Radio Inspire

How To Learn Sign Language

Light Up Gallaudet | Benjamin Bahan | TEDxGallaudet


Translator: Rhonda Jacobs
Reviewer: Leonardo Silva [The interpretation
provided for this presentation is live and unrehearsed. Interpreter(s) assigned may or may not have had materials
in advance for preparation. Inaccuracies related
to the content of the material may be due to imperfections
in the interpreting process. This interpretation has not been
reviewed by the presenter.] “Light Up Gallaudet” “Light Up Gallaudet” is about Deaf people. We have often talked about Deaf people
as Deaf people of light. And if, in fact, that is the case, Gallaudet University, as a beacon
for Deaf and hard-of-hearing students, should, in fact, be the leader
in lighting design. That’s what one would think. Is that what’s actually happening? That’s left for you to decide. Gallaudet has good
DeafSpace design guidelines, and they have taken serious consideration in how to use light
for different purposes. But there are still many issues
remaining here on campus. And this discussion
is one that will continue. Light for presentations
and light for wayfinding on campus. Elstad Auditorium
is one building here on campus. We also have Foster Auditorium, the MPR – all of them use LCD projectors. If you look closely at the screen,
there’s a lighting issue. It’s almost a fight
between the speaker and the screen. You can either light up the speaker, which then ends up shining
and reflecting light off the screen, or vice versa. So often, you would have
to dim the light on the speaker to illuminate further
the information that’s on the screen. Or dim the light
that’s lighting up the screen to illuminate the speaker. In the SAC 1011 room or the GUKCC they use rear projectors, and we have the same issue
but it’s just different technology. Now because we have to read
information on a screen, the person who’s standing there
becomes too bright. So the speaker is dimmed, and if they happen to walk
to center of the stage, I can’t see the information behind them,
and I can’t see the speaker, so who’s winning,
the speaker or the screen? It’s an ongoing battle,
and it is a problem. You can see that the lights
are reflected off the screen. You can see the different light spots instead of the information
that’s presented on the slide. That presents a problem. It presents a glare on the screen
because light is reflected. So the lighting system that we have
here on campus has not been effective. [LIGHT does not have to be a battlefield
between who gets the light – the speaker or the screen SOLUTION – in templates] This battled has ensued, this battle
between screen and speaker – who has control over the light –
for some time now. And it seems the screen always wins. The medium is, in fact, the message. We don’t know that for sure,
but that’s the message that we’re getting. If I have a PowerPoint
being shown by an LCD projector, I cannot get in the way of that light,
because then you see the light on my face, you can’t read the facial expression and the grammar
that’s shown through my face, and you also can’t see
the information on my screen; it’s happened to me often as a professor. My students say, “Dr. Bahan,
please get out of the way, I can’t see the Powerpoint.” And I’m thinking, why do we
have these problems with light? Why not use light and design it
in a template that works? [POWERPOINT TEMPLATES Light Up Gallaudet MINORITY LANGUAGE TEDxGallaudet] A template where we’ve created a way for me to stand in this field of vision that allows students
to see the information that’s either behind or around me. What would help is some distance
between the screen and the speaker. But that’s not very comfortable
to someone who’s in the audience because that’s quite a bit of distance, and I have to turn my head
one way to see the speaker, and then turn my head
in the opposite direction to see the information
on their PowerPoint. This problem has plagued us
for the last 20 years. Why have we not had a solution years ago? Why? Why is that not happening? And I think it’s basically not happening because we just don’t have a space
or a structure that encourages research and further analysis
on the usage of light. So we need to start thinking of other ways
that we light Gallaudet’s campus. So we decided to take
a group of lighting guerrillas to light up Gallaudet at night. We gathered around in a circle,
and we talked about the meaning of light. For hearing people,
if the light is dimmed, it means you simply can’t see. It just makes it harder for one to see. But for Deaf individuals, dimming of light also allows us
not to be able to see, but it also allows us not to be able
to have communication. So for Deaf people, the absence of light
is the absence of communication. So why wouldn’t Gallaudet take light
and make that a symbol to resonate? To allow for communication to occur
without any barriers? I’ve discussed this
with my Deaf Studies class, it’s DST 735, and also a group of students
