Photo credit: Yvonne Chew

[VD: Jessica is wearing black tank top and black leggings while performing with a sign empathy with two index finger up (ping ping) with understanding.]

Curated by Mutable Subject (Deanna Peters)

With help and support: Rianne Svelnis

(10 Minute clip)

I am exploring the options to as a Deaf performer, to sign and voice in manner of using the space to experiment the feeling of their control and abstract expression of not a translation (freedom) to express with my sign language and body movements.I want to pick randomly by the topics I am expressing through the day and moment of what has impacted my life the most to question: Being and having silent has a choice. Or Does it not have a choice?

Transcript of the poems:

Being silent or having silence is powerful.


People misunderstand the meaning of “deaf--”

If you are able to talk normal, you are not Deaf enough,

Or are no longer Deaf.

That all Deaf people should know sign.

That all Deaf people should read lips.

That Deaf people should not hear at all.

That Deaf people have no other alternatives to ASL interpretation.

That Deaf people cannot enjoy music.


Crank up the music and it should work by feeling vibrations


[Sound of crickets noise appear]



I am just that good of hiding it

Being in silence has a power

I am in silent, is a choice in power


As I woke,


As I need to turn off,


As I need a moment to myself,


As I become tired,


As I become helpless,


As I become uncertain,


I am solo.


Let me remind you again...

ASL is not a flashy, for show off,

or any means that is use.

it is a language.

A real language.

A real language that ties to a culture.

A real language that ties to a history.

A real language that ties to a identity.

A real language that ties to a privilege.

A real language that ties to a level of understanding.

A real language that ties to trust.



ASL performer No Control over



English translation

Knowing my scripts

Am I prepare to know I am ready to do?

How does this work?

Does it go well?

Where's my backup


ASL interpreters Control over

Partially no control over




Script being passed on- no maps or route to direction

Must interpret exact- ENGLISH to ASL translation

Must try to pass the information as possible

Requires:Debrief, meeting and feedback


No Control over




Friendly in terms

Casual chatting more in desire than to work




Requires: emotional labour


Audience Control over

Fascination with hand waving,

Gesturing with body mime

Expression to compute

Requires: perspectives- empathy


Control over


No Control over