My mother grew up in an immigrant household, her first language being Dutch until the start of primary school. My grandparents spoke in fragmented English, creating a muddling of languages in the house that left my mother and her sisters with significant gaps in their Dutch proficiency. Things That I Know, Things That You Know is a visual representation of my mother and I learning and re-learning Dutch together. Due to the differences in our learning styles and geographic location, much of our learning takes place individually in the form of letters sent back and forth. As this process stretches over time, the relationship between my mother and myself restructures from one of dependance to that of two individual people, relying on one another to accomplish a shared goal. We begin to speak Dutch in a way similar to how my grandparents tried to learn English – shared stores, fragments of language, and trial & error. Things That I Know, Things That You Knowis about learning through visual documentation, making sense of a new language, and of a mother and daughter learning both about and from each other.

Things That I Know, Things That You Know is a visual representation of the process of learning the Dutch language and of my mother and me, learning a language together. Me, learning the Dutch language for the first time, and my mother, relearning it for a second time. My mother is an auditory learner, and I learn visually, and we live on opposite ends of the country, so much of our learning takes place individually. I shape my learning around the everyday and try to visualize how this learning is taking place --- my individual learning, and where my learning and my mother’s learning intersects in what we know and do not know. The learning process is difficult, filled with blank spaces where words struggle to reside in memory, and the struggle in switching back and forth between two vastly different languages. While we learn, my mother tells stories about her upbringing. I learn more about this language that is foreign to me and it bridges the gap of the heritage language that I am learning as the third generation. Things That I Know, Things That You Know is about learning through photography, making sense of a new language, and of a mother and a daughter learning from each other.

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