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Did You See That? Performance as a Means of Communication

I’m four semesters deep into my Deaf Studies Minor. As a theatre artist, specifically Sound Designer, many collaborators have asked me why I want to minor in Deaf Studies.  Answer is: why not? It’s completely the opposite of what my chosen career entails.  I’m a listener, a sonic manipulator, of the hearing world.

However, have you ever interacted within a language, culture, and community so vastly opposite of your own that it makes you more aware and makes you appreciate what your experiences have been, are, and will be?

That’s why I’m minoring in Deaf Studies.  The sheer performative nature of American Sign Language is what draws me to learn more about the Deaf culture and community.  The opposing visual language to my auditory being is what makes watching Deaf performance artists so exhilarating.

The Deaf Community’s world is visual. It’s expressive, loud, and vibrant.  How they communicate can see as a performance of their experiences – be it their life’s story or how that paricular day is going for them.

I’m currently in an ASL/Deaf Literature course where we are exploring how visual storytelling is told, how the Deaf Community expresses their stories through film and poetry, how their performative means of communication is a form of art the world needs to heed more of.


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