Language

January is fast disappearing and I am pretty well at my desk as much as I can be,  getting ready for these two Feb shows, so still not blogging as much as I would like to be.

The art is the thing though eh? I know my priorities…

For the Jazz Festival project, I am working with two wonderful translators for the deaf, Roey and John, to develop a video for the Jazz Café.  I will start shooting the video in about a week but in the meantime, at our meeting last week, Roey generously did some on the spot translations for my still camera of one of the great classics (and a strong childhood memory song for me), Summertime.

While never really having mastered any other languages (I just ‘get by’ overseas) I am always fascinated with the changes in construct, syntax and logic that happen in translation so this part of the project is really interesting.  I enjoy being amazed about how much I don’t know; in this case about how many signed languages are in use in any one place and about how many things cease to make sense or change meaning as they are converted – translation is truly an art.

When the translators (among other people) ask me where the idea came from for the work, I have to confess that I think I lifted the idea from my old friend Louise.  A gifted writer and eternally original thinker, about fifteen years ago Louise expressed interest in submitting some work to a local festival of erotic writing.  There was to be an evening of writers reading their prose for an audience and she had the idea to ask a deaf performer to sign the work for her instead.  She was fascinated by the idea of how the physical signs for her words might heighten their erotic effect.

Unfortunately it seemed to be too touchy a request and she was unable to get any leads to find an appropriate and willing performer so it never happened.  But I never forgot it.

It’s actually a much better idea than mine but I hope in my case a visual translation of these classic jazz lyrics will at least bring something new to them for the fans of the genre.

…and I hope Louise still writes.  I have no doubt she still thinks!

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2 thoughts on “Language

  1. An erotic tale told through sign language. Wow!

    Auslan is such an amazing language. It’s so expressive and strangely logical. I learned it for a bit, but I think I have a few issues with spatial awareness and co-ordination and I just couldn’t get the hang of it.

    Let me know if the project ever gets off the ground please!

  2. I will. 🙂 I should post this on Louise’s FB wall and see where her heads at with writing these days. It would have been a super-cool project.

    On another note – what happened to Hobart’s very own festival of erotic writing? I wonder if it still exists but is just too far off my radar (there’s not much ON my radar to be honest…)…

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