Ritual Of Judgement
“Ritual Of Judgement” is a performance and installation that deals with conceptions of citizenship and procedures to determine “good citizenship” while also questioning the connection between nationalism and language. It combines an immigration interview and an English Accent Reduction class and is staged in an artificial bureaucrat’s office. The class is didactic and the participant is asked to move his/her tongue in uncomfortable positions to generate the appropriate sound, or to modify the emphasis on a word. The correction emphasizes words that a Spanish speaker has problems pronouncing “correctly,” such as the pronunciation of the th in words like the and thought, the sound in words with y versus j, such as yellow instead of jello. Having to repeat sentences using a “perfect” pronunciation of my accent mirrors the ways in which immigrants are pressured to eliminate the sounds of their first language.