Sometimes I am . . .

Sometimes I am… is an interactive textual exploration of how language shapes our identity, how it can bring us together, and how it can set us on the periphery. Sometimes I am… aks the user to consider what it means to be seen or unseen. You can access or beta site that has English, Italian, Japanese, Persian, and Spanish versions. We are still working out a few kinks.

In Sometimes I am … the interactive experience combines text and audio events, which are triggered when the user moves the mouse or touches a key on the keyboard. Every time an event is triggered, a new series of randomly selected text and audio is presented to the viewer. The more quickly the user triggers the events, the faster the events are delivered, building to a cacophony of text and sound. When the user slows or stops triggering events, the texts and audio slowly fade away. After a certain number of interactions, the texts move from one language to multiple languages, further enriching the experience.

The texts reposition the user/reader/observer as the subject and unspoken object of the discourse. The pronouns move from the personal “I am” to the second-person “You are” to the third-person “They are.” The user moves from being located in the internal to the external: I am/they are. To expand its resonance, we have built Japanese, Italian, Spanish, and Persian language versions and have developed the coding to add any language that will work in translation given the constraints of the piece. The interactive digital narrative can be accessed online or shown in a public setting, while the printed narrative can take the form of a series of framed excerpts. Both versions are built with a flexible framework allowing each to be shown individually or together, depending on the setting. The work can be accessed in multilingual, bilingual, or unilingual iterations of English, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, and Persian. The exhibition requirements include a computer station or screen with a mouse or keyboard and/or wall space for a salon-style hanging with sound.

Regardless of access, the experiences of Sometimes I am… are shared, for example: “I am invisible and you also feel that way.” The text also shifts from being the subject of marginalisation to actively marginalising others: “I am unseen” and “you are different.” The addition of multiple languages builds on these implications, moving from looking and being looked at to having access and not. The word “invisible” changes with each language, in some cases having multiple near-synonyms to express its many nuances. Currently, Sometimes I am … includes Japanese, English, Spanish, Persian, and Italian language versions. We are adding French soon.

Authors: Leannej, My Name Is Scot, Kevin McMillan

Translators: Eri Ishii, Tomoyo Ihaya, Alessandra Bordini, Dina Gonzalez Mascaro, and Aki Barabadi.

Visit our Beta version of Sometimes I am ….