Week 1 Video Review

Introduction to Linguistic Relativity

From what I retained from the 6 minute video, linguistic relativity is how our native language bounds us to how we communicate within our cultures. The examples shown are addressing others using pronouns. In my native Spanish language, when we want to say the pronoun, ‘you’, we use ‘tú’ if we want to say it informally or ‘usted’ if we want to be formal. This organization within language changes with each culture. So, learning a new language comes with not only learning how to translate but also learning the proper system and structures embedded in each language.

The reason why Google translate or other translation services are not perfect is because of linguistic relativity. I’ve encountered multiple errors when translating Spanish to English and vice versa because the software only translates word for word and not the meaning of your text entry. It’s definitely something I can see Google set out to do but it would require some serious technology and help behind the scenes.

The definitely did not agree with the theory of linguistic relatively when I read the definition of it. It wasn’t until the video gave real life examples of linguistic relatively that I started to understand it and accept it. One thing the video did not mention is that language and cultures are evolving. Will certain dialects blend with others and create new linguistic relativity?

The Impossible Image

Richard Mosse showcases his film and photography taken with a 16mm camera and an infrared lens. The subjects are typically the camo wearing soldiers equipped with military uniforms and weaponry located in the jungles of Congo. The infrared changes the green and yellow landscapes to this fuchsia color and tints the clothes of these soldiers.

Mosse states in his film that infrared was designed by the US military in the early 1940’s during World War II to detect enemies hiding in the green landscapes. Following around the Congo rebel soldiers, Mosse informed the viewers that they did not like to be filmed but slowly they opened up to the camera by posing and giving masculine performances. Suggesting that the initial purpose of the infrared camera was to expose opposition, but with Mosse, it could’ve been used to expose the hidden character inside these soldiers.

I was very critical of Mosse’s statement about beautifying tragedy. One side of me feels guilty that I find the footage of the funeral captured in infrared very aesthetic but the other side of me feels guilty for enjoying it. It has me asking myself, can tragedy be beautiful? Are flowers brought to a burial similar to filming it in infrared? Also, his book of these photographs are $800+ on the internet. Collectors pay for the authenticity of the tragedies yet the subject matter of the books are left out of royalties and still fighting the war.

South Africa — Mohau Modisakeng — Passage — Venice Biennale 2017

A black male and female are subjects inside a small wooden rowing boat in the middle of a body of water. The rowing boat is barely moving but the male and female subjects dressed in black Victorian clothes shift positions as if they are squirming their way out. In the female’s boat, water is accumulating inside the boat which causes it to sink and hit the rock base in the shallow water. The camera is positioned directly above each subject and centers them in the middle of the screen while maintaining nothing but the water surrounding the boat. The water is dark but gleams under the bright sun.

Ebb and flow are natural characteristics of water. The artists uses those characteristics to symbolize boats arriving and departing with slaves as material possession. Many of these slaves were brought together from different tribes with different religions, cultures and language, making it very hard for them to communicate and express themselves with other slaves. Identity was quickly lost under the forceful and harsh punishments of those holding them captive.

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