Not Sorry

We’ve partnered with Artes Mundi to present a new performance film with artist Stephanie Back. Watch it here >>>>

Artes Mundi and Taking Flight Theatre present the online premiere of a new performance film Not Sorry. Featuring artist Stephanie Back, the film explores the artist’s experience of becoming Deaf at 15 and her ‘rebirth’ after discovering British Sign Language (BSL) and with it a new identity and culture. 

The film’s starting point was the work the soft afternoon air as you hold us all in a single death (to breathe full and free: a declaration, a re-visioning, a correction), 2020, by Dominican Republic born artist Firelei Báez, included in the exhibition Artes Mundi 9.

Inspired by Báez’s layering of images of historical archival documents with vibrant painted motifs, Not Sorry challenges the notion of the audiogram (a graph used in pure-tone hearing tests to establish hearing loss). Through movement, costume and BSL, Back weaves together a performance which questions the dominant narratives of Deaf experience, looking specifically at the oppression of the language via the Medical Model of Deafness and the prioritisation of oral education over sign.

In 1880 an international conference of Deaf educators in Milan, Italy, including Alexander Graham Bell, declared oral education (the learning of speech and lip-reading) as superior to manual education (sign language). Following the conference, schools in Europe and the United States engaged only in speech therapy for Deaf students, resulting in a decline in Deaf professionals (artists, writers, lawyers) and the quality of life and education of Deaf students. 

The outcome of the Milan Conference was that it effectively ‘banned’ the use of Sign Language in public life. This led to the promotion of the Medical Model of Deafness. When using this model, Deafness is seen as an impairment to be cured.

Questioning this ideology, which stifles the enrichment of Deaf culture and community through the suppressing of sign language; Not Sorry, highlights the connection between language, communication and identity. The piece has been made with the experience of Deaf audiences as its priority.  

📷 Credit: Stephanie Back performing in Not Sorry (2021). Courtesy Artes Mundi and Taking Flight Theatre. Photography: Alistair Daly
 

Not Sorry will premiere on the 12th November at 13:00 BST and will be followed by a live Q&A with Stephanie Back and director Elise Davison. Join the Q&A here

This incredible film will be shown on both Artes Mundi’s and here and will be available to watch until the 12th December.

You can access the event above.

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Taking Flight Theatre
Chapter Arts Centre
Market Rd
Canton, Cardiff, CF5 1QE
029 2023 0020

Youth Theatre meets at:

Stwdio
Chapter Arts Centre
Market Rd
Canton, Cardiff, CF5 1QE
029 2023 0020

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