in our Motion Lab. And we have thought
about how we can improve the lighting situation here on campus. [MOTION LAB AND VISUAL STUDIES] Once we got together, we became inspired by a group
called the “Lighting Guerillas.” The Lighting Guerillas
are in Europe, in Asia, and they go to different cities
that have dark buildings and they illuminate them, they transform the environment
with different lights and gels. So we decided to use this approach and test how we could change
Gallaudet University at night. We did a study of the layout,
different places around Gallaudet, and we found that Gallaudet wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t suitable
for grammatical usage. And then places that were lit up
were too lit up. So we all decided to gather one evening
and bring flashlights, and we brought gels, identified the places
where we wanted to go and illuminate, and we headed to the front of the campus. The first place where we went was the auditorium. And this is what it looked like … plain before we turned on
our flashlight and gels. So, we got ourselves situated. We had some discussion
before about the use of light and spillover effect, and how we would establish
our flashlights and gels to create the effect that we wanted. We used green and red
in an alternating pattern. And once we had everything situated
the way we wanted, this is what happened. We transformed that space. Not only did we transform that space, but the light brought texture
to the walls that it illuminated. I could almost feel what I saw. It brought new meaning
to that space for me. We were astounded. And we were inspired by what we had done. We changed that place. We also saw that the auditorium
had another area with some thin poles around the corner. Very dark. It was a really pretty
architectural feature, as it was a rounded corner. So we brought our flashlights
and our gels to that area. we situated ourselves
again, strategically, got everything in place,
and this is what happened. We created a beautiful corner and we gave meaning to that space
that since had had no function. Once again, we were just in awe
of what we were able to do. Then we saw some trees
that were next to the building, and we thought, how could
we illuminate these trees? As you see, after we illuminated
the tree, the tree has life, it has feelings, it has shadows
that seem just to come alive. We continued to play
with our flashlights and gels. Guess where this picture is? Can anyone figure it out? We took a picture of it with a flash. This is a sculpture that’s well known
to many visitors to campus and people who live and work here. It’s a very beautiful sculpture. I agree. But without light illuminating it,
it doesn’t look as pretty as with light. This is the exact same sculpture! We did not change the sculpture,
we just changed how it was illuminated. We added different lights
and different colored lights. It changed the mood of the sculpture; it changed the feelings that were evoked. This is a masterpiece. It just required some flashlights and gel
to make that transformation. [It] led to further discussion
about the role of light here at Gallaudet University, and how light can truly
transform an environment. [JAMES LEE SORENSON
LANGUAGE AND COMMUNICATION] We got together another time,
my students and I, and we wanted to this time test shadows. There was a German couple
who came to visit campus. And they were helping us test out light
and creating shadows with light. Oftentimes at Gallaudet University
we can do things like this and make sure that the outside community
and our surrounding neighborhoods know that this is a place of Deaf people. [RESONATE GALLAUDET – Make LIGHT a Value
– LIGHT as a Way-finder – LIGHT as Communication
– LIGHT as Identity – LIGHT as a Way of Being
– Find LIGHTing Solutions] Now what we have learned
from this entire endeavor is that light is something
that Gallaudet needs to embrace. Light needs to resonate with Gallaudet. It can’t just be a cost-saving measure;
light needs to be a value. It is a wayfinder at night. If I were able to describe
where a building is by saying it is illuminated
by a green gel or a red gel, imagine how people would be able
to find their way around campus with ease! Through the spillover effect, we could create different shape
and texture to the spaces that we have long-since seen none. And as a communication tool, we need to illuminate spaces
on Gallaudet strategically. And by that we could use
light as an identity, as a way of being. There are some lighting
issues and problems. We need to be finding solutions! There are possibilities
that are out there. What has been happening is that we don’t have
one centralized location that is charged
with exploring this question or finding a resolution to the lighting issues
that we have here on campus. If, in fact, we were to establish a lab, then Gallaudet could, in fact,
be called “the people of the light.”

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