MA graduation project
Do you speak English all day and dream in Bengali? Or maybe you speak Norwegian all day, but still have to count in Arabic? Or curse in French? Maybe you could never fall in love with someone who does not speak Mandarin...
For my final project I have been collecting stories
about multilingual experiences and retold them in a
sound and a video piece.
Language influences the way we perceive ourselves
and others. Through language we express who
we are, who we want to be, and where we want to
belong. Language is alive, it responds to places and
mutates over time with the culture it mirrors.
There is an intimate relationship between our
verbal language and our body; the way we use our
voice, how hand movements illustrate our speech.
Knowingly and unknowingly, we use nuances in
speech and body language to express ourselves.
I grew up speaking Norwegian and French, each
encompassing their own culture. By observing
social codes and my own adaption to various
cultural contexts, I developed an interest in how we
communicate, understand and misunderstand each
The sound piece Confessions of a Multilingual con-
sists of four speakers facing each other in a limited
space, where the audience can hear the same story
being told simultaneously in Norwegian, French,
English and Spanish. The listener is surrounded
by languages mixing and overlapping with each
other; the multi-vocality created by the placement
of the speakers resulting in a changing soundscape
depending on the listener’s own placement in the
In the video piece Polyglots of Oslo, I ask
multilinguals how they relate to languages they
speak. Several of the participants explain how
they sometimes feel like children when speaking a
language they do not master. Others talk about the
degree of intimacy they experience with a language,
and how certain things need to be said in a specific
language. Some dream in Norwegian, but are
afraid of speaking it while awake. One participant
describes how various languages function like
layers, closer to or further away from the body.
Polyglots of Oslo 1#
Polyglots of Oslo #2
Confessions of a
4 - channel audio
Revisiting the Character of a Language
Reversed French: "Mon amie la rose"
Reversed Norwegian: "Om kvelden når det mørkner"
Reversed English: "Black bird"
Reversed Spanish: "Gracias a la vida"
Photo: Vegard Kleven