In To Be Heard, sound artist Gangil Yi collaborates with UNBARRIER, a start-up developing an assistive solution for the people with visual or hearing impairment, to have a ‘sign language’ spoken as a language and ‘listen’ to the spoken sign language. The artist does not view the communication of those with hearing disability solely as a matter of converting something into ‘sounds’ from the viewpoint of the non-disabled. First of all, Yi turns participation in repeating signs, and translating them with bodily actions into ‘speaking.’ Such a process of speaking accompanies ‘listening’ through the output from a device that mimics signs and, at the same time, translates into sounds.
To Be Heard is a tutorial video to watch and copy and speak and listen to a sign language. In the conversation to take place within the context of this project, the audience would be given an opportunity to ‘hear’ others as the language of the other party gets translated or converted into his or her language and to consider what it means to ‘hear’ and ‘listen to’ each other.
This project neither focuses on the element of ‘sound’ in ‘hearing’ impairment nor views it as an absence of something that is given. This project allows and validates a way of communication and language that happens to be bodily.