Taey Iohe

The signer

Still images, 1 min 09 sec

At the beginning of The Signer, the signer shows us various expressions; he cries, he surprises, he sulks, and he lets himself go. In the beginning of the video, a caption states that the signer will translate the poem, ‘남해금산 (Southern Sea Silk Mountain) by Seong- Bok Lee.

The Signer, the sign language translator, Taewook Kim, tells the story of the Namhaegeumsan poem, relating the journey to a mountain to imagine a woman who was loved, in Seong-bok Lee’s poem. The face and hand gestures show the poet’s living out of his sadness, pain and sense of loss. It is not difficult to understand what he is expressing with his gestures and facial expressions. In the top right hand image, he makes an anxious face with a motion of his fingers, indicating that something is constantly falling from the sky.

This motion translates as ‘when rain comes heavily’. In the bottom left image, Kim points with his left index finger, indicating ‘here’. In the last picture, he puts two fists together near to his chest, and gives a slight sigh and closes his eyes. He means, ‘I am alone now here, and sink’. Kim speaks in Korean sign language; his physical phonography somehow feels much louder than simply reading the poem out. There is the full script of this poem within the light-box display; people could read the poem there as they watched the signer on the screen.