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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!)
NYC is known for the diversity. You might understand what I mean by so many different languages you hear on the street.
—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.