A collaboration with the artist Caroline Kelley shown at at the BAAL (British Association for Applied Linguistics) Annual Conference 2019, Manchester Metropolitan University. August 2019.
This paper based installation is a collaboration between Caroline Kelley and Gudrun Filipska. Emerging
out of conversations about the shift or interval between language changes, the images work with the ideas
of involuntary code switching in the ‘simultaneous bilingual’. The work is made in reference to two 'case
studies' ; Firstly Caroline's five year old son who speaks two languages since birth and often borrows
from language X when speaking language Y. Recently near the forest in Versailles he asked “Est-ce que
there are loups in the woods?” - this is represented here by a charcoal drawing of an audio wave of his
phrase made from a google translate 'mashup' of voices in French and English.
Secondly we referred to a case study of a female trilingual Cantonese-English-Mandarin speaker who
sustained a traumatic brain injury, damaging her frontal lobe and causing pathological aphasia with
involuntary switching/ mixing of the three languages. The images here reference CT scans of the patient's
brain and have been created through a process of manual and digital manipulation.
Using the motif of 'breath' from Julia Kristeva's Desire in Language and code switching as 'shift' for
Grosjean, the work plays with the moment where instinct infiltrates the symbolic order of language –
disturbing the possibility of semantic and grammatical interpretation and engendering a moment where
language works to its own logic; the alternation of utterances from one language to another creating a
point of shift or pause where new meaning can be generated.