Language and Power in Contemporary Art

August 29, 2022 - October 15, 2022

Opening Event: Wednesday August 31, 2022 4pm-6pm

Featured Artists: Jesse Chun | Martine Syms | Dahn Gim | Christine Sun Kim and Thomas Mader | Clarissa Tossin | Frédéric Bruly Bouabré | Han Yohan | Angelina Joshua and Jake Duczynski | Kim Schoen | Jisoo Chung | Shan Goshorn | Dulce Soledad Ibarra | Benjamin Lundberg Torres Sánchez

Erin from Names I Had You Call Me series by Dahn Gim (2018)

Mis/Communication: Language and Power in Contemporary Art features video, sculpture, print, performance, and interactive media artworks by fifteen contemporary artists who explore the power of language in a cultural context.

Tens of thousands of native English speakers are hired every year to teach English in countries around the globe; indigenous languages face the dire fate of disappearance as a result of colonial violence; Black and brown colleagues are berated for “unprofessional” language while their white counterparts appropriate the same vernacular for clout.

It is through language that we can connect with one another, but how is this connection also affected by the power dynamics inherent in language? Artwork by mostly young and emerging artists examines issues such as the global predominance of English, the colonial violence of European languages in the global south, and the societal tendency to censure other languages, dialects and linguistic practices.

The exhibition considers spoken and written language as defined by national or cultural linguistic traditions like Korean, Spanish, and Portuguese and indigenous languages like Bété, Cherokee, and Marra, but also American Sign Language, performative body language, “academic speak,” and Artificial Intelligence’s voice recognition program.

Mis/Communication is curated by Amy Kahng, a Stony Brook PhD student in art history. The exhibition is the 2020 winner of the SUNY Prize for Performance, Creation and Curation.

Still from Phallo Me by Han Yohan (2017)