Speaking in Tongues: Emerging to the Visible | Heeyoon Ellie Seo

The universal but simple short slogans are reliable weapons made of the cohered thoughts by the mass pursuing and sharing the same values. Sometimes it is overlooked at side effects that inevitably arise when people misuse it over time and place. However, we still repeat these slogans as indispensable implements.

In this project, I use them as a tool to establish and manifest my identity as a woman of color who is at the interconnected race and gender, derived from the term Intersectionality.

_alphabet_04 | Artist’s book                                    translucent vellum paper, clear plastic sheet, steel wire, clear fishing tube, 8 x 8 x various (in), 2020

personal is political

my life is not your porn

me too

with you

my body my choice

we should all be feminist

i am a jesus feminist

ninety, nasty, and not giving up

we are sisters, we resisters

i am not a virus

I write them in encode with the “_alphabet,” a group of 26 drawings, which is my constructed linguistic system to transcribe letter a to z inspired by my sense of inadequacy as an incomplete bilingual.

I never dreamed of becoming mainstream; I wanted to be a Canadian.

The way I acclimated myself to immigrant life in Canada was accepting everything about this country unconditionally, even without doubt, objection, or disagreement. I was afraid of the aggressive censuring of those who were opposed to me. I held my tongue.

Nevertheless, the time I’ve been through for over 15 years has told me I am a Korean-Canadian, not a Canadian. I realized that trying to accept everything without understanding was of no use. 

“_alphabet” is my method to break my silence and begin to speak.

On the one hand, even though the utterances of women of color are easily forgotten, many of them are repeatedly giving voices through their writings, words, and works.

This project expresses how vulnerable and invisible these words but lasting resistance to this erasure from a distorted perspective of society within the materiality of translucent paper, layering, paper-cutout, light and shadow.

This project is my utterance of a pledge not to hesitate or avoid stand on my right.

I utter for emerging to the visible.