In Other Words is a new video installation which explores the nature of language, social interaction and identity. Seeing and experiencing yourself as another person is at the heart of this installation. It has been developed in response to the research undertaken by the students at Havant and South Downs College which looks at the origins of the Portsmouth accent and dialect.
The video brings together observations about Portsmouth and the Pompey accent with voice recordings from the Portsmouth Oral History Collection which have been lip synched by students and local residents to give a new face and expression to the words.
Dialect and accent can place a person in a particular area and time, but can also give clues to their life’s path and influences. Research has shown that our brains have an inbuilt urge to empathise and affiliate with those around us, which means we often subconsciously mirror the speech patterns and accents of people we are with.
The installation takes the idea of a photo booth and subverts it to create a space where the viewer can experience the film through a half silvered mirror, so their own reflection merges and maps with the face on the screen behind.
The sound can be experienced via headphones provided in the space.
Video duration: 00:11:16
With thanks to the Portsmouth Library and Archive Service, Portsmouth City Council for their assistance in the development of this work and to the participants of this film: Joel Davies, Anna Merel, Rosie Newton, Sobizha Nishiyama, Robbie Piper, Natasha Samuels, Kev Smith, Abbie Spratt, Melanie Sutton, Ashleigh Rose-Gillard, Lisa Gillard.