I wanted to share here my previous experimental project called Partial Gestures. This is a short 16 second video of a cropped Youtube video that shows only the subtitles that appear in two lines at a time:
“Implanted her at the age of four and a half that she would be able to develop near natural speaking skills. Have you met other deaf people who are 20 to 35 years old and who got an implant as an adult out of our 300 patients we”
Hand movements are partially cropped and hidden behind the subtitle to hinder the audience from understanding the context. Behind the subtitle, there is a conversation happening between two people, one of which is using American Sign Language to ask a question. This video is originally from a documentary called ‘Sound & Fury’ directed by Josh Aronson in 2000. You can find more information on this wiki page here. The original video can be found on Youtube on here.
This documentary shows the journey of two sets of parents discussing the future of their children in regards to how much cochlear implant surgery may be ‘beneficial’ or how it could separate the child from one’s Deaf family.
I found the film relevant as Cochlear Implant can be controversially seen as something that ‘erases’ Deaf identity because it usually encourages one to speak and hear instead of using the sign language. At the time of first watching this documentary, I also came across a book titled Made to Hear: Cochlear Implants and Raising Deaf Children by Dr. Laura Mauldin. The book is about the consequences of Cochlear Implant surgery for parents and medical professionals and I found it to be quite informative for me. You can find more info about the book on here. I must’ve been about 10 or 11 when I received the surgery and I do not remember anything particular about what hearing sound was like before switching to digital hearing. As my hearing started to deteriorate from the age of 4, I don’t have much recollection of listening the music with natural hearing. It was intriguing to learn about how a child gets to train the brain to reconfigure the way of listening with new cochlear implant device.
The Co-Designing the Sound Art with Cochlear Implant Users workshop I attended at V&A in 2016 has helped me to understand more about CI and its users’ experiences. Lead by artist Dr. Tom Tlalim, the workshop included a series of interviews conducted to discuss the varied experience of music within Cochlear Implant users. This website showcases multiple interviews and information about the project which can be found here.
As I have been learning more about CI, I became naturally interested in the language of British Sign Language. The mini booklet I have made as a documentation of my journey into learning the British Sign Language alphabet through fingerspelling- it was printed by Berlin based Risograph printing studio WeMakeIt.
This booklet was selected to be part of Artist Self-Publishers fair 2020- as part of showcasing the book, I made Partial Gestures as the video experimentation to accompany this project.
I am looking forward to seeing how I can expand on this process of study and continue to think about the language of subtitle in engaging way through researching!