The video work by the Deaf Explorer collective, interrogates the authority and power of translation, revealing that interpretation can not match the rich visual language of the artists and marginalises the complexity of deaf identity.

Leigh Blake

Translation is a territory that Deaf artists occupy. “Permission to speak” is a new work for playback on digital devices, that interrogates the authority and power of translation. Using a mock interview format, each artist represents the overlap of various social and political intersectional identities of deafness, race, faith, gender and sexuality. Individually they reveal, that their art and language is subject to and dependant on nuanced translation. Together they expose the consensus within the whitewashed hearing world that there is one sign language, rather than a diverse creative force that has rich dialects. All the artists describe how they experience marginalisation and describe the need for greater representation of Deaf diverse artists in Britain. They end the interview by describing their particular vision for a new work, showing that their intersectionality will widen audiences. The work explores discrimination and privilege, enacting the ‘Deaf Explorer’ collective’s beliefs that “Deaf artists are not just one homogeneous Deaf culture, they always intersect with other kinds of cultural identity”.