Broken English

Janet Rogers

November 17, 2017 [2017 Season]

Broken English was produced by Janet Rogers.

Janet says:

I created this piece at sound art residency in Palomino, Colombia as part of a cultural exchange initiated by the Imaginative Film and Media Festival. Broken English, which should really be called "Broken Spanish", features the voice of a student who was maybe 13, 14 years old and was reading a graphic novel. I asked him if he wouldn't mind reading it out loud.

I took that recording of his reading and split every word in half. That's what you hear in this piece. I wanted to express how difficult language can be; difficult to convey real and authentic meaning, and difficult when you are in a different territory and you don't speak the language of that territory. It all becomes very 'uh...uh...'. There's no flow to it, it's all kind of broken up. 

Constellations says:

Janet's documentaries are a fusion of poetry, archival sound, and experimental premises. In her whole body of work, we're inspired by Janet's bold mix of story and sound art structure.

This piece distorts language in a way that feels simultaneously playful in its musicality, while also awkward and violent. It's so true to the way language and language barriers fail and frustrate us. We loved listening a couple times in a row, sinking into the jarring cadence of the reader's cropped syllables. 

You can hear Janet on the radio hosting Native Waves Radio on CFUV 101.9 fm. 2Ro Media Inc is the production company she and Mohawk media artist Jackson Twobears own and operate. Janet produced and launched a 6-part radio documentary series titled NDNs on the Airwaves focused on the current history of native radio in Canada, in February 2016. Check out NDNs on the Airwaves on Facebook and more of Janet's work on her Soundcloud.

Janet Rogers is a Mohawk/Tuscarora writer from Six Nations. She was born in Vancouver British Columbia, lived in Stoney Creek, Hamilton and Toronto Ontario and is living as guest on the traditional lands of the Coast Salish people (Victoria, British Columbia) since 1994. Janet works in the genres of poetry, spoken word performance poetry, video poetry and recorded poetry with music. Janet is also a radio broadcaster, documentary producer, media and sound artist.

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