MA graduation project

2017

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

other.

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

room.

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#

2017

Digital video

Duration: 17.47min

Polyglots of Oslo #2

 

2017

Digital video

Duration: 8.21min

Confessions of a
Multilingual

 

2017

4 - channel audio

Revisiting the Character of a Language

2017

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

© 2020 by Nina Krogh.