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Other Name, started while in residency at SÍM (Icelandic Association of Artists) in Reykjavík, and then finished at Nes in Skagaströnd, Iceland, seeks to examine the role of language and shared culture in intimacy. Featuring a performance by Icelandic artist Sigga Soffia, the video presents a fractured session of instruction. A woman tries to coach her apparent companion to say her name correctly, becoming increasingly despondent by the lack of progress. A common issue with foreigners, Icelandic names are often quite difficult to pronounce for many non-native speakers and during my stay there I became preoccupied with the question of how close one could get to someone who couldn’t say their name properly. Though visibly indistinguishable as a foreigner, a final otherness presents itself in this fundamental object of identity. Hearing one’s name spoken in a moment of intimacy offers a strange existential validation. Perhaps it is a simple confirmation of self or just another pleasure for which the ego yearns. Is it an additional need the other cannot fulfill?
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