I Am American: I Speak English 


Using found text, mediation, performance, and sculptural props, Josh Rios and Anthony Romero explore the historical changes of status certain languages have undergone in the US and the effects this shift has on subsequent generations. Translation, multilingualism, interpretation, and mediated events of language acquisition are the points from which the performance begins. Configured to challenge authenticity as rooted in a way of speaking while lamenting the systematic erasure of native tongues, I Am American: I Speak English attempts to deal with the conditions under which ways of speaking become lost and then found?

Jeff Nguyen's notes and drawings documenting the performance

As a Shadow before the Law continues these material experiments and performative logics in the form of an exhibition, which was installed at Ballroom Projects and is documented below.

Press Release:
Nancy Fraser defines misrecognition as the cultural creation “of a class of devalued persons” who are denied full social partnership based on the production of “an institutionalized social relation.” As an injury to social status, misrecognition does not need to be validated through other forms of structural inequality, such as economic and class relations. “Injustices of distribution and injustices of recognition” are interrelated and inseparable. They are two sides of the same harm that would presumably be eliminated from any ethical social sphere. The “stranger” (that figure of misrecognition par excellence) has long-since been construed as a disturbance to highly regulated hegemonic orders. Thus, for Okwui Enwezor, “The human as a ghostly presence . . . marks the separation between those . . . who must seek the status of normalcy for their inclusion into the human family by first exorcizing their strangeness, foreignness, otherness.” This exhibition is an exploration of ghostly presences, the interrelated experiences of symbolic and material alienation, estrangement, and misrecognition within one’s own land, culture, and socio-political milieu.