The Grammar of Power

This project begins with the curiosity I have about political discourse, specifically in Colombia; from many days and nights of attentively watching the channel that broadcasts sessions of the senate. Among the arguments and counter-arguments there is a language use that, to some extent, disguises the violence of the discourse and hides the intentions of the people who deliver it. But there is a small window that unmasks the violence and contradictions of spoken language. Watching this small window attentively (live interpretation for people with hearing impairment) I noticed that sign language removes the filter that spoken language has when addressing violence.

 

These interpreters, who seem to convulse, die and be reborn, reveal the consequences on flesh; show how the body suffers from the political discourse in Colombia. Sign language makes contradictions evident, paradoxes and incoherences that exist in the relationship between signifier and meaning in spoken language, which many times soften the violent content of an idea by using sounds (words) that don’t succeed in describing it.

In a physical way, this project explores the space of doubt and speculation that emerges from spoken political discourse; the violence of an idea and its opposite, the softness and beauty of the language with which it is expressed. Each of the pieces that make up the project takes advantage of the qualities of sign language, a communication from the body to the body (raw and gestural), to dismantle and inspect the opacity of violence in Colombia and its close relationship with the political discourse of our leaders. These discourses, from wherever they may come, have been a tool to mask situations of injustice and violence. They exemplify the link of personal interests that have affected millions of Colombians who have been displaced, murdered, massacred, raped or jailed.

Speech (Prayer)


Speech is the reading of a text made from transcriptions of interventions by senators on the senate floor, that have been mixed randomly, making a new speech. At the same time, a sign language interpreter translates the reading live. The sign language interpreter is a member of the deaf community of Bogotá.

Prayer II (The March of Silence)


A performance designed for the stage of Espacio Odeón. It is a mis-en- scene of three performers (sign language interpreters) interpreting a speech given by Jorge Eliecer Gaitán on the night of February seven, 1948 during a protest known as ‘The March of Silence’.

Anthem

This piece is a video diptych that proposes a reinterpretation of the national anthem of Colombia. Starting with the translation of the anthem into sign language, a game begins whereby the signs extend to the entirety of the interpreter’s body and the space where it takes place. The dance interpreter and sign language interpreter are members of the deaf community of Bogotá.

Words


Words is a video-sculpture that features a series of bullet shells of 12mm already used, which house some of the words used in speeches by legislators in the senate, and which have been translated into sign language.