Nina Ross

Untitled #1 (Fish)

Untitled # 1 (fish) explores a partner’s influence on learning a language, through learning how to fillet a fish. Not simply exploring the idea of being lost in translation; rather it investigates the interpretation and appropriation of words. Attempting to follow the instructions of a voice off screen, the learner tries to connect to the new language via the memory of an old one, which is represented by similarities in the sounds of certain words. The old words of their mother tongue (English) continue to resonate inside of them while they try to fit the new words into their body through the process of responding to instructions. The real self emerges as an individual, existing in a liminal space between two languages. In this video, the knife represents the danger in taking on another’s tongue and trying to fit it to one’s own desires, without having any history to draw on in that language. For the foreign learner the knife also represents a troubling situation; they could hurt themselves when appropriating the words and following the directions. This video investigates the history of the language inside the learner’s body, as well as the experience of a new one. They know how to perform the task because of a general knowledge and history, such as how to hold the knife. Nevertheless, they cannot follow the instructions correctly because they do not yet own the language. The unsuccessful results of the lesson depicted in the video also suggest a kind of defiance against the patriarchal directions. They continue, in their own way filleting the fish, even though they are doing it incorrectly and end up destroying it.

Nina is a Melbourne-based artist who works predominantly with video, performance and photography. With a strong research based practice Nina’s work explores language acquisition and it’s repercussions on a sense of self (identity) in a globalised world, drawing on her own experiences of living in Norway and learning Norwegian. Nina has recently completed a Master in Fine Art (Research) at Monash University in Melbourne and has exhibited nationally and internationally including One Night Only- Oslo, INSTITUT FÜR ALLES MÖGLICHE- BERLIN, Experimenta- Speak to me- 5th International Biennial of Media Art and has received various grants and awards, such as the City of Melbourne young artist grant and the Australia council for the arts ArtStart grant.