Fairy Chocolate is a rhythmical juxtaposition that visits two areas: imagination and life experience. The title of this proposal originated from when I was in elementary school. Our French teacher used to have the class sing a classic French song, Frère Jacques.
Deaf since birth, I could not understand what was being said so I would study how everyone’s lips moved during this song. In order to “fit in”, I created my own song and lip-synced. Since to me Frère Jacques read like “fairy chocolate”, I lip-synched my song throughout the videos. The sound is mute, signifying the loss and separation anytime I felt like I was in a similar situation. This allows the viewer to grasp, even if to a small degree, what I experience on a daily basis. The audience will viscerally experience something as they try to understand the content of this part.
Instead of dwelling on the lack of access, I create. I imagine. I study what is around me. This is when the artist in me comes out. Repetition of essential elements such as drawings, photographs, and videos are being portrayed throughout the videos, showing how I am divided into two environments: the actual situation and the world of imagination.
Ever try remembering a part of a dream after waking up? The images pass by so quickly that we can hardly remember anything. Some images move slow enough to recall every single detail of the dream. We also dream in patterns and sometimes the connection between patterns may not always make sense, especially in real life. I often dream of water, which is a powerful symbol. It represents the subconscious of our mind. It often symbolize emotions and feelings, which are the significant elements that we should pay attention to. Even recognizing the type of water is substantial as they are interpreted differently.
The ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans believed that dreams forecasted future events. They also believed that the dead would visit in their dreams. Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams, would deliver messages from the gods and predictions of the future. The Egyptians would document their dreams in hieroglyphics, bringing their dreams to a dream interpreter to have it analyzed.
The legendary psychologist, Carl Jung, once said that our dreams were our window to our unconscious: Jung believed that dreams were a way of communicating and acquainting yourself with the unconscious: “Dreams are not attempts to conceal your true feelings from the waking mind, but rather they are a window to your unconscious. They serve to guide the waking self to achieve wholeness and offer a solution to a problem you are facing in your waking life.”
This video, You don't miss much, is a timeline of my travels from over 15 years, the last stop being in Kefalonia, Greece. This work is a visual rhythmical story, a music compositing with my eyes. I am constantly surrounded by sounds that I often cannot make out of, especially what is being said during a verbal conversation. The contrast used with sound in the videos is deliberate, meant to give the viewers a glimpse into my daily life.
In the background, there is a recorded conversation with a well-known artist from Kefalonia/Greece; Memas Kalogiratos. The first time I went to meet Mema (Greek pronunciation of his name), I was accompanied with other guests. I was the only Deaf person there. Mema spoke no English nor could he write English. Julia, one of the artists from the residency, wrote down: “Memas says you do not miss much. Just a lot of talk.”
The videos were filmed in the following countries: Bahamas, Canada, England, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Panama, Puerto Rico, and United States.
In this piece I interviewed friends and strangers with a video camera. I asked each individual to tell me about their first crush – those who knew of my deafness were instructed to talk as if
they were not aware of it. Throughout the editing processes, what was a sweet, giggly story about someone’s first crush turned into a
private hell for me as I agonizingly tried to lip-read what was being said word for word. It was painfully tiring for my eyes as well my brain to try to make out all of the words – what I thought was being said – and I faced a lot of uncertainty with many words. I tried not to give myself too many chances to figure out what was being said because I wanted to stay true to what happens in conversations in my environment.
I added subtitles to the video when I understood (or at least when I thought I understood) the words. When I could not understand what was being said, I muted the sound, signifying the loss and separation I feel when I am not getting information from the other party. This presentation allows the viewer to grasp, even if to a small degree, what I experience on a daily basis. What began as a simple, lighthearted question turns into a frustrating breakdown in communication.