Jo Vull Aprendre Mallorqui combines text, objects, images and voice to form a visual and audio   中文
documentation of the artist in residency at Addaya Art Centre in Alaro, Mallorca. The project aims    
to explore the role of language in our communication, identity, foreignness and exoticism.   Installation View at TFAM
    Installation View at Addaya
While we are in a foreign country, language has always been an obstacle through out the whole    
journey, but it is also a very important part of the exoticism, which is one of the major factors in    
pleasure of travel. Does language really matter? What scenes has language changed in our    
everyday life? When we cannot speak the local language, how would we fit in the society and be    
recognizedby other people? And what has the language barrier created, romanticism, exoticism,    
or just the communication error?    
During the residency, I have tried to find the answers above by communicating with local    
residents in Spanish, Mallorqui, English and Mandarin to experiment what would happen when    
people cannot communicate with each other in the same language, and document the stories in    
different media. Each piece in the project includes a text, image and an accompanied sound    
installation, representing a story happened to me during the period.    
The text here is the Mallorqui or Spanish words I had learnt from the incidents or the    
conversation with local residents, but spelt phonetically in Chinese (Mandarin), using the most    
similar pronunciation in Mandarin to spell the pronunciation of the words. When people learn a    
foreign language, we used to use the language we are familiar with to remember and interpret    
the new language. This is also how we understand and learn everything else from the outside    
world since childhood. We interpret things unknown through things we know. I used this method    
to explain the experience of staying in a foreign country, facing unfamiliar things, places, culture    
and people, so I try to familiarize the unfamiliar things by my own language, in order to adopt the    
new environment, to ‘find myself at home’.    
However, we are always the outsiders in a foreign land, doesn’t matter how hard we try to fit in    
the society. The failure of trying can be found in the voice accompanied to the image and text. It is    
the voice of myself reading in Mallorqui of the text I wrote about the incidents. First, I wrote them in    
Chinese, my mother language, and translate them by Google Translate into English, and then    
into Catalan (Mallorqui). On the contrary to the familiarization of the text I perceived, autonomic    
voice sent by myself was de-familiarized by the translating process. It has lost the original    
meaning by the double mechanical translation, ending up with wrong grammar, structure and    
pronunciation. It is like in a foreign country, you try to say something but you can’t, there is always    
a barrier, the words you said has transformed into something else, they are no longer the thing    
you wanted to say, that in a way, you are muted. The translating process also symbolized being    
un-rooted.After living in London for three years, I expected this month in Mallorca would make me    
homesick. Surprisingly, I don’t really miss anywhere, not London, nor Taiwan. The meaning of    
‘home’ has blurred and changed. In a way, I have been un-rooted, just like the story here has    
been translated into different languages twice, has lost the original meaning.    
By reading something I don’t understand, ironically written by myself, expressing myself became    
a machine-like process. For the viewers who speak Catalan or Mallorqui, the language and voice    
here are somehow familiar but strange. It is in Mallorqui, the language they use everyday, but    
with a foreign accent, ridiculous grammar and structure, same as the text in the project, the    
words they understand but spelt in an unrecognized form.    
The ambiguity between familiar and unfamiliar discussed here is one of the reasons being in    
foreign places is fascinating. The outsiders want to fit in the society, but at the same time, they    
also want to be the unique one, or unconsciously they know, they are ‘different’, which is    
something no one can change. I intend to use ‘language’ to project the ambiguity for the    
outsider as well the local residents. Things we were born with could appear in a strange form,    
and things foreign for us could be familiarized by our own culture and identity. So, does language    
really matter?    
The project is part of the collection at Addaya Centre d´Art Contemporani, and will be    
exhibited at Nice to meet you, Priavte Space, Barcelona and Object Fantasy, Taipei Fine Art    
Musuem, 2011.