taal-eh, 2015, video, sound, installation, text, Tromsø Art Academy, 2015.
taal-eh formed the solo exhibition component of my mfa degree from tromsø art academy. the installation consisted of ten flatscreen tvs, suspended at various points in the gallery, each two screens played one section of the video. active speakers were connected to each screen.
taal-eh is the de-naturalisation of ideology from a “legitimised” language; it is performed through a process which i refer to as the islanding of a “legitimised” language from ideological discourse (1). to island a “legitimised” language is to alienate the rituals that enable its proliferation: speaking and writing (2).
taal-eh uses norwegian as its host language. i collected a vocabulary from norwegian language films by repeating the words which i heard spoken, back to myself, aloud, and recording them. these words would then form the basis of a new vocabulary, most of which was later both recognised – and not – by a norwegian audience: the first step towards islanding a legitimised language is to mispronounce its words – as a rule (3).
i then transcribed the vocabulary, phonetically, using english and afrikaans orthographies (the two languages in which I can speak and write). equally important in this process is the substitution of the signs of the language (4). during this process, it is vital to not fall into the trap of transference of power; i.e. subsequently privileging those with access to english and afrikaans, instead (5).
the final gesture in the islanding process is the alienation of the host language from all recognisable signifiers, which enable a language to have “meaning” and therefore, also facilitate its translation into another language (6). the new vocabulary enters into a new system of illogical, computerised signs (7), which cannot be re-produced, both in speaking and in writing (8). the islanded language hence speaks itself for viewers, but does not offer an entry point (9).