The More I Missed, The More I Made..
I am overcoming a lot of my fears by directly putting myself in public positions to have to talk about how hearing loss and being deaf has affected my life. As a college professor (yep, for 14.5 years now) I have to be in front of a lot people each and everyday. I have to be more direct with my students and colleagues by telling them how I feel and what I need from them. By being honest about who I am and what I am missing, the feelings of compassion and empathy become mutual. This helps both parties make an emotional connection that I feel is necessary in education. (I believe this will play a huge role in the future of education.) Often I have to ask people to repeat themselves, or to speak slower, or louder. I answer incorrectly to questions often and everyone laughs or looks at me with a priceless look of confusion. These two things always make me laugh as it always creates a connection and reminds me to take myself lighter. Almost as if, that is where I begin to know someone, because they would now know me as I am. I need to be more honest and forward about why. It is my responsibility to make people aware of what and how much I am missing. It is natural to seek deeper meaning out of yourself and how that applies to the world around you. This is how we grow, through self-discovery as we interpret ourselves in relationship to our time here on this planet. However, I have learned the hard way that it can slip away all too fast if we are hiding from ourselves. Hiding seems to perpetuate more hiding. I often wonder how many other people with sever hear loss and deafness are out there doing what I used to do?
As an artist, I have had an epiphany about my work recently throughout this healing and fear facing process (and I continue to do so). Maybe you are already familiar with my work but most likely not. I have been a high volume output kind of artist for my whole life. Always making many many things at once in an immediate sort of way. Volume and production, productions in volumes and accumulation. Ah what a metaphor, right under my nose no less! By connecting my physical limitations of hearing to the question, “Why do I make so much stuff?” “Why have I put the emphasis on physical output and high volumes of works produced?” It’s about filling in the fear and deficit of how much I have been missing and have missed in this world. Overcompensation. I was missing a lot from early childhood, and as time went on, the more I was not hearing the more art I would make. Production and Volume = Missing. The funny part is, most of the art that I make and have made is not dark or representative of frustration as a whole. It does not communicate unhappiness, but I do see a huge common thread of a lack of meaning in some of these pre-hearing and deafness aware bodies of work. The context has changed and this plays a huge role in the kind of work that I greatly need and want to produce. I will work on understanding where the new works will best be displayed and presented. The best is really yet to come.
The animations above continue to explore the soundless looping GIF format. These pieces begin as digital image fractures and manipulations. They are re-composed and organized as new imagery and content. How does that process play a role in communication? Missing 5-8 words in any sentence can have a profound effect on how one may respond, comprehend or take away from an interaction. What does this look like when that actual missing fragment(s) takes place? Repetition is used to display the distortions and metaphors for how this experience may be interpreted visually. If you are a hearing person viewing these animations you may be “missing” the usual audio aspect to the videos you see, watch and hear each day.