For my final project, I want to explore the transformation I’m going through currently and feeling very strongly about: language attrition; the loss of my first language. This will be a project about language as identity and it will deal with the idea that losing your mother tongue means losing or altering a part of your identity profoundly.
Each day, I’m using my mother language, Turkish, less and less. Each day, English is replacing Turkish as my primary tool to think, to feel, to express myself, to talk to myself, to write, to communicate whatever I want to say to the world. As I’m completing my sixth year abroad, I can fully feel the effects of language attrition: my immediate reactions, my dreams are now in my acquired language. My mind speaks to me in English. I write in English when I’m drunk. I’m surprised to see that I started to talk to animals and babies in English, too, which I thought would always be in my mother tongue. Most interestingly to me, I’m at a point that I can picture myself communicating with my own children in English in the future.
This inevitable loss is not disturbing to me all the time. Usually, I don’t even think about it or notice it at all. But sometimes, it hits me that I’m losing my mother tongue, day by day. I feel that my most important connection to home is slowly weakening. Part of me, part of my identity is slowly eroding.
I want to build an interactive installation, where the viewer will experience the erasing of a language and replacing with another one. In my case, the viewer will erase Turkish and replace it with English, as much as she likes.
The interaction is two fold: The viewer will stand in front of the projected screen. She will be reduced to a silhouette. Once the silhouette is drawn, it’ll be filled up with Turkish words. The viewer, by waving her hand over her body, will scratch out the Turkish to reveal English underneath. The viewer may choose to scratch all of the first language, or she may choose to have some remainders left.
Here is a diagram of the installation:
Click here to view the high resolution png document.
I’m going to use a security camera for sensing, a projector for projection and Processing for pixel analysis and graphics. The implementation diagram will follow soon.