines us a species.
Your work has affected me in a way that I never would have suspected, either when I first encountered your work as an undergraduate or later when I entered graduate school at MIT. Unexpectedly, your ideas about generative grammar have influenced my current work as a visual artist. I now work as a professional artist exploring variations and commonalties of the structures of language(s) in a visual format through abstract images and physical forms. When I talk to people about my work at exhibitions and art fairs, they are often deeply impacted by the depth and power of your ideas about generative grammar, which is very gratifying to me to be able to share with a new audience.
I am very grateful, along with my colleagues, for your immense contributions to 20th- and 21st-century scientific thought and, on a personal level, for the ways in which your work has given me a rich source of material for my life as an artist.