To support local artists and designers during COVID-19, the Askwith Kenner Global Languages and Cultures Room created the Micro-Commissions Project. We invited eight CMU students and local Pittsburgh artists to create artworks to be displayed within the room and on a new digital projection installation on the glass wall near the front of the room. Artists were inspired by our themes of language, culture, identity, and personal stories. Each artist had the freedom to choose any medium.
“As I Search for the Word” by Daniel Noh
Today, we would like to introduce “As I Search for the Word” by Daniel Noh. Daniel was initially inspired by a moment when he was talking to a friend in Korean about animals.
“I was attempting to recall the Korean word for “bat” and the feeling of the characters appearing one by one in my head (ㅂ…ㅏ…ㄱ… ㅈ…ㅣ) was such a memorable and fascinating feeling. Moreover, I find language to be intriguing because it can be both a barrier and a tool for connecting. Recently I reached out to a Korean-American friend who was having a tough time communicating to her parents about racism and the Black Lives Matter movement. I sent her information and sources on different vocabulary as well as different events that could help the parents better empathize with the situation. I strongly believe that being bilingual helps me connect my familial culture to my social culture.”
Daniel also described his experience living in the U.S. and speaking two languages, “As a bilingual person whose native tongue is Korean, but more fluent in English, I often find myself searching through words and visual queues to translate certain phrases. The drawing illustrates the moment of illumination I have when the word appears, sometimes character by character, in my mind. The words the person is connecting in the drawing are person and 인, which also means a person; this reflects the notion that language is something that helps connect ‘people to people’.”