Re: [xmca] performance

From: VOLKER (
Date: Sat Mar 17 2007 - 04:48:09 PST

Dear Camille, very interesting thoughts.

I came to think about two things. One, I have seen once a fantastic
video, made by Zdravo da ste (Hi Neighbour, NGO), where half of the kids
were deaf, while the other half were children who could hear. Perhaps
Vesna (Zdravo da ste) will contribute with some more information.
They created together a new "language game", and while watching the film
you often cannot see who is who, who is deaf or not.

Two, I have written a paper about performance, in contrast to behavior
and activity, which you perhaps find interesting, at least the
references with links to other articles about performance. You can find
it here:

All the best for you, Volker Bunzendahl, University College Nordjylland,
Denmark skrev:
> Hello xMCAers,
> I too am a graduate student in Mike’s class. I started this off as a
> book review of "Inside Deaf Culture" and ended up with more questions and
> confusion than answers and clarifications. I'd be intersted in hearing
> your thoughts on performance, artifacts, identity, culture, language and
> all that fun stuff which I address broadly in the
> following essay.
> We recently read Carol Padden and Tom Humphries book “Inside Deaf
> Culture.” Here, they note the importance of performance in developing
> American Sign Language (ASL) as a viable language, to both deaf and
> hearing people, and in furthering Deaf culture. They write, “The
> convention of using the capitalized *D*eaf to emphasize the *cultural*
> drew even more attention to the description of Deaf cultural practices,
> but *whose* practices and *which* practices counted? In this moment of
> transition, the arts…played a role by modeling for the public a new mixing
> of languages and practices” (p. 131). As I thought about this, I began to
> think of performance in terms of artifacts, as defined by Mike Cole in
> “Cultural Psychology” : “an artifact is an aspect of the
> material world that has been modified over the history of its
> incorporation into goal-directed human action” (p. 117). In this
> regard, it is helpful to analyze Deaf performance on Wartofsky’s three
> level framework of artifacts: the words and signs embody primary
> artifacts; the rules behind the signs and conventions of performance as
> secondary artifacts; and Deaf performance as a whole as a tertiary
> artifact in that it is a tool for changing the current praxis and way of
> viewing the “actual” world (hence mediates the recognition of Deaf as a
> culture and ASL as a language). Deaf people began viewing ASL differently
> once it was established and carried out in performance. It was no longer a
> mere translation of English, but was its own language with signs and
> meanings not found in the English language. Thus, the history of the
> language (in this case ASL) is transmitted to the performance and
> simultaneously made anew through the performance(Padden & Humphries, p.
> 143). Since the arts provided a new avenue for mixing language and
> practices within the Deaf community, performance can be viewed as a
> mediating action. This, in essence, is applicable to our daily encounters
> whether Deaf or Hearing. I believe we are constantly performing;
> continuously taking the Other into consideration and acting accordingly.
> This, in turn, lends itself to identity formation and recognizing oneself
> as part of a particular culture by knowing who one is through whom one is
> not.
> In sum, via performance, ASL distanced itself from the English language
> and established itself as its own language, and, in turn, the Deaf
> community established a stronger cultural identity.
> So, how does this lend itself to our conception of culture and
> language? Is this helpful when thinking of intersubjectivity? And, what
> does performance as a mediating action really mean?
> I find the relationship between performance, artifacts, and identity
> formation interesting as a way to think about culture and language. As you
> can probably tell, I am still trying to make sense of all this. Hopefully
> someone out there can help me weld these thoughts into a coherent whole.
> Thanks for your time,
> Camille Campion
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