The heron.

« Deaf Community ». An expression that we aren’t used to hear, and yet the hearing-impaired people are united. They have developped a whole life between them : news, magazines, store, people … We have two example of thèse plateform :

The editor of makes the difference between deaf culture, which is elitist and excludes not born deaf people, and deaf community, which includes hearing families, friends, supporters, and advocates.

So, as The Dictionnary says, a community is :

–       a group of people that shared goals, beliefs, experiences, or simply life in proximity,

–       a group of people having cultural, religious, ethnic or other carateristics in common,

–       a group viewed as forming a distinct segment of society.

The community often groups together the people in minority in the society, like the ones who are considered as disabled. Deaf people, for example.

A community is « a segment of society ». So, what is a society ?

–       The totality of social relationships among humans,

–       The institutions and culture of a distinct self-perpetuating group. (The Dictionnary).

But even if the British Sign Language (BSL) is recognized as an official British language since 2003, it still doesn’t have any legal protection. Deaf people do not have a full access to vital services life éducation, health and employement.

They take part in the society process, paying taxes for example, but they do not belong in it.

Why ? Why are they isolated ? Why a such gap ?

« Deaf women and Girl » choose to show deaf women’s life through a video project. They want to tell their story about the violence and abuses facing deaf women, in Toronto.

The project.

In the 90’s, the De’VIA, a group of 8 deaf artists, explores and experiments the deafness through their Works. Their movement emergerd after the deaf festival of Gallaudet University (USA), in 1989. 6000 deaf people met there, to celebrate deaf culture. All the art of thèse artists was grouped in a book : « The Deaf Way ».

This is few of them :

–       Chuck baird, 

–       Susan Dupor, 

–       Paul Johnston,

–       Ann Silver, 

–       Betty G. Miller, 

–       Ethan Sinnott, 

–       Orkid Sassouni, 

–       Paul Setzer, 

–       …

A lot of work concerning the deaf issue is without sounds, but the viewers can hear the noises around them. So, in this project, « The Heron », the concerned persons are the hearing-impaired : people who can hear some words, or in a certain situation.

When brain understands only few words, it tries to make connections between them, and to recreates a story which seems right. But most of time, the true story is really different or even the opposite. In that case, the misunderstood can be important and the hearing-impaired can be through into confusion and completely excludes.

With this video, I want to make the viewer feel the impotence and the boredom. It’s easier to give up and isolate itself when each conversation is a battle.


Tale of “The Heron”, by Jean de La Fontaine, translate in English by Robert Thomson:

One day went strutting on the river’s banks,
The long-necked heron–long beak and spindle-shanks.
The stream was clear as on the finest days,
While Mother Carp a thousand gambols plays
With Father Pike, attracted by the rays.
They came so near, ’twas just as heron might please,
He could have gulped them up with ease ;
But he thought fit to stroll along,
Until his appetite got strong.
He lived by rule, had stated hours for food.
His stomach came, and now, with greedy eyes,
The bird approached the border of the flood—
Saw tenches from their low abode arise.
That dish displeased him ; with disdainful air
He lounged along to look for better fare,
Something like Horace’s disdainful rat.
“ Tenches !” he cried, “” a heron stoop to that !
Whom do they take me for, or what ?”
Tenches rejected, gudgeons hailed him next‑
“A heron dine on gudgeons ! ” cried he, vexed ;
“ Open for these my beak !
I’d rather fast a week.”
At last he oped it for a homelier dish,
When he no longer saw a single fish ;
Hunger came fast, and glad was he that day
To feast on snails that could not run away.


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Filed under Photography and narrative

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