Everything you need to know about the deaf’s experience of music in 12 minutes
It's about the vibration, the pulse, and colored sign language
Jun 16, 2017
Humans’ sensory experience may not be too big a mystery as the universe but every individual’s distinctiveness is always fascinating. One’s regular activity could be metamorphic to another. This is why Greek director and screenwriter Dimitris Papathanasis’ 12-minute documentary “Labyrinth” focuses on the deaf, their intricate connection with music and how it colors the sign language.
Here are some points from the documentary:
It starts with optical stimulation.
One of the interviewees shares that just looking at saxophone players gives him goosebumps and that the experience starts with it, visually basking in the ambiance. In general, deaf people are mindful to every motion. Also contributing to the effect are the body and movements.
Feeling the pulse
They usually go down the technical route when answering queries about their experience with music—that they feel vibrations reach their bodies through some materials in the place, like the wooden floor. One says that during their easter dances, she just wants to have fun and that the lack of hearing doesn’t matter.
However, there’s still the desire to feel the connection through an interpreter.
The vibration comes and goes
What reaches their eyes as sound to some of them is what the interpreter signs. It is difficult to translate songs in sign language as it is different to everyday communication. A sign performance has rhythm, color, and careful facial expressions. And aside from the emotional dancing that they see others do, one shares that she would like to know what inspire such fervor.
The documentary may be short but it sure is experiential. It’s mostly quiet and includes faint bass lines with thick vibration at some parts. It closes with a sign performance and leaves traces of bread crumbs for hearing viewers toward a new music experience.
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