“I live here”. It’s a simple phrase that says a lot.
The “I live here” project celebrates the diversity of the borough of Queens, NYC by gathering the words for “I live here” in the 160+ languages spoken in the borough. From Chinese to Spanish, Tagalog to Thai, each language has a unique way to express the world. Collectively, the languages form a unique expression of the borough and its people.
What does the project involve?
1. Collecting the written words for “I Live Here” in all of Queens’ languages – check them out.
2. Videos of Queens residents, saying “I live here” in their language. Because the sound of words is as important as they appear in writing.
3. Public art work with “I live here” written in languages spoken in the borough of Queens. For example, students at Queens College designed beautiful banners for the project, working with their teacher, the illustrator and animator Ryan Hartley Smith. First they designed patterns based on cultural artifacts at the Godwin-Ternbach Museum (located at Queens College), and then created original three-D typography spelling the words for “I Live Here” in languages spoken in Queens.
Please get in touch if you want to get involved by providing the written words for “I live here” in a particular language or a video.
What’s the purpose?
There are many!
– Raising awareness of the many languages spoken in Queens and celebrating that diversity
– Provoking thinking about language itself: the forms of the written words, their sounds, their meaning – and particularly of the many meanings of the phrase “I Live Here”
– Making a contribution to the documentation of rare or “endangered” languages, spoken by only a few people
– Building connections between people in Queens who may not yet know each other
Who is behind the project?
Annabel Short developed the project idea and is gathering “I live here” in the languages spoken in Queens, in written and video form. In 2011, Annabel interviewed one person a week who lives or works along Astoria’s 30th Avenue for a blog: “30th Ave – A Year in the Life of A Street.” In her day job she is the Deputy Director of ALIGN – Alliance for a Greater New York. Annabel lives in Astoria, Queens with her husband Carlos Hiraldo who is a Professor at La Guardia Community College, and their two sons.
She is introducing the project to Queens-based organizations to the project who are helping to spread the word and provide advice and support:
Queens Library: See an interview with Fred Gitner of the library’s New Americans Program about their work providing materials and programs for Queens immigrants in the many languages that they speak.
Queens Borough President’s Office: Read about a meeting with the Borough President’s Office’s “Immigration Task Force”
Queens Council on the Arts: Check out the reference to this project – and many other great projects – on their “opportunities for artists” page.
Endangered Language Alliance and Wikitongues – more about them here.