In 2016, Garage launched an online dictionary that introduced thirty-six new art terms to Russian Sign Language. The country’s first initiative of the kind, the dictionary in the form of a video course was presented at Garage’s annual training course for museum professionals Experiencing the Museum.
With some of the key modern and contemporary art terms, such as "abstract art", "pop art" and "conceptualism", previously missing from Russian Sign Language, many deaf and hard of hearing visitors had limited access to texts on art.
This year, the dictionary was released in the form of a printed publication, prepared by Garage’s Vlad Kolesnikov, Ekaterina Lazareva, and Anastasia Mityushina. The book includes thirty-six articles explaining some of the key terms relating to modern and contemporary art and illustrated with RSL signs for each term, as well as an introductory article by Garage’s manager of inclusive programs Vlad Kolesnikov.
The printed edition of the dictionary raises the broader question of the development of Russian Sign Language. The authors believe that the dictionary will be useful for professionals, sign language interpreters, and teachers who work with deaf students, as well as for all people who speak Russian Sign Language. It can be used as resource book for creating and testing new signs, which will facilitate the development of Russian Sign Language. For example, the word “avant-garde” was given a sign that makes most sense semantically, while the sign for “performance” was borrowed from American Sign Language. Working with a group of experts, the authors of the dictionary have made sure that all of the new terms are compatible with the vocabulary and grammar of RSL.
The publication will be of interest to everyone who follows developments in contemporary art and culture as well as to those who wish to know more about the evolution of sign languages.
Project team: cultural studies expert, Garage Education coordinator Ekaterina Vladimirtseva; Inclusive Programs manager, and teacher of the deaf Vlad Kolesnikov (co-author of the dictionary); art historian, artist, and assistant curator Ekaterina Lazareva (co-author of the dictionary); art historian, Public Programs curator Anastasia Mityushina (co-author of the dictionary); independent curator, Inclusive Programs methodologist Maria Sarycheva; art historian, Garage’s regular author and translator Natasha Soboleva.
Expert group: Arkadiy Belozovskiy, professional interpreter for the deaf, Aleksander Martyanov, artist, Antonina Pichugina, actress, Aleksandr Sidelnikov, sign language teacher, and Tatyana Birs, TV-presenter and photographer.
The video course is available online at Garage’s official YouTube channel.
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