Audio installation, 2010
the European Exchange Academy
Beelitz-Heilstätten, Germany

The European Exchange Academy took place in the town of Beelitz-Heilstätten, 40 km south west of Berlin, Germany, in an abandoned tuberculosis clinic that was built in the late 1800’s. For four and a half weeks, 43 art students from all over the world met to talk about, learn about and make art. For a month, we, art students and advisors, lived and worked together in community. During my time at the EEA I became fascinated by language. The program operated in English officially, but as there were at least eleven different languages that were fluently spoken by the body of participants, English was hardly the only language spoken. I can only speak English, and being surrounded by so many foreign words and conversations was humbling.  I couldn’t help but be confronted with the presumptuousness of my mother tongue. To combat my own confusion I began to investigate conversation and language and the divide lack of understanding creates by asking my fellow participants for a language lesson.