Granary Arts Liza Sylvestre Captioned Curator Jason Judd

LIZA SYLVESTRE / Captioned / Curated by Jason Judd

October 12 – December 14, 2018


Captioned by artist Liza Sylvestre is a feature length, single-channel video interpretation of the 1934 screwball comedy film “Twentieth Century” starring John Barrymore and Carole Lombard. As an individual with a profound hearing impairment, Sylvestre depends on closed captioning or other interpretive texts to have complete understanding of films. In Captioned, the artist replaces the missing closed captioning in the movie with what she describes as “self-commentary”. Sylvestre explains her process while creating the piece, “Sometimes I record what I think is happening, often I record my visual observations, and sometimes my mind wanders, and I record that as well.” This fast-paced, dialogue-heavy comedy—complete with improbable and complicated narratives—affords Sylvestre many opportunities to reveal her experience enduring incomprehensible cinematic situations.

Header image: Captioned (Twentieth Century) (still), Liza Sylvestre

Sylvestre’s significant hearing loss progressed throughout her formative years until 2003, when she underwent cochlear implant surgery. Her experience leads her to explore, through a multidisciplinary practice in art, how senses alter experiences of the world—more specifically, how she can investigate this concept as, she states, “an individual who is medically, although not culturally, deaf.”

While viewing Captioned, an enabled audience encounters oscillating narratives: the narrative of the original film, the narrative of Sylvestre’s experience, and the unique narrative produced by experiencing both simultaneously. For example, a scene from the film depicts a group of actors preparing for a play. As the director barks orders to his cast members, Sylvestre’s eloquent interpretation appears as closed captioning text near the bottom of the frame: “Sounds on top of sounds with nothing separating them… And now the shape of what I recognize as a conversation… A tumble of a man’s voice… Words fall from him rapidly and everyone responds… Those familiar lulls and pauses between words and breaths.”

About the Artist

Liza Sylvestre is the co-founder of Creating Language Through Arts, an educational arts residency that focuses on using art as a means of communication when there are language barriers present due to hearing loss. In 2014 she was awarded both an Artists Initiative and Arts Learning grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. Recently she has been the recipient of a VSA Jerome Emerging Artists Grant, a fellowship through Art(ists) on the Verge and an Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Most recently Sylvestre has served as the artist in residence at the Center for Applied Translational Sensory Science and the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis, MN. She is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

About the Curator

Recently relocated to central Utah, Jason Judd was most recently Curator of Art at University Galleries of Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois and Co-Founder of Sight Specific, an online platform that documents and supports contemporary art programming in and around the central Illinois region. He previously was Art Editor for Bite Magazine (online, non-profit project) and Co-Director of Make-Space (a Chicago based artist-run organization) from 2010 to 2015. He has also served as Registrar at the Rockford Art Museum, Exhibitions Assistant at Chicago Artists Coalition, and Curatorial Intern at Gallery 400, University of Illinois Chicago. Judd’s recent curatorial projects include Cecil McDonald: In the Company of Black at University Galleries of ISU (2018); Terttu Uibopuu: East South East at University Galleries of ISU and Rockford Art Museum (2018); and Erin Washington: Light Touch at University Galleries of ISU (2017). Judd approaches curating, teaching, organizing and collaborating with a sense of sincerity, inclusion, experimentation, and resourcefulness.