Ameriporean

This will be my final video post for a while – I don’t think it’s a medium I’ll ever be able to embrace fully. Nevertheless, even I was surprised by what I was able to come up with for my final video assignment for graphic design class. Again, it involved me stepping into performance art territory, and even socio-political art, both of which are very far out of my artistic domain.

As an expansion on the theme of the human head, I decided to explore the theme of a complex, compound personal identity through overlapping the different voices that I use when I’m in America or speaking to Americans, and when I’m in Singapore or speaking to Singaporeans. This was the first video I devised:

[vimeo 34112193]

The dialogue for this video comes from the Wikipedia article on creole languages, deliberately chosen to convey neutrality. It suggests not only that my Singaporean voice is part of a creole influenced by Singapore’s history, but also that the American voice that I have to “fake” develops into a personal creole. Although it is the same script, the natural pauses and pacing which are out of my control allow the different voices to move in and out of the viewer’s consciousness, thus avoiding the portrayal of one voice being superior to the other. It also refers to my own struggle with maintaining “separate” identities and how they can interweave.

I was dissatisfied with how similar my voices were in this. The weirdness of my formal voices was just too strange, so I clearly had to go down the “informal” route. Plus, I am clearly being super awkward.

[vimeo 34112014]

The dialogue for this video comes from a Skype chat I had with a [Singaporean] friend (Zixin) about the project, and touches upon my insecurities and thoughts about this work and about identity as a whole. Working from a typed conversation allowed me to adjust the nuances of the different voices. Although it is the same script, the natural pauses and pacing which are out of my control allow the different voices to move in and out of the viewer’s consciousness, thus avoiding the portrayal of one voice being superior to the other. It also refers to my own struggle with maintaining “separate” identities and how they can interweave.

I need to emphasise that this kind of art isn’t something I’m going to pursue in the near future. It was yet another project that I just had to get out of my system, though this time the result was something I was pleased with. It’s also difficult to put this into context for either an American or a Singaporean audience. Somehow, the things I create always seem to elude definition.

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2 comments

  1. even though you aren’t going to go down the video route, i think this would be a really cool piece if you did it with many people speaking in their own and faked accents! and i liked how the second video is self referential – it makes it feel more personal than reading out an article

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