The piece is inspired by my child’s code-switching in French and English. As a simultaneous bilingual he acquired two languages since birth and sometimes borrows words from language X when speaking language Y. At a playground in the woods one day he asked me, “Est-ce que there are loups in the woods [Are there wolves in the woods]?”
A sound wave of his phrase is superimposed on a photograph of the forest, our sun setting behind the trees. Defined as a graphical representation of sound pressure variation in the time domain, the audio waveform visually maps speech.
An earlier iteration of this work – a series of charcoal drawings – was part of a paper-based installation in collaboration with Gudrun Filipska. Emerging out of conversations about the shift or interval that occurs between languages, our respective pieces worked with ideas of involuntary code-switching in the ‘simultaneous bilingual’. The installation was exhibited in the group show, “Representations in Multilingualism,” curated by Jessica M. Bradley and Louise Atkinson, Manchester Metropolitan University (UK), 29 – 31 August 2019, and traveled to Languaging in Times of Change, Stirling University (UK), 26 – 27 September 2019; the ESRC Festival of Social Sciences, Sheffield University (UK), 2 November 2019; the Research Collegium for Language in a Changing Society, University of Jyväskylä (FI), 19 November 2019; and On the border of art and language teaching in the multilingual word, MILK, Glasgow (UK), 13 November 2020.