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I speak Korean and English. I live in Seoul and New York. I’m “in between.”This film is about me and my friends who exist in both cultures and languages.The background music is written and sung by Jazzy Ivy, a Brooklyn-native, a good friend, a mentor of mine and a talented musician,who is pretty well-known in Korean hip-hop scene.
“Whale Joke” is exploring the language of comedy as the same “Whale” joke is told by different people. New York is a haven for comedy of all types, but is very famous for it’s stand up scene. I decided to play with the normal feel of a stand up lounge (brick wall, person standing alone facing the audience . . .) but instead using joke that has very little to do with actual words. I like the fact that everybody can tell a joke, but the way a joke is told and recieved is all in the expression that is used in telling it/ hearing it. This joke contains very few words so the language is completely dependent on the way the joke is expressed and interpreted.
As each person expresses the same joke in a different way, the language of the joke changes with each person’s interpretation of the joke.
Not only is the joke teller expressing the joke in a different individual “language” but every audience member understands it in a different way. For example, one audience member might find the very first person to tell the joke hilarious, while another audience member might find someone else later on in the sequence to be funnier. The receiving/”understanding” of the joke is completely based on the persons preference. Do they think it is funnier based on Gender? Age? Vocal pitch? Facial movement? Timing in which the telling occurs in the sequence? There are so many factors that a person never considers that go into enjoying a simple joke, but each factor is like another personal language that needs to be interpreted so that the humor is registered.
Humor is a languages that changes with each person involved in the interaction.
This video juxtaposes images of the upscale clubbing scene and the grungy blue collar meatpacking business that coexist in this unique manhattan neighborhood. Although the video doesn’t literally present a diglot, in a sense the neighborhood is speaking two different languages by sending out mixed messages of its identity. On another level, the video itself sends mixed messages. On one hand it is the displaying the upscale crowd mixed with the lunchpail crowd and on the other hand it also derogatorily compares woman to meat. (I personally don’t believe that woman are comparable to meat!)
—11 September 2001
staand, met blauwdruk onder de arm, en ik
stagiaire, onderweg naar ’n meeting,
in de voetstappen van
mijn boss’ brogue, langs gelijke cubicles—
op een hogere vloer dan—even
de tweede skylobby.
als mijn kinderogen
die kentekens van badgasten
op afkomst scanden,
vlogen mijn immigrant eyes
van naambordje naar naambordje,
en keek ik
over zijn partition: “I collect
found poetry. Can I have your card? I’m
Dutch, you see. It’s
A diglot is somebody who is fluent in two languages – bilingual, in other words. Being bilingual in New York City can be a very useful thing. It has also made it much easier for me to learn Spanish as a third language in school, since I grew up speaking two languages. There are many Russian immigrants in this city, and I am one of them. When I go shopping at Brighton Beach, the Jewish-Russian neighborhood near Coney Island in Brooklyn, I am able to speak to the shopkeepers in Russian, since they are often more fluent in Russian than English. Knowing Russian allows me to know what I’m buying in those stores, as many of their products have Russian titles, and unlike an average American, I actually know what I’d be buying. A lot of Russian foods do not have a direct translation into English, but since I know the language, I am able to enjoy many of the foods I used to enjoy when I lived in Moscow. And, since quality food is very important to me, I am glad that I am what they call a diglot.
Hi WebWordVisionaries. Think I may be stating the obvious with these comments, because I don’t feel I have any real web experience/understanding. But, in fact, that’s what fascinated me: I couldn’t get over the construction of the site, especially after seeing and hearing the presentations at the library. So, I was really wowed by your mastery of the technical aspects of the medium/media you were using, wowed by that before I even got to the content. The conception of the project, by itself, was amazing to me.
Which brings me to the content and then to the uses to be made of what you’re doing. I really see the use of the overall project as a teaching tool.
Seems to me that it could consume an entire semester of middle school, much in the same way one might take a course at college on, let’s say, European Studies, which would encompass, lit., philos., math, science, and so forth. One might start with the content parts, i.e, geography, history, spelling, and the like and then progress to the means by which the entire site came together technically and how it all interacts. Or make that two courses. Putting together the lesson plan(s) would be so stimulating for the teachers of those grades.
Given that children seem to be taught and to learn differently in this era, here’s why I think the project should be used at the middle school level: children of that age should have learned basic skills and would be ready to be stimulated by the complexity of the Net and its links. And for the thousands who can’t read and do basic math, given the many social and economic problems that so many NY school children are faced with, this project would provide some real stimuli for curiosity to grow. How exciting to be able to spell and know what a diglot is–I had lunch with a Korean friend of mine and informed her that she was a diglot, so I put my learning to immediate use! And what about those really hard, arcane words. What bragging rights a 13 yr. old could get. Or what a contribution could be made by a child with no skills, who could yet see his/her input right up there on a computer screen. Just give him/her a camera for a class “walk around the neighborhood” project. Or give them a local map and let them lead their classmates to the candy store and interview the owner. And on and on…..
As for the other age groups, one could parse out the manner in which the project provides the best access to their interests. What about the senior citizen centers or whatever is used in NY to spread knowledge. Those seniors are all over town, soaking up learning and being in a position to pass it along to others. And many of them are a little light on computer use, even though that has rapidly changed in the last few years. I’m always astounded when I meet someone around my age who functions technologically like a neanderthal, but they are numerous yet.
And then, of course, there’s the project as art form and community. Don’t think I need to comment on that, as you probably started with that thought.
The project was particularly interesting because it seems to make unusually productive use of new technologies to incorporate literary ideas. Could become the Zagats learning tool for all our cities, thereby making them all Open Cities for expanded thought and civic behavior.