Our Digital Media Production's "Queer Me Out Project" is ready to be heard
Three CFMS students, Annabela Bekker, Jessica Barraclough and Alix Hodge, have created a unique and original web-based interactive documentary entitled the Queer Me Out Project. These 2017 Digital Media Production class students have created a platform that explores the relationships between language and LGBTQIA+ identity in Cape Town and South Africa. The topics explored - all viewed through the lens of South African languages including Xhosa, Afrikaans and English - range from examining the limitations of language in forming queer identity to the reclamation of derogatory terms, all through the use of intimate video interviews, contextually-based audio clips, interactive content, photos and illustrations.
In South Africa - a country boasting one of the richest cultural and linguistic societies in the world - queerness and LGBTQIA+ identities are overwhelmingly discussed in English, both formally in academic texts, and informally during conversations about identity. One of the interviewees, Buntu Yabo, explained: “As a Xhosa-speaking person, there’s no word in my own language that I can use to identify myself.” Third years Annabela and Jessica, with the help of Alix’s cinematography, interrogate this language issue in an original interactive documentary. The Queer Me Out Project, which can be found online - contains intimate, heartfelt interviews with members of the Cape Town queer community, interest-piquing input from academics, and impactful contributions from activists and other LGBTQIA+ organisations.
Queer Me Out includes content such as: videos, animated content and gifs; an immersive gallery of queer content written on bathroom stall walls; an interactive dictionary explaining the identities that trans - an umbrella term - covers; an interactive timeline detailing the reclamation of the word ‘queer’; an interactive, multilingual, fridge magnet-esque sentence-building game to engage with while one listens to an audio clip explaining the inherent ‘contradiction’ in queerness; and many more immersive elements.
Having been in production for just under half a year, it is hoped that Queer Me Out Project will inspire and inform the relatively-untouched conversation regarding the nuanced relationship between language and queer identity, address any misconceptions and misunderstandings about the LGBTQIA+ community and the language, words, and terminology involved therein, and perhaps provide some guidance to those struggling to find a platform where their own identity, culture and language is explored and represented in a way that promotes inclusion. The documentary hopes to achieve all of this within the context of South Africa’s complicated history and diverse set of cultures and languages.