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Asl Deaf Event

In: Social Issues

Submitted By owense
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ASL Deaf Event: Signmark Concert
This past Thursday, I attended the Signmark concert hosted by Penn In-Hand. Signmark is a deaf Finnish rap artist that considers his music as being party hip hop that takes a stand. He is the first deaf artist to ever be signed to an international record label. There was a diverse group of ages, ethnicities, and gender that attended. The event was held at the Rotunda on 40th and Walnut along the center main stage with Signmark and his speaking interpreter/performer front and center. This made everyone be able to see them spatially and it reminded me of how our desks were assigned in a very concave like structure in class. There was a huge lit screen that also incorporated visual interaction with the audience that helped one identify some of Signmark’s signing. Throughout the performance I noticed many different levels of signing from both those hard at hearing and Deaf. There was a man at the event that would talk to the guests aloud but would only respond to those who signed back at him. He served as a personal liaison for my interacting and interpreting of Signmark’s lyrics throughout the show. When Signmark performed one of his favorite songs off his recent album Breaking the Rules, one motion that stood out was a much choreographed movement he would do to sign “winning/victory”. He motioned his dominant hand in a twist like positioning as if he was spinning his wrist in the air. Another sign that caught my attention was the signing “maniac” which was a title of another single he performed. Almost similar in some ways to how most people would typically try to sign “crazy”, this was actually the spinning of both hands in an M-shape around the side of the head. I was surprisingly impressed by how much vocabulary I was familiar with in much of Signmark’s performance. He was very energetic and performed in a very dramatic/lively way to emphasize his lyrics that was very poetic. The style was less conversational and more like the way our class would practice our video narratives, which I found very engaging. Most of the audience, including myself, reframed from clapping aloud but would shake our hands in the air as a way to acknowledge his great performance. At the end of the event, I took some time to socialize with some members in the audience. Most of the crowd was either hard at hearing or deaf and I would either do a friendly wave or light pat when trying to get other’s attention. I would usually sign that I was hearing and that I came to Penn and many of the visitors were very friendly and understanding of my limited vocabulary. Anytime I signed something incorrectly, they would be patient and also try to teach me the correct sign. We would mostly discuss where we were from and how they liked the performance and what did they plan to go afterwards. It was an overall great experience.
In conclusion, this deaf event was a personal learning experience beyond the academics. I for one realized that I could communicate better than I thought in such a very advanced setting and that deaf culture itself is not very different from the hearing. Although there was signing and technical applications, the nature and dialogue seem the same. The facial expressions, I noticed were more pronounced and obvious and even though I could not read many of the signs; the message was still conveyed whether or not someone agreed, disapproved, laughed or was sadden by something. The event not only boosted my confidence in signing but it felt very comfortable being in a live and real informal deaf setting outside of Penn that incorporated the pleasure of cultural music and entertainment.…...

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